Faculty EDI training in Canadian Post Secondary

Invitation to participate in a survey

Hello, my name is Sherry Sullivan and I am a PhD Student in the Peace and Conflict Studies program at the University of Manitoba. I have worked in post-secondary education for the past 20 years, doing faculty development related to teaching and learning and curriculum development. In the last 5 years I have worked more specifically on initiatives that support faculty development related to equity, diversity and inclusion. While there is an abundance of research related to the need for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) teacher training in the Canadian K-12 system, very little research has examined the need and current state of faculty and staff EDI training in our in Canadian post-secondary institutions.  

You are being invited to complete this voluntary survey that will gather information that may help us all better understand the current state of EDI faculty and staff training in Canadian post-secondary institutions. The research is intended to examine what is currently happening in terms of EDI training for faculty and staff, how (or if) it is being assessed, the impact of these training efforts, as well as identifying barriers and successes. While there have been several national studies recently about EDI and Canadian post-secondary institutions, there has not been a specific focus or discussion related to the critical area of faculty and staff training.  

Research in this area is critical as many questions are currently being raised about the role of post-secondary institutions in creating an equitable society. Most Canadian colleges and universities have strategic plans or vision, mission and goal statements that claim to embrace values of equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) and how they support reconciliation. However, the question that needs to be addressed is how (or if) they are ensuring that all faculty and staff have the knowledge and skills needed to support these goals. Beginning to answer this question is important as calls for EDI training initiatives that focus on deeper relationship building processes have been called for in the TRC report, the MMIWG report, Indigenous Faculty and their Allies, CMEC, CBIE, Black Lives Matter movements, and many scholars.  

What is meant by EDI training for faculty and staff?  

For the purposes of this research EDI training for faculty and staff is being defined as all the ways that we are providing training/education opportunities for faculty and staff to learn about equity, diversity and inclusion. This could include cross-cultural training workshops, face to face or on-line cultural safety training, specific training such as the blanket exercise, summer institutes focusing on Indigenous Peoples and reconciliation, working with culturally diverse students, equity in hiring, accessibility compliance, etc.  

While every effort has been made to invite participants who may be doing the work of EDI faculty and staff training, there is much happening in Canada off the sides of people’s desks and in departments in which these EDI initiatives are not their primary mandate. To help ensure that all voices are heard, I would appreciate it if you could forward this invitation to anyone you know who might fit this description.  

Continuing the Dialogue  

After the survey is complete, several focus groups will be also be set up online to continue and deepen the dialogue. These are anticipated to occur in the fall of 2020. If you are willing to participate in an online focus group that explores faculty and staff EDI training further, please contact me at Focus groups are anticipated to take between 1.5 and 2 hours.  

The survey will take between 20-40 minutes to complete, depending on how you answer the open-ended questions. This research has been approved by the Joint-Faculty Research Ethics Board at the University of Manitoba.

In gratitude and solidarity, Sherry Sullivan  
PhD Candidate in the Peace and Conflict Studies Program, University of Manitoba  
Research Supervisor: Dr. Jessica Senehi