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The Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion launches pilot plan for EDI award in research and teaching

By Luis Armando Sanchez Diaz, November 24 2021—

The University of Calgary’s Office of Equity Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) recently launched a pilot plan for the EDI award as a way to highlight and recognize the work of the diverse members of the community in external research and teaching awards. 

It was co-developed by Dr. Malinda Smith, vice-provost equity, diversity and inclusion along with Dr. Leslie Reid, vice-provost teaching and learning and Dr. Robert Thomson, the vice-provost of research.

The initiative was “developed to embed a foundational commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in the identification and nomination of candidates for external research and teaching excellence awards,” and it is grounded in research that “demonstrates that diversity makes us smarter, improves problem-solving enhances decision-making fuels creativity and drives innovation,” as stated on the U of C  website.

“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,” said Smith to UCalgary News.

Over the next few months, the pilot program will go through extensive consultation among the U of C community to receive feedback and “faculties will begin to implement the principles and practices” laid out in the plan.

In a conversation with the Gauntlet, Students’ Union (SU) Vice-President Student Life Assad Ali Bik, welcomed the consultation process and expressed that it is a step forward in advancing EDI goals.

“It will give researchers in the field an award to strive for and it will give the researchers who are already doing great work in this field a lot of validation — that they deserve,” he said. “This will trickle down to students who look up to these professors and researchers and they will see themselves in the research that is being produced.”

Assad mentioned that the SU is currently not involved in the pilot program but hopes that they will be part of it in the near future and stressed the importance of taking student voices into account.

“What I’d like to see in this consultation is the diverse student’s voice. There are many different groups on our campus that can lend great input into this project and this pilot program — I feel their voices should be adequately represented,” he said.

The objective of the plan is “to advance equity, diversity and inclusion in the research and teaching award portfolios at the University of Calgary” by addressing the challenges of achieving EDI principles in “research and teaching awards for talent identification, nomination and selection processes,” as well as increasing the practices that further EDI values and goals in the field. 

Moreover, the plan aims to “establish a culture of inclusive excellence, and recognition that is equitable and inclusive of equity-deserving groups and diverse scholarly disciplines,” 

The initiative will run from October to April 2022 and it is expected to be finalized in the summer, after including the consultation feedback it will receive. 

Members of the U of C community are encouraged to read a two-page summary or the complete plan and provide feedback to equity@ucalgary.ca.

To learn more about the initiative, check out the EDI office’s website. Read the complete pilot program online.

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