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Editor’s Note, December 2019

The new era of EDI
Efforts to promote equity, diversity and inclusion are sweeping Canada’s campuses

It wasn’t that long ago, perhaps a couple of years, when I first had to have the acronym EDI explained to me. It refers to equity, diversity and inclusion, and the concept is sweeping campuses from one end of the country to the other.

The term, not surprisingly, has also made its way into the magazine. As just one example, in the People section, there are at least a couple of new appointments of EDI officers or administrators. We also have a story in our Nota Bene section on the new Statistics Canada Survey of Postsecondary Faculty and Researchers, which was launched to fill in the informational gaps around the level of EDI at colleges and universities. As well, we have a story online, published on November 5, detailing the results of a new survey of Universities Canada members on their EDI activities. It found, among other things, that 70 percent of institutions either have or are in the process of developing an EDI action plan – which explains in part those new EDI appointments.

Our cover story this month is also EDI-related. The academic environment, though slowly changing, still lacks a reputation as a flexible, family-friendly workplace. There are some accommodations in place for women who take a maternity leave of usual length; but, as writer Lesley Evans Ogden reports, there is very little support for women who wish to return to academe after an extended career break for child-rearing. As Ms. Evans Ogden writes, “Instead of expecting women academics to alter their life course to fit a rigid institutional structure, what if the institutional structure modernized to fit today’s diverse workforce?”

Elsewhere in this issue, we have a timely feature on how to engage students more in assessment, and an excerpt from the book Course Correction: A Map for the Distracted University, by Paul Gooch. To illustrate the latter, our graphic designer Judith Lacerte searched stock images of young people, but found the photos weren’t diverse enough. So, she approached Dr. Gooch, who still teaches a seminar course in the Vic One program at the University of Toronto, to ask if we could send a photographer to photograph some of his students. The answer was yes, and the photos you see accompanying the article are all students in his class – and what a nice-looking bunch they are.

Léo Charbonneau