The REDI Council has contributed to significantly strengthening a focus on research-related equity, diversity, inclusion, and Indigenous initiatives across Waterloo’s campus since its inception in 2018 through identifying equity-related gaps in the research enterprise, hosting public engagement sessions and events, and leading key initiatives and programs in support of faculty members from the four designated groups (FDGs). Read more below about REDI Council initiatives and activities.
Overseeing Waterloo’s Canada Research Chairs (CRC) EDII Action Plan
Waterloo’s Canada Research Chairs (CRCs) Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Indigenous initiatives (EDII) Action Plan identifies specific goals as well as objectives and actions for addressing under-representation of individuals from the FDGs in the institution’s complement of CRCs. The plan also includes actions for ensuring an equitable and welcoming work environment for all Waterloo CRCs.
Under the leadership of the VPRI, The REDI Council oversees the implementation of Waterloo’s 2019 Canada Research Chairs (CRC) Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan. Action items are developed through engagement with the REDI Council, based on the specific recommendations made by CRCs, other faculty members, and administrators through employment systems reviews, equity campus climate surveys, and comparative reviews of institutional support conducted at routine intervals aligned to the submission schedule for Waterloo’s EDII Action Plan.
REDI Council also leads specific CRC EDII action items that aim to provide a more supportive and inclusive workplace for all Cardholders at Waterloo. Along with the Office of Research, REDI Council co-hosts an annual CRC dinner, with a focus on promoting EDI initiatives related to the CRC program. The dinner provides an important opportunity to facilitate connections between Chairholders.
Embedding EDII in External Award Nominations
The REDI Council has recommended specific EDII process improvements for identifying potential external awards through the Waterloo Awards Committee (WAC). The WAC promotes and facilitates the submission of high-quality nominations of Waterloo scholars across all disciplines for prestigious awards and honorific titles. To ensure WAC deliberations include ongoing consideration given to strengthening the highest possible quality and diverse pool of potential external awards nominees, REDI Council participates in WAC deliberations.
Implementing Waterloo’s Strategic Plan with an Equity Lens
Waterloo’s 2020-2025 Strategic Plan: Connecting Imagination with Impact features three themes, including ‘Advancing Research for Global Impact’. This theme acknowledges that our research community has a unique perspective on real-world problems that is shaped by fundamental research excellence and deep industry and community partnerships. REDI Council takes an active role in ensuring that an equity lens is embedded and celebrated in this theme, with the understanding that real-world problems require diverse perspectives. REDI Council participates in the ‘Advancing Research for Global Impact’ action team and has helped to inform questions for the equity and diversity implementation lens intended to be applied in the development of all implementation planning activities.
Advocating for EDII across the Research Enterprise
REDI Council offers an equity lens for the review and development of select faculty-related policies, programs and resources. Specific contributions include offering EDII feedback on policies that are part of the Secretariat’s Policy Renewal Project, in response to a request from the Faculty Association of the University of Waterloo (FAUW). The intent is to recommend substantive revisions to content that weave EDII into the fabric of all of Waterloo’s governing policies, with provisions for not only closing gaps for the FDGs, but also enabling a welcoming and supportive environment for all members of the university community.
EDII in Research Networking, Training and Development
Hosting events and programs informed by evidence-based literature on addressing systemic barriers in academia is a key part of REDI Council’s contributions. REDI Council seeks to support members of equity-seeking groups, and early-career researchers more broadly, in building and leveraging networks, and accessing relevant training and development opportunities across the academic career continuum.
Southern Ontario Meeting in Mathematics and Statistics (Postponed due to COVID-19, Future Date TBD)
Through leadership of the REDI Council, Waterloo will be hosting the inaugural Southern Ontario Meeting in Mathematics and Statistics. The meeting will place emphasis on strengthening research excellence through gender diversity, equity and inclusion. A goal of the meeting is to promote excellence by creating a welcoming environment for participants to exchange research expertise and to network with fellow researchers across the disciplinary fields.
There will be no registration fee to attend the meeting and Waterloo may provide lodging for graduate students and early career researchers, with priority given to members of the FDGs to help increase the representation of these groups in mathematics. The meeting schedule will include social events that foster the interaction among participants, accessible research talks in diverse areas of mathematics and statistics, conversations with academic leaders, a panel discussion, and a poster session.
Strategies for Developing Research Partnerships
In partnership with the Office of Research and Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion (HREI) Unit, on February 20, 2020 the REDI Council hosted ‘Strategies for Developing Research Partnerships’—a panel of professionals with background in academia, industry, and the non-profit sector who shared best practices in networking and identifying opportunities for partnership. While the panel was targeted to early-career researchers, it was open to all researchers interested in learning how to establish successful and sustainable research partnerships.
Journey to Leadership Panel
In partnership with the Equity Office, in June 2019 the REDI Council hosted the Journey to Leadership Panel. The panel offered a unique opportunity to hear from Waterloo’s women-identified Deans and Senior Administrators, as they shared details about their path to leadership, the ways they overcame barriers and what they wished they had known along the way. The event featured breakout sessions to provide the opportunity for attendees to speak to the panelists individually, engage in dialogue and ask questions about more specific topics.