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EDI leadership

Memorial establishes position in equity, diversity and inclusion

Teaching and Learning

By Jennifer Batten

The position of vice-provost of equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) was approved by Memorial’s Board of Regents at its December meeting.

Memorial’s Employment Equity and Diversity Plan, approved by Vice-Presidents Council in October 2018, recommended the establishment of a senior role with responsibility for EDI.

The new academic administrator role will report to the provost and vice-president (academic), and internal recruitment will begin early in January 2020.

Advancing institutional goals

“Memorial’s inaugural vice-provost of equity, diversity and inclusion will build strong relationships with senior administrative, academic and student leaders, as well as with the broader university community, working collaboratively to advance institutional goals on equity, diversity, and inclusion,” said Dr. Noreen Golfman, provost and vice-president (academic).

“The successful candidate – someone with relevant expertise from within Memorial’s professoriate – will work to foster and enhance diverse, inclusive and equitable learning and working environments across Memorial, as well as an internal culture of respect, free from harassment, discrimination and violence.”

A recently conducted environmental scan revealed that several Canadian universities have established senior leadership roles in EDI. In the absence of a leader dedicated to advancing the goals of EDI, Memorial has a significant gap in its senior leadership.

Furthermore, as Memorial’s student population continues to evolve, with more than 18 per cent coming from other countries around the world, the need to ensure diversity among faculty and staff has become urgent. A dedicated EDI leader will champion this change as well as ensure adequate support services are implemented to meet the diverse needs of Memorial’s student body.

Federal program

With a variety of significant EDI initiatives underway nationally, provincially and at the institutional level in higher education, establishing a senior leadership role will help Memorial set the right conditions for the university to become a leader in EDI.

Earlier this year, Memorial officially signed on as a participant in the Dimensions federal pilot program, which will ensure that Memorial’s research is more inclusive.

Launched by the federal government, Dimensions aims to address systemic barriers, particularly those experienced by members of underrepresented or disadvantaged groups, including, but not limited to, women, Indigenous Peoples, persons with disabilities, members of visible minority/racialized groups and members of LGBTQ2+ communities.

Memorial has also developed a Canada Research Chairs Program EDI Action Plan to ensure the university addresses the program’s EDI requirements.

The plan guides institutional efforts for sustaining the participation of and/or addressing under-representation of individuals (based on the institution’s equity gaps) from the four designated groups (FDGs) — women, Indigenous Peoples, persons with disabilities and visible minorities — among their chair allocations.

Memorial developed its plan in collaboration with individuals from each of the FDGs, chair-holders, faculty and administrators responsible for implementing the program.

The internal recruitment process to fill this role will begin early in the new year and further details will be shared with the university community once the position profile has been finalized.

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