Amber Bracken, University of Alberta
March 5, 2021
Journey to equity: UCalgary recognized as one of Canada’s best diversity employers
For the fifth year in a row, the University of Calgary has been recognized as one of Canada’s best diversity employers.
While recognizing this national acknowledgement of the work being done to make this a more equitable, diverse and inclusive university, campus leaders agree this is only the beginning of actions needed to promote change within our university and the broader society.
- Photo above: This past year, UCalgary launched an Indigenous Knowledge Public Lecture Series to support Indigenous researchers sharing their work in a public forum. Indigenous Elders are also consulted regularly on activities, including on the university’s new landscape plan. (Photo taken pre-COVID). Photo by Riley Brandt, University of Calgary
“This recognition is not the result of a single policy or procedure, but a campus-wide acknowledgement that the University of Calgary can only reach its full potential when everyone on campus feels valued and supported for the contributions they are making,” says Dr. Dru Marshall, UCalgary’s provost and vice-president (academic).
The Canada’s Best Diversity Employers list recognizes the nation’s leaders in creating inclusive workplaces for all employees from five equity-deserving groups: women; visible minorities; persons with disabilities; Indigenous Peoples; and LGBTQS+.
This year’s ranking is especially meaningful during a pandemic that has hit Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) communities particularly hard. It is also occurring in the context of Black Lives Matter, Indigenous and Asian communities mobilizing to combat racism and to promote actions to achieve racial equity in our institutions.
UCalgary is on a journey to Indigenization and greater equity
“For the past five years, the University of Calgary has been on a journey toward Indigenization and reconciliation,” says Dr. Michael Hart, vice-provost (Indigenous engagement). “This is an important step, but we still have far to travel. Our journey can and must continue.”
In the past year, UCalgary has launched an Indigenous Knowledge Public Lecture Series to bring Indigenous researchers on campus to share their work in a public forum. Indigenous Elders are also consulted regularly on our activities, including on the university’s new landscape plan.
UCalgary has also established its first vice-provost position for equity, diversity and inclusion when Dr. Malinda Smith, PhD, assumed the role last August. Since then, she has established the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and launched the public lecture series Courageous Conversations to increase education on anti-Black racism and other social justice issues.
“In times of crisis, including economic and the COVID-19 pandemic, it might be tempting to abandon our principles and practices of equity. Making meaningful progress towards equity, diversity and inclusion is never easy. We must not waver in our resolve to make our campus one in which everyone can thrive,” says Smith. “We are committed to inclusive excellence. We will not falter now.”