Creating equitable and inclusive awards

Vice-Provost announces EDI review of the U of A's Awards for Faculty and Teaching Excellence.

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Amazing work is happening at every level of the academy, across every discipline. And as often as possible, the outstanding achievements of our colleagues deserve to be recognized. As has been pointed out many times before, that hasn’t always been possible or easy under our existing awards. We know this.

How we collect nominations and how we select award winners matters. That’s not to say that past award winners do not deserve to be celebrated. It does however mean that there are barriers in place that prevent us from recognizing everyone who deserves consideration and celebration. And it’s time for that to change.

Following consultations with the Provost and Deans, we will be undertaking an EDI review of the award procedures under the Awards for Faculty Excellence, Awards for Teaching Excellence, and the EDI Awards. To do this properly, we’ll be pausing nominations for 2020–2021. The awards on pause will be added to the next adjudication period.

In my role as Vice-Provost (Learning Initiatives), I will lead the review, but the real work will be done by a duly-constituted advisory committee. This committee will come together to develop and recommend revisions to the nomination and adjudication processes. They will also be tasked with reviewing and recommending eligibility criteria. At the end of the review process, our suite of awards will better represent, reflect, and celebrate the diverse work of our campus communities.

Join the Committee

Although some of the positions on this advisory committee will include ex-officio members as well as one resource member, I would like to issue an open call for membership across our community. Our goal is that committee membership will reflect a broad diversity of perspectives and will be inclusive of individuals who have been historically underrepresented at the university and within awards including women, visible minorities, Indigenous persons, persons with disabilities, and LGBTQ2S+ persons. We would also welcome participation of those with expertise in equity issues related to awards.

If you would like to be considered for membership, please reach out to Andrea Patrick at with a brief expression of interest. If you know anyone who might be interested, please encourage them to apply. The deadline for applications is January 15.

The committee will meet throughout Winter 2021, with the aim of completing our recommendations by the end of the academic year.

My hope is to be able to roll out the refreshed, more equitable, and more inclusive awards by the end of June, 2021.

We have a lot of work to do, and it’s time to do it.

John Nychka
Vice-Provost (Learning Initiatives)