Opinions & Features Workshop (Oct 26th)

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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 part of the Teaching Awards by the Taylor Institute of Teaching and Learning.

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 will run from October to April 2022 and 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’s  website.

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 Teaching Awards have the aim of celebrating and recognizing the “outstanding contributions to teaching and learning,” made by “members of [the] university community who, through their commitment and expertise, create deep and lasting learning experiences,” according to the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning.

Overall, there are 14 categories and the number is expected to increase to 15 next year once the EDI award is included in the list. The categories include awards that celebrate Indigenous Ways of Knowing, Graduate Supervision, Curriculum Development and Experiential Learning Initiatives, among others. Out of all the awards, there are only four that are given on an individual and group basis — Educational Leadership and Non-Academic Staff.

The deadline for submitting nominations is March 3, 2022.

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.

Visit the Taylor Institute of Teaching and Learning webpage to read more about the nomination process as well as the requirements. To learn more about the initiative, check out the EDI office’s website. Read the complete pilot program online.

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