AU committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion
Athabasca University (AU) has an incredibly diverse student body, with learners from all walks of life representing every Canadian province and territory and more than 80 countries around the world.
But we also know that equity, diversity, and inclusion is an ongoing process of change rather than a finish line to cross. AU President Dr. Neil Fassina recently took another step toward that goal by endorsing the Dimensions Charter, publicly acknowledging the university is committed to taking part in post-secondary transformation to increase equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI), and helping to dive deeper cultural change within the research ecosystem.
“Signing this charter affirms AU’s commitment to our Imagine I-CARE values of integrity, diversity, adaptability, respect, and excellence,” said Dr. Pamela Hawranik, interim associate vice president, research. “We are formally acknowledging to our staff, students, alumni, and external communities that we value diversity, we strive for equity, and we will continue to remove barriers to promote accessibility and inclusivity.”
The charter is foundational to the tri-agency Dimensions program—promoted by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and the Canadian Institute for Health Research—to foster increased research excellence, innovation, and creativity within the post-secondary sector across the disciplines, through greater equity, diversity and inclusion.
The three federal funding agencies and the Government of Canada have made a strong commitment toward addressing the obstacles faced by under-represented groups, such as women, Indigenous Peoples, persons with disabilities, members of visible minority/racialized groups, and members of LGBTQ2+ communities. Dimensions takes a multidimensional approach to equity, diversity and inclusion to achieve a future research community where all can thrive.
By endorsing this charter, and by implementing actions to achieve its objective, AU commits to adopting the enclosed principles to achieve greater equity, diversity and inclusion throughout its practices and culture.
The principles set out in the charter include the principle that the research community has the greatest potential to thrive when members experience more equitable, inclusive, and unbiased systems and practices. It also recognizes that specific, measurable, and sustainable actions are needed to counter systemic barriers, biases and inequities—and that there is a need for collaboration and transparency across institutions to achieve these goals.