Transform the SFU Experience

Creating space for connection through equity work

June 18, 2024

When Vivian Chang joined the pilot launch of the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Community of Practice (EDI-CoPr) in December of 2022, she didn't anticipate the profound impact it would have on her SFU experience.

“We were all strangers to one another in the beginning—but coming into these sessions, we connected as human beings. We all have a collective desire to make the university a better place.”

Guided by the Equity Office, the Community of Practice brings faculty and staff from across the university together in a supportive learning community to inform EDI work at SFU. It aligns with the ‘Education and Capacity-Building' goal outlined in SFU’s Equity Compass in order to advance the institutional priorities of Transforming the SFU Experience and Upholding Truth and Reconciliation.

“It’s a space that was intentionally created to break down siloes and discuss the sensitive topics and challenges we all face in our own pockets of the university, to be vulnerable in sharing our struggles and stories. There really is a sense of community belonging,” said Chang. 

Training for members is provided through RADIUS SFU’s Equity Centred Design course, which focuses on the development of solutions that can be applied at the unit or department level and emphasizes ongoing consultation with the communities being served. Collaboration with colleagues across different portfolios is encouraged, and members can work on developing action plans to address challenges in their day-to-day roles or at the institutional level.

The RADIUS framework has shaped Chang’s approach to her position as Associate Director of Business Solutions with Advancement & Alumni Engagement, where her portfolio includes governance policies, data management and procedures to support the SFU alumni community. She notes that participating in the EDI-CoPr has empowered her to lead discussions among her team about ensuring inclusivity for alumni, particularly on issues like privacy and identity safety.

“I’m very grateful to Nicoles Dorssers (Executive Director, Alumni Relations) and Erin Morantz (VP Advancement and Alumni Engagement) for supporting my involvement with EDI and creating a safe space for me to bring those learnings back to my team. In my experience, the Community of Practice has a ripple effect that goes beyond just the individual members who are part of it.”

For anyone interested in getting involved with the EDI-CoPr in future, Chang emphasizes the importance of being open-minded even if it might seem intimidating to open up to a group of strangers. 

“It’s okay to be nervous at first, but if you’re able to dedicate the time for each session you will really see the momentum and impact of being part of this community.  And there’s a lot of support to ensure that no community member is left behind."

Moving forward, Chang plans to continue being part of the EDI Community of Practice and is interested in getting more involved with future initiatives as the group evolves.

“Ultimately, this experience has helped affirm my passion for this work and strengthened my understanding of both my personal and professional values.”

To find out more information about equity, diversity and inclusion programs and initiatives at SFU, click here. You can also learn more about institutional frameworks that guide these initiatives such as What’s Next: the SFU Strategy, the Equity Compass and the People Plan.