Background

In 2019, the University of Alberta launched a Strategic Plan for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity with broad goals for improving EDI across our campuses. The University of Alberta Strategic Plan for Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity is a four-year plan with the goal of “achiev[ing] an accessible, equitable, and inclusive community of students, faculty, and staff that supports our learning environment shaped by curiosity, rigorous inquiry, and evidence-based decision making, respect, and a culture of human rights.” The Plan’s mission statement articulates the University’s commitment “to achieving equitable access and opportunities in admissions, employment, retention, and advancement; and to a working, learning, and living environment free from discrimination, bullying, and harassment.” In order to realize that commitment, “each of us must develop plans and initiatives at the local level. We must take deliberate action informed by the best available evidence and institutional data.” The core principles of the EDI Strategic Plan are:

Diversity
Equity
Inclusion
Human Rights
Substantive Equality
Intersectionality
Accessibility
Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples

Students, Faculty, and Staff in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Alberta have a range of intersecting identities, and, following the Dimensions Charter, we must “recognize that diversity has many facets, including age, education, parental status/responsibility, immigration status, religion, language, place of origin, ethnicity, culture, socio-economic status and many other attributes.”

The Faculty of Arts at the University of Alberta has a strong tradition of supporting matters of equity, diversity, and inclusion. Nonetheless, the 1992 report of the Dean's Advisory Task Force on Employment Equity (developed partly in response to the 1991 Report of the President's Commission for Equality and Respect) laid out a number of priorities and ambitions that have yet to be realized. The report of that Task Force recognizes that vitality of the institution, the fulfillment of its primary missions of teaching, research, and service, and the well-being of its students, staff, and faculty depend on careful attention to the terms of EDI. This recognition is revitalized in the strategic documents now governing the University of Alberta (For the Public Good) and the Faculty of Arts (Change for Good), both of which call upon the members of this community to foster an environment of equity, diversity, and inclusion. In response to the University of Alberta’s Strategic Plan for EDI and in line with the commitments of the Faculty of Arts, the Committee for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion was established in 2019 with the mandate to encourage, advise, and recommend on matters of EDI in the Faculty and as they relate to the Faculty’s core mission; to collaborate on and support EDI initiatives in and outside of Arts; and to coordinate centrally.