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Community engagement

Memorial's office of equity, diversity, inclusion and anti-racism prepares for fall

By Terri Coles

The Office of the Vice-Provost, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism has completed a significant stage of its work towards creating Memorial’s first EDI-AR strategic plan.

The office closed the first phase of its consultation process in June 2023.

In addition, recent hiring for several key roles in the portfolio is moving other priorities forward, says Dr. Delores V. Mullings, vice-provost, equity, diversity, inclusion and anti-racism.

“I’m excited to have a growing team in place for this portfolio,” she said. “We have a lot to share about the work that we have done with Memorial communities.”

New hires

Over the past year or so, the office has added to its staff complement with a focus on its priorities of strategic planning and policy development.

Cherry Ralhan-Khanna, wearing a light-coloured patterned tunic, is standing in the Bruneau Centre. She is looking at the camera and smiling.
Cherry Ralhan-Khanna
Photo: Rich Blenkinsopp

Dr. Mullings began as the portfolio’s vice-provost in August 2021. Program manager Cherry Ralhan-Khanna joined the portfolio in May 2022.

In March 2023 Terri Coles began as the portfolio’s marketing and communications advisor. Dr. Dennis Kudejira joined the portfolio in April 2023 as its policy analyst and is in the process of developing the university’s first human-rights policy.

And in June 2023, Cathy Baker joined Memorial University as the EDI-AR portfolio’s executive assistant.

Strategic planning update

The EDI-AR Office is better positioned to make progress on its mandate with its new staff in place, says Dr. Mullings.

Terri Coles, wearing a black dress, is shown from the shoulders up. She is looking at the camera and smiling.
Terri Coles
Photo: Rich Blenkinsopp

The consultation process for Memorial’s first equity, diversity, inclusion and anti-racism strategic plan included 80 consultation sessions, either held virtually or in person at the Labrador, Grenfell, St. John’s, Signal Hill, Harlow and Marine Institute campuses.

The office administered two online surveys to Memorial’s students, staff and faculty. Memorial community members also submitted written and audio feedback throughout the consultation process.

“It was essential that our consultation process included university-wide communities, across campus, students, staff, faculty and alumni,” Dr. Mullings said.

In total, 824 members of the Memorial communities participated in the virtual, hybrid and in-person consultation sessions. The online surveys received 935 responses.

Upcoming report

The next step in the strategic planning process is drafting the What We Heard and What We Learned report.

The report will reflect a thematic summary of the information shared throughout the consultation.

Denboy Kudejira, wearing a patterned shirt, stands in the Bruneau Centre. He is looking at the camera and smiling.
Denboy Kudejira
Photo: Rich Blenkinsopp

The office will release the consultation report in fall 2023. Before its release, the draft will be reviewed and feedback will be solicited from a representative sample across Memorial’s communities.

In addition to its ongoing work on Memorial’s first equity, diversity, inclusion and anti-racism strategic plan, the office is focusing on several other key priorities and initiatives.

Drafting Memorial’s human rights policy; establishing a global EDI-AR digital database; implementing aspects of the Scarborough Charter; and launching a new website are among the portfolio’s ongoing projects.

Plans for fall semester

The fall 2023 semester will mark the completion of a dedicated office space for the EDI-AR portfolio.

Located in the Bruneau Centre on the St. John’s campus, the office will include space for community engagement, education and social connections.

Cathy Baker, wearing a white shirt and black jacket, stands in the Bruneau Centre. She is looking at the camera and smiling.
Cathy Baker
Photo: Rich Blenkinsopp

“We’re excited to find new ways to connect with Memorial community members, across all campuses,” said Dr. Mullings. “Our office will be an important step in increasing our portfolio’s visibility, and we’re working on several other plans for later in the year.”

Those plans include participation in orientation events on Memorial campuses in September. Staff members will be available at the EDI-AR orientation booth to meet new students and share information about the office’s work on the St. John’s campus on Sept. 6. Additional plans for orientation activities at other campuses will be shared online and on Facebook.

On Sept. 28, Dr. Mullings will facilitate the portfolio’s annual Community Table Talk, providing an update on the work of the EDI-AR portfolio, from Grenfell Campus. The hybrid event will run in person and on WebEx from 12-1:30 p.m. (NT) and is open to all members of the Memorial communities.

For updates about the EDI-AR office’s upcoming activities, visit the office’s website, Facebook page or Twitter feed.

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