By Shefali Rai, April 22 2021—
The University of Calgary’s philosophy for a more inclusive and diverse university has prompted the launch of Alberta’s very first postdoctoral award program specifically for Black and Indigenous scholars. This program stems from the university’s commitment to cultivating equitable pathways to further researchers from diverse backgrounds.
Programs such as this are evoked from insights gained from collecting high-quality demographic data. Using such data — summarized in the equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) dashboard — the university can make informed decisions on the right approach for implementing policies and programs. As mentioned on UCalgary’s EDI website, “Data can help institutions like ours avoid a one-size-fits all approach to EDI measures as it tracks and validates when policies and procedures are making a measurable difference.” The key aspect of closing these wide gaps in the university’s research and scholarship programs is to implement meaningful change that will surmount to visible results.
Dr. Malinda Smith, vice-provost equity, diversity and inclusion, commented on this award program saying, “it’s a welcome step forward in our shared commitment to combat anti-Black racism and to cultivate Black inclusion.”
Alongside Smith, Dr. Michael Hart, vice-provost Indigenous engagement, added that this initiative is an important contribution to move the Indigenous Strategy forward.
Targeted at alluring top-tier postdoctoral candidates, this novel two-year program will provide a $50,000 salary, plus benefits, as well as a $5,000 research allowance to two Black scholars and two Indigenous scholars. Eligibility is dependent on securing supervision from a full-time faculty member at the University of Calgary and identifying as a member of the Indigenous community or as a member of the Black community in Canada.
Additionally, “applicants should have a record of high-quality previous research and creative contributions, and of direct engagement with Black Canadian and/or Indigenous communities in Canada.”