Letter to the Editor: July 15th

Dear editors,

I want to share with The Journal readership the details of actions we are taking at Smith to address equity and diversity. This effort requires a comprehensive approach focusing on multiple aspects of the school’s operations, as our challenges do not arise nor resolve from the actions of any individual or any specific program. The responsibility is school-wide as will be the response and ultimate success.

In the last few years we made a number of changes including equity preparation and representation on every hiring panel, and adjusting a key part of the Commerce admissions process - the Personal Statement of Experience - to tackle hidden bias and focus on diversity considerations. New roles were created for Indigenous recruitment, and diversity and inclusivity student support. Curriculum content was enhanced, a partnership with Catalyst Canada on corporate diversity launched, and support provided to important student events and initiatives including  EDGE,  QCMHA, and Reconciliation on Bay, among others.

But there is more to do and the work continues. In February, I mandated a Smith-wide Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Indigeneity (EDII) Task Force of students, faculty and staff to lead a multi-faceted program overseeing: enhanced training; changes to physical and virtual spaces; further curriculum adjustments; policy, process and practice reform including recruitment and admissions, and removing systemic barriers and implicit bias; and advancing EDII through open dialogue with students, student societies, staff, faculty and alumni.

The Task Force has already announced some immediate actions in preparation for the fall term. Details, ongoing up-dates, and members can be found at smithqueens.com/inclusion.

The school’s leadership team and I commit to meaningful change. Active engagement of faculty, staff, students and alumni is essential to accelerate progress and we as a community take responsibility to contribute in positive ways to fostering a culture of inclusion, dignity and respect. 

Brenda Brouwer

Dean, Smith School of Business


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