Excellence in research and research training demands engagement from scholars who represent the broad diversity across the Canadian population and in particular at academic institutions.
Increased equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) within the Canada Research Chairs Program (CRCP) is an essential component of the federal government’s commitment to supporting excellent, innovative, and impactful research. Brock University has identified fostering a culture of inclusivity, accessibility, reconciliation, and decolonization as a strategic priority. This commitment foregrounds Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) considerations as one of the four pillars that guide the institution toward achieving our strategic aims and objectives.
Syna Thakur is Brock’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) in Research Advisor.
Brock University has provided a summary of the Brock University Strategic Research Plan 2019 – 2025 for the CRCP.
The Brock University Research Enterprise Strategic Plan 2018 – 2025 is the implementation plan for “Strategic Priority: Build research capacity across the University,” found on pages 19-20 of Brock University’s Institutional Strategic Plan 2018 -2025.
Brock’s EDI strategy consists of five identified goals:
- Ensure that equity, diversity, and inclusion are embedded in institutional strategic planning.
- Regularly gather relevant data regarding the needs of designated employment equity-seeking groups.
- Promote diversity across the complement of Canada Research Chairholders.
- Create a supportive and inclusive workplace for Chairholders.
- Support the research aspirations of and engagement with racialized scholars, with a focus on supporting Indigenous and Black scholars.
Brock’s strategy consists of a combination of broad and targeted communications, engagement with key stakeholders, and ongoing training. In particular, the strategy includes:
- Public web page: The web page recognizes the University’s commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion within the CRCP and the broader research enterprise, highlights its benefits, and includes all relevant information and documentation related to this commitment.
- Communication to all Faculties: A communication was sent to all Faculties iterating Brock University’s commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion. This communication highlighted the steps the institution is taking towards ensuring fair representation of all groups among our Canada Research Chairs and across our research enterprise, and also reiterates the agreement between the University and the Brock University Faculty Association that the University is better able to advance its essential functions, namely the pursuit, creation, and dissemination of knowledge through teaching and research, if members of designated groups are well represented in the bargaining unit.
- Engagement with stakeholders: Brock’s Vice President, Research and Director, Research Services met with key stakeholders to educate and engage them in this initiative, including the Brock University Faculty Association and the Senate Research and Scholarship Policy Committee.
- Training: As per the Equity Diversity and Inclusion Practices established by the Canada Research Chairs program, mandatory unconscious bias training, is offered to all faculty and staff involved in the recruitment and nomination of Chair holders.
This EDI Action Plan has been approved by the Provost and Vice-President, Academic and the CRC Selection Committee, and is aligned with Brock University’s Strategic Plan 2019-2025 and the 2020-2023 Collective Agreement Between Brock University and the Brock University Faculty Association (BUFA).
The Vice-President, Research is the administrative lead for coordinating the development and implementation of this EDI Action Plan. The CRC Selection Committee with resource support administers the Action Plan; its functions include information gathering, and implementing revisions and updates. The Vice-President, Research reports on the EDI Action Plan on an annual basis to the Senior Administrative Council (SAC), the body that oversees and monitors performance and progress on institutional plans and objectives, and to the Research and Scholarship Policy Committee of Senate (R&SPC). Brock’s President and Vice-Presidents take collective responsibility for ensuring that employment policies, practices, and procedures are consistent with the Employment Equity Strategy, and for achieving Employment Equity in their respective divisions. Faculty Deans and Associate Deans are responsible for the day-to-day implementation of this Plan and its principles within their respective areas.
SAC is well-positioned to provide executive oversight on EDI Action Plan outcomes, given the extent to which EDI is embedded in Brock’s Strategic Plan and its accompanying unit plans. It is a central body that will ensure that progress toward Brock’s EDI goals for the CRC program are fully embedded within the coordination and implementation of all strategic activities of the institution. Accountability for progress and the implementation of the EDI Action Plan is an explicit element of the accountability of the Vice-President, Research, under the research priority of the Strategic Plan. This is undertaken moreover in collaboration with the Provost, who is assigned leadership for the implementation of the Strategic Plan priority of inclusivity and decolonization. That is, the full set of unit plans identify and document strategically relevant activities that are undertaken in support of all four pillars of the Strategic Plan including both “Build research capacity across the university,” and “Foster a culture of accessibility, inclusion, reconciliation and decolonization.” The Vice-Provost, Indigenous Engagement and the Director, Human Rights and Equity, are both key members of this group.
SAC’s mandate encompasses reviewing and advising the President on matters of strategic planning. This mandate therefore includes:
- Developing and determining metrics, and reporting processes and governance frameworks to support and track the implementation and success of the Plan;
- Receiving reports on implementation activities associated with the Plan;
- Coordinating activities and providing advice and direction to advance the realization of the Plan; and
- Reviewing, in conjunction with the President/Vice-Presidents Group, the annual reports to the Senate, Board of Trustees, and the University community regarding implementation and metrics as well as the mid-term and final report on Plan outcomes.
Under the Integrated Strategic Plan, institutional budgetary and resource planning is performed in the service of the four strategic priorities of the Plan. From Brock’s multi-year fiscal framework document through to in-year budgetary considerations, institutional decision-making implicates and is held responsible to an underlying commitment to EDI in multiple forms. With EDI embedded at the highest levels of the institution and reinforced through budgetary and planning decisions, it is a central pillar of all activities at the University.
The Research and Scholarship Policy Committee, by contrast, is a collegial Senate body with a mandate to develop and advise on policy related to research, scholarship, and creative activity. Regular reporting on EDI Action Plan progress to this Senate committee ensures institutional transparency, the integration of the EDI Action Plan with the broader academic missions of the University, and an open opportunity for feedback and continuous improvement of the Plan based on collegial input.
Process for Developing Brock’s EDI Action Plan
In 2017, in preparation for the first EDI Action Plan, the Office of the Vice President, Research struck a Working Group composed of the Vice-President, Research; the Provost and Vice-President, Academic; the University Secretary; the Senior Advisor, Human Rights and Equity; the Director, Research Services; the Director, Government Relations; and a Chairholder and with support from the Research Officer, Institutional Grants, Research Prizes and Awards. The Working Group was mandated to conduct a review of current employment policies and practices at Brock, identify institutional challenges, and suggest ways of reducing barriers to employment, retention, and advancement of Chairholders. Subsequent revisions to the Plan have been undertaken by the CRC Selection Committee, which includes engagement by the highest levels of the administration at Brock including the Provost and Vice-President, Academic; the Vice-President, Research; the Associate Vice-President, Research; and the Dean, Graduate Studies; as well as the Director, Human Rights and Equity and the Director, Research Services.
For this 2020 Plan, additional research was undertaken to address feedback from the CRCP Secretariat. Input was sought from numerous stakeholders, including new, existing, and past Chairholders, and members of the four designated groups, as described in more detail below. Careful attention has been devoted to the CRCP’s best practices and feedback through the review process. This information, in conjunction with the employment systems review, comparative review, and environmental scans, resulted in the development of the five goals articulated in this Plan.
Review of the EDI Action Plan
Future iterations of the Plan will be reviewed and updated by the CRC Selection Committee, drawing additional input from:
a. current and past Chairholders;
b. the President’s Advisory Committee on Human Rights, Equity, and Decolonization;
c. the Vice-Provost, Indigenous Engagement;
d. the Accessibility and Inclusion Advisor;
e. the Associate Vice-President, Human Resources; and
f. staff and faculty members whose research focus or membership in an equity-seeking group offer valuable contributions to the Plan.
Additional information on the research, results, and other supporting documentation are found in the corresponding analyses presented throughout this document. These analyses formed the basis upon which this Plan was developed and the five goals articulated.
CRCs are faculty members at Brock University, therefore the Provost is ultimately responsible for ensuring the proper handling of equity and any resulting disputes and grievances. Any questions, concerns, or disputes related to equity and the CRCP will be managed by the Office of the Provost and Vice-President, Academic, as per the BUFA Collective Agreement. Dr. Lynn Wells took up the position of Provost and Vice President, Academic as of July 1, 2020.
Dr. Lynn Wells
Provost & Vice-President, Academic
Phone: 905-688-5880 x4121
Concerns related to EDI are addressed through Human Rights and Equity (HRE), which is a confidential office reporting to the President of the University. HRE deals with discrimination, sexual harassment, and general harassment complaints. HRE services are complainant-driven, confidential, and available to all members of the Brock community. In addition to individual complaints, HRE may also examine University processes where there are allegations of inequitable treatment or outcomes. Systemic complaints may be raised by or through HRE under the University’s Respectful Work and Learning Environment Policy (RWLEP) or the Sexual Assault and Harassment Policy (SAHP). Concerns and complaints can be initiated by contacting Chelsea Takalo, Interim Director of Human Rights and Equity (firstname.lastname@example.org) or email@example.com. HRE monitors complaints on an ongoing basis to identify trends that could signal the presence of systematic, organizational, or cultural issues. HRE presents data to the Board three times a year reflecting disclosure numbers, complaint types, areas of identified liability, and observed trends. In addition, HRE prepares an annual report to the President and the Board with aggregate data and deeper analysis about trends at Brock.
Policies and statements regarding Faculty Appeals, Conduct, Discipline, Grievances, Rights, and Responsibilities can be found within the BUFA Collective Agreement. Additional policies, such as the Employment Equity Policy and the Employment Accommodation Policy are administered by Human Resources.
Overall program statistics from the Tri-Agency Institutional Programs Secretariat document the appointment of Canada Research Chairs from four designated employment equity-seeking groups: women, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, and members of visible minorities.
Prior to 2019, Brock University established institutional goals for the recruitment, promotion, and advancement of women, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, and members of visible minorities based upon the target-setting tool used by the Tri-Agency Institutional Programs Secretariat. Brock is now working toward meeting the 2029 equity targets identified as a result of the 2019 Addendum to the 2006 Canadian Human Rights Settlement Agreement. Brock attends carefully to these equity targets when recruiting or nominating potential CRCs or renewing existing CRCs to ensure that our CRC complement will meet or exceed the following targets by 2029:
- Women 50.9%
- Persons with disabilities 7.5%
- Indigenous peoples 4.9%
- Members of visible minorities 22%
Brock University’s Equity Target Plans (July 2023) is found here
The population-based institutional equity targets from 2021 to 2029 are found here
Brock University is required to report each December on progress in implementing the Brock University Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Action Plan, including efforts made to meet or exceed the CRCP equity targets and university-wide initiatives to enhance equity and inclusion. A new progress report for December 2021 to December 2022 is currently in development and will be available December 2023.
Brock University’s CRCP Utilization Spreadsheet, generated by the Canada Research Chairs Program, outlines how many Chair allocations Brock has, how many are filled and by which Chair holders (with their term end and start dates), and which allocations are available. The Chair allocations also include a limited number of flex moves.
Brock University is actively committed to diversity and the principles of employment equity and invites applications from all qualified candidates. Women, Indigenous peoples, members of visible minorities, people with disabilities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) persons are encouraged to apply and to voluntarily self-identify as a member of a designated group as part of their application.
Consistent with our Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Action Plan, applications are particularly encouraged from individuals who will assist the institution in achieving equity targets. To ensure accurate data regarding Brock’s Canada Research Chair program, all applicants are requested to respond to the voluntary self-identification questions presented in the online application system. Differing career patterns may be more common among members of designated groups, and those who have experienced leaves from the workplace. These differences will be taken into account in assessing the experiences and qualifications of applicants.
All postings for Canada Research Chairs are open to internal and external candidates, unless otherwise noted.
Further details regarding EDI practices can be found on the CRCP Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Requirements and Practices page, including the specific requirements for recruiting and nominating Canada Research Chairs.
These requirements and recommended practices were established in response to the 2019 Addendum to the 2006 Canadian Human Rights Settlement Agreement.
- Brock University Strategic Research Plan 2019-2025
- Brock University Research Enterprise Strategic Plan 2018 – 2022
- Collective Agreement Between Brock University and the Brock University Faculty Association (Brock–BUFA Collective Agreement) 2020-2023
- Employment Equity
- Employment Accommodation
- Respectful Work and Learning Environment Policy
- Sexual Assault and Harassment Policy