Advancing Equity and Inclusion

Professor Maydianne Andrade
University Professor Maydianne Andrade

Revised: November 21, 2022

What is Unconscious Bias?

“Unconscious bias” (also referred to as “implicit bias”) in academic human resources refers to the influence of implicit or unconscious assumptions in the assessment of candidates and faculty. For some groups (e.g., faculty who self-identify as Black, Indigenous/Aboriginal People of North America, racialized, LGBTQ2S+, or persons with disabilities, as well as their intersecting identities), systemic or recurring bias contributes to lack of representation, advancement opportunities, and support across all stages of the academic life cycle. Faculty members and committees tasked with making decisions about academic careers or activities can undertake unconscious bias education to more effectively (1) identify, and (2) mitigate instances of unconscious bias in themselves, in others, and in the policies, practices and procedures of their unit.

Upcoming Learning Opportunities

The Toronto Initiative for Diversity and Excellence (TIDE) will be offering “Bias & Inclusion 102”, a two-part workshop intended for University of Toronto faculty. Participants will learn about individual and structural changes that could further equity, diversity, and inclusion. Part 1 will take place on November 21, 2022 from 2-4pm & Part 2 will take place on November 28, 2022 from 2-4pm.  Participation in both sessions is not mandatory, but maximum benefit will come from attending both sessions.

Register

On-Demand Learning Opportunities

Inclusive Practices in Recruitment Workshop

The Inclusive Practices in Recruitment workshop was organized by the Office of the Vice-Provost, Faculty & Academic Life and delivered by the Toronto Initiative for Diversity & Excellence (TIDE) co-Chairs Professors Maydianne Andrade and Bryan Gaensler in fall 2020. This workshop was intended for academic leaders, assessors, faculty engaged in academic HR processes (hiring, tenure/continuing status review, promotion), and any faculty interested in learning more about this important topic.

The purpose of this workshop was to:

  • offer best practices/suggestions on how to advance equity and inclusion in hiring
  • provide an overview of how bias can affect decision-making
  • suggest strategies for reducing the effect of bias on structural and personal practices

A recording and full transcript of the workshop is available to faculty members.

The Office of the Vice-Provost, Faculty & Academic Life recommends that all search, tenure review, continuing status review, and promotion committee members, faculty members on PTR committees, and assessors attend the Bias in the Context of Academic Reviews workshop on October 25, 2022 or watch the recording of the Inclusive Practices in Recruitment (2020) workshop at the outset of their work. Contact tide@utoronto.ca if you require assistance accessing the recording/transcript.

Unconscious Bias Education Modules

The Unconscious Bias Training Modules were created at the University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC) by University Professor Maydianne Andrade (Department of Biological Sciences) with input from members of the Toronto Initiative for Diversity & Excellence. It is intended for faculty and staff and provides an academic approach to understanding Unconscious Bias.

Its goals are to:

  • offer an introduction to how Unconscious Biases may manifest any time we assess other people’s performance, potential, or value to the organization (Module 1: What is Unconscious Bias)?
  • demonstrate how unconscious bias can lead to unfair assessment in contexts relevant to our work at the University (Module 2: Effects of Unconscious Bias on Assessment)
  • provide suggestions on personal approaches to mitigate bias, with a particular focus on committee dynamics and challenges with equitable assessment. (Module 3: Interrupting Bias)

The Office of the Vice-Provost, Faculty & Academic Life recommends that all search, tenure review, continuing status review, and promotion committee members, faculty on PTR committees, and assessors review these modules at the outset of their work. Access Modules 1 & 2 and Module 3 through SuccessFactors. Contact tide@utoronto.ca if you require assistance.

Other Resources

Strategies for Recruiting an Excellent & Diverse Faculty Complement

Strategies for Recruiting an Excellent & Diverse Faculty Complement is a resource created by the Office of the Vice-Provost, Faculty & Academic Life with input from the Toronto Initiative for Diversity & Excellence (TIDE). It is intended to provide all faculty members serving on hiring committees with concrete approaches to broadening candidate pools and supporting diversity at each stage of the recruitment and search process for academic positions.

The Office of the Vice-Provost, Faculty & Academic Life recommends that all faculty on search committees review this resource at the outset of their work.

National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity (NCFDD)

Through the University of Toronto’s institutional membership with the National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity (NCFDD), all faculty, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows have free access to professional development, training, and a mentoring community designed to help academics to increase research and writing productivity and improve work-life balance. These resources will be of particular relevance to current tenure and teaching stream faculty members.

NCFDD membership offers relevant professional development training, reliable support from highly trained and successful mentors, a confidential “safe space” for problem solving, and a downloadable virtual format so members can learn at their convenience.

How to activate sub-account membership:

  1. Visit www.facultydiversity.org/institutions/utoronto.
  2. Create a username and complete the registration process using your U of T-issued email address.
  3. You’ll receive a welcome email confirming that your account is active and that you can access NCFDD resources.

Contact vpfal.prof.dev@utoronto.ca for questions/more information.

View the NCFDD flyer (PDF).

Toronto Initiative for Diversity & Excellence (TIDE)

The Toronto Initiative for Diversity and Excellence (TIDE) is a grassroots service group consisting of University of Toronto (U of T) faculty members from across disciplines, with a focus on advancing equity, diversity, and inclusion at U of T. TIDE provides free evidence-based workshops, education, and resources covering unconscious bias, racism, sexism, and other barriers to inclusion and belonging at U of T, along with recommendations on practical actions that aim to mitigate and overcome these barriers. TIDE’s services cover all aspects of departmental culture and the academic career arc, plus confidential counsel to academic leaders, staff units, and administrators.

Supports for some TIDE activities are provided by the Office of the Vice President & Provost and the Vice Principal Academic and Dean, University of Toronto Scarborough because of the important service provided to the University community by TIDE. 

To learn more, or to book a workshop please visit the TIDE website.     

Questions can be directed to: tide@utoronto.ca

Funding for Black and Indigenous Faculty Hires

The Provost recognizes that Black and Indigenous faculty are the most underrepresented groups across the University. Through a University Fund initiative – the Diversity in Academic Hiring Fund – the Provost provides funding to base for Black and Indigenous faculty hires.  Contact your Dean’s Office for more information.

Reports of Interest

Task Forces/Working Groups

  1. Report of the University of Toronto Anti-Semitism Working Group (2021)
  2. Report of the University of Toronto Anti-Black Racism Task Force (2021)
  3. Final Report of the Steering Committee for the University of Toronto Response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (January 2017)

Annual Reports

  1. Report on Employment Equity (2021)
    • The University produces annually Report on Employment Equity, which describes how faculty, librarians, and staff self-identify with respect to a range of categories. Employees may update their information at any time. Beginning with the 2019 report, there is a chapter specific to faculty and librarian
  2. Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Annual Report (2021)
  3. Faculty & Librarian Complement Breakdown by Sex: 2020-2021 (PDF)

Special Studies

  1. Faculty Gender-Based Salary Equity (2019)
  2. LibrarianGender-Based Salary Equity (2019)

U of T Statement on Equity, Diversity and Excellence (2006)

“Our teaching, scholarship and other activities take place in the context of a highly diverse society. Reflecting this diversity in our own community is uniquely valuable to the University as it contributes to the diversification of ideas and perspectives and thereby enriches our scholarship, teaching and other activities. We will proactively seek to increase diversity among our community members, and it is our aim to have a student body and teaching and administrative staff that mirror the diversity of the pool of potential qualified applicants for those positions….We believe that excellence flourishes in an environment that embraces the broadest range of people.”

U of T Statement on Equity, Diversity and Excellence (2006)