Brock University is launching a series of actions to advance equity and inclusion at the institution. These involve important steps towards achieving the objectives established in Brock’s Institutional Strategic Plan, approved by Senate and the Board of Trustees, which prioritizes fostering a campus culture of inclusivity, accessibility, reconciliation and decolonization.
The initiatives include new scholarships and bursaries to attract graduate students from under-represented groups; new training and education programming in equity and inclusion related areas; and a commitment to ensure that Brock communicates and celebrates the research successes of those from all backgrounds.
“This is the time to advance our efforts and to continue the gains we have made towards a more just and inclusive university community,” says Brock President Gervan Fearon.
“Brock’s core mission and guiding principles are built around a common understanding that the University must be inclusive, equitable and welcoming to all. We have made progress over recent years, but substantial work remains to meet the needs and expectations of our students and society today. It is about creating new horizons. These are steps on the pathway towards building an equitable and inclusive university that supports the future growth and success of Canada.”
The multi-faceted initiative includes actions in a number of areas to help advance equity and inclusivity efforts, including new investments to support graduate students as well as enhanced and expanded training and outreach.
Funding new graduate student scholarships through the Brock Horizon Scholarship
The President, Provost and Vice-President, Research are allocating $1-million to fund scholarships and bursaries to high-achieving graduate students from under-represented groups.
The Brock Horizon Graduate Student Scholarships will help ensure that Brock continues to attract stellar researchers and students from various fields while building a diverse and inclusive university community.
The goal will be to support 20 graduate students each year over the next 10 years. Terms of reference for these awards will be developed in consultation with the Human Rights and Equity Office; the Dean of Graduate Studies; the Vice-Provost, Indigenous Engagement; and the Provost.
“Brock Horizon Graduate Student Scholars will help us see the world from a wider perspective because we cannot clearly understand and solve problems without welcoming views and students who bring different life experiences and backgrounds to our campus,” says Tim Kenyon, Vice-President, Research.
Education and training
Brock has taken steps over the past few years to improve on-campus training and education while providing increased equity and inclusivity programming. Over the coming year, new training will be provided across the campus.
The Human Rights and Equity Office will make equity and inclusion training available, including training regarding graduate supervision.
For Brock staff, training will be offered regarding the Respectful Working and Learning Environment Policy and the Sexual Assault and Harassment Policy. The University will also encourage individuals serving on search committees to take part in unconscious bias training prior to starting their work.
“There are practices and processes we can all learn to help understand unconscious bias and other factors that lead to a less inclusive university,” says Leela MadhavaRau, Brock’s Director of Human Rights and Equity.
Celebrating research success
Success begets success, and Brock will deepen its ongoing effort to share stories and content highlighting the achievements of its diverse faculty and researchers. These success stories will include profiles in The Brock News, video content, social media posts and stories in traditional media.
“Brock has a rich and diverse story to tell,” says Gord Arbeau, Associate Vice-President Advancement and External Relations. “It is our obligation to disseminate research findings and activities across all our platforms so that they form the fabric of our Brock brand. Finding and sharing stories of our research success is already part of our daily work at Brock, and now it will be further advanced.”
President Fearon has asked the Provost, Vice-President Research, Dean of Graduate Studies and the Director of Human Rights and Equity to play leadership roles in implementing these initiatives.
“Institutions and organizations across the country and around the world are seizing this moment to take action to make their communities better, more inclusive and stronger,” said Fearon. “ Since joining the Brock University community, I have become increasingly proud and impressed by our shared commitment to build a university in support of all our students, our faculty and our staff.
“Brock is a community-engaged university, and through the Brock Horizon Initiative we are aiming to contribute to the betterment of society for all Canadians, and to create new possibilities for all students.”