Our Commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

The Commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
in the University of Alberta’s Department of Chemistry


The Department of Chemistry at the University of Alberta believes strongly that improving EDI (Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) at all levels is of critical importance. While there is ample evidence that diversity improves science and creativity, that is not the basis of our support. We support EDI because it is a matter of equality and justice. Our commitment as an educational institution is to provide a safe, equitable, and inclusive environment for both academic visitors and all of our members: high school volunteers; undergraduate students; graduate students; postdoctoral researchers; technicians, administrative and technical staff; and faculty members.  

As part of our commitment to these beliefs, the Department has implemented a number of initiatives aimed at increasing EDI and fostering an environment that supports all of our members including those traditionally underrepresented in the field of chemistry. We recognize that addressing all forms of racism and discrimination is an evolving, ongoing challenge. These initiatives will evolve and be augmented by additional measures. These include the following: 

  1. Ensure that a representative portion of all seminar speakers invited to the Department represent underrepresented groups. The list of invited seminar speakers will be reviewed each year to ensure that a diverse set of speakers has been identified.
  2. Request that all researchers, staff, and faculty of the Department complete unconscious bias training and provide to their primary supervisor a certificate of completion. 
  3. Continue the Faculty of Science and the Department’s commitments to diverse hiring procedures to ensure that applicants representative of the four designated groups  (women, Indigenous people, persons with disabilities, and members of racialized groups) defined in the Employment Equity Act, as well as other underrepresented groups, are fairly considered. Require applicants for Faculty positions provide a written Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion statement as part of the application package.
  4. Promote the use of gender neutral pronouns (or, if provided, personal pronouns) in communications, e.g., emails, reference letters, speaker introductions, as well as in instructional materials, the classroom, and the laboratory.
  5. Provide guidance for graduate students and postdoctoral researchers on support for parental leave, e.g., through NSERC or other Tri-Council programs. If needed, facilitate, through the  Department Chair, discussions between graduate students/postdoctoral researchers and their supervisors regarding parental leave.
  6. Expect groups to select group event times that are sensitive to those with families (i.e., during business hours) and/or religious constraints.
  7. Create, support, and mandate learning opportunities including seminars, workshops, outreach activities, and resources to be delivered within the Department that address systemic inequities in order to raise awareness as to how these factors can lead to biases in hiring, selection, appointment, promotion, grading, and departmental and campus culture. Events may be coordinated with the University of Alberta Working for Inclusivity in Chemistry (UAlberta WIC) group.
  8. Introduce mandatory EDI training for new graduate students and postdoctoral researchers, to be implemented during their first year.
  9. Highlight successes by underrepresented Department members in both scientific and EDI work, and increase advocacy for their professional advancement — for example, through the encouragement of nominations to awards and fellowships.
  10. Evaluate departmental policies and practices to identify barriers and behaviours that impact the accessibility of participation in scholarship, research, and social activities.
  11. On July 1, 2020, an EDI committee was established in the Department that will prioritize the above initiatives, ensure that action is being taken and progress is being made, and work with Department members to expand on the commitment outlined herein. At the end of each academic year (June 30), the EDI committee will provide a report to the Department Chair summarizing specific details, actions, events, and accomplishments  towards carrying out and achieving the initiatives outlined in points 1-10.

As a Department, we have a crucial responsibility to welcome and support anyone who wishes to contribute to our activities in education, research, and service. Failing to address inequities present within our institution undermines these goals. This statement affirms our commitment as a community to actively confront systemic and profoundly harmful biases in service to our field and a more just world.