Susan Jensen, the first female Chair in the Department of Biological Sciences, was inspired to support students in a new way with the Susan Jensen Indigenous Support Fund.

Engagement and Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity in Science


The Faculty of Science welcomes diversity—from programs that engage K-12 learners in Science, undergraduate and graduate programs, hiring of staff, and leadership positions.

We know that diverse perspectives lead to creative and innovative problem-solving, new approaches and processes, and an increase in collective intelligence. These benefits are highly valued by the Faculty of Science. We recognize the importance of equity and inclusivity in employment in the Faculty of Science and for students enrolled in our programs. Support for diversity and the desire for inclusivity are central to our decision-making and activities.

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity (EDI) are central to the University of Alberta’s Strategic Plan For the Public Good (2016). Two years later, the University developed the four-year Strategic Plan for Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity, which aims to embed EDI into the culture of the University. 

“The University of Alberta is committed to cultivating an institutional culture that values, supports, and promotes equity, human rights, respect, and accountability among faculty, staff, and students.”

The Faculty of Science is working to implement the University’s Strategic Plan for EDI. Under the leadership of Dean Matina Kalcounis-Rueppel, Engagement & EDI are key pillars in the Faculty of Science’s new Strategic Plan 2020-2025 UAlberta Science Ahead.

On this page: EDI Resources | National Day for Truth and ReconcilliationEDI & Engagement Committee | Engagement & EDI groups and initiatives in Science | Latest news stories 


EDI resources

Reporting EDI issues

In addition to the resources above, Associate Dean Tara McGee, and Faculty of Science Engagement & EDI committee members Damian Collins, Lauren Guillette, and Christie McDermott are happy to be a first point of contact about EDI concerns for graduate students.

Teaching resources
Research resources
    • Attend EDI presentations and other events in the Faculty of Science in the Faculty of Science, elsewhere on campus, and beyond.
    • Complete free EDI training - from the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion and hollaback. The Government of Canada provides online unconscious bias training and a GBA+ course. There are also some excellent EDI podcasts available!
    • Devote time in research group/lab meetings to conversations about EDI readings and events.
    • Review EDI literature in research group/lab meetings. Lisa Willis has prepared a list of EDI resources. The Biology Graduate Students’ Association has also prepared a list of EDI resources, which is available here.
    • Prepare a research group/lab manual or code of conduct which incorporates EDI principles. Here is an example from Chris Sturdy’s lab in the Psychology department.
    • Researchers who support EDI can promote their support on their research group website.
Students attend one of the Science Summer Camps and undergraduates study in CCIS.

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

The Associate Dean Engagement & EDI and the Faculty of Science Engagement & EDI committee encourages all members of the Faculty of Science community to learn, have discussions with students and others, and take action on September 30, 2021, Canada’s National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Resources

What are land acknowledgements and why do they matter?

Orange Shirt Day: Please buy Orange Shirt Day shirts from First Peoples’ House (via the University of Alberta bookstore) or organizations that support Indigenous peoples. 

The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation houses materials gathered by theTruth and Reconciliation Commission. NCTR recognizes Truth and Reconciliation week from September 27 to October 1, 2021.

The Sweetgrass Bear, by Stewart Steinhauer.

Additional Resources and Recommended Reading

These resources prepared by the Associate Dean Engagement & EDI and the Faculty of Science Engagement & EDI committee.

Podcast
  • Unsettled: Journeys in Truth and Conciliation, George Lee & Jessica Vandenberghe
Movies

EDI & Engagement Committee

The Faculty of Science’s Engagement and EDI efforts are currently being led by Associate Dean Engagement & EDI Tara McGee with a committee which includes people from across the Faculty of Science:

The Faculty of Science has a long tradition of supporting equity and diversity. In 2005, Dr. Margaret-Ann Armour was appointed as the first Associate Dean of Diversity at the University and served in this position until her passing in 2019. In addition to her work in the Faculty of Science, Margaret-Ann Armour co-founded WISEST (Women in Scholarship, Engineering, Science and Technology), led a group that founded the Canadian Centre for Women in Science, Engineering, Trades and Technology (WinSETT Centre) and devoted her time to advancing EDI in STEM.


Engagement & EDI groups and initiatives in Science

The Faculty of Science and its seven departments engage children and youth K-12 through a range of activities. Click on the links below to find out more about these intiatives:

Community Engagement Student Groups

There are many exciting EDI initiatives currently taking place in the Faculty of Science and in STEM more broadly. Learn more below.

Margaret-Ann Armour holding a bubbling beaker aloft at a convocation ceremony
Celebrating the legacy of Dr. Margaret-Ann Armour

The University of Alberta mourns Margaret-Ann Armour, Dean of Diversity, who spent most of her life championing women in STEM.

The student group, Working for Inclusivity in Chemistry (UAWIC), organizes an annual lecture series in honour of Margaret-Ann, which celebrates diversity in Chemistry by providing a platform for chemists who do outstanding work both in the lab and in promoting diversity and inclusivity within Chemistry.

Undergraduates present the wonders of science to elementary school students—and Dean Matina Kalcounis-Rueppell—at Science FUNday.
First female Dean of Science

Matina Kalcounis-Rueppell, the first female Dean of Science, joined our faculty in July 2019.

"I would rather be in a place and time where we would not bat an eye at a woman being Dean of Science, but at the same time it is meaningful right now."

Watch Matina's introduction video.

Read Matina's interview in The Quad.

Grace Anne Stewart Speaker Series microphone in conference room
Connecting students with female scientists

The Department of Earth and Atmospherice Sciences invites two female scientists to visit the department each year and participate in several events as part of the Grace Anne Stewart Speaker Series.

The program is designed to expand the professional networks of faculty and students, foster discussion about gender equity, and provide students with more female role models and mentors.

 

Working for Inclusivity in Chemistry

Working for Inclusivity in Chemistry, created in 2017, is a student group in the Department of Chemistry dedicated to promoting diversity by fostering camaraderie, providing professional development opportunities, and increasing exposure to strong role models in Chemistry careers. 

UAlberta Working for Inclusivity in Chemistry (UAWIC)

The UAlberta Working for Inclusivity in Chemistry group (formerly known as Women in Chemistry) is a student initiative that fosters relationships and mentorships between women in the Chemistry Department and women in other fields and industries with backgrounds in chemistry.

The goals of the Ualberta WIC group are to foster camaraderie among female members in the Chemistry Department, create opportunities for students to interact with female role models with events like the LOGIC Retreat, and organize career development workshops to help enhance the resumes of young scholars.

The Grace Anne Stewart Speaker Series

The Grace Anne Stewart Speaker Series was created by a group of graduate students and the Chair of the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences in 2015. The speaker series was designed to bring female speakers to the department at a time when there were very few female professors in EAS.

Ada’s Team

Ada’s Team is a student group in the Department of Computing Science which promotes diversity in STEAM with an emphasis on technology. Ada’s Team is involved in a range of activities from outreach events to high school students, funding to enable students to attend conferences, and hosting technical workshops. Ada’s Team events are open to the public. 

Diversity in Physics (UAP-JEDI)
Diversity in Physics (UAP-JEDI) is a group in the Department of Physics which aims to ensure the physics community is equitable, just, inclusive, and diverse. The UAP-JEDI website provides information about their events, meet-ups, and resources. 
Biology Graduate Students’ Association
In 2019, the Biology Graduate Students’ Association formed a committee to champion EDI in the Department of Biological Sciences. Their website includes a valuable list of EDI resources.
Scientific QUEERies
The Scientific QUEERies is a lecture series and community developed at the University of Alberta. Scientific QUEERies is dedicated to providing visibility for LBGTQIA2S+ professionals in STEM and inspiring young queer scientists.   
Women in Scholarship, Engineering, Science, and Technology (WISEST)
WISEST began in 1982 with the aim of empowering women who are interested or want to seek out opportunities in underrepresented fields, specifically in science, engineering and technology. WISEST has a wide range of programs including the Choices Conference, Summer Research Program, and the UA-WiSE and WISER networks. 
I-Steam Pathways
I-Steam Pathways is a new environmental education program which provides opportunities for First Nations, Métis and Inuit youth to explore career pathways and develop disciplinary and interdisciplinary expertise in environmental education fields including science, technology, engineering, policy, law and management.
Susan Jensen Indigenous Support Fund
The Susan Jensen Indigenous Support Fund supports First Nations, Métis and Inuit students via undergraduate scholarships, bursaries, and fees for equipment and conferences. This fund also supports programs offered by First Peoples’ House
Experiential Learning in Innovation, Technology, and Entrepreneurship (ELITE) Program for Black Youth

The Experiential Learning in Innovation, Technology, and Entrepreneurship (ELITE) Program for Black Youth provides youth with work-integrated training on real projects. Interns will take part in a full-time or part-time internship of 8 to 16 weeks.  

Latest news

Read about the work being done in science from the perspective of people whose voices, historically, are not always heard.

Read diversity stories