Equity Office

Equity Office
Equity Office

Equity Matters at Queen’s University August 2015

Message from the Editor

Dear Queen’s University Community Member,

Welcome to the thirteenth issue of Equity Matters at Queen’s, a bi-monthly electronic newsletter from the Queen’s University Equity Office.

The theme of this issue is Looking Forward. In a little under a month, a new academic term will begin and in this issue we showcase incoming student leaders, profile exciting initiatives and introduce new staff within the Equity Office.

“Bits and Bites,” includes a review of the Diversity and Equity Assessment and Planning (DEAP) tool.

In the Equity in Focus section, readers are introduced to the Equity Office’s newest staff member, Andrew Ashby.

Using a Q & A format, Equity in the Community focuses on the incoming Alma Mater Society (AMS) Social Issues Commissioner and her plans around equity and diversity in the upcoming year.

We would like to thank you for taking the time to read our newsletter.  We invite you to share your comments and suggestions for future topics concerning equity at Queen’s and beyond.  Please contact us at equity@queensu.ca.

- The Equity Office at Queen’s University

Employment Equity: Bits and bites

Diversity and Equity Assessment and Planning (DEAP) Tool

What is the DEAP Tool?

The DEAP Tool was developed by the Queen’s University Equity Office to assist academic units in better understanding the equity and diversity environment and climate within their respective departments and faculties. DEAP is an internal self-audit tool  allowing Units to:

  • Understand the demographic profile of their staff, faculty, and students
  • Assess how inclusive the Unit is
  • Provide an opportunity to reflect on areas in need of improvement using the Diversity Score Card assessment template
  • Support requests for resources or modifications to further commitments to equity and diversity
  • Develop an action plan and timeline to enhance inclusion

The Twelve Indicators of Educational Inclusion

To achieve the goal of better understanding the working environment and climate relating to equity and diversity at the university, twelve indicators of equity and diversity in education were established to ensure that diversity is embedded within all facets of academia.

The twelve indicators of educational inclusion systematically catalogue the ways in which an organization can demonstrate its commitment to improving diversity and inclusiveness in various areas.  These are listed below.

The Twelve Indicators of Educational Inclusion
Strategic Planning Staff Recruitment
Policies and Procedures Library Collections
Committee Representation Communication and Community Relations
Admission and Selection of Learners Curriculum Development
Support Programs for Learners Accessibility
Faculty Recruitment Consulting Aboriginal Communities

Endorsement from the Provost and Vice Principal (Academic)

In a letter addressed to all Deans at Queen’s University, Alan Harrison, Provost and Vice-Principal

(Academic), stated that the cyclical engagement of Units with the DEAP Tool is strongly encouraged and allows the university to fulfill one of the primary recommendations in the 2011 Academic Plan. The 2011 Academic Plan states: “a university-wide equity plan, in consultation with student and administrative equity bodies should be implemented. In addition, all departments and faculties on campus should be encouraged to develop their own equity committees and plans. This sort of structure will ensure that broad university plans are implemented at the departmental level, and that overall university planning remains sensitive to the needs and experiences of individual departments and faculties.” (P.9 Queen’s University Academic Plan Final.)

How Does the DEAP Tool Work?

The DEAP tool is completed in three main steps. First, the unit is invited to complete the self-assessment survey which provides a series of questions related to the “Twelve Indicators of Inclusion.” Questions in the twelve categories systemically catalogue the ways in which an organization can demonstrate its commitment to increasing diversity and equity at a number of levels. After completing this first part, the tool provides a report card like summary of the results. Based on these results, the unit is invited to set goals around area(s) of particular priority. In the final phase of the DEAP tool, the unit is invited to complete a summary report highlighting key equity objectives and areas of focus and a plan for implementation. 

It is important to note that throughout this process Equity Advisors are available for guidance and support.

How Do I Learn More About the DEAP Tool?

If you are interested in learning more about the DEAP Tool you have a few options:

Equity in Focus

Andrew Ashby – Accessibility Coordinator

Andrew Ashby

Andrew Ashby – Accessibility Coordinator

Please join us in extending a warm welcome to Andrew Ashby, the newest member of the Equity Office. Andrew has a background in Civil and Environmental Engineering, Computer Programming and Adaptive Technology. He has been working at Queen’s since 2004. Prior to joining the Equity Office, Andrew spent 11 years working as an Adaptive Technologies Specialist for Disability Services. In a recent conversation, Andrew described his passion for disability issues, web design and technology. He stated, “as a person living with a disability, I fully appreciate the significance of being able to work and learn at Queen’s in a way that takes into account dignity, independence, integration and equality of opportunity.”

As the Accessibility Coordinator, Andrew is responsible for the coordination of accessibility initiatives throughout the university, including those initiatives stemming from the requirements of the Accessibility of Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). In his role, Andrew works collaboratively within the Queen’s community to provide skills and services that will ensure a coordinated approach to accessibility.

In addition to these responsibilities, Andrew maintains the Accessibility Hub . For those of you not already familiar with the Accessibility Hub, I asked Andrew to provide an overview of the Accessibility Hub and its primary features and areas of responsibility. As described by Andrew, “the Accessibility Hub has information around accessibility and disability at Queen’s and the Kingston community. This includes information for students, faculty, staff, or visitors with disabilities. The Accessibility Hub not only provides support and feedback concerning accessibility initiatives, it also serves as an online community for those seeking information on disability and accessibility issues on campus, and assists the university in meeting its obligations under the AODA.”

What might surprise people about the Accessibility Hub? In my conversation with Andrew, he indicated that people might be surprised by the amount and range of information available through the Hub. He stated “the information is not just for persons with disabilities but also there to assist all people in the Queen’s community in an effort to build a more accessible and inclusive environment. (i.e. the How-To-Section, teaching resources, University Instructional Design, the AODA, campus services, etc.)” If you haven’t already visited the Accessibility Hub please click on the link above and see for yourself the range of information and services available. Welcome to the Equity Office Andrew!

Andrew’s contact information:

Phone: ext. 75734 & Email: ashby@queensu.ca

Equity in the Community

Q & A with Alex Chung – Social Issues Commissioner Alma Mater Society (2015-2016)

Alex Chung

Alex Chung is a 4th year Psychology student

What attracted you to the position of Social Issues Commissioner?

My involvement and interest in social justice education and advocacy spans quite a long way back, and I have always found it to be extremely emotionally and intellectually challenging in the best way possible.

The Social Issues Commissioner aims to encourage discourse within the student population to tackle social issues while striving for progress towards an equitable environment both on a systemic level as well as in individual micro-realities of student life on campus. I applied to this position because not only do I wholeheartedly believe in this mandate; I feel the urgency of it. For students at Queen’s, oppression often takes the form of everyday subtleties and micro-aggressions that too frequently go unaddressed. I saw this position as an opportunity to address these issues with true advocacy potential, and thus strive for an equitable community in which all individualities and intersectionalities can thrive.

What do you anticipate as some of the challenges you will face this upcoming year?

The AMS mandates a 100% annual turnover in full-time positions, ensuring equal opportunity for all students. As a result of this turnover, the uptake of information and acclimatization to the new role is extremely expedited, and thus I feel as though I am truly embracing the essence of “you learn something new every day”. Though it is challenging, I also appreciate the fresh perspective I am able to bring to each day and the resulting malleability of my ideas.

Meanwhile, social issues are ever-changing by nature, and thus the challenge that all anti-oppressive initiatives face is that advocacy efforts must stay relevant and cognizant of the changing climate. Ultimately, I believe that these two challenges coincide to complement one another.

What are some of the goals you hope to accomplish this year as Social Issues Commissioner?

One of the goals I hope to accomplish before the start of the academic year, is to create a lounge designated for LGBTQ+ identifying individuals, hosted and staffed by the Education on Queer Issues Project (EQuIP). With a generous donation from the Positive Space Program, the planning for this new lounge space is well underway, and the hope is to see its completion by mid-August.

Another goal I feel extremely passionately about, is the support and recognition of students struggling with the financial inaccessibility of post-secondary education. Recognizing that it is inevitably difficult for students struggling financially to excel academically, we hope to eliminate some of the barriers for said students, effectively making their experience at Queen’s as financially accessible as possible. One of the ways in which we hope to achieve this goal is by restructuring the operations of the AMS Food Bank, such that it is able to service as many students as possible with basic nutrition, free of cost.