In January 2021 the Working Groups and Implementation Teams were fully formed and began working on their mandates and responsibilities. To achieve their objectives, they engaged in the following activities:
The Working Groups and Implementation Teams collected evidence-based information, primarily from peer-reviewed journal articles, on matters that were relevant to their mandates and in response to specific research questions that were developed to guide and inform their work. For example, a literature summary was conducted to understand the health and mental health supports needed by Black, Indigenous, and other racialized students; the cultural factors that need to be taken into consideration in providing these services; and challenges that are often faced by racialized students in accessing these services.
Environmental scans were also conducted to examine the University’s internal and external environments. Data and information were collected on relevant trends, occurrences, and issues within the institution and in other institutions (e.g., Canadian Research Universities or the U15; other colleges and universities in Ontario and Canada; Historical Black Colleges and Universities in the United States; government institutions and private institutions). These scans allowed the Working Groups to evaluate the University’s current state (e.g., its policies and practices, programs, and services) in comparison to other similar institutions, gain insights into the workings of these institutions, and identify potential opportunities for the University to improve. For example, in recommending changes to the University’s policies (e.g., Policy 8 – Freedom of Speech, Policy 33 – Ethical Behaviour), a review and analyses of similar policies in other U15s were conducted.
Consultations and Surveys
The Working Groups and Implementation Teams also gathered intelligence from students, faculty, and staff using interviews, focus groups and surveys. Stakeholders shared their experiences and expertise at the University and provided suggestions and feedback on the work of PART. For instance, consultations were done with members of the following groups: The Black Faculty Collective (BFC), Centre for Career Action (CCA), Co-operative and Experiential Education (CEE), Organizational and Human Development (OHD), the Student Success Office (SSO), University of Waterloo Staff Association (UWSA), University of Waterloo Black Association for Student Expression (UWBASE), Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association (WUSA), The Indigenous Relations Office (see Appendix A for the list of consultations).
Surveys were also conducted to obtain data to inform the work of PART. For example, the Black Studies Implementation Team created and administered a survey to collect input on the development of a Black Studies Department at the University. Faculty, staff, and students from the University as well as members of some external organizations were invited to participate in this survey.
Group and Team Meetings
The Working Groups and Implementation Teams met regularly to discuss the findings from these literature reviews, environmental scans, focus groups, interviews, and surveys, and to propose solutions to the identified gaps and problems. Their reports are provided in the following sections and include recommendations for each of the responsibilities.
Common themes identified by most Working Groups are also presented (see “Overall Themes”) as well as a proposed framework for implementation (see “Proposed Accountability Framework”).