In 2019, Wilfrid Laurier University pledged its support for the new Dimensions: Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Charter. The university was selected as one of 17 Canadian institutions to participate in the two-year federal Dimensions Pilot Program.
The pilot program seeks to foster transformative change within the research ecosystem at Canadian postsecondary institutions by addressing systemic barriers and inequities faced by members of historically and currently underrepresented and/or excluded groups, including but not limited to women, Indigenous Peoples, people with disabilities, members of racialized groups, and 2SLGBTQ+ persons.
Laurier’s participation in the Dimensions Pilot Program reinforces a commitment to achieving equitable access to funding opportunities, increasing equitable inclusive participation in research, and embed EDI-related considerations in research design and practices across the institution.
The program is jointly administered by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. Laurier, alongside other participating institutions, is working together to contribute to the development of the federal program’s design and delivery of the Dimensions Pilot Program through collaborating and providing feedback to the Tri-Agency Dimensions team.
Laurier has established an EDI Self Assessment Team (EDI-SAT). The EDI-SAT is comprised of a cross-section of members from the Laurier community and aims to have representation from each of the five historically underserved or excluded populations identified in the Dimensions program: women, Indigenous Peoples, persons with disabilities, members of racialized groups, and members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. Importantly, the EDI-SAT will also include a student sub-committee.
The team conducted comprehensive institutional scan of EDI-related policies, programs, practices, and initiatives, and performed an in-depth, reflective assessment of the university’s research-related systems. The scan centered on the collection and analysis of quantitative and qualitative data that included:
This scan also included an in-depth reflective assessment to identify EDI gaps, barriers, and trends impacting students, postdoctoral fellows, part-time and full-time academic staff, non-academic and support staff, and research partners in the university’s research ecosystem.
The EDI-SAT’s collection and analysis of data collected from the institutional scan of Laurier’s research community informed the development of an evidence-based action plan. The institutional scan and action planning conducted as part of the Dimensions Pilot Program complemented the work of the EDI Strategic Planning Committee in its development of Laurier’s EDI Strategic Plan. Laurier’s Dimensions Self Assessment Team supported the establishment of key performance indicators to measure the effectiveness of initiatives implemented as part of the EDI Strategic Plan. Activities conducted as part of the Dimensions Pilot Program assisted movement on initiatives under Laurier’s Action Plan for EDI and Indigeneity and the Canada Research Chairs Program EDI Action Plan.
In October 2022, Laurier applied for recognition to the program. The application outlined findings from the institutional scan and assessment in addition to activities undertaken through the Action and Strategic Plan to obtain formal recognition from federal administrators as a Dimensions institution. Laurier’s application will be assessed through a peer-review process, administered by the Tri-Agencies.
As the EDI-SAT proceeds with its activities, it is committed to equitably engaging with the Laurier community. To contact the EDI-SAT, connect with DimensionsSAT@wlu.ca.