Mohawk College commits to greater equity, diversity and inclusion among workforce and research activities.
Building on several equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) efforts already underway at the college, Mohawk is committed to building principles of EDI in all areas of the institution, academic and research activities.
“Mohawk College is committed to creating an equitable, diverse and inclusive environment for all students and employees,” said Ron J. McKerlie, President and CEO of Mohawk College. “We have made significant progress in our efforts over the past several years but we know more can be done to ensure there is equitable access and equitable opportunity for everyone in our community.”
“We know we have best practices we can share and that we can learn from the best practices of other institutions.” said Jeff McIsaac, Dean of Applied Research on Mohawk’s commitment to the Dimensions Charter.
The college has committed to advancing equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in its strategic plan with Maxine Carter, Director & Special Advisor dedicated to EDI in its leadership group.
“The goal of the Dimensions Charter is to foster transformational change in EDI in postsecondary institutions and to raise the level of research excellence. Researchers are often the ones we depend on to make decisions that drive progress,” said Carter.
But if research only looks at issues through one lens, it leaves many out.
“It’s critical that researchers have a deep understanding of EDI and the importance of being reflective of their community. The work they produce should include an understanding of the systemic barriers and gaps so that results represent all voices and identities of the community in a much more authentic way.”
Mohawk’s EDI initiatives include a focus on groups traditionally underserved or underrepresented in postsecondary education.
“Our strategy includes a commitment to addressing barriers to education for Indigenous people, women, racialized groups, persons with disabilities and the 2SLGBTQIA+ community,” said McIsaac.
As well, Mohawk’s City School and Challenge 2025 initiatives target delivering educational opportunities to those impacted by socioeconomic structural disadvantages, including those on social assistance, and living in targeted low-income neighbourhoods.
“When it comes to poverty, we need to be intentional and examine the intersectionality within the five disadvantaged groups we are focused on and can only emphasize why we need to dig deeper to identify root causes,” said Carter.
McIsaac says the intersectionality of identities of disadvantaged groups makes solutions complex. But Mohawk’s across-the-board and top-down commitment to EDI is “driving a fundamental shift in mindset and culture at Mohawk that is continuing to make us better.”
Turning an EDI lens to applied research is an important step in Mohawk’s journey, says McIsaac, a process that has begun with the college’s submission to the Dimensions Charter pilot. That resulted from broad input from the Mohawk community, including senior leadership, recent graduates, researchers, faculty, staff in human resources and administration, and those from target groups.
“The intent is to challenge our own biases, even the ones we may not be aware of, and to ensure we use multiple lenses to look at issues,” said McIsaac.
Dimensions Charter is led by the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council, in collaboration with the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
Pictured: Jeff McIsaac, Dean Applied Research and Maxine Carter, Director & Special Advisor, Equity and Inclusion