The Community Collaborative strongly advised the University to develop and implement a race-based data strategy and identified this action as crucial and pertinent to its anti-racism mission. However, the President’s Executive Designate for PART identified that such a strategy was already well underway through the support and leadership of the Equity Data Advisory Group, which was providing guidance on the creation and implementation of an institutional equity data strategy. The lack of inclusion of a working group on this topic was subject to considerable debate. The advice developed was that rather than form a new team with a similar purpose, PART consider working in partnership with the existing Equity Data Advisory Group to achieve its objective, with individuals from the Community Collaborative becoming members of this Group. This approach was seen to be the appropriate pathway to be followed.
In terms of activity of the Equity Data Advisory Group over the academic year, this was considerable. The group developed and launched an equity survey with the intention of confidentially collecting demographic data to better understand the composition of the University of Waterloo community and to foster a more equitable campus, specifically for equity-deserving groups.
In mid-June 2021, all students and employees received an invitation to participate in the institution’s first equity data survey. A total of 62,722 surveys were distributed with a response rate of approximately 28 per cent (faculty data is outlined on the following page). The survey will open each year in January and will pause data collection in late fall term for analysis and reporting16. Improving the response rate is an important concern for the University.
The faculties’ response rates (RR) were highlighted via the Faculty Leaderboard. These statistics were published as of October 25, 2021.
|FACULTIES||STUDENT RR||EMPLOYEE RR||TOTAL RR|
|Faculty of Arts||22%||39%||24.2%|
|Faculty of Engineering||26%||40%||27.5%|
|Faculty of Environment||28%||45%||29.4%17|
|Faculty of Health||26%||45%||27.8%|
|Faculty of Mathematics||26%||49%||27.2%|
|Faculty of Science||26%||45%||28.1%|
|Employees at the Affiliated and Federal Institutions of Waterloo||46%|
|Employees in Academic Support Units||42%|
|Employees in Centers/Institutions||48%|
The survey results will be utilized to identify gaps in programs, services, and policies to better meet the needs of equity-deserving students and employees. Moreover, the participation and collection of this data will be beneficial in meeting one of the University’s objectives from their strategic plan:
to enhance the representation, participation, and engagement of equity-deserving groups within the University’s community.
16Paper copies of the survey are available for those who are not able to use the online version. For alternate formats email firstname.lastname@example.org. Links to the survey can be found in LEARN, Workday, or inbox via subject line: “Take Waterloo’s Equity Survey Today.”
17Faculty of Environment currently holds the highest response rate in comparison to other faculties.