Following months of student advocacy, Smith School of Business releases EDII Strategy & Action Plan

Reform Smith proposal informed action plan 

Reform Smith released its proposal in September.

Smith School of Business released its EDII Strategy and Action Plan in March with an aim to take responsibility and hold itself accountable to principles and values of equity, diversity, inclusion and Indigeneity (EDII). 

“The work ahead of us is both challenging and vitally important,” Brenda Brouwer, interim dean at Smith, said in a March 12 statement.

Commitments detailed in the plan fall under six core areas: responsible conduct; accessible and inclusive student experience; teaching and learning; support, resources, and capacity; research and thought leadership; and community.

According to a press release on behalf of Smith, the plan includes targets and performance measurements that align with the goals and assess Smith’s progress toward achieving them. 

The release said progress updates will be shared campus-wide, and the action plan will continue to evolve as a “living document” building on the framework and maintaining “momentum toward a cultural shift.”

“We are answerable to the community for the commitments we make,” said Dean Brouwer. “It is through the efforts of many and support of all that we will deliver on the plans.” 

In a statement to The Journal, Brouwer said the Smith EDII Task Force and its component working groups played a key role in developing draft recommendations and mapping them onto core dimensions. 

According to Brouwer, the school facilitated consultations with groups of undergraduate students, graduate students, Smith staff and faculty, and invited the community to participate in an online survey. 

The early draft contained recommendations from virtual town halls with faculty and staff; group consultations with the Smith EDII Task Force and working group co-chairs; the EDII alumni working group; leaders of Reform Smith; and other equity-focused student groups. 

Reform Smith manages Instagram account @StolenbySmith and was an active advocacy group throughout the drafting process of the plan. It released an Equity Proposal last September outlining a comprehensive list of recommendations to improve equity within the business school, several of which are reflected in the Action Plan.

According to an Instagram post, the proposal was a culmination of more than 2,000 hours of research “into the best equity practices of other institutions, and consultations with Smith students, alumni, staff, and faculty.” 

Brouwer said it’s important the Queen’s community sees where energy and efforts have been focused.

“It also sets goals and defines measures by which we will monitor and publicly report progress,” Brouwer said. 

“Its ultimate goal is to eliminate forms of discrimination that have perpetuated inequities in our environment, curricula, research, and administrative operations, and change attitudes that have disadvantaged and harmed some and privileged others.” 

The plan is anchored in a commitment to accountability, Brouwer said, with long-term objectives to drive system-wide and cultural change at Smith. 

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