Prioritizing Indigenous initiatives and equity, diversity, and inclusivity in University of Alberta for Tomorrow

As the University of Alberta community implements plans for academic and administrative transformation through U of A for Tomorrow, we continue to be guided by our commitments to Indigenous initiatives and equity, diversity, and inclusivity (II & EDI), as outlined within our Strategic Plan for Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity. We continue to strive for an accessible, equitable, and inclusive community of students, faculty, and staff that supports our learning environment shaped by curiosity, rigorous inquiry, evidence-based decision-making, respect for diversity and expression of ideas, and human rights. We acknowledge that this commitment requires identifying and addressing formal and informal obstacles, barriers, and biases that limit equitable access and opportunities, as well as intentionally pursuing and implementing system-wide equity initiatives to embed a culture of diversity in all university structures, programs, policies, and practices.

In alignment with those commitments, as the Service Excellence Transformation (SET) program unfolds, the principles of II & EDI will guide our decisions regarding the transformation of administrative services and how the program will impact the people that devote their careers to delivering them in our university. 

The Service Excellence Steering Committee (SESC) will evaluate II & EDI impacts throughout the administrative restructuring process. The following illustrates some of the ways in which we are endeavoring to meet our II & EDI commitments:

  • We continue to welcome the diverse ideas, knowledge, and perspectives of our faculty, staff, leaders, students and broader community by engaging in a process of open consultation and discovery, including town halls, faculty/unit forums, focus groups, blog posts, digital feedback mechanisms, and surveys. 
  • We continue to consult directly with leaders from faculties and units whose focus is on providing services and support to students, faculty and staff from Indigenous and other equity-deserving groups to ensure these services are not disrupted, and that layoffs do not disproportionately affect these members. Consultation with leaders is continuing.
  • We will continue to ensure that the 40 member Staff Advisory Team includes a proportional representation of equity-deserving groups.
  • We will analyze aggregate Workforce Diversity Census data for administrative services functions impacted by the new administrative operating model and, applying an intersectional lens, monitor impacts on women, Indigenous, Black, visible minority, persons with disabilities, and other equity-deserving groups and mitigate disproportionate impacts that may result from the SET program implementation.
  • We will seek to increase the diversity of job candidates as new administrative roles within the service centres, processing hub, service partners and centres of expertise are filled and ensure that hiring and expression of interest review panels for those roles are trained in bias and anti-racism awareness. 
  • We will aim to increase the representation of women, Indigenous, people of colour and other equity-deserving groups in new administrative and academic leadership positions created as a result of UAT and SET.
  • We will work to identify and remove structural barriers that prevent equity-deserving staff from their skills, talents, and perspectives valued and recognized within administrative services.
  • We will increase accessibility within any new or modified practices, policies, procedures, systems, technology, and spaces.

Indigenous Initiatives and equity, diversity, and inclusivity have been and will continue to be, of significant importance to the university as we implement UAT. Achieving our II & EDI goals requires responsible and accountable leadership at all levels of the university. We will regularly evaluate our progress toward achieving those goals throughout the implementation of UAT and SET.