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Sheridan joins the 50-30 challenge to boost diversity in leadership

Dec 10, 2020

Sheridan is among a number of early adopters announced today by the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, who are supporting the Government of Canada’s 50-30 Challenge aimed at boosting diversity at the senior-most levels within their organizations.

“Sheridan firmly believes that diversity fuels excellence – and we’re committed to fostering an environment in which dignity, individualization, integration and full participation are valued and respected,” says Dr. Janet Morrison, President and Vice Chancellor of Sheridan. “We fully believe that people of privilege have an obligation to disrupt and deconstruct systemic structural and institutional failures and to do more within their spheres of influence to cultivate an equitable and inclusive community.”

The 50-30 Challenge calls on organizations to diversify the members of their boards and senior management positions to achieve gender parity – or 50% representation - and to attain significant representation – 30% - of other under-represented groups, including racialized persons, people living with disabilities (including invisible and episodic disabilities), and members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community. The program recognizes First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples as founding peoples of Canada and under-represented in positions of economic influence and leadership.

“These actions directly align with our institutional commitment to fostering equity, diversity and inclusion, as codified in our strategic plan, Sheridan 2024: Galvanizing Education for a Complex World,” adds Dr. Jane Ngobia, Vice President, Inclusive Communities at Sheridan. “This work is fundamental to creating an inclusive campus that embraces the rich diversity of Sheridan’s community to foster a strong sense of connection, respect for people’s rights to belong and equal opportunity to engage, thrive and succeed.”

The 50-30 Challenge does not specify a timeframe by which to achieve these goals, nor does it prescribe a pathway or approach. Sheridan already meets the gender parity threshold for both its Board of Governors and its President and Vice Presidents Committee and is nearing the target for under-represented groups. An employment systems review is underway to more deeply embed diversity and inclusion into recruiting and hiring practices. Mandatory training called Foundations of Equitable Practice was launched this summer to help all employees increase self-awareness, become mindful of biases and stereotypes, and to learn to model inclusive behaviours that create and maintain inclusive working and learning environments.

Sheridan’s commitment to the 50-30 Challenge builds on foundational work that has been completed in recent years, notably: a 300% base budget increase for the Centre for Equity and Inclusion; establishing the role of Vice President, Inclusive Communities; undertaking an employee diversity census; launching an EDI Advisory Committee; and becoming a signatory to the Dimensions Charter and participating in the Dimensions program, which recognize that equity, diversity and inclusion strengthen the research community and the quality, relevance and impact of academic research. It also expands on other commitments made this June to hire six professors who self-identify as Black or Indigenous over the next two academic years; launch a bursary program to promote the recruitment and enrolment of Black applicants; empower its EDI Advisory Council to inform future actions and assess the efficacy of its change agenda; and report progress to its Board of Governors.

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