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Objectives and Measurement Strategies

Objectives, Indicators, and Actions

The University of Alberta has aggressive equity, diversity and inclusion objectives, indicators, and actions that will facilitate swift progress towards meeting the goals of the CRC Equity Action Plan.  The university is reviewing its processes and taking corrective actions as needed.  As part of its Equity Action Plan, the university is working collaboratively with deans, department chairs, administrators, and human resource services (HRS) to implement a comprehensive plan that addresses all CRC equity requirements.  

The university is addressing disadvantages currently experienced by individuals of the FDGs. The Institutional Strategic Plan, For the Public Good, sets out as its first strategic goal to build “a diverse, inclusive community of exceptional students, faculty, and staff…”  This goal is supported by a number of objectives relevant to the university. The first objective is to “build a diverse, inclusive community of exceptional undergraduate and graduate students from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and the world.”  The second objective is to “[c]reate a faculty renewal program that builds on the strengths of existing faculty and ensures the sustainable development of the University of Alberta’s talented, highly qualified, and diverse academy.” These objectives will be implemented using the following strategies:  “Attract and retain a diverse complement of faculty and post-doctoral fellows from around the world, with initial attention on increasing the proportion of assistant professors;” and “Review, improve, and implement equity processes and procedures for recruiting and supporting faculty to ensure a balanced academy, representative of women, visible minorities, sexual and gender minorities, Indigenous peoples, and people with disabilities.” These objectives and strategic actions have been communicated across the university. The provost & VP (academic) and the vice-president (research) are working with deans to address faculty recruitment and hiring in line with these objectives. The Office of the Provost monitors hiring of academics across campus and these hiring indicators are discussed with deans at individually or at regular meetings. These objectives, indicators and actions will ensure that the University of Alberta is addressing disadvantages currently experienced by individuals of the FDGs.  

The University of Alberta is committed to meeting its equity targets and goals by December 2019. The University of Alberta has set aggressive objectives using this timeline based on the number of chair allocations that are (or will become) available to the institution within the next 18-to-24 months (the 18 months starts as of December 15, 2017, when the action plan is implemented). The offices of the Provost and Vice-President (Research) have communicated precise equity targets for all faculties. The university has given the following targets for female researchers across the institution:  35% for CIHR faculties, 21% for NSERC faculties, and 45% for SSHRC faculties. These targets were communicated to deans at a general meeting and then by the deputy provost and vice-president (research) at individual meetings with faculties in the summer of 2017. These meetings were used to discuss the aggressive equity targets, upcoming CRC renewals, upcoming CRC recruitments, upcoming CRC end dates, and CRC submissions in the next 18-24 months necessary to meet these targets. Once the targets had been discussed and accepted, faculties were then asked to submit a detailed faculty equity plan to the university for approval. Each faculty equity plan addressed specific actions related to how the faculty would use its CRCs, and modify its retention or recruitment activities, to meet its equity target by December 2019. The approved faculty equity plans now form a critical component of the University of Alberta CRC management system (see Management of CRC Allocations in this Equity Action Plan).  

The equity targets for members of visible minorities, persons with disabilities, Indigenous peoples are set, respectively, at 15%, 4%, and 1%. The University of Alberta is committed to meeting these targets. As these statistics are based on self-identification it can be difficult to obtain accurate data as some chairholders choose to withhold this information. The University of Alberta is improving its processes and strategies for collecting and protecting data on members of FDGs. These improvements are discussed in this Equity Action Plan under the section titled, Collection of Equity and Diversity Data. Once the statistical data are representative of the campus community, the CRC Allocation Committee will review these data, consult with deans, and act accordingly requesting that faculties update their equity plans (see section titled Management of Canada Research Chair Allocations for information on how faculty equity plans are used).

On November 2, 2017, the CRC announced new agency distributions of regular chairs for the program. The new agency distributions are 39% CIHR, 39% NSERC, and 22% SSHRC (the old distribution was 35% CIHR, 45% NSERC, and 20% SSHRC).The university has begun to study its current allocations in order to comply with these recent changes. The university awaits the details regarding how these new targets are to be implemented at the national and institutional levels, and will adjust equity targets accordingly. 

SMART Objectives

In order to develop these objectives and measurement strategies, the University of Alberta will create objectives that are S.M.A.R.T.: specific, measurable, aligned with the wanted outcome, realistic and timely, and include a measurement strategy for monitoring, reporting on progress, and course correcting if necessary.

Working closely with Human Resource Services (HRS) and other experts in the field, the Deputy Provost is working to identify the extent to which the institution’s current recruitment practices are open and transparent.  As a part of this review, barriers or practices that could be having an adverse effect on the employment of individuals from the FDGs will be investigated and reported in order to improve practices. The deputy provost will report the results of this review to the president, provost & VP (academic), and the vice-president (research) so that corrective measures can be taken to across the university in order to address systematic inequities.

The graphs below show a comparative review—by gender/designated group and field of research—of the level of institutional support based on protected time for research and salary and benefits provided to all current chairholders at the University of Alberta. Data for this comparison was taken from the 2016-17 annual reports submitted to the CRC Secretariat.  Institutional support (as per annual reports), such as professional expense account (PEA) and administrative support, is the same for all chairholders. Data for designated groups, other than women, is incomplete as active chairholders have not self-identified; the University of Alberta expects to improve its data collection procedure in this area. Support offered to chairholders such as protected time can vary.  The CRC Allocation Committee and the President’s Advisory Committee for Senior Academic Appointments (PACSAA) will review these data and take the following steps to address systemic inequities as part of its nomination process:  review, comment, and recommend that faculties increase their support of incoming chairholders. The deputy provost and the CRC coordinator will then implement the recommendations of PACSAA.

Together with Faculty and Staff Relations and HR, the deputy provost will lead an environmental scan of the university to gauge the health of the institution’s current workplace environment and the impact that this may be having (either positive or negative) on the university’s ability to meet its equity, diversity and inclusion objectives. As a result of this environmental scan, the deputy provost will develop next steps that will be taken to address any issues raised.

The University of Alberta is a large, complex organization with unique challenges in meeting its equity targets. The university has a 38,311 students, 15,000 employees, 18 faculties, 5 campuses, 388 undergraduate programs, 500 graduate programs, 100+ institutes, and 400+ teaching and research agreements with 50 countries.  The geographic location of Edmonton, with its frigid climate, makes recruiting researchers to this northern community challenging. There are a number of initiatives on campus to help new professors adapt to academia and life in Edmonton. For example, the Faculty and Staff Orientation Event and Website are great resources in this respect. The Centre for Teaching and Learning, an initiative of the Provost’s Office, offers a comprehensive suite of resources for instructors to succeed on campus. These services are especially important for individuals from FDGs.  

Yearly Reporting

The University of Alberta will report to the CRCP and the public yearly on its progress made in meeting its objectives.