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SFU welcomes first executive director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

July 21, 2022

An antiracism professional with management and program-development experience, Samir Traoré joins SFU as the university’s first executive director, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

Traoré, who holds a PhD in sociology from McMaster University, comes to SFU from the University of British Columbia, where he was previously director, faculty equity in the Office of the Provost and Vice-President Academic, and institutional initiative strategist in the Equity & Inclusion Office. He begins his role August 24, 2022.

“For me, this is an exciting day,” says Yabome Gilpin-Jackson, SFU’s VP People, Equity and Inclusion (VPPEI). “This crucial hiring provides dedicated leadership within the Equity Office that is essential to establishing our People Equity and Inclusion portfolio and serving the SFU community in the mandate we have been given.”

At UBC, Traoré was responsible for the development of the backbone infrastructure for the operationalization and monitoring of institutional-level equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) initiatives. Amon his other duties, he co-developed projects and programs to diversify faculty, increase Black and Indigenous post-doctoral fellows, collect demographic data of students, and chaired a committee on EDI education and leadership training.

Samir is also an antiracism public educator and consultant. He has worked as an adjunct professor and co-chairs B.C.’s Multicultural Advisory Committee reporting to B.C.’s attorney general.

Traoré will lead an established team of dedicated equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) practitioners to create a diverse, equitable and inclusive community where all can feel welcome, safe, accepted and appreciated in their learning, teaching, research and work.

Reporting directly to Samir are EDI Directors Suman Jiwani, Theresa Burley and Nadia Mallay. Formerly EDI Specialists, this important change to the role title of our EDI Directors better reflects their work and signals the responsibility they have in this important portfolio, leading institutional initiatives while advising on equity matters for faculty, staff, students and the entire SFU community. It also aligns with the positioning of similar roles across SFU.

The Equity team’s priorities include collecting a demographic data baseline and creating a system to collect equity data; mobilizing a team to develop a plan for SFU’s response to the Accessibility Act; and reviewing employment lifecycle and campus experience with a focus on developing programs with equity-deserving groups.

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