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UAlberta Action Plan

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1. Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Objectives and Measurement Strategies

Environmental Scan
Review of Employment Systems and Internal Processes
Review of Institutional Support for Chairholders
Development of the CRC EDI Action Plan
Objectives, Indicators, and Actions
Monitoring

2.  Management of CRC Allocations

Recruitment
Allocation Management
Chairholder Support
FDG Safeguards and Protection Measures
Education, Training and Development

3.  Collection of Equity and Diversity Data

4.  Retention and Inclusivity

Workplace and Retention Initiatives
Monitoring
Complaints Concerning Administration of the CRC Program
Program Quality Assurance
Contact Information

5. Appendix

University of Alberta Workforce Diversity Questionnaire

Introduction

The vision of the University of Alberta's founding president Henry Marshall Tory was that, "knowledge shall not be the concern of scholars alone. The uplifting of the whole people shall be its final goal." Then, as now, this raison d'être has inspired the institution's pursuits toward becoming one of the world's great universities while “uplifting the whole people" for the public good.

This vision endures as the university strives to improve the lives of people in Alberta, across Canada, and worldwide. At the University of Alberta, our commitment to uplifting the whole people means a strong commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion and a living out of those principles in every aspect of our work. In our inclusive community, we encourage and support individual and collaborative efforts to identify and address inequities. We welcome and enable contributions of all voices as we engage with diverse ideas, knowledges, and perspectives in the pursuit of inclusive excellence for the public good.

Among these pursuits are, for example, the only Faculty of Native Studies in North America, a French-language campus that offers a wide variety of degree programs and supports strong engagement with our Francophone community, a university-wide signature area of research and teaching dedicated to multidisciplinary study of the intersections  of gender with more than 250 researchers who work in that field, a multidisciplinary institute for sexual minority studies,students enrolled from 148 countries, and our recognition as one of Canada’s Greenest Employers for nine years running. These examples reflect our ongoing commitment to building inclusive communities across our five campuses that welcome and uplift all the publics that we serve.

We are committed to achieving equitable access and opportunities in admissions, employment, retention, and advancement as well as a working, learning, and living environment free from discrimination, bullying, and harassment.

The University of Alberta has a long history of programming, services, and initiatives to support equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI), yet we recognize that there is further work to do. Since the late 1980s the university has pursued strategic initiatives to advance human rights and EDI.  In 1994 the Board of Governors approved “Opening Doors: A Plan for Employment Equity at the University of Alberta,” and in the intervening years the university has approved additional policies and plans to achieve a more equitable university. These include our Discrimination, Harassment and Duty to Accommodate Policy; Recruitment Policy; and Employment Equity Statement, which has been updated over time to address sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

Over the past year, the university signaled its renewed commitment to this work with the launch of a new institutional Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity Strategic Plan, created collaboratively with a diverse group of faculty, administrators, staff, and students, including EDI scholars and advocates and members of each of the federally designated groups (FDGs): women, visible minorities, persons with disabilities, and Indigenous peoples, as well as LGBTQ2S+ individuals and persons whose identities are intersectionally representative of different equity-seeking groups.

Our EDI Strategic Plan commits the University of Alberta to proactively and iteratively identifying and addressing informal obstacles, barriers, and biases that limit equitable access and opportunities, as well as intentionally pursuing and implementing system-wide equity initiatives to embed diversity and inclusivity in all university structures, programs, policies, and practices as well as in our visual and text identities. All senior academic leaders have formal accountabilities to advance EDI goals, and all Vice-Presidents have adopted statements of commitment to EDI within their respective portfolios.

Our EDI institutional priorities and goals are set out over the next four years, with special emphasis in the first year on establishing improved systems for data collection (both quantitative and qualitative) to support target setting and identifying specific barriers, developing resources to integrate EDI considerations into research and teaching, and sustaining and enhancing training and development across the university. Recognizing that achieving EDI goals requires responsible and accountable leadership at all levels of the university, we have committed to use, evaluate, and report regularly on progress toward achieving specific, measurable targets related to workforce diversity, employment equity, and experiences of inclusion.

The CRC EDI Action Plan reflects these activities, as well as other goals and initiatives specific to our CRC program. While we have specific action plans for specific programs and projects, we are working to infuse these values of equity, diversity and inclusion throughout our internal culture, systems, and practices.

1. Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Objectives and Measurement Strategies

Environmental Scan

Approach:

The University of Alberta is a large, complex organization with approximately 38,000 students, 15,000 employees (including over 2000 faculty members), 18 faculties, five campuses, 400 undergraduate programs, 500 graduate programs, 100+ institutes, and 400+ teaching and research agreements with 50 countries. This means that our chairholders – current and potential – work in a wide variety of contexts, within an increasingly diverse city and province.

Given this complexity, the university’s approach to the environmental scan was broad in scope. Rather than focusing solely on the environment experienced by current chairholders, the university undertook to assess the organizational environment as a whole, recognizing that the broad institutional environment and culture are key determinants of success both for current and future chairholders as well as non-chairholders across all programs, departments and faculties.

The environmental scan had the following key components:

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Scoping Group:

Building on more than 20 years of EDI work at the institution, in 2017 the University of Alberta established the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Scoping Group, with a mandate to identify and advise on opportunities, institutional priorities, and systemic barriers with respect to EDI and to develop an institutional EDI Strategic Plan. It is coordinated and supported by the Provost and Vice President (Academic), and co-chaired by the Deputy Provost and the Associate Vice President (Disclosure, Assurance, and Institutional Reporting). The EDI Scoping Group is a broad consultative body comprising approximately 50 faculty, staff, students, EDI service units, member associations, EDI scholars and advocates, and from all faculties and all Vice-Presidential portfolios. The membership is inclusive of Indigenous peoples, LGBTQ2S+ persons, women, members of visible minority groups, and persons with disabilities.

The Scoping Group used the following mechanisms to identify and prioritize systemic barriers:

  • Scoping Group members provided direct input on areas of professional expertise and lived experience;
  • Members were tasked to conduct qualitative outreach within their personal and professional networks to seek input on barriers, lived experiences, and priorities;
  • A formal consultation process was held, including the following:
    • Two public town hall-style forums to review and respond to the priorities identified by the Scoping Group as reflected in the draft EDI Strategic Plan;
    • Individual meetings with stakeholder groups (e.g., faculty and staff associations, major service units, Deans, department chairs);
    • A series of five round-table discussions devoted to hearing the perspectives of women, visible minorities, Indigenous persons, persons with disabilities, and LGBTQS2+ persons, respectively. Where barriers specific to particular groups were identified, these are reported below.

The Scoping Group continues to oversee a program of consultation through regular dialogue with institutional committees, as well as through a formal focus group process that will solicit input from members of each of the FDGs as well as others identifying as members of marginalized communities at the university to inform the ongoing review of the EDI Strategic Plan and, as relevant, the CRC EDI Action Plan.

Survey of Associate Deans (Research):

The university surveyed all Faculties, via the Associate Deans (Research), to identify any barriers or challenges reported by chairholders. Most of the 18 Faculties reported that chairholders had not reported any specific barriers. A small number of Faculties reported the following:

  • Faculties do not apply differing formal requirements for service work for faculty members who are members of an FDG. However, in some cases female, visible minority, and Indigenous faculty members may, in practice, perform disproportionately more service work than their counterparts. This is based on anecdotal reporting, as the university’s current data systems do not enable a rigorous comparison of service responsibilities. Several Faculties suggested that disproportionate service is in part due to the desire to ensure that these groups are represented on all committees. Faculties indicated being aware of this effect and attempting to mitigate it (see Objectives, Indicators, and Actions below).
  • Faculty members from FDGs likely perform more informal mentoring of students who are also members of FDG. This is based on anecdotal reporting as this work is not formally monitored.
  • Faculty members who are members of FDGs may be more likely to be engaged in research requiring higher levels of community engagement. In some cases, traditional faculty evaluation mechanisms are not fully responsive to this kind of work.
  • Faculties had received inquiries from current chairholders to clarify how EDI requirements would affect renewals.

Outreach to current chairholders:

The Office of Safe Disclosure and Human Rights (OSDHR) issued a letter to all current chairholders to inform them of mechanisms available for the confidential disclosure of any EDI-related concerns. No concerns have been reported through this process.

Indigenous outreach and engagement:

The university has an established program of engagement and consultation with Indigenous peoples and communities, both within and beyond the university. The scope of this engagement includes the identification of barriers and environmental factors that might negatively affect access and success in career advancement (including the CRC program) for Indigenous scholars. Engagement initiatives have included town halls, a Reconciliation Forum, a Council on Aboriginal Initiatives, and the establishment of a Vice-Provost position dedicated to Indigenous programming and research, as well as numerous Faculty-level initiatives. Systemic challenges identified include disproportionate service and mentoring obligations for Indigenous scholars and the difficulty of appropriately valuing community-engaged research under the current performance evaluation system (see page 32 for further discussion of the university’s Indigenous-oriented initiatives).

Review of award practices:

During the 2018/19 year, the university conducted a review of its policies and practices related to major academic awards to promote greater diversity and equity among potential future recipients. This process was identified as an opportunity to contribute to greater consciousness of EDI-related considerations in research and award adjudication more generally, contributing to a university environment in which both human and research diversity are recognized and valued. This review identified opportunities to implement bias awareness training and to improve policy language to clarify expectations as well as to modify nomination processes to ensure appropriate diversity in the nomination pool for major awards (implemented in 2019).

Review of gender pay equity:

The university undertook a review of gender pay equity across the professoriate (including CRCs). A settlement was negotiated with the Association of Academic Staff of the University of Alberta to close the gender-based pay gap observed from 2014 to 2017.

Identification of systemic challenges and barriers:

The university’s environmental scan identified and prioritized the following systemic challenges and barriers. These priorities directly informed the university’s overall EDI Strategic Plan, and are reflected in the Action Plan objectives described in section 3.

  • Data collection:
    • The university collects self-reported demographic data on federally designated group (FDG) characteristics for over 5,000 full-time, operating-funded faculty and staff. These data include CRC holders. It was noted that the data available at the time of the Environmental Scan did not include all employee categories or all relevant demographic characteristics. Accordingly, the new EDI Strategic Plan committed to enhancing data collection to encompass a wider set of employee categories and demographic characteristics (see Objectives, Indicators, and Actions below). A new survey was developed and will enable more fulsome analysis of employment equity conditions, as well as more specific target setting. The university established an expert advisory group and conducted a focus group process to inform the development of the new data collection instrument. The instrument has already been implemented among current CRCs, and will be rolled out across the whole university in fall 2019. The university is also rolling out an arms-length focus group process to gather qualitative input on the lived experience of members of underrepresented or marginalized groups.
    • Improved formal university-wide data on faculty and staff engagement and on the lived experience of underrepresented groups can improve the university’s ability to proactively monitor and manage the overall health of the workplace environment and its impact (either positive or negative) on the university’s ability to meet its equity, diversity, and inclusion objectives. The university is implementing an institution-wide faculty and staff engagement survey, that began with a pilot in 2018-19 and will be rolled out university-wide in October 2019. This study enables a more rigorous assessment of issues faced by members of FDGs and other groups, and will inform the development of subsequent actions. Policy framework: opportunities were identified to improve the university’s policy frameworks for academic recruitment and selection, awards and recognition, and research adjudication to promote an environment of bias awareness, personal and disciplinary diversity, and inclusivity. The university has prioritized implementing updates to its policies and procedures in these areas, as reflected in the Objectives, Indicators, and Actions section below.
  • Organizational leadership:
    • Pathways to leadership: the university is focusing on creating and supporting pathways to organizational leadership by removing barriers to career advancement and developing resources to support leadership development, encompassing graduate students, research trainees and all ranks of the professoriate. These pathways will benefit our entire community. In particular, members of visible minorities identified mentorship and development as a current gap during consultations on the EDI Strategic Plan. Responding to this barrier, the university launched a range of academic leadership development initiatives in 2018-19; including training on inclusive leadership, bias awareness, and EDI in recruitment and hiring, as well as research mentoring programs.
    • Education and training: the Environmental Scan identified that fully supporting the university’s EDI objectives requires enhanced capacity and training among leaders. The university is providing training and capacity building activities to support the EDI literacy and competency among leaders at all levels of the organization to model and actively cultivate a workplace that reflects EDI values.
  • Disproportionate service by members of FDGs:
    • As noted above, in some cases members of FDGs have reported performing disproportionate levels of service due in significant part to efforts to promote representation on all major committees. This presents challenges in Faculties or fields where there are few individuals from FDGs available to serve. This barrier has been identified by members of all four FDGs. Indigenous people and visible minority individuals have additionally identified that they perform disproportionate levels of informal mentoring of Indigenous and visible minority students. Related initiatives are reflected in the EDI Strategic Plan and in the Objectives, Indicators, and Actions section below; this will also be mitigated by increased diversity throughout the professoriate as a whole, addressed through actions related to recruitment and retention described below.
  • Full recognition of diverse forms of research:
    • In some areas, the university’s performance evaluation schemes historically have not valued some forms of community-engaged research or research founded in Indigenous ways of knowing as highly as traditional western modes of research. In some Faculties the annual Faculty Evaluation Committee process has not adequately recognized the nature of Indigenous community-based research (which often entails higher levels of community participation, alternative research outputs, and/or longer timelines to publication). As described in the Objectives further below, t this issue is being addressed at the institutional level through changes to the award and research adjudication processes, and by working with Faculties to review their Faculty Standards used in annual performance reviews.
  • Incorporating EDI into teaching and learning:
    • The university supports faculty members, including CRCs, to incorporate EDI considerations into teaching and learning through the Centre for Teaching and Learning. Many positive initiatives and examples were identified, and the Environmental Scan identified the need for greater systemic support for instructors. Resulting initiatives are reflected in the EDI Strategic Plan and in the Objectives, Indicators, and Actions section below.
  • Social inclusion:
    • During targeted consultations, persons with disabilities identified social inclusion as a barrier that is sometimes experienced. The university has set out initiatives to evaluate the overall work environment and climate to inform specific actions to address barriers to inclusion, described below.

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Review of Employment Systems and Internal Processes

The University of Alberta is committed to continually reviewing and improving its systems and processes to ensure they reflect current best practice and support our EDI goals. Since 2015, we have undertaken a series of reviews of employment systems and internal processes. In addition to driving improvements in practices, these reviews directly informed the development of the university’s EDI Strategic Plan by identifying institution-wide issues and opportunities. The university’s review of its specific processes for the recruitment and review of CRCs has been undertaken within this context, as part of an institution-wide effort to embed EDI throughout its employment systems and practices. This broad scope is essential to ensuring that all members of the academic community have appropriate access to opportunities for career advancement and recognition.

  • External review of the Office of Safe Disclosure and Human Rights (2015): this review focused on evaluating the appropriateness and effectiveness of the university’s disclosure, reporting, training, and education activities related to human rights, discrimination and harassment, and duty to accommodate. The review also considered the distribution of roles and responsibilities between the Office of Safe Disclosure and Human Rights and the Employment Equity unit in Human Resource Services. The review concluded that the university’s services were effective and appropriate, and provided recommendations to enhance program administration.

  • External review of university employment equity programs, services, policies, and authorities (2016): this review included a national best practice review that considered appropriate policy frameworks for employment equity, organizational models for service delivery, resources dedicated to employment equity, and institutional data collection. The review concluded that the university’s policies, programs, and services were appropriate, but recommended several enhancements to reflect current best practice, including: development of a strategic plan for EDI; review of relevant policies; increasing resources directed to employment equity functions; and developing an enhanced data collection mechanism for workforce demographic characteristics. These recommendations have informed the priorities reflected in the university’s EDI Strategic Plan, and are all completed or nearing completion.

  • Review and update of the Discrimination, Harassment, and Duty to Accommodate Policy and Procedures to reflect amendments to the Alberta Human Rights Act (2017): this policy reflects the university’s commitment to provide a work and study environment that is free of discrimination and harassment, as well as the responsibility to provide reasonable accommodation. This review resulted in university policy incorporating gender expression and gender identity as protected grounds.

  • Review of processes and support services related to sexual violence and development and implementation of a Sexual Violence Policy (2017): a comprehensive review of support services resulted in a series of recommendations, including for the development of a stand-alone, victim-centric Sexual Violence Policy and for enhanced education and training for a range of support positions across the university. In conjunction with the Discrimination, Harassment, and Duty to Accommodate Policy, the Sexual Violence Policy provides a framework for the university to prevent and respond to incidents of sexual violence including harassment. These policies are key planks in providing an equitable and inclusive workplace for women and LGBTQ2S+ persons and are supported by a comprehensive array of services and supports for persons experiencing sexual violence.

  • Updates to the Statement of Employment Equity (2017): the university reviewed and updated the Statement that accompanies all university job postings to fully reflect the institution’s values and commitments with respect to a diverse and inclusive workplace and its responsibilities to provide reasonable accommodations.

  • Review of CRC Selection and Review Process (2017): the university reviewed its internal processes for CRC selection and review. The focus areas for the review included: ensuring equitable allocation of CRCs across faculties; ensuring that faculties have appropriate equity plans and other supports in place to achieve diversity among CRC nominees; and confirming that the internal review process was sensitive to EDI considerations, such as valuing diverse career trajectories and backgrounds, recognizing a variety of forms of academic production and performance, and valuing diverse ways of knowing. The resulting process is described in Section Two.

  • Recruitment and Selection Policy and Procedure Review (2018-19): Informed by the reviews described above, the Office of the Provost has led a review of all recruitment and selection processes, policies, and procedures at the University of Alberta. This review is complete, and updated policies and procedures will be approved through the bicameral governance process in fall 2019. The review identified opportunities to strengthen requirements for diversity on selection committees, to better define accountabilities for equity-related considerations, and to establish formal expectations for diversity in applicant pools. This review will be completed (including formal approval processes) in the 2019-20 academic year. The review will ensure that the recruitment and selection processes support diversity; that selection committees have diverse composition; and that accountabilities for equity-related considerations are clearly defined. They will also prescribe EDI training for committee members. Over the long term, these changes are anticipated to increase the diversity of the university’s workforce, including among chairholders, and to contribute to improved equity and inclusiveness throughout hiring processes.

While these review processes confirmed that the university’s programs and services meet or exceed its formal obligations and comply with relevant legislation and regulation, the University of Alberta is committed to going beyond formal obligations and minimal requirements. The university’s policy framework provides clear guidance concerning responsibilities for addressing discrimination and accommodation. These reviews helped identify opportunities to update and improve other existing policies and to ensure an integrated approach to policies and services under our overall institutional Strategic Plan for EDI.

The Objectives, Indicators, and Actions section below describes specific priorities reflected in the EDI Strategic Plan, as informed by the environmental scan and review of employment systems and processes.

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Review of Institutional Support for Chairholders

The University of Alberta is atypically complex with 18 Faculties, some of which have exclusively graduate or undergraduate programming, and over 100 CRCs. The University community strongly values faculty and disciplinary distinctiveness and autonomy. The University also strongly values principles of EDI Support for chairholders is applied at the Faculty and disciplinary level (for example teaching and service expectations differ by Faculty, but are equitable within Faculties). Chairholder support is provided through a combination of institutional and Faculty-level resources. Institutional supports, such as salary and benefits and professional expense reimbursement, are applied equitably and consistently in accordance with collective agreements and university policies and procedures. Institutional supports for CRCs comprise the following:

  • support of CRC Coordinator and Advisor
  • research or salary stipend to chair holder (10% of award amount)
  • minimum 40% protected time for research

Supports provided at the Faculty level – notably protected research time, additional research funds, office and lab or research space, equipment, and administrative support– may vary between Faculties, but are applied consistently and equitably to all CRCs within a given Faculty. Supports are based primarily on disciplinary or individual research requirements, Faculty-level policies, and resources. Factors contributing to variability between Faculties include disciplinary research requirements, size of the faculty complement, and Faculty policies concerning teaching release. For example, most Faculties formally guarantee CRC holders 75% time protected for research, which results in different absolute instructional time depending on the typical Faculty workload.

Non-salary support for chairholders takes multiple forms and also varies by Faculty, discipline, and chairholder research requirements - hence a rigorous quantitative comparison of non-salary supports levels is difficult. A comparison of support levels across Faculties surveyed concerning the nature of non-salary support provided has confirmed that within each Faculty, these supports are applied consistently in accordance with unit resources, research requirements, and accommodation needs. Non-salary supports might include: lab-space, graduate student stipends, a travel allowance (for self or students), specialized software or equipment, administrative support, support from technical staff or analytical specialists, for example.

As with all faculty members at the University, CRCs who may need additional accommodations to be successful in their work will have those needs met. The Office of Organizational Development, Equity and Health (ODEH), part of Human Resource Services at the University of Alberta, works with faculty members and liaises with unit heads (department chairs or deans) to ensure that appropriate accommodations are in place, as needed. The ODEH provides workplace interventions, consultation and support to CRCs and all other faculty and staff members as needed. The university recognizes that accommodation requirements vary depending on personal characteristics, and are provided based on personal circumstances.

Academic salaries at the University of Alberta are governed by the collective agreement between the university and the AASUA. Negotiated annual across-the-board increases are applied under the agreement. Merit-based salary increases are awarded through an annual review process managed at the Faculty level – all members of the professoriate, including CRC holders, are evaluated by a Faculty Evaluation Committee according to a set of standards approved by each Faculty Council. This process is intended to ensure that all faculty members, including CRCs, receive compensation increases commensurate with their peers under a performance evaluation framework.

Average Salary by Tier, University of Alberta Chairholders

Average Salary Graph Sept 2019 

The university has committed to monitoring compensation to identify any disparities that emerge over time. In addition, the implementation of an EDI survey in November, 2019 will allow for the intersectional analysis of disparities in compensation and career trajectory along dimensions other than gender. The university is also establishing a regular process to collect and review data on Faculty-level supports for CRCs to ensure that these continue to be provided equitably. The Provost and Vice-President (Academic), the Vice-President (Research), and the Deputy Provost will review the resulting data and provide specific recommendations to faculties regarding their support of chairholders.

  • As noted above, in the fall of 2018, the university sought input from all Faculties concerning other EDI-related challenges of chairholders and within the respective Faculty generally. Supporting ally networks to reduce the service burden on underrepresented individuals by expanding the pool of individuals capable of reflecting their perspectives (initiating 2019-20), while continuing to work to ensure representativeness on committees wherever possible and improving diversity in faculty recruitment to ensure more members of underrepresented groups are available among the university community.
  • Discussions with leadership in individual Faculties to determine how best to support the CRCs who have expressed concerns about disproportionate demands placed upon them.
  • Formal and informal education for internal nomination adjudication committees to ensure they possess appropriate understanding of Indigenous and other community-engaged research in evaluating potential CRC nominations
  • Inclusion of evaluation of engaged research activities as criteria for meritorious performance in annual performance reviews in all Faculties.

Ultimate accountability for the effectiveness of measures to address inequities in support rests with the Provost and Vice-President (Academic).

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Development of the CRC EDI Action Plan

The university’s CRC EDI Action Plan is informed by the reviews described above. In particular, the Plan builds directly on the work of the EDI Scoping Group and the extensive consultation processes undertaken to develop the university’s Institutional EDI Plan. This process ensured that the university’s priorities are founded on and reflective of the input of our community, including focused outreach to members of the four FDGs (described in 1.i above).

The university has also established a CRC EDI Action Group, chaired by the Deputy Provost and including members from the Research portfolio, the Office of Safe Disclosure and Human Rights, and the Provost’s Fellow on EDI Policy. The CRC EDI Action Group is responsible for the development and monitoring of the EDI Action Plan, including oversight of ongoing mechanisms for soliciting input and concerns from chairholders. It will engage in regular discussion with the EDI Scoping Group to ensure that the CRC Action Plan continues to reflect current and emerging university-wide initiatives and is informed by the Scoping Group’s ongoing consultation activities.

The CRC EDI Action Group reports jointly to the Provost and Vice-President (Academic) and to the Vice-President (Research), who have overall accountability for the Action Plan. This dual accountability ensures integration across the university’s major programs of EDI activity, including the EDI Scoping Group and implementation of the EDI Strategic Plan. 

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iv. Objectives, Indicators, and Actions

The University of Alberta’s Institutional Strategic Plan, For the Public Good, establishes EDI as a high-level organizational priority: to “Build a diverse, inclusive community of exceptional students, faculty, and staff from Alberta, Canada, and the world.

Adopted in 2016, For the Public Good was the product of a year of extensive consultation and reflects a shared, university-wide vision. The Provost and Vice-President (Academic) and the Vice-President (Research) are working with deans to ensure that Faculty recruitment and hiring reflect this vision. Starting in May 2019, the expectation for deans and senior administrators to formally report on their goals and achievements with respect to EDI was incorporated into their annual evaluations (an explicit goal in the EDI Strategic Plan).  

The following objectives reflect commitments set out in the EDI Strategic Plan, in addition to targeted initiatives directed to support the CRC chairholders.

Achieving CRC Program Targets

The University of Alberta is on track to meet all equity targets for the CRC program by December 2019. The following table summarizes progress against targets (as at June 2019):

 

Gender (female)

Visible minority

Indigenous

Persons with disabilities

Target

CIHR: 35%

NSERC: 21%

SSHRC: 45%

15%

1%

4%

Current percentage*

CIHR: 39%

NSERC: 33%

SSHRC: 42%

26%

1%

 

2%

Does not meet target

Projected (Dec. 2019)*

CIHR: 44%

NSERC: 38%

SSHRC: 46%

26%

Exceeds target**

Exceeds target**

*Figures based on the University of Alberta’s survey of current chairholders, administered in June 2019. Note that not all chairholders completed the questionnaire or responded to every question.

**Figures are suppressed for privacy considerations, per standard university reporting practice

The university has adopted the following actions to ensure that targets are met:

  • CRC recruitment and retention processes are now monitored according to an overarching institutional framework by the institutional Equity Advisor. Accordingly, all Faculties have been given specific equity targets and are required to maintain equity plans indicating how they will manage their retention and recruitment activities to meet these targets. These plans are updated on a regular basis (see Management of CRC Allocations, below).
  • In the last two CRC cycles, the University has had several faculty specific calls for women, resulting in, for example, 4 additional nominations of women candidates in the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry. The university has also developed targeted nominations of 4 persons with disabilities, and one more Indigenous person. The specific accommodation needs of persons with disabilities are being explicitly addressed by the home Faculty with support from the Office of the Provost.
  • The university currently exceeds its target for visible minorities, but remains attentive to recruitment of visible minorities across its full CRC portfolio and is actively encouraging Faculties to identify specific opportunities to put forward nominees who are visible minorities - for example, the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Science are specifically nominating persons identifying as visible minorities.
  • The university’s October 2019 submissions contribute to meeting our targets as follows:
    • The university is currently proceeding with an open competition for cluster hiring in fields related to disability studies across two Faculties (Arts and Education). Cluster hiring is recognized as a best practice in inclusion and can support incoming scholars by building a community of informal supports as well as academic colleagues. These hires will contribute to a growing research community in this field at the University (crossing at least five Faculties) and have the potential to contribute to the Signature Area of Intersections of Gender.

 

Objectives, indicators, and actions

The university’s EDI Strategic Plan (launched in February 2019) identifies goals, outcomes, and deliverables across five high-level themes: Vision and Leadership; Research, Teaching and Public Service; Workforce; Students and Student Life; and Climate. The scope of the EDI Plan extends beyond the CRC program, and all of its priorities contribute to establishing an institutional environment that supports the recruitment and success of a diverse community of scholars inclusive of CRCs.

The following objectives, indicators, and actions reflect relevant goals outlined in the broader EDI Strategic Plan, as well as additional initiatives specifically targeting the CRC program.

Objective: Develop tools and processes for improved data collection and target-setting

Over 2018-19 and 2019-20, the university is developing enhanced data collection instruments and mechanisms to improve its capacity to conduct robust, intersectional analysis (including among CRCs), and to inform the development of additional initiatives in subsequent years. >

This objective addresses systemic barriers related to data collection and inclusion (see page 8-9).

 

Action

Deliverable

Indicator

Timeline

Improve the collection of demographic information on faculty and staff to better understand the composition of our workforce and support target-setting

Implementation of a new demographic census to collect data on a broader range of characteristics relative to the current mechanism (originally developed to meet Federal Contractors’ Program requirements)

 

New survey instrument has been developed by a team of U of A survey experts, EDI experts, and academic administrators, based on review of comparators and internal consultation

Proportion of the professoriate belonging to each of the Federally Designated Groups

 

Composition of the academic workforce (survey dimensions include: LGBTQ2S+ status, religious affiliation, family status, gender identity, country of origin, Indigeneity, language)

 

 

 

 

Survey administration for CRCs complete

 

University-wide census implementation Nov. 2019 (to be repeated in 2020, and triennially thereafter)

Develop structured opportunities for members of marginalized groups to provide perspectives on equity and inclusion at the U of A

Establishment of an arm’s-length focus group process to solicit perspectives of women, visible minorities, Indigenous people, persons with disabilities, gender and sexual minorities, and other persons identifying as marginalized

Formal report to university leadership describing perspectives on equity and inclusion and identifying challenges and barriers experienced and opportunities to mitigate these

 

Implementation fall 2019 (to be repeated in 2020, and triennially thereafter)

Implement mechanism to assess the experience of inclusion among CRCs

Qualitative survey of faculties to identify any issues or barriers reported by CRCs

 

Implementation of a structured inclusion survey among CRCs

Inclusion survey results will identify areas of concern and provide a baseline for ongoing monitoring

Survey of faculties completed

 

Implementation of inclusion survey for summer/fall 2020

Assess levels of employee engagement across the workforce, including CRCs

University-wide employee engagement survey, including EDI-related dimensions led by HR

Engagement indicators (reporting to enable analysis by unit/faculty and employee group)

Pilot survey implemented in 2018/19; university-wide implementation for fall 2019

Set institution-wide targets for academic workforce diversity

Institution-level targets for the proportion of the academic workforce made up of members of the FDGs (targets in other categories to be considered)

Establishment and annual reporting of targets

CRC targets in place; broader targets to be established following implementation of university-wide census in fall 2019

Develop and implement tools to enable quantitative comparison of service obligations across the professoriate

Implementation of a standardized online reporting tool, as part of the annual performance evaluation tool, to support aggregate reporting of service

Majority of Faculties participating in implementation of new online reporting tool

Faculties currently participating in implementation

 

Objective: Provide enhanced resources to support best practices in teaching, research, and service

The university is working to ensure that tools and resources are available to assist Faculties, departments, administrative units, and individual researchers to incorporate EDI best practices into their work environments. Primary resources will include the Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL) (where instructional development and supports already exist), Human Resource Services (which offers training, education, and unit-specific advising), and the Office of Safe Disclosure and Human Rights (which provides education on promoting human rights, addressing discrimination and harassment, and disclosure processes).

In December 2018, the university hosted a consultation for the program that has now been launched as Dimensions: Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Canada. The University of Alberta has endorsed the Charter of Principles. 

 

Action

Deliverable

Indicator Timeline

Endorse and implement the Dimensions Charter

Hosting of a consultation session as part of the national consultation process on the Charter

 

Endorsement of the Charter

 

Development of an action plan to support an Expression of Interest in participating in the pilot phase

Reporting on Dimensions commitments to be incorporated into institution-wide reporting on the EDI Strategic Plan

Consultation session held Nov. 2018

 

Charter endorsed and signed by Minister of Sport, Science, and Persons with Disabilities and U of A President

 

Request to be designated a Dimensions affiliate submitted

Launch a web portal providing access to resources and best practices, support for grant applications and research development, and educational tools

Development of website presenting resources and guidance, and profiling U of A researchers and achievements in EDI

 

Completion of a consultation process to define community information and communication priorities

Launch of web portal

Launch fall 2019

Collation of best practices for supporting EDI in teaching, research, and service (including for incorporating EDI concerns into research practice)

Completion of literature review on EDI practices in graduate supervision

 

Communication of best practices through ongoing support programs for instructors (Centre for Teaching and Learning - CTL) and graduate mentors (Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research - FGSR) – examples include “Mentorship Mondays” (a recurrent educational program for graduate supervisors) and awards recognizing outstanding supervisors

Completion of literature review

 

Availability of support programming for instructors and graduate supervisors

 

Establishment of institutional framework to promote EDI best practices in teaching, research, and graduate supervision

Literature review completed

 

Support programming through FGSR and CTL available

 

 

Update processes and supporting resources to promote EDI across major awards, research adjudication, and performance evaluation

Revision of policies and processes for major institutional academic excellence awards, to incorporate EDI provisions and ensure diversity of nominee pools

 

Incorporation of EDI training into award adjudication processes and major research adjudication processes

 

Initiation of discussions with Faculty Councils to update Faculty Standards for performance evaluation to reflect research diversity

 

Development of best practice guides for considering EDI in recruitment and selection processes by Provost’s Fellow on EDI

Implementation of revised policies and processes

 

Completion of EDI training by committee members

 

Availability of best practice guides for university-wide use

Training requirement implemented

 

Revised award policies and practices implemented

 

Best practice guide developed; to be implemented following approval of revised Recruitment Policy in fall 2019

 

Objective: Develop pathways into and through the professoriate to increase diversity at all levels

In the long term, increasing diversity in the senior professoriate - including among chairholders - requires a concerted focus on developing pathways into and through the professoriate, particularly among disciplines with historic under-representation.

This objective addresses systemic barriers related to organizational leadership (see page 8-9).

 

Action

Deliverable

Indicator

Timeline

Identify gaps and best practices in programs supporting academic pathways for diverse scholars

Development of an institutional framework to promote best practices in research mentorship

 

Launch of pilot mentorship programs in selected units

 

Support ally networks to reduce the service burden on underrepresented individuals, while continuing to work to ensure representation on committees wherever possible and improving diversity in faculty recruitment to ensure more members of underrepresented groups are available among the university community

Availability of pilot mentorship programming

Framework under development for fall 2019

 

Pilots to be implemented in 2020

Establish initiative to support increased diversity at senior leadership levels

Launch of mentorship program, initially focused on women aspiring to senior leadership, with focus to broaden over time. Program content to include inclusive leadership and intersectional perspectives

Participation in mentorship programming, with initial focus on women aspiring to senior leadership roles

Annual programming launched in 2018-19

 

Objective: Sustain and enhance training and development on EDI and bias awareness

The university is augmenting and enhancing existing training and development programming to incorporate EDI tools and concepts into other training activities (e.g., leadership development; EDI training for committees) for faculty, staff, and those in formal leadership positions, and to build a common training framework among senior organizational leaders.

This objective addresses systemic barriers related to policy frameworks for recruitment and selection, organizational leadership, and diversity in research (see page 8-9).

Action

Deliverable

Indicator

Timeline

Develop EDI leadership competencies among senior organizational leaders (vice-presidents, deans, vice-provosts)

Bias awareness training and EDI leadership training for senior administrators, beginning with a full-day session in Nov 2018

Completion of training by vice-presidents, deans, vice-provosts

Full-day session completed Nov 2018

 

Follow-up training to occur fall 2019

Incorporate an EDI lens across a broad array of leadership development programming

Launch of annual orientation and training for new chairs and new deans and vice-deans, including components on EDI, bias-awareness, and university resources

 

Overall review of the university’s academic leadership training programs, which will incorporate an EDI lens across the curriculum, in progress

Participation in orientation and training for chairs, deans, and vice-deans

 

 

Launch of annual programming completed Aug 2018 (ongoing)

 

Review of leadership programs is ongoing

Implement and promote bias awareness training for decision making committees

Implementation of bias awareness training for all senior selection committees including CRC

 

Implementation of bias awareness training for award adjudication committees (initiated fall 2018)

 

Development and Implementation of best practice guidance, including bias awareness, for recruitment and selection committees

 

 

Development of a new, U of A-specific training module on bias awareness

Participation in training modules and sessions

Training for all and award adjudication and selection committees is in place

 

Best practice guidance for recruitment and selection committees to be implemented fall 2019 in conjunction with approval of revised Recruitment Policy

 

Development of new training module to be completed in 2019-20

Support EDI awareness across professoriate through training and education

Comprehensive range of recurring and ad hoc training and education programming through Office of Safe Disclosure and Human Rights, and Human Resource Services (see section 2.v below)

 

Ongoing training and education programming in place

 

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Monitoring

Recruitment processes are managed at the Faculty level, within an institutional framework and according to standardized procedures. In the majority of Faculties, CRCs are in turn allocated by Faculties to departments. This process means that department chairs usually convene hiring and selection committees to recruit potential CRC nominees. In non-departmentalized Faculties, CRC hiring and selection are managed directly by the Faculty.

Faculty- or department-level recruitments are subject to an institutional framework of oversight, processes and requirements that ensure consistency and transparency in recruitment and nomination processes. The institutional framework establishes the following conditions and requirements:

  • CRC nominations proposed by Faculties are subject to approval by the central CRC Allocation Committee, made up of the Provost and Vice-President (Academic), the Vice-President (Research), and the Deputy Provost. Approval from the CRC Allocation Committee is required before a recruitment process is initiated by the hiring unit. Allocations are made based on strategic priorities and tri-council success, with stipulations for meeting EDI targets and fulfilling Faculty equity plans.
  • Consistent with CRC program guidelines (see CRC website for more details), an open and transparent recruitment and nomination process is required with special attention to ensuring a diversity of candidates and meeting EDI targets.
  • Faculties must advertise all chair positions, whether internal or external competitions, according to CRC guidelines.
  • Academic appointments associated with nomination for a CRC award may not be contingent on the success of the chair nomination (positions must be back-stopped by the Faculty).
  • All Faculties are required to have an approved equity plan in place prior to commencing recruitment.
  • An Equity Advisor participates on CRC selection panels and is responsible for ensuring that all panel members understand their responsibilities with respect to EDI, as well as advising on job posting and other recruitment activities;
    • Legal and human rights advice is also provided for more targeted searches.
  • All members of CRC selection committees must complete the CRC online training module on bias awareness.
  • Recruitments are conducted under the university’s Recruitment Policy and associated procedures, which include a statement of commitment to employment equity.

Approaches taken to ensure diverse applicant pools can vary across the university, but may include the following (non-exhaustive list): widely advertised positions, conversations to encourage individuals to apply, targeted advertising in publications that are likely to reach FDGs, and targeted postings (sometimes for multiple CRC positions) open only to FDGs (see Section 1.iii).

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2. Management of CRC Allocations

Recruitment 

Recruitment processes are managed at the Faculty level, within an institutional framework. In the majority of Faculties, CRCs are in turn allocated by the Faculty to departments. This process means that department chairs usually convene hiring and selection committees to recruit potential CRC nominees. In non-departmentalized Faculties, CRC hiring and selection are managed directly by the Faculty.

Faculty- or department-level recruitments are subject to an institutional framework of processes and requirements that ensure consistency and transparency in recruitment and nomination processes. The institutional framework establishes the following conditions and requirements:

  • CRC nominations proposed by Faculties are subject to approval by the central CRC Allocation Committee, made up of the Provost and Vice-President (Academic), the Vice-President (Research), and the Deputy Provost. Approval from the CRC Allocation Committee is required before a recruitment process is initiated by the hiring unit.
  • Consistent with CRC program guidelines (see CRC website for more details), the university requires an open and transparent recruitment and nomination process with special attention to ensuring a diversity of candidates.
  • Faculties must advertise all chair positions, whether internal or external competitions, according to CRC guidelines.
  • Academic appointments associated with nomination for a CRC award may not be contingent on the success of the chair nomination (positions must be back-stopped by the Faculty).
  • All Faculties are required to have an approved equity plan in place prior to commencing recruitment;
  • An Equity Advisor participates on CRC selection panels and is responsible for ensuring that all panel members understand their responsibilities with respect to EDI, as well as advising on job posting and other recruitment activities;
    • Legal and human rights advice is also provided for more targeted searches.
  • All members of CRC selection committees must complete the CRC online training module on unconscious bias (effective fall 2018);
  • Recruitments are conducted under the university’s Recruitment Policy and associated procedures, which include a statement of commitment to employment equity.

Approaches taken to ensure diverse applicant pools can vary across the university, but may include the following (non-exhaustive list): widely advertised positions, conversations to encourage individuals to apply, targeted advertising in publications that may reach FDGs, and targeted postings (sometimes for multiple CRC positions) open only to FDGs (we have had two of these so far).

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Allocation Management

As noted above, while equity targets are set at the institutional level, the university allocates chairs to the Faculties to ensure the nominees come into a supportive environment and their expertise is well suited to the strategic research directions of the Faculty.

The process for allocation to Faculties was revised in August 2018. The revised process allocates 90% of CRC slots to Faculties proportionately on the basis of their tri-council funding success; 10% have been withheld to be used for institutional strategic purposes. The criteria for this 10% pool were developed collaboratively with the Faculties. These strategic slots have also been used to achieve equity targets in 2018 and 2019.

Corridor of Flexibility

To strengthen research priorities and meet equity targets, the university will use the corridor of flexibility to facilitate the recruitment or retention of world-class researchers. In association with the revision of the overall allocation procedures in 2018, preference was given to Tier 2 CRCs and equity targets to open up new avenues of inquiry and support early career development. In transitioning to the university’s revised CRC allocations, including a reduction in the total number of chairs available, the corridor of flexibility may also be utilized to support the continuity of CRC-supported research programs within a given Faculty. Requests to utilize the corridor of flexibility may be initiated by Faculties, and decisions are made by the CRC Allocation Committee.

Chairholder Renewals

Requests for renewal are initiated by the Faculty, and decisions concerning the submission of renewals are made by the CRC Allocation Committee. The renewal of a chair, on completion of the term, is not automatic.

The decision on whether to support a renewal nomination considers the overall institutional allocation plan based on tri-council funding success, equity targets, preference to early career development, and the requirements noted on the CRC website.

Advancement

Requests for advancement are initiated by the Faculty, and decisions concerning nominations are made by the CRC Allocation Committee.

Advancement nomination requests are required to demonstrate a transparent review that considers research excellence, Faculty research strategy, institutional research priorities, Faculty equity plans, and institutional equity targets.

Chair Phase-Out

The University of Alberta process for determining which chairs will be phased-out when the institution loses a chair due to national reallocation will be a recalculation of distribution based on tri-council success across the Faculties, with the most timely vacancy that does not disrupt the EDI targets being surrendered. The university endeavors not to disrupt individual researchers and their research programs in this process, if possible. Priority retention will be given to early career and FDG researchers, and priority research areas within constraints of distribution by council and equity targets

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Chairholder Support

The University of Alberta promises protected time for research, competitive salary and benefits, and offers other items such as additional research funds (especially start-up), office space, research space, mentoring, administrative and technical support, equipment, for example, based on Faculty-level factors and individual needs of the chairholders

At the Faculty level, chairholder support varies according to the needs of the researcher and the resources of the hiring unit. Starting in 2018, faculties are regularly asked to report the support they provide to their CRCs.  All proposed chairholder support is reviewed by the President’s Advisory Committee for Senior Academic Appointments (PACSAA) and the CRC Allocation Committee for consistency and fairness prior to submission of nominations.

At the institutional level, the following supports are provided to all faculty members in accordance with collective agreements and other policies: Professional Expense Reimbursement (PER) Program, salary and benefits support, as well as various benefits supporting mental and physical health, and provision of accommodations. This support is applied to all members of the university.

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FDG Safeguards and Protection Measures

At the University of Alberta, research, teaching, and service to the university and broader community are all core to our mission and understood to be implicated in, and affected by, the development of equity, diversity, and inclusion. Our faculty members are encouraged to do, and are recognized for, work that thoughtfully and rigorously incorporates or contributes to equity, diversity, and/or inclusivity (examples include the university’s annual EDI Award). The University of Alberta is committed to having a diverse and inclusive faculty population as we know that the rich diversity of our faculty contributes to the excellence of teaching and research.

We are committed to having measures in place to ensure that no individuals are disadvantaged, including individuals from federally designated groups – for example, in negotiations related to the level of institutional support provided to them (e.g., protected time for research, salary and benefits, additional research funds, office and research space, mentoring, administrative support, equipment, etc.). Furthermore, annual performance evaluation is not to be negatively impacted by career interruptions due to parental, family, or health related leaves. The collective agreement for faculty members outlines the entitlement and conditions of absences such as parental or health related leaves, and our annual evaluation process includes a sophisticated consideration of merit awards (pay increases) to ensure that child-birth and parental leaves do not unfairly affect salary progression. Human Resource Services (HRS) offers a tip sheet for academic staff considering childbirth and parental leaves. Additionally, a review template document has been developed for the use of the internal reviewers (PACSAA), and for committee chairs in evaluating CRC submissions that reflect career interruptions or other circumstances which might have affected traditional indicators of productivity.

The University’s Discrimination, Harassment, and Duty to Accommodate Policy articulates the university’s responsibility for ensuring equity in access to employment and employment conditions, and identifies resources for those experiencing discrimination or harassment (see Complaint Processes, below). In support of this policy, the university also provides Ceremonial Guidelines to support spiritual and ceremonial practices. The Office of Safe Disclosure and Human Rights is able to receive disclosures from, and provide advice to, individuals involved in recruitment processes who may have experienced discrimination.

The University of Alberta’s Human Resource Services (HRS) Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Office provides services to support the university in meeting its commitment to fairness and merit in hiring and retention practices to achieve a diverse, respectful and inclusive working, teaching and research environment.  Trained staff in the EDI Office offer coaching, consulting, formal learning opportunities, and outreach programs to recruit and retain qualified and diverse candidates

The appropriate functioning of available safeguards is monitored institutionally through mechanisms including:

  • Annual report by the Office of Safe Disclosure and Human Rights to senior leadership and the Board of Governors summarizing disclosures and concerns received under the collective agreements or Discrimination, Harassment and Duty to Accommodate Policy and identifying trends or areas of concern.
  • HRS Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Annual Report - report of diversity and EDI efforts by HRS for faculty and staff, including participation in CRC selection committees.
  • Annual report to government identifying any formal disclosures under the Public Interest Disclosure (Whistleblower Protection) Act, including describing the resolution of any issues raised.

Additional resources and services are described in the Retention and Inclusivity section below.

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Education, Training and Development

The University of Alberta offers education, training, and development activities related to personal bias, equity, diversity, and inclusion, including offerings specifically for administrators and faculty involved in the recruitment and nomination processes for CRCs. All members of CRC selection/hiring committees are required to complete training on equity, diversity, and inclusion.  Training and development are offered by the University of Alberta HRS EDI Office or online using the Federal Government unconscious bias training module -- completion of the CRC online training module is mandatory. The chairs of the CRC selection committees must ensure that all members complete the training, and attest to this completion in writing to the Provost.

Since 2004, the university has encouraged inclusion of an equity officer on CRC committees.

For the university community as a whole, training, development, and consultation is available both through the HRS EDI Office and the Office of Safe Disclosure and Human Rights. Trained EDI staff from both offices, offer customized and standard workshops and seminars on a variety of topics relating to equity, inclusion, and human rights. Topics addressed through these offices include:

  • Implicit Bias
  • Leadership Skills for Workplace Inclusion and Equity
  • Human Rights, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
  • Inclusive Classrooms
  • Inclusive Work Environments
  • Accommodations
  • Preventing and Addressing Discrimination
  • Harassment and Bullying
  • Understanding and Addressing Power and Privilege in Work and Learning Contexts
  • Customized workshops can be given, on request, to hiring units at the beginning of the selection process. Regular workshops and seminars are scheduled throughout the year for the wider university community.

In addition to offering seminars, workshops and presentations, OSDHR provides advice and consultation on issues relating to Human Rights, Equity, and Inclusion to members of the faculty and administration.

A full listing and schedule of EDI training sessions through the HRS EDI Office can be found at:  EDI Training

Future objectives related to training and development are described in Section One.

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3. Collection of Equity and Diversity Data

Applicants to CRC job postings are requested to complete a questionnaire concerning their personal characteristics. The questionnaire is identified as a requirement on all job postings. All postings contain the university’s commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion, the advantages of self-identification, the assurance of confidentiality, contact information (should the applicant have any questions), and a link to a form to complete.

Prior to 2019, this questionnaire was limited to FDG characteristics. As described above, the University of Alberta has developed a new survey instrument and mechanism to collect data on a broader set of demographic characteristics in addition to membership in FDGs. This survey was administered to all current CRCs in 2019, and will be administered to all nominees going forward. Data collected using the new mechanism will be securely stored by Disclosure, Assurance and Institutional Research and managed under the Office of Safe Disclosure and Human Rights (OSDHR), which has established procedures for management of confidential personal information. Reporting will be coordinated through the institutional data warehouse, with processes in place to link the demographic data with any personal identifiers, to prevent easy, accidental, or inappropriate access or linking of survey responses with other identifiable personal information.

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4. Retention and Inclusivity

The University of Alberta strives to create an equitable and inclusive environment and culture for all members of the university community. In order to meet this goal, the university commits to implementing regular assessments of the institutional environment and to continuing training around EDI issues. In a strong EDI culture, the university regularly identifies and remediates areas requiring improvement for inclusivity and celebrates areas working well.  

Workplace and retention initiatives

In working to make our university welcoming and inclusive for all, the University of Alberta has many programs, associations, offices, opportunities, and options available at both the overall institutional level and within multiple Faculties and units.

The programs and initiatives described in this section are supported by a robust framework of formal policies and procedures, including:

The university has a comprehensive array of services to identify, incorporate, encourage, and support the use of best practices in the recruitment and retention of all employees, with specific resources related to advancing employment equity. While these are too many to enumerate here, the following sampling offers a picture of the richness of our university climate.

University resources:

  • EDI is a foundational concept for a range of faculty and staff leadership programs containing components intended to develop skills related to people management, including orientation for new deans and chairs.
  • The OSDHR offers training and education services to units across the university to support awareness of human rights, discrimination, and accommodation issues and responsibilities.
  • HRS regularly offers workshops on topics such as Inclusive Workplaces, Unconscious Bias, and Respect 101.
  • Senior Leadership at the university recently participated in a day-long workshop entitled Beyond Catch Phrases: Leadership Toolkit for Inclusion on November 16, 2018 (a goal in our EDI Strategic Plan). A second day-long EDI workshop for senior leadership is scheduled for fall 2019. The EDI Strategic Plan promises this to be annual going forward.
  • HRS provides support for immigration, talent acquisition, accessibility, disability management, accommodation, and EDI. The HRS EDI and Talent Acquisition Offices offers coaching, consulting, and outreach programs to recruit and retain qualified diverse candidates including women (especially in non-traditional occupations), Indigenous persons, members of visible minorities, and persons with disabilities.
  • The HRS Organizational Development, Equity, and Health unit supports health promotion and mental health across the university.
  • Comprehensive benefits programs and spousal/partner employment programs reduce or eliminate barriers to the workplace are also available (for example: Employee Family Assistance Program’s Cultural Transition Support for employees who are newcomers to Canada, and Culture-Sensitive Counselling and Aboriginal Services matching clients (graduate students and employees) with counsellors who have an appreciation of specific cultural sensitivities. There is also a network of approved Elders, spiritual healers, and Aboriginal Treatment Facilities available to those desiring these supports.
  • The university’s annual EDI Week, launched in 2014, features presentations, panels, and workshops, and profiles EDI leaders through the EDI Awards.
  • Student Accessibility Services provides assistance to address accessibility needs (e.g. ASL).
  • The Faculty and Staff Orientation website is a useful resource for new employees that offers guides, documentation, and a virtual place to connect. Both the regularly scheduled event and the website are powerful tools to support all employees including those from FDGs.
  • The Academic Women’s Association is a network of women faculty members that provides a forum for collaboration, information exchange, and advocacy.
  • First People’s House provides supports to First Nations, Métis, and Inuit (FNMI) learners to achieve personal and academic growth.
  • In 2018, the university designated Intersections of Gender (IG) as one of our signature areas of research and teaching and is supporting a range of multi-disciplinary collaborative efforts to advance research and programming in this area. IG focuses on the importance of gender in its intersections with race, class, disability, language, citizenship, ethnicity, religion, and more. IG has an identified scholar to put forward as a Tier 1 CRC applicant in Feminism and Intersectionality in the 2020 application round.
  • The research and teaching strengths of faculty members across the university support the university’s commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion; with more than 250 faculty and staff specifically affiliated with this signature area.

In addition, the EDI Scoping Group (described in section one) provides an ongoing mechanism for individuals or units to identify procedural or structural concerns or barriers with direct links through membership to the Provost and VP (Academic), the VP (Research), and the VP (Finance and Administration).

 

Faculty or Departmental Examples - Contributing to the University of Alberta Community Climate:

  • Faculty of Education -- hosts the Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services (iSMSS) and Camp fYrefly, a camp for LGBTQ2S+ youth; offers the long-standing Aboriginal Teacher Education Program.
  • Faculty of Native Studies -- the only Faculty of Native Studies in North America, offering a BA, MA, and PhD in Indigenous Studies.
  • Faculty of Engineering -- has an Associate Dean, Outreach, focused on EDI and community engagement, and offers DiscoverE - student-delivered initiative of the Faculty of Engineering that delivers classroom workshops, unique clubs and events, and engaging summer camps to more than 27,000 youth every year.
  • Faculty of Arts -- has an ongoing Committee on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion as well as a Working Group on Indigenous Initiatives, which is made up of Indigenous and non-Indigenous faculty, staff, and students, along with Indigenous community advisors, who organize programming in the Faculty and advise the dean and faculty on Indigenous issues.
  • Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry -- has an Assistant Dean of EDI, an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Advisory Committee, and a Director, Indigenous Health, Division of Community Engagement, and conducted an enhanced EDI census for faculty and staff starting in 2017-18
  • School of Public Health -- has an EDI committee of faculty, staff, and students and initiative to recognize accomplishments by female scholars.
  • Faculty of Science -- has developed a range of Faculty-wide initiatives to promote and celebrate participation of women in STEM, to encourage intersectional approaches to increasing diversity, and was a founding partner in WISEST, a longstanding program promoting gender inclusion for undergraduates, graduates, and early-career professionals in science, engineering, and technology.

Indigenous Initiatives

The University of Alberta also has a long history of Indigenous Initiatives, some going back over 50 years.  Numerous programs and initiatives are in place that support the inclusion and retention of Indigenous faculty members in particular. The university’s goal is to ensure that the University of Alberta is a welcoming and safe environment for Indigenous students, staff, faculty, and community members and that programs and strategies reflect the institutional commitment to incorporating Indigenous perspectives, knowledge, and ways of knowing and being.

An Indigenous Initiatives portfolio has been established in the Office of the Provost & Vice-President (Academic) to facilitate institutional collaboration and communication to support the development and implementation of programs, services, and initiatives related to Indigenous engagement at the University of Alberta. A new Vice Provost (Indigenous Programming and Research) was just selected as of August 1, 2019.

Specific initiatives supporting the inclusion and retention of Indigenous scholars include:

  • Development of a website on Indigenous initiatives and resources
  • Support for Indigenous graduate students to provide tutoring to Indigenous undergrad students through First Peoples’ House
  • Development and provision of Historical Trauma Training
  • Annual networking and tri-annual town hall-style consultation events
  • Major events such as a Building Reconciliation Forum II (2016) and an event for the signing of an MOU with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (2017)
  • Development of new administrative positions in the Office of the Provost, Dean of Students, Registrar’s Office, and Centre for Teaching and Learning
  • Review of existing policies and procedures (including development of Ceremonial Guidelines and Community Collaboration and Research Guidelines)
  • A targeted hiring strategy to increase the number of Indigenous scholars across the university
  • The development of the Indigenous Canada massive open online course (MOOC), completely by Indigenous Scholars - currently the most popular MOOC in Canada.
  • Funding to Faculties to develop additional Indigenous initiatives and programming across the Faculties.

These programs and initiatives build on a robust and longstanding academic framework of Indigenous knowledge and presence at the University of Alberta. As noted above, the University of Alberta has the only Faculty of Native Studies in North America (now 30 years old); a heavily enrolled Massive Open Online Course (MOOC): Indigenous Canada that focuses on Indigenous histories and contemporary issues in Canada today through highlighting national and local Indigenous-settler relations; strong programs in Aboriginal Teacher Education in the Faculty of Education; strengths in decolonial and anti-colonial research throughout the Faculty of Arts, and a longstanding program in Indigenous language revitalization (for example CILLDI, Canadian Indigenous Languages and Literacy Development Institute, founded in 2000) that combines research and work with community partners, Indigenous focused programs in Nursing and Medicine, and the federally funded Indigenous Law and Governance program, to name some highly significant examples.

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Monitoring

Currently, the University of Alberta monitors its achievement of a supportive and inclusive workplace through the following mechanisms:

  • Annual report by the Office of Safe Disclosure and Human Rights (OSDHR), which tracks disclosure and complaint numbers and trends and identifies qualitative issues. This report is submitted to the university senior leadership and to its Board of Governors via relevant subcommittees.
  • HRS Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Annual Report - report of diversity and EDI efforts by HRS for faculty and staff.
  • Decanal review processes, which provide the opportunity for qualitative input by faculty members concerning the workplace climate.
  • Qualitative reporting of issues and concerns to members of senior leadership and/or to the EDI Scoping Group.
  • Regular exit surveys for departing faculty members, including chairholders. These are completed, for the most part, by Faculties. Alternatively, all exiting faculty members can request to complete a survey by contacting HRS directly.

Going forward, the University of Alberta is developing the following mechanisms for enhanced monitoring and reporting:

  1. As described in Section One, the university has developed a faculty and staff engagement survey, which was piloted in 2018-19 and will be implemented across the university in 2019-20.
  2. A new EDI census to be implemented in 2019.
  3. Senior Administrators are required to include reporting on and commitment to EDI initiatives in their annual evaluations, beginning in 2019.
  4. The university is developing an online tool to administer to CRC holders to assess their perceived experience of inclusion, belonging, and barriers. The data from this assessment will be managed and reviewed, in confidence, by the Office of Human Rights and Safe Disclosure (OSDHR). The OSDHR will review the data and highlight areas of concern or necessary intervention to the Office of the Provost. Where the OSDHR sees specific individual level risks, it will follow its established procedures for connecting with the individual and providing direction to the Office of the Provost if targeted actions are required. The target for implementation is 2020.

CRC holders who have concerns in relation to equity issues, or other breaches of policy, have a number of reporting options available to them.

The university has processes in place for both complaints and confidential disclosures, which are an important resource to those experiencing discrimination-related issues but not wishing to make formal complaints.

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Complaint Processes

Overview

The University has well-established complaints (and disclosures) procedures. Complaints can be registered through numerous offices and individuals, including Chairs, Deans, and Human Resources; either though the office of Faculty and Staff Relations and/or Human Resource Services. These offices will work with the complainant and the lead administrator to resolve the issue. In those instances where the issue cannot be resolved in this manner, the complaint is handled through formal processes described in the collective agreements.

Faculty and Staff Complaints

The University of Alberta’s Discrimination, Harassment and Duty to Accommodate Policy and the Sexual Violence Policy (and their respective procedures) have clear processes for dealing with alleged incidents of discrimination, harassment, failure to accommodate, or sexual violence. These complaints are treated in a prompt, impartial, and confidential manner and are taken seriously by all members of the university community.

Complaint Processes

The various collective agreements that exist for staff and faculty (including CRC chairholders) guide the procedures for lodging complaints. Formal complaints are investigated following established process as defined within the collective agreements and if substantiated, may result in formal action taken against the respondent(s) up to and including termination or informal actions including coaching, mediation, counselling, or other measures necessary to resolve the complaint.

Complaints concerning administration of the CRC program

The Deputy Provost is responsible to review all complaints or concerns related to the CRC program. These include:

  • Complaints made using the mechanisms described above
  • Concerns raised by Deans or Faculty officials concerning program administration or chair allocations
  • Concerns or other issues identified, formally or informally, through the university’s internal nomination processes

Complaints or concerns are considered in light of Faculty equity plans, CRC campus allocations, CRC guidelines, and CRC requirements, among other benchmarks within the university. The complete analysis is reviewed by the CRC Allocation Committee, which determines the appropriate response. If required (e.g. in the case of apparent misconduct or violation of a collective agreement), complaints may also be brought to the attention of other units, as described in the above section. The Deputy Provost is responsible for ensuring appropriate communication with complainants consistent with university policies. If a complaint results in substantive Faculty-wide changes to CRC allocation, the Provost and Vice-President (Academic) will communicate these changes appropriately and ensure their implementation.

Disclosure Services

The Office of Safe Disclosure and Human Rights (OSDHR) provides confidential, neutral, and safe disclosure services for all members of the university community. Faculty, staff, and students are welcome to discuss concerns (in confidence) as they relate to equity issues and extending to any concerns regarding possible wrongdoing or breach of policy. OSDHR staff will provide information and guidance on the various processes and options available to an individual making a disclosure and will work with them to determine the next steps to best address their concerns. Disclosures can also be shared with any administrator, which is likely to follow the same process described above.

All members of the University of Alberta community, including CRC chairholders, are welcome to make an appointment to meet with an advisor. CRC chairholders can contact the OSDHR via email, telephone, in person or through the online disclosure service (which enables anonymous disclosures). For more information or to make a disclosure, individuals would contact OSDHR by email at osdhr@ualberta.ca or telephone at 780-492-7478.  Alternatively, they may file an online report using the online reporting tool.

It is important to note that making a disclosure to an OSDHR advisor does not automatically trigger an investigation nor does it comprise a formal complaint.

Public Interest Disclosure

Alberta’s Public Interest Disclosure (Whistleblower Protection) Act [PIDA] facilitates the disclosure and investigation of significant and serious matters in or relating to departments, public entities or offices of the Legislature, that an employee believes may be unlawful, dangerous to the public or injurious to the public interest. Further, it protects employees who make those disclosures, and it manages, investigates, and makes recommendations respecting disclosures of wrongdoings and reprisals. The PIDA is intended to promote public confidence in the administration of departments, public entities, and offices of the Legislature, and any other purpose prescribed in the regulations.

The Office of Safe Disclosure & Human Rights is able to help guide individuals through the process. All Disclosure Services staff members take the necessary measures to ensure that the identity of those raising allegations, and of those against whom such allegations are made, is kept confidential. Confidentiality, however, is subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPP). Confidentiality may be compromised as a result of subsequent litigation.

Communication of Disclosure and Complaint Processes to Chairholders

Chairholders are informed of the availability of disclosure and complaint processes through the university website as well as through presentations and outreach sessions delivered across the university. Beginning in 2019, the OSDHR will also individually contact all chairholders to provide information on complaint mechanisms. 

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Program Quality Assurance

The Vice Provost (Programs), supported by the Deputy Provost serves as the institutional lead on the University of Alberta’s Quality Assurance process, legislated by the Campus Alberta Quality Council (CAQC). The university seeks to maintain the highest educational and research standards. In this way, the university has set out a scheduled review of its various educational and research programs according to the guidelines of CAQC, the President, and the Provost and Vice-President (Academic). All programs are reviewed on a five- to seven-year cycle.  Specifically related to the CRCP, a university-initiated Faculty-level review, the President’s Visiting Committee (PVC), focuses on the quality, innovativeness, research impact and competitiveness of faculties. PVCs also assess future plans for research programs and activities through self-study, external review (by global experts and internal representatives), and unit response. The outcome of a PVC will serve to increase the research quality and impact of the research unit. The University of Alberta has added specific questions to the legislated reviews focusing on Indigenous Initiatives and on EDI-related initiatives, at the program and PVC review levels. The University has included reporting on EDI and Indigenous Initiatives in the required self-study documents and associated reviews, over and above legislated requirements.

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Contact Information

At the University of Alberta, the Deputy Provost is responsible for addressing any equity concerns/complaints regarding the management of the institution’s chair allocations. Contact information for the Deputy Provost is:

 

Deputy Provost

Office of the Provost and Vice-President (Academic)

2-40D South Academic Building

Edmonton, AB

Canada T6G 2G7

Phone:  780-492-2677


5. Appendix

University of Alberta Canada Research Chairs
Self-Identification Questionnaire
[1]

The University of Alberta is committed to having an equitable, diverse, and inclusive workforce, since our teaching, scholarship and other activities take place in a highly diverse society and because a diverse university workforce contributes to varied ideas and perspectives, enriching teaching, scholarship and other activities.

To assess progress toward this commitment, we are conducting a demographic census to collect data on relevant equity, diversity, and inclusion measures. Specifically, we are asking you to answer a short set of questions to help us understand how you identify in each instance. Resulting data can then be used to conduct statistical analysis and to identify areas where we may not be meeting our objectives.

Completing this census is completely voluntary. If you do not wish to respond, please check the box at the beginning of the census. You will also have the option to decline to answer any of the specific questions. The census will take less than five minutes to complete.

The personal information requested on this form is collected under the authority of Section 33 (c) of the Alberta Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and will be protected under Part 2 of that Act. It will be used for the purpose of managing the University’s participation in the Canada Research Chair program and for aggregate reporting. 

Direct any questions about this collection to:

Logan Mardhani-Bayne
Strategic Development Manager
Provost & Vice-President Academic
2-40 South Academic Building
11328 - 89 Ave NW
Edmonton, AB
Canada T6G 2J7
e-mail:
equity@ualberta.ca
Phone: 780.492.6617


[1] This instrument was developed for the use of the University of Alberta. Organizations wishing to adopt this instrument in whole or in part are requested to contact equity@ualberta.ca.


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