FACULTY AND STAFF

SFU launches new initiative to champion equity, diversity and inclusion

December 12, 2017
Print

SFU has long held a strategic vision rooted in the fostering of diverse and inclusive communities. Over the past two years, the university has been working hard to address specific issues related to equity.

In 2016, the Salary Equity Recommendation Committee (a joint University-Faculty Association Committee) released a report outlining steps that could be taken to address salary equity concerns and included recommendations about the type of supports needed to embed equity, diversity and inclusion throughout the institution.

As well, this fall, Universities Canada member institutions endorsed a set of seven principles and an action plan related to equity, diversity and inclusion. This national plan aligned closely with SFU’s own desire to build in staff resources to move its Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Initiative forward.

“We’re excited to add significant resources to support the university’s goal of becoming a more diverse, inclusive and equitable community,” said Peter Keller, Provost of SFU. “This new initiative will build on a wide range of work already being championed by our staff and faculty members.”

At the center of this new initiative will be a Special Advisor to the Provost on Equity. Kim Hart has been selected to take on this important role. She brings significant experience in governance, equity and inclusion issues and was heavily involved in the development of the university’s sexual violence and misconduct policy. She will be responsible for developing a strategy, including a report and a set of actionable recommendations, for advancing equity and diversity initiatives across the University, including a framework for embedding equity and diversity more deeply.

“Kim’s expertise in governance, coupled with her decades of experience working on issues related to equity and inclusion makes her an excellent fit to lead this important initiative,” said Keller. “We’re excited to add some significant resources to support the university’s goal of becoming a more diverse, inclusive and equitable community.”

Working alongside Hart will be SFU Professor Genevieve Fuji Johnson, who brings extensive expertise on inclusion and engagement and who will provide essential faculty member perspective to the initiative. Johnson will take on the role of Senior Advisor to the Provost’s Office on Faculty Diversity, Inclusion and Engagement.

Johnson and Hart will work collaboratively to form a new advisory committee composed of diverse members to help guide and inform their work and Hart will chair a new coordinating committee to coordinate the new capacity being added in Faculty Relations, Human Resources, and Student Services withthe existing work being done by the university’s Director of Human Rights, Director of the Sexual Violence Office, the Ombudsperson. It will complement and reinforce the university’s Aboriginal Reconciliation Council “Walk This Path With Us” Report that was released earlier this year.

Their collaborative work will reinforce and build on the efforts around inclusion already underway by incorporating the valuable input of SFUFA and Academic Women, as well as the work done by SFU West (SFU Women in Science, Engineering and Technology), the Canada Research Chair Equity Advisory Committee and those representing other equity-seeking groups.

Theresa Burley, who has been heading up the intensive work on a Canada Research Chair Equity Plan since May 2017 will be seconded for the first part of 2018 to ensure a smooth transition and implementation of the Equity Plan required by the CRC Secretariat Action on equity, diversity and inclusion will be facilitated with the appointment of two staff positions--Directors of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion – Larry Axelrod, who will be based in Faculty Relations and a yet to be appointed position based in Human Resources. Dr. Axelrod has spent the past 23 years working to support equity and human rights issues. He brings strong strategic policy planning skills as well as experience convening and facilitating dialogue with diverse communities.

Keller says SFU is proud to be moving forward with an extensive network of talented people to lead the development and implementation of a strategic plan and initiatives to support the university’s commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion for students, staff and faculty.