Embedding Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Anti-Racism in IST services

About the EDI-R program

Services provided by IST touch the entire campus community in a variety of forms. To ensure service delivery that is equitable and inclusive, and in support of the University's commitment to Strengthening Sustainable and Diverse Communities, we have launched a new program aimed at embedding equity, diversity, inclusion, and anti-racism (EDI-R) in the daily operations of the department. 

Embedding EDI-R practices into standard operating procedures will have a far reach that is a critical component in creating an equitable, inclusive, and safe campus that fundamentally shifts the culture of not only IST, but the entire University.

Program benefits

  • Increase commitment to achieving results in EDI-R and allocate sufficient resources.
  • Ensure alignment of projects to ongoing EDI-R strategy.
  • Provides advice, expertise and structure for those eager to make positive change but unsure of how to move forward.
  • Enable collaboration and sharing of expertise across projects/initiatives.
  • Coordinated reporting on progress and outcomes of projects/initiatives.
  • Leverage work done within a project/initiative to implement changes more broadly across the unit (where appropriate).


"IST’s service delivery to the broader campus community will be equitable and inclusive at all levels and modes of delivery. Applying an EDI-R lens when developing new procedures or changing operations will be status-quo rather than a novel or occasional concept. Staff and leadership will have adequate resources and/or knowledge of how to leverage relevant expertise to ensure EDI-R is a constant consideration in how work is conducted, similar to how cost, efficiency of process, or assigning the correct resources is a constant consideration."

Projects and initiatives

Accessible development guidelines

This project will consider the tools, techniques, and practices that are necessary in order for a developer to successfully create accessible software. It will deliver a guide which any developer on campus would be able to use to ensure that their software is accessible.

Project lead: Pavol Chvala

  1. 2023
    1. Nov
      1. Engage with the developer community and key stakeholders to socialize the idea of a guide and learn what they would need from it.

  2. 2024
    1. Jan
      1. Collaboratively define and test a set of accessible development practices over several iterations.

      2. Define a maintenance plan to ensure these practices are kept up to date.

    2. Feb
      1. Deploy the guide alongside broader software practices.

IST systems accessibility review

This project will catalogue and evaluate accessibility of existing centrally supported software applications based on the internationally recognized Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0 AA) and complete an environmental scan to better understand how other higher education institutions are managing software accessibility. This project is foundational work that will help us gain insights and plan future initiatives that will centre around taking action to improve accessibility of systems and move towards a more equitable software environment.

Project lead: Traci Dow

  1. 2024
    1. Jul
      1. Application inventory for assessment complete.

      2. Vendor attestations of accessibility collected for purchased software.

    2. Aug
      1. System accessibility testing complete.

    3. Sep
      1. Written summary of findings and presentation to IST leadership.

Future projects

  • Inclusive language in front line service
  • Inclusive language in support materials
  • EDI-R lens in process improvement
  • EDI-R lens in stakeholder identification
  • Systems accessibility remediation
  • Guidelines for considering EDI-R in the use of AI

We want to hear from you

Do you have feedback or suggestions for how IST can be more equitable in our services and operations? Please reach out to Anne Paulson, anne.paulson@uwaterloo.ca