As a School of Public Health, we want all members of our community—staff, students and faculty—to feel that they are valued, and that their strengths are recognized. We want to create a culture of diversity.
What is a culture of diversity?
A culture of diversity fosters and supports an environment where each person is valued, and is confident in contributing his / her insights and skills. It is not simply that differences are tolerated, but that diversity is seen as a source of strength. This type of culture allows organizations to be more innovative, flexible and adaptable, as they benefit from the contributions of all their members.
All students, staff and faculty, benefit professionally, academically and socially in an academic environment that values and promotes diversity. They are better prepared to think, live and work in our global society.
Diversity recognizes, respects and celebrates a broad range of characteristics and differences among people. These differences include ethnicity, race, language or national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, educational background, family status, faith / religion, socio-economic standing, ability (physical, mental, cognitive), group (or political) affiliation, and individual ways of being and thinking.
According to this view, each person has multiple, and often evolving, cultural identities.
What is the School Diversity Initiative?
Started in 2010 by Lory Laing, then associate dean (education), the purpose of the School Diversity Initiative is to develop and implement a strategy for promoting a culture of diversity within the School.
Under the leadership of Sarah Bowen, associate professor, the first step was to consult with students and prepare a report that was shared with the School community. A Diversity Action Planning Group met to further explore issues identified. The Student Diversity Working Group was formed. An action plan, including creation of a diversity climate survey, was developed.
Principles of this action plan include: a) responsiveness to the priority concerns of students, staff and faculty of the School, and b) interventions based on evidence. The School is committed to incorporating diversity planning into School policy and procedures, and into all School-wide initiatives, such as curriculum review.
Student Diversity Working Group
What is the role of the Student Diversity Working Group?
The role of the Student Diversity Working Group is to promote awareness of and participation in diversity initiatives among students, to ensure that student perspectives and experiences are brought forward, and to facilitate diversity events of interest to students.
This is an open group, and all students of the School are encouraged to participate.
The Student Diversity Working Group strives for enhancing and stimulating an environment within the School community that fosters appreciation of the values, opinions and abilities of everyone. Our commitment is to help building a stronger School able to incorporate multiple voices and perspectives in thought and action and recognize the value of difference. Diversity in our School should reflect the diversity of the world outside and as such, the Student Diversity Working Group encourages the exchange of different perspectives and ways of being.
What does the Student Diversity Working Group do?
Over the last two years, the Student Diversity Working Group has promoted a number of diversity-related activities in the School. They include:
- Consulting with students to identify diversity related concerns.
- Promoting awareness of diversity related concerns.
- Participating in new student orientation.
- Initiating a writing café to support development of student English writing skills
- Hosting an anti-racism workshop.
- Liaising with faculty advisors.
If you are a student of the School and would like to know more about the Student Diversity Working Group, or if you have a question or comment, please contact:
Anushka Ataullahjan at email@example.com.
Bringing forward your diversity concerns
There are a number of resources on campus for assistance in bringing forward personal concerns related to differential treatment related to ethnicity, race, language, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, educational background, family status, faith, religion, socio-economic standing, ability (physical, mental, cognitive), or group affiliation.