Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee Vision Statement
This statement is intended to articulate our commitment to achieving an equitable, diverse and inclusive working and learning environment in which we respect each other and are accountable for our actions. As a statement of principles and vision, it provides the foundation for guiding future action plans and specific initiatives aimed at improving the departmental culture of mutual respect and genuine accountability.

The Department of Biological Sciences is committed to fostering a safe and supportive environment for all members of our community—staff, students, clients, and the general public—in which to learn, teach, work and discover, free from all forms of discrimination, harassment and intolerance. We embrace a workplace environment characterized by mutual respect and genuine accountability among all members of our community. We commit to an environment that is equitable, diverse, inclusive and accessible to all community members regardless of, but not limited to ability, age, class, ethnicity, gender identity, national origin, neurodiversity, race, relationship status, religion, position, rank, sexual orientation, and socio-economic status. The Department also explicitly acknowledges that we are located on Treaty 6 territory, and respects the histories, languages, and cultures of First Nations, Métis, Inuit, and all First Peoples of Canada, whose presence continues to enrich our vibrant community.

We acknowledge our history of racism, intolerance, discrimination and other transgressions towards people from marginalized groups. We commit to creating and maintaining a workplace environment characterized by mutual respect – an environment in which we recognize that every member of our community deserves to be treated with courtesy, compassion, professionalism and kindness – the way we wish to be treated ourselves. We extend mutual respect to every member of our community.

We acknowledge that there exist barriers to the success of many groups of people, and this has led to their inequitable representation and treatment in the Department. We respect that not everyone starts from the same place of privilege, and we commit to the equitable treatment of traditionally marginalized groups and to promote measures that ensure fair treatment and remove barriers to the success of these groups.

We acknowledge that the staff and student bodies of the Department are less diverse than the communities that it serves. We embrace diversity as a strength, as we value and respect the multiple points of view that differences in perspectives and experiences of people from all walks of life can bring to the Department, and in the field of biological sciences as a whole. We commit to taking action to broaden the recruitment, retention and engagement of under-represented groups in our community.

We acknowledge that we have yet to realize a truly inclusive and accessible work, study and research environment. We strive to promote and sustain a sense of belonging and engagement that magnify the value added to our operations from the involvement of diverse perspectives and experiences. We commit to maximizing accessibility and the appropriate involvement and engagement of all members of our community.

We acknowledge that in order to achieve a truly safe and supportive environment that is equitable, diverse, inclusive and accessible, we need to hold ourselves and each other accountable for our behaviours, words and actions. We acknowledge our inherent biases, and commit to improve upon them through lifelong learning and reinforcement. We acknowledge that sometimes our words are misaligned with our intent. We also commit to address indiscretions and transgressions, knowing that retaliation and reprisal against one who makes a complaint is strictly prohibited. We commit to accept feedback and responsibility for our mistakes, and to improve our conduct in the future. We accept that we are accountable to each other to promote and maintain a Departmental community that is free from all forms of discrimination, harassment and intolerance - an equitable, diverse and inclusive working and learning environment for all.
Terms of Reference
Click here to view the Department of Biological Sciences (DBS) Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee's Terms of Reference.
EDI Committee Members

Department of Biological Sciences (DBS) Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee Members

  • Undergraduate Students: Heba MahmoodAreeha Mahal
  • Graduate Students: Emily Swerdfager, Cerrise Weiblen
  • Post-doctoral Fellows: Sharavari Kulkarni, Marina Lazic
  • Teaching and Support Staff: Mariel Hagen, David Patten
  • Assistant Professors: Zachary Hall
  • Associate Professors: Stephanie Green, Lien Luong (Committee Chair)
  • Professors: David Pilgrim
  • Faculty Service Officer: Corey Davis
  • Ex-officio: Olav Rueppell, Academic Director of Research
Unconscious Bias

Dr. Tara McGee, Associate Dean (Engagement & EDI), Faculty of Science made a presentation on "Unconscious Bias" at the December 8, 2021 DBS Departmental Council Meeting. She talked about how to minimize negative impacts by identifying and recognizing unconscious biases, and provided resources for the Tri-Council Unconscious Bias Training Module and the Harvard Implicit Bias Tests

NSERC Discovery Grant Applications: The Training of HQP Component
NSERC Discovery Grant Applications: The Training of HQP Component
Dr. Enrico Scarpella was in the Genes stream of Evaluation Group 1501 (Genes, Cells, and Molecules) for four years (2016–2020). During that period, NSERC developed and implemented their EDI policy for DG applications. In his capacity as EG 1501 member, he evaluated >150 DG applications. The NSERC DG application has three components: (1) Excellence of the Researcher; (2) Merit of the Proposal; (3) Training of HQP. Each of these three components will receive a separate score. This tripartite score will be used by NSERC to calculate your funding level. Training of HQP is therefore worth one-third of your application. In his experience, the training of HQP part of the application is the one in which most applicants lose points. Here is a link to Enrico's presentation: NSERC Discovery Grant Application: The Training of HQP Component.

Enrico also complied these resources available at the University of Alberta for your reference:
Discovery Grant: steps, internal and external deadlines, and support (samples of successful applications from the Grant Library, and workshops and webinars).
Conflict Management and Support Resources

Click here to see a living resource compiled by the Biological Sciences Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee, which will require periodic updating. Please contact dbsedi@ualberta.ca in the event of a broken link or if there is a resource that is missing from our list.

Early intervention in a situation is key. It is much easier on you to find a resolution through discussion rather than wait until it is serious enough to merit formal intervention. Unless the situation is particularly egregious, you should always start by seeking informal resolution first.

Informal resolutions include seeking information and advice from third parties, speaking with your supervisor, the supervisor above them, and finding support for yourself. Formal resolution is when you have exhausted your other options, or if the situation concerns safety or illegality.

These resources also include preventative measures such as training resources and important mental health resources as well.

Contact Information
To contact the DBS EDI Committee, please use the following email: dbsedi@ualberta.ca.