Diversity and inclusion

Diversity and inclusion in graduate studies

In 2017, Universities Canada released its seven principles of equity, diversity and inclusion that affirmed the commitment of all Canadian universities to promote and foster diversity and inclusion excellence in institutional practice, policy, and processes. In response to these principles, School of Graduate Studies developed both a diversity statement and a committee on diversity that reflect 1) our belief that different backgrounds and views are critical to achieving personal and academic excellence and leading societal change, and 2) our commitment to eliminating barriers and fostering opportunities to students and scholars from all backgrounds.

The statement and committee guide and support the work of all faculty and staff in the graduate school and across academic and service units to meet national expectations and improve learning conditions and outcomes. The SGS diversity statement was approved by Academic Council on November 19, 2018 following consultations with the Office of the Associate Vice President (Research and Graduate), Grenfell Campus; Office of the Associate Vice President (Academic and Student Affairs), Marine Institute; Office of the Special Advisor to the President on Aboriginal Affairs; Internationalization Office; and Student Life. Members of the SGS committee on diversity were appointed after an open call for nominations in 2019, and include representation from faculty, staff, and graduate students.

SGS diversity statement

Memorial University’s commitment to diversity and inclusivity is reflected in its mission, code, and values. While everyone is responsible for upholding these values, the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) believes it has a special responsibility to lead and foster equity initiatives given the breadth of diversity in graduate programs and the importance of inclusion in scholarship.

SGS acknowledges the importance of diversity and inclusion in graduate education – that different backgrounds and views are critical to excellence in personal development, academic achievement, and societal change. Diversity is represented in many ways, including indigeneity, socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, nationality, ability, ways of learning, or life experience.

Following Universities Canada’s principles on equity, diversity, and inclusion, SGS will actively remove barriers and improve supports for graduate students from all backgrounds, to ensure academic progress and success. Through evidence-based, collaborative practice, the School will foster a welcoming and supportive campus culture for student scholars and leaders and be deliberate in its efforts to raise awareness of diversity and inclusive excellence in all disciplines and programs.

SGS’s commitment to graduate students from diverse backgrounds and lived experiences extends across the lifecycle. By creating and making more inclusive our processes, resources, and services, the School will improve the recruitment and admission, retention and experience, and completion rates and outcomes of all graduate students.

SGS committee on diversity

The members of the SGS committee on diversity were appointed in March 2019 after an open call to all faculties and schools across all campuses in February 2019. Nominations for individuals from diverse backgrounds were deliberately sought. As compensation, GA funding is offered as compensation to each member for their time. 

  • Arif Abu, Internationalization Office and School of Graduate Studies 
  • Paul Banahene Adjei, School of Social Work
  • Mumtaz Cheema, Grenfell Campus
  • Jenn D’Eon, Department of Sociology/Gender Studies
  • Deneice Falconer, Faculty of Education
  • Jason Geary, Centre for Innovation in Teaching and Learning
  • Sulaimon Giwa, School of Social Work
  • Sarah Pickett, Faculty of Education
  • Valeri Pilgrim, Aboriginal Resource Office
  • Jennifer Selby, Department of Religious Studies
  • Andrew Kim, Director, Graduate Enrolment Services

Equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives

The following is a list on initiatives started by the School of Graduate Studies to make graduate education more diverse and inclusive at Memorial:

SGS Diversity Dialogue: Lunch and Learn Series
The Diversity committee will host a Lunch & Learn session once a month, as part of Memorial's EDI initiative. Each session will consist of a panel discussion with audience participation. Lunch is provided. For more information and to register for a session, please visit the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Lunch & Learn web page.

Eradicating Anti-Black Racism
SGS faculty and staff will participate on June 10, 2020 in the #STRIKE4BLACKLIVES, during which Black academics can take a break and others are able to reflect on the ways they can stomp out anti-Black racism on campus and in their communities. SGS is also allocating funding available to Black graduate students or research on Black culture and experiences to improve representation, eliminate barriers, and support the creation of information and knowledge on people of African descent. To celebrate the work and achievements of Black academics and graduate students, SGS will actively promote Black scholars and research on Black culture and experiences through our communication channels. Finally, as part of our EDI Lunch and Learn series, we will put a special focus on raising awareness of experiences and impacts of anti-Black racism.

Dean’s October 27, 2020 Statement on Graduate Admissions
Acknowledging that the pandemic has been extraordinarily stressful and disruptive, SGS announced that marks obtained since March 2020 will not be used in the calculations for eligibility for graduate funding, that we would be flexible regarding minimum admission requirements, and that academic units would be encouraged to consider the impact the pandemic had on individual students in making their admission decisions. Keeping in mind our role in increasing access to graduate education, SGS will also be providing additional supports for Indigenous students and Black Canadian students applying for admission to doctoral programs at Memorial. Read the full statement here.