October 18, 2018 | Society, Campus Life
Dr. Kristopher Wells is a respected human rights advocate and academic, known for his community work and research on sexual and gender minority youth, education and culture.
He is the co-editor of the International Journal of LGBT Youth, and is one of the driving forces behind groundbreaking initiatives for LGBTQ+ youth, including Pride Tape and NoHomophobes.com.
Now, he brings this commitment to diversity, equity, and human rights to MacEwan.
Kristopher joined the university in September as an associate professor in the Bachelor of Child and Youth Care program, and will be helping to develop university initiatives that support LGBTQ+ students, staff, and faculty. His first order of business is to spend some time getting to know the campus community to help determine how to most effectively advance the conversation about sexual and gender diversity and inclusion at MacEwan.
“There are a number of exciting possibilities, but before we implement anything, there's a lot of listening that needs to be done,” he says. “Right now I’m speaking to and meeting with as many different people as possible to hear about their hopes and desires for MacEwan regarding LGBTQ+ issues. We want to get a sense of where the gaps are, and identify current successes that we can build upon.”
“Embracing diversity isn't just one policy or one practice. It’s thousands of tiny practices that collectively make a difference.”
—Dr. Kristopher Wells
For Kristopher, the choice to join MacEwan was a carefully considered one. “I came here because the leadership at this university is committed to not only the student community on campus, but the larger community,” he says. “Looking out the window, you see the heartbeat of downtown all around you, and you can't help but be energized by that and want to contribute to a growing, diverse city and province. Conversations about inclusion and diversity are more powerful when the whole community is involved, so I’m excited about the strong ties we’re creating with our communities and stakeholders.”
Equally important to Kristopher is the work being done to make MacEwan a safe and welcoming environment for everyone. “It is exciting to see the newly established Office of Human Rights, Diversity and Equity and the Office of Sexual Violence Prevention, Education and Response. It is clear the university is headed in a really good direction. I’m looking forward to working with both of those offices to amplify the voices and experiences of our LGBTQ+ community members and to help create a healthy and respectful environment for them.”
Though Kristopher is still consulting and working out the details of some exciting new initiatives, he knows one thing for sure: creating a culture shift is a community effort. “Embracing diversity isn't just one policy or one practice,” he says. “It’s thousands of tiny practices that collectively make a difference. This important work has to happen inside and outside of classrooms, and it requires the support of everyone, from leadership to students. I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish together.”
A legacy of positivity
Family of MacEwan alumni remembers Hayley Jayne Richman with an annual memorial award for LGBTQ+ students and allies.