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Equity Matters at Queen’s University October 2015

In This Issue

Upcoming Events

  • Human Rights Legislation Group November 5th
  • Tri-Awards Nomination Deadline December 22nd, 2015

Equity Office Blog Launch

Interested in joining the conversation on equity, diversity and inclusion at Queen's University?

Check out the Equity Office's blog 



Message from the Editor

Dear Queen’s University Community Member,

Welcome to the fourteenth 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 Opportunities for Growth and Transformation. Only a few months into the 2015-2016 academic term, opportunities for growth and transformation abound. In this newsletter, the From Diversity to Inclusion in the Workplace certificate is profiled, equity related hi-lights from the newest Queen’s University Faculty Association collective agreement are discussed, and the new Equity and Diversity Commissioner for the Society of Graduate and Professional Students (SGPS) is introduced.

In “Bits and Bites,” the spotlight is on the Queen’s University Faculty Association’s recently ratified collective agreement. In particular, attention is paid to changes directly related to equity and diversity.

The Equity in Focus section hi-lights the From Diversity to Inclusion in the Workplace certificate, presented by the Equity and Human Rights Offices in collaboration with Human Resources.

Using a Q & A format, Equity in the Community focuses on the incoming Society of Graduate and Professional Students (SGPS) Equity and Diversity Commissioner and her plans for the upcoming year. This piece is a continuation from our August 2015 newsletter, where we profiled Alex Chung, the Social Issues Commissioner for the Alma Mater Society.

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

Queen's University Faculty Association logo

Queen’s University Faculty Association – Employment Equity in the Collective Agreement

Over the summer months, unions representing both faculty and staff at Queen’s University were in negotiations. On July 29th, 2015 the university and the Queen’s University Faculty Association (QUFA) reached a tentative agreement. On August 21st, 2015, 95.48% of QUFA voting members voted to ratify the tentative collective agreement. The 2015-2019 Queen’s University – QUFA collective agreement

A summary of changes, article by article can be found on the QUFA website.

In the QUFA and Queen's University at Kingston collective agreement, article 24 specifically speaks to employment equity. During the course of bargaining a number of changes and/or additions were made to article 24. Below is a summary of some of the key changes to article 24.  Under article 24.1.4 the language bolded was added during this round of bargaining.

24.1.4 Consistent with principles of employment equity, the Parties agree that for appointment to positions to the University,

(a) the primary criterion is academic and professional excellence, and this criterion may take into account the diverse experiences of applicants and the many forms that scholarship can take;

(b) the criteria adopted in an appointment process must not systemically discriminate against members of equity-seeking groups;

(c) applicants shall not be disadvantaged by reason of minor career interruptions caused by family responsibilities or by reason of minor career interruptions caused by disability; and

(d) no candidate shall be recommended who does not meet the criteria for the appointment in question.

These additions to article 24.1.4 have strengthened and broadened the University’s and QUFA’s commitment to the principles of employment equity in the appointments process.

  • A further employment equity change to the 2015-2019 collective agreement is in relation to article 24.2.1 (training for Appointments Committees for Faculty, Librarian or Archivist positions, and on Personnel (Renewal/Reappointment, Tenure/Continuing Appointment and Promotion) Committees). Added to article 24.2.1 is the provision that members of appointments and renewal, tenure and promotion committees (excluding students) must have taken part (within the previous 10 years) in a familiarization and training workshop which shall cover the principles, objectives, recent history, best practices, and rules and institutional expectations with respect to employment equity. Prior to this change to article 24.2.1, there was no expiration date on the training which committee members received. With this change there is an expectation that members of appointments and renewal, tenure and promotion committees (excluding students) will re-fresh their training every 10 years.

Also included within the changes to article 24.2.1 is the removal of the requirement that student members of appointments and renewal, tenure and promotion committees receive equity training. Although, it is no longer required for student members of these committees to complete training, students may still take part in the training provided by the Equity Office.

Equity in Focus

From Diversity to Inclusion in the Workplace Certificate

Irene Bujara and Stephanie Simpson from the Human Rights Office

As hi-lighted in the theme for this newsletter, the start of a new academic term brings with it many new experiences and opportunities. New classes have begun for students and professional development opportunities for Queen’s staff and faculty abound.  Will 2015-2016 be your year to increase your knowledge and understanding of diversity and inclusion in the workplace?

If your interest is peaked or you answered YES to the question above, then the time is now to enroll in the From Diversity to Inclusion in the Workplace certificate (DIW) presented by the Equity and Human Rights Offices in collaboration with Human Resources. Want to learn more about diversity, inclusion and accessibility and are unsure about the time commitment involved in enrolling in the certificate program? Queen’s staff and faculty can take any of the courses offered as part of the DIW without enrolling in the certificate. Try a course or two and then decide if enrolling in the full certificate makes sense for you. Whether you are an expert in this area or curious about the concepts of diversity, inclusion and accessibility, the courses offered as part of DIW have something for everyone.

What can I expect from the certificate program? The program has been designed to provide participants with valuable knowledge and skills to work and learn in an inclusive work environment. It seeks to engage Queen’s staff and faculty in conversations, discovery, and learning about diversity and equity principles and to provide resources, knowledge, and tools required to make Queen’s an inclusive campus.

Specifically, the program offers participants, a theoretical framework for understanding equity and inclusion principles and concepts; helps participants develop necessary skills for equity and diversity work; and gives participants direct experience through interactive scenarios working and communicating across differences.

In total, there are 10 courses offered under the DIW umbrella. If you are interested in completing the DIW certificate there are three course components: six mandatory courses, two elective courses and two online courses.

Courses offered as part of the DIW certificate:

Accommodation: Disability, Faith, Gender and More
Anti-Oppression in the Workplace (Elective)
Anti-racism 101 (Elective)
Building Inclusive and Accessible Workplaces
Employment Equity: Moving Beyond Compliance
Expanding the Circle: Including Aboriginal Cultures in the Workplace
Gaining Competence in an Intercultural Workplace
Human Rights, Queen's and You
Sexual and Gender Violence and Harassment in the Workplace (Elective)
The Essentials of Sexual and Gender Diversity in the Workplace and Beyond

Since its beginning in 2013, a number of Queen’s University employees have completed courses offered under the umbrella of DIW and/or completed the certificate. Perhaps the best way to describe the DIW program is through the words of former participants. For this issue I reached out to Queen’s employees who have completed the DIW certificate and asked them a series of questions. Below are their thoughts on the DIW certificate program.

How would you describe the From Diversity to Inclusion in the Workplace certificate program to a colleague?

"This is a great course to understand all aspects of diversity in our complex workplace.  The instructors for each module are very knowledgeable. Stephanie Simpson is amazing. She is involved in over half of the courses. Since most of the people you meet at Queen’s are from one diverse group or another this is a great way to learn how it interact in a respectful manner, in the workplace."

"Diversity and inclusivity are integral to workplace discourse.  The certificate program effectively communicates the importance of trust, respect and a safe workplace.  Everyone on campus should participate in this program!   The instructors are extremely knowledgeable, approachable and engaging."

How has the completion of the From Diversity to Inclusion in the Workplace certificate program impacted your work at Queen’s?

"As a graduate assistant, not only has this course helped me with working well with my colleagues but with my students as well. A university by nature is a diverse workplace and knowing how to work every day with all the different people you come in contact with is a gift this course has given me.  I found this course gave me an overall knowledge on how to treat people in my workplace but it was the simple, little tips that I learned in each session, that I use every day. One of these is handing paper to someone with two hands, this is a sign of respect in a lot of cultures and it is a simple thing I can do every day. I might not need to hand a paper to everyone this way but for the person I don’t know who is looking for this respect it is important."

"Diversity is all encompassing now.  I’ve learned that it’s not a term meant simply for culture, race, gender, religion etc.  Diversity also refers to simple traits like personality and style. This program has reminded me to celebrate differences in my own workplace, appreciate uniqueness and learn from others.  Thank you for the opportunity!"

More information on the From Diversity to Inclusion in the Workplace certificate check out the Queen’s University Human Resources page.

Equity in the Community

Q & A with Erica Baker – Equity and Diversity Commissioner Society of Graduate and Professional Students (2015-2016)

Erica Baker in the library

Erica Baker -SGPS Equity and Diversity Commissioner

Can you tell me about yourself? (i.e. what year you are in, what you are studying, etc.)

I am a second year master's student in the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies (SKHS), with my research focusing on Indigenous health and knowledge translation in Hawaii. I'm writing this from Hawaii, actually, as I'm here for some field work before returning to Kingston for the winter.

Favourite place to hang-out and/or study on campus?

I love to work in our lab space in the SKHS building. We are very fortunate to have a very bright, warm, and open workspace where all of us who are in the socio-cultural stream of Kinesiology and Health Studies can gather. My colleagues are working on such exciting things academically that I enjoy the cross-pollination that the space produces through open dialogue and socializing.

What attracted you to the position of Equity and Diversity Commissioner?

My academic work is very much about equity and diversity-related issues. My undergraduate degree is in First Nations and Indigenous Studies from UBC, actually. When I first came to Queen's, I was looking for ways to continue my personal interests outside of the classroom. It was through some passionate googling that I came to find out about the different commissions that the SGPS had in place. From reading the description of the commission online, and seeing that there was a job opening, you could say that it was love at first sight.

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

Last academic year we changed our name from the Equity Commission to the Equity & Diversity Commission to better represent the breadth and depth of our mandate. Our challenge this year, as with any year, is to address this large mandate with a small but passionate team. There are always a large array of equity and diversity issues on campus that are in need of support and we want to be able to offer as much support to as many issues as possible. To help us do this, we are always welcoming in new members into the commission who are SGPS members that are interested in volunteering their time to address some of these issues with us. Volunteers can join us by emailing me at equity@sgps.ca.

What are some of the goals you hope to accomplish this year as Equity and Diversity Commissioner?

In the spring of 2015 we worked very closely with the Sexual Assault Policy and Prevention Working Group in developing the new policies that Queen's is getting ready to implement this year. Now we're looking towards how we implement these policies as a campus, and as the Equity & Diversity Commissioner I will be following this process very closely to do my part in ensuring the greatest degree of success.

Call for Nominations

For awards in the areas of accessibility, employment equity, and human rights

Steve Cutway Accessibility Award

The Steve Cutway Accessibility Award recognizes the outstanding contributions of faculty, staff and students towards advancing accessibility for persons with disabilities at Queen's.

The Employment Equity Award recognizes and celebrates the achievements of individuals, groups or organizations that are going above and beyond legislated requirements or their institutional mandate to help Queen’s become a truly representative and inclusive workplace.

The Human Rights Initiative Award is given in recognition of initiatives that have made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of equality and human rights at Queen’s.

Nomination Deadline: December 22nd, 2015

Members of the Queen’s University community are encouraged to consider nominating individuals from equity seeking groups such as women, racialized/visible minorities, Aboriginal peoples, persons with a disability, persons who identify in the LGBTQ+ community and those who reflect the diversity of Canadian society