Queen’s recognized by federal government for equity & inclusion tool

University awarded for innovation at Employment Equity Achievement Awards

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Queen’s was among 18 employers recognized by the Government of Canada on October 5 at the annual Employment Equity Achievement Awards for their work in innovation.

According to Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), “these awards recognize federally regulated private-sector employers and federal contractors for their commitment to creating diverse and inclusive Canadian workplaces. They also provide a forum for showcasing and sharing best practices in implementing employment equity.”

The award acknowledges the Queen’s Accessibility and Employment Equity Framework. Specifically, the University garnered praise for initiatives like the Diversity and Equity Assessment Planning (DEAP) tool.

The DEAP tool was created at the request of the Senate Educational Equity Committee and functions as a “self-audit tool,” for faculty, staff and now administrative units. 

Queen’s Equity Advisor Heidi Penning told The Journal the tool was created “to take a look at the student experience here at Queen’s and how it could be more inclusive with the understanding that inclusivity, for the student experience, goes beyond the classroom.”

The online tool works in three steps. First, units will sit down with their teams and engage in a self-assessment survey examining 12 inclusion indicators. Next, teams are invited to a goal-setting and action plan exercise to identify the indicators they would like to move on in the next few years and by how much.

Lastly, the teams “report on their action plan, how they are doing and where their successes were and if there were any barriers, what were they,” Penning said. 

The tool, “guides them right through the process. There are no paper or pens.”

The Journal reported during a Senate meeting last September that several members of faculty — notably Senator Eleanor MacDonald — expressed concerns about accessing the tool online. 

However, Penning said the issue was resolved quickly. “It is a simple thing – they email us then five minutes later, they have access … we just can’t have everyone accessing the system.”

Penning indicated the University is “currently rolling [the DEAP tool] out to administrative units,” adding that she thinks the administration has “a role to play in student success as well.”

“We really think engaging our governing bodies sets the tone from the top. If they are engaging with it, then we have our academic units and our administrative units, who all have a role to play in the student experience here at Queen’s,” she said.

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