Celebrating equity, diversity and inclusion

March 14, 2019 | Campus Life
Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Week, held annually from March 18 to 22, is recognized at post-secondary institutions across Canada. This year, MacEwan University is joining the celebration.

After the Office of Human Rights, Diversity and Equity (OHRDE) was established in 2018, a number of key initiatives were put in place to establish and ensure a campus free from discrimination.

“EDI Week is important to celebrate at an institutional level, as it highlights MacEwan’s commitment to being an inclusive institution where we promote the diversity of our university community,” says Irfan Chaudhry, director of the OHRDE.

During the week, students, staff and faculty are invited to attend a series of free events happening on campus, including a keynote address by writer and advocate Bashir Mohamed on racial discrimination in Edmonton, a presentation on racial and gender inequalities and the gender pay gap by Dr. Wanda Costen, and special talks hosted by Canadians for a Civil Society.

OHRDE Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Week feature image with dates

EDI Week 2019

Gender-based pay inequity, turban and hijab awareness, unconscious bias and Indigenous drumming. These are just some of the topics you’ll learn about or events you can participate in during EDI Week.

To get ready, check out a few stories about the ways MacEwan is making a commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion.

Office of Human Rights kicks off with the Equity Project


Irfan Chaudhry speaks at a Black History Month event in February.

In September 2018, the Office of Human Rights, Diversity and Equity (OHRDE) introduced plans to harness the university community’s energy, ideas and passion to promote inclusion on campus.

The office opened in early 2018, and in the months since, Director Irfan Chaudhry has been exploring how the OHRDE can streamline human rights–related efforts at MacEwan – from centralizing work already in progress to identifying new opportunities.

Read the full story 


Marking MacEwan’s first Black History Month


Dulu Modi, Valerie Ouedraogo and Dali Mwanza are members of the committee that organized MacEwan’s first Black History Month.

For the last three years — before the province officially recognized Black History Month in 2017 — social work faculty member Dr. Valerie Ouedraogo and sociology prof Dr. Kalyani Thurairajah made a point of inviting guest speakers to their classes each February to talk about the history of black Canadians in Alberta and across the country.

It's part of the reason why both faculty members were happy to join the committee of faculty, staff and students that organized MacEwan University’s first Black History Month.

Read the full story 


MacEwan’s Spiritual Reflection Room creates opportunities for cooperation, conversation and clarity 


Third-year social work student Hanan Baalbaki stands outside the Spiritual Reflection Room.

MacEwan’s Spiritual Reflection Room (7-161) is open during school hours, and can be accessed by students, faculty, staff and members of the community. And although having a multifaith space is standard practice at post-secondary institutions, it’s more than just a quiet room.

“You sit in that room and it creates conversations,” says Hanan Baalbaki, third-year social work student. “I think it’s because everyone who walks in, no matter their religion or spiritual perspective, is, in some way, looking for the same thing.”

Read the full story 


University offers unconscious bias workshops for staff and faculty


Unconscious bias occurs when our social and cultural backgrounds affect our perception of specific groups of people without us even realizing it — and those biases lead to patterns of behaviour, which in turn lead to entire systems that are discriminatory.

Recently MacEwan began hosting monthly unconscious bias workshops for university employees – including one happening during EDI Week. The workshops are voluntary, and focus specifically on forms of unconscious bias that are most prevalent in post-secondary settings across Canada. This includes issues that affect both students and employees.

Read the full story 


Balance, "women's work" and the gender pay gap


Dr. Wanda Costen, dean in the School of Business, addressed a crowd at Edmonton’s City Hall on March 8 as the Women’s Initiative keynote speaker, sharing the ways her research and insight related to the theme of “Balance for the Better.” She spoke about the division of labour in the home, the idea that “women’s work” – the gendered notion of domestic labour (primarily housekeeping and child care) – is still perceived as having less value.

“I discussed the importance of not leaning in and the need to negotiate both inside and outside the home,” says Wanda. “Women must define balance for themselves, and be aware that this definition will change over their lifetimes.”

Attend her EDI presentation on March 21.

Read the full story


Getting to the root of the problem


The “At the Root Community Engagement Project” explores a range of topics – from racism to sexual violence – in events hosted by members of the MacEwan community. The goal of every At the Root event is to encourage critical thinking and dialogue about contemporary social issues, and inspire social change by providing opportunities for learning, skill sharing and community building.

Read about a past At the Root event 



Get MacEwan University news delivered to your inbox.
Sign up for our weekly e-newsletter