Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

picture of fingerprints of different coloursThe Dept. of Biochemistry recognizes and values equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) principles across all aspects of its functioning. We are committed to fostering an inclusive environment that celebrates diversity and provides equitable outcomes for our students, post-doctoral scholars, staff, and faculty. To develop meaningful change, the Department established a committee in 2022 to address issues related to EDI within our community.

What is Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion?

  • Equity - ensuring that access, resources, and opportunities are provided for all to succeed and grow, especially for those who are underrepresented and have been historically disadvantaged
  • Diversity -  the conditions, expressions, and experiences of different groups identified by attributes such as age, sexual orientation, Indigenous status, disability, race, ethnicity, etc.
  • Inclusion - a workplace culture that is welcoming to all people regardless of  sexual orientation, Indigenous status, ability, race, ethnicity, etc., and everyone is valued, respected, and able to reach their full potential

Accessibility in the Dept. of Biochemistry

The Dept. of Biochemistry is located on the 3rd floor of the Medical Sciences Building (MSB), which is accessible by outside ramps and automated door openers. Elevators connect all floors of the building. The Dept. also has two single-user, gender-neutral, accessible washrooms.

Land Acknowledgement

Western University is situated on the traditional territories of the Anishinaabek, Haudenosaunee, Lenaape, and Chonnonton Nations. These lands are connected through the London and Sombra Township Treaties and the Dish with One Spoon Covenant Wampum. The local First Nation communities include Chippewas of the Thames First Nation, Oneida Nation of the Thames, and Munsee Delaware Nation. In the area, twelve First Nation communities and a growing Indigenous urban population exist.

We respect the longstanding relationships that Indigenous Nations have and have had with this land since time immemorial. As the original caretakers, they have lived as one with the land: valuing it, respecting it, and allowing it to replenish.

We acknowledge historical and ongoing injustices that Indigenous Peoples (e.g., First Nations, Métis, and Inuit) endure in what is now known as Canada. We accept responsibility to correct miseducation about Indigenous communities, to renew respectful relationships with them, and to value them. We call you to action: to not only reflect on, but also contribute to, reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. 

Biochemistry's EDI Committee

Mandate

  • Cultivate a welcoming and accommodating environment for all 
  • Educate students, post-doctoral scholars, staff, and faculty about the importance of EDI
  • Act upon EDI-related issues brought forward by community members
  • Maintain a list of services and contacts for referral
  • Support university-led efforts to reduce systemic barriers in academia

Future Goals

Collaborate with other EDI committees in Schulich departments

Current Focus and Timeline

  • Fall 2022 - Create a departmental reporting system for issues in the workplace and learning environment
  • Fall 2022 – Create an EDI training session for the Dept.

Progress

  • Feb 2022 – The Biochemistry EDI committee was created and met, a first in the history of the Dept.
  • Spring 2022 - The EDI webpage for Biochemistry's website was created, a first in the history of the Dept.
  • Spring 2022 - The 2018 recommendations from the Gender Equity Task Force in Biochemistry were implemented at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
  • Summer 2022 - The EDI committee received training in how to deal with reports of discrimination and harassment in the Biochemistry community.

Current Members

  • 2 faculty, including Chair of Dept. of Biochemistry: Drs. Derek McLachlin, Greg Gloor
  • 1 staff: Dr. Lynn Weir
  • 1 post-doctoral scholar: Dr. Haider Hassan
  • minimum of 2 graduate students (maximum of 3): Beth Connelly, Jordyn Meaney, Emma Walker 
  • 2 undergraduate students: Elissa Goodbrand, Rachel Lau

Former Members

  • Paul Akouris (former undergraduate student)
  • Dr. Mike Boffa (faculty)
  • Dr. Sally Esmail (former post-doctoral scholar)

Summaries of Meeting Minutes

February 14th, 2022 – chaired by Dr. Greg Gloor

  • The committee’s mandate and composition were agreed upon (2 faculty, 1 staff, 1 post-doctoral fellow, 2 graduate students, and 2 undergraduate students).
  • Members agreed to operate in confidence so that the committee can serve as an open and honest forum for discussion.
  • The committee will assign a new chair for every month (i.e., rotating chair).
  • The committee reviewed the CR(EDI)T report and, in particular, the action items to identify areas that could be tackled at the departmental level.

March 14th, 2022 – chaired by Dr. Lynn Weir

  • The committee discussed changing its name to include decolonization (D) and indigenization (I). We will be seeking guidance from experts on -DI related issues to ensure that we approach this in a sensitive and responsible manner.
  • Committee members agreed to receive EDI training.
  • The committee discussed the possibility of and requirements for a department-level reporting system for issues in Biochemistry's workplace and learning environment.
  • The committee discussed ideas to improve EDI in the Dept. by taking into account the CR(EDI)T survey of trainees (2021), Biochemistry's Gender Equity Task Force recommendations (2018), and the report of experiences of discrimination in London. 

April 18th, 2022 – chaired by Emma Jane Walker

  • An actionable item listed within the Biochemistry Gender Equity Task Force recommendations (2018) was investigated, revealing that anonymous marking through OWL is possible.
  • The committee agreed to set forth on three main objectives for the upcoming summer term: (i) releasing an EDI webpage on the Biochemistry website, (ii) developing a reporting system for the department for issues in our workplace and learning environment, and (iii) organizing an EDI training event for the start of the fall-term.
  • The committee discussed features to be integrated into the departmental EDI webpage.

May 16th, 2022 – chaired by Beth Connelly

  • The committee members reviewed the working EDI webpage and agreed upon its contents.
  • The committee deliberated over potential themes, modes of delivery, and various logistics for the prospective EDI training event (anticipated in Sept. 2022).
  • The committee will review the Human Rights Office reporting system ahead of the next meeting.

June 6th, 2022 – chaired by Jordyn Meaney

  • The committee agreed to add summarized meeting minutes to the Biochemistry EDI webpage.
  • The committee discussed and resolved some logistics regarding the departmental reporting system; we will meet with a representative from the Human Rights Office for further logistical planning.
  • The committee further discussed potential themes and panelists for the prospective EDI training event (anticipated in Sept. 2022).

July 4th, 2022 - chaired by Emma Jane Walker

  • The committee reviewed a draft of the reporting system and suggested revisions; a committee member will meet with a representative from the Human Rights Office to revise the draft before its implementation (anticipated launch in Sept. 2022).
  • The committee agreed upon a set of potential dates and a theme for the EDI event (anticipated to occur during the 2nd or 3rd week of fall term).
  • The committee discussed the Gender Equity Task Force recommendations and reviewed past accomplishments within the Dept. We plan to create a progress report and scorecard to summarize all past accomplishments and future goals.

August 2nd, 2022 – chaired by Paul Akouris

  • The committee discussed the updated reporting system and a potential pathway for handling EDI disclosures through this system.
  • The committee discussed the potential to collaborate with EDI-related groups in other departments on joint initiatives.
  • The committee has reached out to various organizations and potential speakers in preparation for the upcoming fall EDI event we are planning. 

Sept 14th, 2022 – chaired by Jordyn Meaney

  • The committee intends to work closely with the Learner Experience Office (in association with Schulich Medicine & Dentistry) to finalize the reporting tool for issues in Biochemistry's workplace and learning environment.
  • A departmental EDI seminar will still be held in the Fall (late October) but is delayed due to lack of responses in event preparation.
  • The committee is rolling out an anti-harassment and anti-discrimination campaign in the department.
  • The committee encourages the Biochemistry community to invite speakers that come from diverse or under-represented backgrounds.

Contact

For more information or questions about EDI initiatives in the Biochemistry Dept., please contact Lynn Weir (Research Co-ordinator). 

Reporting Harassment and Discrimination

Western is committed to providing a learning and working environment that is free of harassment and discrimination. All students, staff, and faculty have a role in this commitment and have a responsibility to ensure and promote a safe and respectful learning and working environment. Relevant policies include Western's Non-Discrimination/Harassment Policy (M.A.P.P. 1.35) and Non-Discrimination/Harassment Policy – Administrative Procedures (M.A.P.P. 1.35). 

Any student, staff, or faculty member who experiences or witnesses behaviour that may be harassment or discrimination must report the behaviour to Western's Human Rights Office (blue button below). Harassment and discrimination can be human rights-based, which is also known as EDI-based, (sexism, racism, transphobia, homophobia, islamophobia, xenophobia, antisemitism, and ableism) or non-human rights-based (personal harassment or workplace harassment).

blue-coloured icon with words "report discrimination and/or harassment to Western's Human Rights Office"

EDI Resources  

Anti-racism

Accessibility

Indigenous Information

2SLGBTQIA+

  • =Two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex, asexual  
  • Pride Library  
  • PrideWestern  (USC service working for and with Western's queer and trans community)  
  • Western Queer Caucus  (Group for queer faculty, staff, and graduate students at Western)  
  • Spectrum  (Club that creates a safe space for Western’s 2SLGBTQIA+ students)    

Women's Issues

  • Western's Caucus on Women Issues  (Promotes and safeguards the interests of women at Western; women staff, faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates at Western can join)  
  • Women of Ivey Network (WIN)  (Leaders from Ivey community fostering a gender-inclusive culture and accelerating the advancement of women in business)  
  • Women in Engineering  (Offers unique opportunities to Western’s women engineers for team building, learning, and support)  
  • Western Women in Neuroscience  (Promotes discussions and activities related to being a woman in psychology and neuroscience at Western)  

EDI Offices at Western

EDI Workshops and Learning Modules

Policies and Codes of Conduct at Western

Additional Resources