Oct. 21, 2021

Pilot plan launched for equity, diversity and inclusion in research and teaching awards

Plan aims to embed evidence-based EDI practices into UCalgary awards processes
gold stars

Today, the University of Calgary is launching the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) in Research and Teaching Awards Pilot Plan. This pilot is a collaborative effort, co-led by Dr. Malinda Smith, vice-provost (equity, diversity and inclusion), Dr. Robert Thompson, associate vice-president (research), and Dr. Leslie Reid, vice-provost (teaching and learning).

“We are building on the UCalgary’s ongoing efforts to recognize outstanding scholars, to expand our outreach to ensure greater diversity and inclusivity in nominations, and to embed evidence-based EDI practices in external awards practices,” says Smith, who co-chaired the pilot plan drafting committee with Thompson and Reid.

“Achieving stronger inclusion will benefit research as a whole,” says Thompson. “It ensures that great people from all equity-deserving groups are enthusiastic, welcome participants in the research enterprise. Inclusion enables us to make greater discoveries and advance research further than if we were excluding brilliant minds based on systemic biases.”

 “When a faculty member is identified for an external teaching award, it demonstrates our institutional awareness of their expertise,” says Reid. “Who we recognize matters, and we must ensure we do so equitably.”

The complete pilot plan and a two-page companion guide can be downloaded on the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion website.

“Equitable and inclusive environments foster excellence in the academy,” Smith continues. “We recognize the need for proactive measures to remove barriers that may impede the success of members of equity-deserving groups, including women, Indigenous Peoples, visible/racialized minorities, LGBTQ2S, and persons with disabilities.”

The overarching objective of the pilot plan is to identify, support, and enable the institutional recognition of diverse outstanding talent for external research and teaching awards through the following actions:

  1. Establish principles, practices, and processes that expand opportunities for more diverse and inclusive research and teaching award nominations and selection.
  2. Identify and ameliorate barriers and biases that impede equitable and inclusive processes and outcomes in talent identification, nomination, supports, and selection processes for research and teaching awards.
  3. Establish a culture of inclusive excellence, and recognition that is equitable and inclusive of equity-deserving groups and diverse scholarly disciplines.
  4. Identify supports and resources required to implement the plan.

Next, the drafting committee will engage in broad consultation with the campus community, and faculties will begin to implement the principles and practices described in the pilot plan.

The campus community is welcomed to read the plan and provide feedback either via the form on the OEDI website, or via email to equity@ucalgary.ca. The drafting committee will also be meeting with relevant campus committees for consultation.

Recognizing the expanding body of research and promising practices on equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility, the drafting committee has emphasized that this as an iterative process and the document will continue to be updated on a rolling basis. Their goal is to finalize the plan in summer 2022, incorporating feedback received throughout the academic year.

“At UCalgary, we are fortunate to have so many exceptional scholars in our midst,” says Smith. “Let’s work together to ensure no one is overlooked.”