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Most fundamentally, universities are places where we learn. We grow our analytical capacities, build our understanding about the kinds of people we are and want to be, and become more knowledgeable and reflective. Ultimately, university can be a positive and transformative experience for students, and it can be a rich and engaging environment for faculty and staff.

As an institution of advanced education we have a unique and significant obligation to support learning, and to build an inclusive culture through both formal and informal mechanisms for learning. The most obvious location to support learning is in the classroom. However, opportunities for learning exist in every corridor and every conversation. In this theme we focus on how the University creates sites for learning and dialogue about inclusion-related issues—inside and outside the classroom. We know that one size does not fit all. Therefore, we suggest a range of mandatory and voluntary, highly structured and very informal, opportunities for learning.

3. Commit to the value of inclusion

A) Design a statement of commitment to be signed by each student as part of their admissions package or orientation process and by each faculty and staff member at the time they are appointed (and perhaps retroactively for those already employed).
Timeline: Short term
Accountability community: Dalhousie’s employee groups (NSGEU, DPMG, DFA, CUPE, PSAC and grant-paid employees), Human Resources, Human Rights, Equity, and Harassment Prevention Office, Dalhousie Student Union (DSU), and Office of the Vice-Provost, Student Affairs, in coordination with Strategic Direction Charter 1.5  

B) Adopt a required statement on inclusion to be inserted in all Dalhousie course syllabi, in the same spirit as the required statement on accommodations and academic integrity.
Timeline: Short term
Accountability community: Centre for Learning and Teaching, Human Resources, Human Rights, Equity, and Harassment Prevention Office, Senate, and DSU, in coordination with Strategic Direction Charter 1.5

4. Enhance and formalize education on respect and inclusion

A) Establish a high-profile lecture series entitled “uncomfortable conversations” that recognizes and engages the contributions of our own Dalhousie experts and brings outside leading academics to campus to give signature lectures and establish inclusion as key in the intellectual life of the University. Provide access to supporting scholarly resources and recordings of conversations through the Dal Libraries.
Timeline: Short term
Accountability community: President’s Office, Dalhousie Libraries, Senate, Dean’s Council, Centre for Learning and Teaching, and DSU, in coordination with Strategic Direction Charter 1.5

B) Design and implement a formal, mandatory program for all students at Dalhousie. Many of the people who spoke with us expressed significant enthusiasm for a mandatory course for all first-time students to Dalhousie. Others felt that a mandatory course may be counter-productive—because, for example, it would be difficult for those with experience/s of sexualized violence to be in a class where other students talked disrespectfully about their experience, or because the course might become a negative lightning rod for students opposed to its objectives. An alternative model was not to have “a course” on inclusion topics, but rather to require students to attend a number of events, lectures, courses, or student activities on campus, read and discuss relevant scholarly resources, and to build a portfolio of engagement that would be a requirement of graduation. A third model was to qualify some courses already in the curriculum as meeting a critical engagement perspectives requirement. There were a variety of suggestions for the focus of this offering. Some people urged a focus on democratic citizenship (that would include a discussion of how to talk constructively across difference); others suggested a focus on anti-oppression. Several options for how to fit such a course within the resource constraints of the University were suggested, including pairing the writing requirement with courses that focused on anti-oppression themes. There are several successful working models of courses on topics in the broad vein of anti-oppression or democratic engagement available on campus and some faculties already have this requirement for their students. We discussed how this requirement should be met for students in advanced degrees, and noted that we would need to determine who is a “student” for purposes of the requirement. Students in professional programs and graduate degrees might be required to take a mandatory intensive cross-disciplinary course together that focuses on cultural inclusivity in a professional context and digital and other professionalisms as part of their program requirements.
Timeline: Medium term
Accountability community: Centre for Learning and Teaching, Senate, Office of the AVP Academic, Dalhousie Libraries, and DSU, in coordination with Strategic Direction Charter 1.5  

C) Design and implement ongoing education plans, responsive to the needs and roles of different positions, for all staff and faculty to support a fully inclusive University. Almost every group with whom we consulted insisted on the importance of required training for faculty and staff, and many members of our community are eager for training. Education could target varying levels of knowledge and skills to meet varying needs. For example, some people could benefit from education about language use in some areas of diversity, while others may need education about how to train and supervise front-line staff to work more inclusively. We imagine that education programming could be designed in a way that celebrates expertise at Dalhousie and that encourages cross-disciplinary and cross-unit engagement. For example, each staff and faculty member on campus could be required to participate in a minimum of one inclusion-related module a year, with participation considered to be part of the workday. We would need to determine who is a faculty or staff person for the purposes of this requirement. Modules could be developed by units or faculties, building on that unit’s strengths (e.g. teaching students with visual impairments or respectful engagement with administrative staff, or cultural inclusion when working with students from China). Staff and faculty could be encouraged to attend a session offered on a campus other than their own at least once every five years. We need to consider ways to ensure participation, such as incentives for individuals or units that achieve particular rates of participation.
Timeline: Medium term
Accountability community: Deans, Human Resources, Human Rights, Equity, and Harassment Prevention Office, Dalhousie’s employee groups (NSGEU, DPMG, DFA, CUPE, PSAC and grant-paid employees), Centre for Learning and Teaching, Dalhousie Libraries, and DSU, in coordination with Strategic Direction Charter 5.1  

D) Building from the optional programming already in place, design and implement an ongoing mandatory education plan for senior university administration – from Deans, Directors and Chairs to the President and Board of Governors to support a fully inclusive university. We note that a similar proposal was included in a 2010 discussion paper by then Vice-President Academic & Provost, Alan Shaver. Among other important topics, the education program should include improved application of employment equity and inclusion principles in all aspects of Dalhousie’s activities.
Timeline: Medium term
Accountability community: Human Rights, Equity, and Harassment Prevention Office, Human Resources, President’s Office, and Board of Governors, in coordination with Strategic Direction Charter 5.1  

E) Building from the programming already in place, design and implement programming to support inclusive engagement for all students who live in Dalhousie residence, covering healthy sexual engagement and respectful community-building across diversity (e.g. inclusion of students who do not consume intoxicants at events; inclusion of transstudents etc.).
Timeline: Medium term
Accountability community: Student Life, Human Rights, Equity, and Harassment Prevention Office, DSU, in coordination with Strategic Direction Charter 1.2 and 1.3.

F) Develop and hire additional faculty to support a minor in Black studies.
Timeline: Medium term
Accountability community: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Office of the Provost and Vice- President Academic, and Black Faculty Caucus, in coordination with Strategic Direction Charter 2.2  

G) Add a course in Mi’kmaq language and qualify it for Dalhousie’s language requirement.
Timeline: Short term
Accountability: College of Arts and Science, in coordination with Charter 1.5

5. Support an inclusive environment for students, faculty, and staff as they commence their studies and new positions at Dalhousie

A) Develop a mandatory online orientation module, to fit in an integrated way with the proposed mandatory education course, for all students to complete before they commence their studies at Dalhousie. Suggestions we received for the focus of this module included: basic materials on inclusive engagement in classes, respectful ways to disagree, consent, cultural inclusivity, the Student Code of Conduct, ethics, global citizenry, and the history of Nova Scotia. The module should be designed to support our understanding of Dalhousie as a place where we accept responsibility for creating a culture of belonging.
Timeline: Long term
Accountability community: Human Rights, Equity, and Harassment Prevention Office, Student Services, Centre for Learning and Teaching, Dalhousie Libraries, and DSU, in coordination with Strategic Direction Charter 1.5  

B) Several universities have faced challenges with student orientation events. Our committee did not undertake a review of the various student orientations, but we recommend that such a review be undertaken to study the design and operation of orientation week events on campus and within faculties and to ensure that they demonstrate respectful inclusion of the wide range of students.
Timeline: Long term
Accountability community: DSU and Student Services, in coordination with Strategic Direction Charter 1.3  

C) Develop, implement, and monitor an intensive inclusion training course as a condition of appointment/hire for all staff and faculty who work in advising students (including staff in the Registrar’s Office, Associate and Assistant Deans (Academic), Deans, staff in Student Academic Success Services, Student Wellness, Student Life, and the DSU executive) alongside attending mandatory continuing education as part of the conditions of appointment.
Timeline: Medium term
Accountability community: Human Rights, Equity, and Harassment Prevention Office, Human Resources, Student Academic Success Services, and Deans Council, in coordination with Strategic Direction Charter 5.1  

D) Include a module in the orientation for graduate students on appropriate faculty-student supervisory relationships and on structures for support and reporting when things are not working. Require all graduate student supervisors to attend a mandatory module on the expectations and responsibilities of graduate supervisors, including appropriate parameters of supervisory relationships and accommodation issues, every five years in order to maintain FGS accreditation.
Timeline: Short term
Accountability: Faculty of Graduate Studies, in coordination with Strategic Direction Charter 2.3

6. Provide additional supports on respect and inclusion

A) Explore the potential of upstander programming. Some universities, and some parts of Dalhousie, have implemented bystander or upstander training programs. These programs are designed to support students, faculty, and staff to learn ways to intervene when they see something unacceptable occurring (usually sexualized violence). Such programs have potential and might be expanded to include how to effectively intervene in a work setting or learning environment when inappropriate or disrespectful comments are made, or how to effectively raise issues of difference in discussions with friends and co-workers. The models available need further review before implementation at Dalhousie, but hold considerable promise for altering the culture toward respect.
Timeline: Medium term
Accountability community: Human Rights, Equity, and Harassment Prevention Office, DSU, Centre for Learning and Teaching, and Student Services  

B) Develop, publicize, and update annually a network of human resources (e.g. staff, students, and faculty members) across campus who are willing to work with faculty members who wish to explore the expansion of their course content to include more diverse voices and perspectives. Remind faculty members of those resource people annually.
Timeline: Short term
Accountability community: Centre for Learning and Teaching and Deans, in coordination with Strategic Direction Charters 1.4, 1.5 and 2.2