Survey a first step for GlycoNet to develop equity, diversity and inclusion strategy

GlycoNet is surveying Network Investigators, trainees and staff collecting self-identified diversity data, as a starting point for the development of a comprehensive Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) strategy plan.

GlycoNet’s Diversity Census Questionnaire, administered by the EDI Unit in the University of Alberta’s Human Resource Services (HRS) office, was distributed by email on September 12.

“GlycoNet believes a strong EDI approach must be data driven and therefore we are surveying our staff, Board and Committee members, researchers and trainees to understand existing diversity within the Network” says Dr. Todd Lowary, Scientific Director, GlycoNet. “Both the GlycoNet Board of Directors and its management are committed to setting an example for a diverse and inclusive culture, which is essential to mobilize the expertise required to create innovative and impactful technologies for the benefit of Canadians.”

“In the coming year, we will establish an EDI Committee of the Board, which will identify best practices and advise management. Board succession will include EDI as a core selection criteria,” says Lowary.

The University of Alberta’s EDI Unit in HRS has extensive experience in developing, distributing and analyzing EDI surveys.

“We’ll use the survey as a means to collect baseline demographic data,” says Catherine Anley, Senior Consultant, EDI, HRS. “The data will assist the GlycoNet Board in determining its EDI strategic initiatives and goal setting.  An analysis of the survey results will offer insight into which strategies should be implemented to ensure the network is equitable, diverse, and inclusive.”

The survey will generate data on questions on different aspects of identity characteristics  beyond the federal Employment Equity Act’s four designated groups (Women, Persons with Disabilities, Members of Visible Minorities, and Indigenous/Aboriginal People – First Nations, Métis, Inuk (Inuit)) in order to have a wider range of diversity data to develop a more robust analysis.

The collected information will remain confidential. Only staff in the EDI Unit assigned to the analysis of the survey will have access to the responses.

After the survey is closed, the EDI Unit will generate a statistical report to help GlycoNet Management understand the gaps and barriers and develop a Network strategy to reduce them.

“This will be a learning process as we go through this exercise,” says Lowary. “We need to do our research first and understand our workplace environment before we can develop and implement any actionable plans.”

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