LAND ACKNOWLEDGMENT

Ni manàdjiyànànig Màmìwininì Anishinàbeg, ogog kà nàgadawàbandadjig iyo akì eko weshkad. Ako nongom ega wìkàd kì mìgiwewàdj.

Ni manàdjiyànànig kakina Anishinàbeg ondaje kaye ogog kakina eniyagizidjig enigokamigàg Kanadàng eji ondàpinangig endàwàdjin Odàwàng.

Ninisidawinawànànig kenawendamòdjig kije kikenindamàwin; weshkinìgidjig kaye kejeyàdizidjig.

Nigijeweninmànànig ogog kà nìgànì sòngideyedjig; weshkad, nongom; kaye àyànikàdj.

 

Listen to the audio file made by Joan Commanda Tenasco, an Anishinàbekwe from Kitigàn Zìbìng near Maniwaki, Quebec. She is a semi-retired Algonquin language teacher and continues to develop curriculum. She also works as a translator to ensure the continuous existence of the Anishinàbe language.

 

We pay respect to the Algonquin people, who are the traditional guardians of this land. We acknowledge their longstanding relationship with this territory, which remains unceded.

We pay respect to all Indigenous people in this region, from all nations across Canada, who call Ottawa home.

We acknowledge the traditional knowledge keepers, both young and old.

And we honour their courageous leaders: past, present, and future.

INTRODUCTION

The Faculty of Arts is dedicated to creating a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment for everyone. As part of our commitment to Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity (EDI), we recognize the ways in which racism negatively affects the health and wellness of Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) including staff, students and faculty members on our predominantly white uOttawa campus. As such, we need to work on building a sense of belonging for everyone if we are to achieve the shift in culture that will lead to lasting positive change.

The elements within the Building Belonging Action Plan have been in development since early 2020. These include values, principles, goals, pillars, and a timeline of concrete actions and activities. Once implemented, this Action Plan, along with other actions undertaken by the university, will lead us to a shift in accountability as well as a greater understanding of the challenges that have been, and continue to be faced by the BIPOC community and by other groups systematically at risk of discrimination and exclusion. We invite you to become familiar with the plan and join with us as we implement it and ensure its evolution. Together we can actively combat discrimination, racism, and racial inequalities, as we build a better future for everyone at uOttawa.

This work has been ongoing, of course. For the past several years, the Faculty has taken a series of steps to create an environment that supports indigenous culture and peoples, including our 2019 launch of the Institute for Indigenous Research and Studies.

This action plan expands upon that work, and widens our focus. We have gained inspiration from professors and students in the Faculty of Arts, many of whom have used their scholarly activities to highlight how white and Eurocentric perspectives have built barriers that prevent inclusion. To move forward, we must acknowledge and learn from the wide-ranging discrimination and inequalities that have been experienced on our campus, and we must make positive changes in a timely fashion. With this in mind, we look forward to strengthening our university community and collective place of learning.

PURPOSE AND VALUES OF THE PLAN

The Faculty of Arts is composed of many individuals from diverse backgrounds. We have a responsibility to educate ourselves on the various realities, experiences, assets, achievements and concerns of all members of our Faculty community. This knowledge is indispensable and essential for creating and maintaining an environment that prioritizes the fair and equitable access to safety, well-being, and equal opportunity for all.

We cannot ignore the racial inequalities and other forms of systematic discrimination and exclusion entrenched in our history and their long-lasting effects in the present day. In addition, we need to recognize the ongoing struggles students, professors and staff from these groups still face at this moment.

We must go beyond knowledge to action; we must not only understand the various realities lived within our Faculty but also actively work towards enhancing the everyday experience of all members of our community.

In designing this Building Belonging Action Plan, we are guided by several core values including our commitment to equity, respect, integrity and a collaborative approach to identifying the best actions and initiatives for our community.

BASIC PRINCIPLES OF THE PLAN

1)      Comprehensive

It must reach all activities in which we engage (teaching, administration and research).

2)      Inclusive

It must take into account all members of our Faculty’s community (staff, students and professors).

3)      Informed

It must draw on the expertise of members of our community with lived experience, teaching experience and research knowledge.

4)      Collaborative

It must be developed in partnership with members of our community who systematically experience discrimination and exclusion.

5)      Evolving

It must learn from and draw on existing resources and plans, and will be amended as needed, to reflect ongoing consultation with our community. As such, this is a living document.

GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

1.     Make the Faculty safe and inclusive so that students, staff, and professors can learn and work in dignity, and feel a sense of belonging.

2.     Create a safe environment where we can grow as learners and be leaders in antiracism and inclusivity.

3.     Help shape the vision and strategy of the Faculty of Arts and ensure a critical voice for equity, diversity and inclusivity within the Faculty.

 

THE FOUR PILLARS

PILLAR #1: STUDENT EXPERIENCE

This pillar focuses on improving the student experience for those systematically at risk of discrimination and exclusion within the faculty, whether it be academically, socially, philanthropically or the many other ways students are involved within the university environment.

PILLAR #2: WORKFORCE EQUITY

This pillar focuses primarily on creating an equitable work environment for all employees within the faculty. More specifically, it is geared towards challenging inequitable systemic structures in an effort to establish processes and practices that will attract and retain a more diverse and representative workforce.

PILLAR #3: PEDAGOGY AND RESEARCH THAT IS EQUAL, DIVERSE AND INCLUSIVE

This pillar focuses on the promotion of relevant EDI informed research to bring systemic intellectual change to the Faculty landscape while informing pedagogy and fostering research opportunities that further EDI goals, attract and retain diverse professors and students, and allow scholars to reach their full potential unimpeded by inequitable practices or research environments.

PILLAR #4: CULTURE AND COMMITMENT

This pillar focuses on improving the culture within our Faculty by cultivating positive attitudes and knowledge, by developing and sustaining EDI commitments and resources through leadership and governance, and by improving our physical/ virtual environment to ensure a climate of dignity, respect and inclusion where all members of our community feel a sense of belonging.

ACTIONS AND INITIATIVES

 

 

ACTION or INITIATIVE

PROJECTED TIMELINE

STUDENT EXPERIENCE

  • Vice-Dean Student’s meetings with BIPOC students and student groups to forge partnerships and to listen.
  • Vice-Dean Students meetings with University Services (counselling, SASS, Research units) to seek opportunities to collaborate in support of BIPOC students.
  • Launch of the Arts Bistro to support mental health needs of all students and to provide resources to BIPOC students specifically.
  • Provided professors with a statement on anti-racism that they could include in the course syllabi for the winter 2021 semester.
  • Collaborated in “Playing Together Against Racism”, in which musicians from the School of Music collaborated with youth BIPOC members of the community to create a virtual concert.
  • Curated and organized a series of events and conferences to celebrate Black History Month.
  • Hosted a virtual Conference with Anti-Racism activist César Ndéma-Moussa and Black student leaders as they engaged in an authentic and meaningful conversation about questions of racism and inclusivity with members of our student and staff community.

Completed

  • Enhance service offering of BEPC and BES to better support BIPOC students.

Short term

(0-3 months)

  • Launch a series of Student Inclusivity Focus Groups composed of alumni and students (graduate and undergraduate) to listen, gather feedback and seek guidance on our actions and initiatives.
  • Develop new courses focused on anti-racism at both graduate and undergraduate levels (for the 21-22 school year).

Medium term

(4-12 months)

  • Coming soon.

Long term

(12 + months)

WORKFORCE EQUITY

  • Offered training in Unconscious Bias to members of hiring committees to ensure consideration of EDI in all aspects of recruitment and hiring of Faculty members.
  • Several departments have reviewed their job postings to incorporate language that is more inclusive.

Completed

  • Coming soon.

Short term

(0-3 months)

  • Offer voluntary anti-racism training to staff, professors and students.
  • Offer voluntary anti-oppression training for staff, professors and students.
  • Review recruiting process for all in order to ensure it is an equitable process.

Medium term

(4-12 months)

  • Review and update policies and structures within the faculty that could inadvertently maintain inequitable practices or systemic biases.

Long term

(12 + months)

PEDAGOGY & RESEARCH that is EQUAL, DIVERSE AND INCLUSIVE

  • Hosted the “Arts Innovation” conference with the theme “Creativity and Adaptability” to explore how the panelists, all BIPOC alumni, navigate and succeed.
  • Organized workshops for professors to explore challenges in teaching difficult topics including racism/anti-racism.
  • Launched a Community of Practice for APTPUO profs to discuss issues related to pedagogy and evaluation and to engage in questions of teaching difficult topics.
  • Invested funds in research that address issues of EDI and racism:
    • Research funding for topping up UROP awards that focus on questions of anti-Black racism, decolonialization, equity and diversity, indigeneity.
    • Research funding to support professors or graduate students conducting research that addresses questions of racism or EDI.
  • Host the inaugural Faculty of Arts Dialogue Series on Anti-Black racism.

Completed

  • Coming soon.

Short term

(0-3 months)

  • Coming soon.

Medium term

(4-12 months)

  • Hire an Indigenizing/EDI curriculum consultant to support Directors of Graduate and Undergraduate studies as they decolonize course descriptions and titles and explore the launch of new courses in EDI and indigenous studies.
  • Explore development of a Living Learning Community in partnership with the Institute of Indigenous Research and Studies and Housing Services to support Indigenous students in their academic experience and in their mental health.

Long term

(12 + months)

CULTURE & COMMITMENT

  • Established EDI and Anti-Black Racism as priorities during the Dean’s Management Team summer 2020 retreat.
  • Offered San’yas Indigenous Cultural Training to Dean’s Management Team, Chairs and Administrative Managers.
  • Established an Inter-Faculty Anti-Racism Action Group with Vice-Deans from Law, FSS and Education.
  • Hired César Ndéma-Moussa, an expert EDI consultant, to advise us on our action plan and actions.
  • Hired a senior student to research existing documents and resources to support the writing of the Building Belonging Action Plan.
  • Changed the iconography of the Dean’s Corridor to better reflect our diverse community.
  • Promotion of Black History Month on our Website and publicizing various notable activities in recognition of Black History.

Completed

  • Finalize Building Belonging Action Plan and publicize online.
  • Celebrate the opening of the Institute of Indigenous Research and Studies.

Short term

(0-3 months)

  • Create an Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity Committee to provide leadership, coordination and collaboration with respect to EDI in the Faculty.
  • Respond to university BIPOC student and staff experience survey results with concrete actions.

Medium term

(4-12 months)

  • Present our EDI data report to the Faculty community.
  • Formally adopt the United Nations International Decade for People of African Descent at the Faculty of Arts.
  • Ensure universal washrooms are available in all buildings.
  • Explore development of a Living Learning Community in partnership with IRSS and Housing Services to support Indigenous students in their academic experience and in their mental health.
  • Explore creation of a BIPOC Students Resource Centre (in partnership with FSS).
  • Offer San’yas training to interested Chairs and Staff.

Long term

(12 + months)

CONTACTS
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