GGE Equity Commitments and Initiatives

Exterior of the entry into the Davis building at UTM

For a summary of tri-campus departmental statements, committees, equity-based syllabi/recruitment and additional EDI initiatives, please see below:


Departmental Statements

We seek to cultivate a departmental culture that welcomes and supports students, staff, and faculty with diverse education and experiential backgrounds, especially those who belong to groups that are currently underrepresented in academia. We are committed to providing a fair, equitable, and mutually supportive learning and working environment for our students, staff, and faculty. As a department, as a collective, as a group of colleagues, we acknowledge both our fundamental commitment to diversity and inclusion but also recognize our shortcomings. Our work has only just begun and we are committed to developing statements, and putting their corresponding commitments into action, for all equity seeking groups. To this end, we would like to begin with the following statements:


Solidarity Statement Regarding Anti-Black Racism

Black lives matter. Clearly, however, the murders of George Floyd in Minneapolis, of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, of Breonna Tayler in Kentucky, the killing of Tony McDade in Florida and the tragic death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet here in Toronto, together with far too many other similar events, have served as stark reminders of the necessity of organizing behind a premise of dismantling anti-Black racism and state-sanctioned violence.

With these stories (and decades of too many similar stories) serving as contemporary examples and evidence of pervasive and persistent anti-Black racism and anti-Indigenous racism, we, the academic leaders of the tri-campus graduate programs in Geography and Planning and the three undergraduate geography departments at the University of Toronto-St. George (STG), the University of Toronto-Mississauga (UTM), and the University of Toronto-Scarborough (UTSC) affirm our commitment to do more than just express our collective outrage and dismay. Read more »


Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Statement

The collective leadership of our three distinct campus geography Departments and our unified tri-campus graduate Department of Geography and Planning wishes to affirm our commitment to solidarity with Indigenous peoples of Canada and beyond. This includes specifically our ongoing support for and development of geographical and planning scholarship and teaching that directly confronts Canada’s settler colonial history and the ways in which this colonial legacy pervades and profoundly shapes the geographies of everyday life in this country. Read more »


Additional Solidarity Statements

The UTM GGE EDI committee is currently working on statements regarding other equity-seeking groups.


Committees

GGE is an active member of the tri-campus EDI committee. In addition, the GGE department at UTM has formed its own committee that involves faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students. 

The Terms of Reference for the GGE EDI committee can be accessed here. 


Equity-Based Syllabi: Statements

As noted below under "Additional EDI Initiatives", the UTM GGE EDI committee has conducted an initial faculty survey to collect information about incorporation of EDI in teaching. The committee is also working on a statement to be included in all GGE syllabi, in addition to that provided by the university. 


Equity-Based Recruitment

All search committee members have been requested to take unconscious bias training, which has been applied to recruitment

Furthermore, as noted below, the GGE EDI committee has initiated a faculty survey which will gauge the degree to which faculty have received different types of training related to EDI. The initial survey was conducted in 2021 to establish a baseline, and it will be re-engaged in regular fashion as a way of measuring progress toward enhanced awareness and training. 


Additional EDI Initiatives

The undergraduate student representatives on the GGE EDI committee have conducted a survey of students, which has provided considerable insight, and there are plans to continue surveying the students in future years. 

In the late fall of 2021, the GGE EDI committee undertook to survey the faculty on their level of EDI-related training, and to gauge the extent to which EDI has been incorporated into classroom teaching. This was mainly to provide a baseline from which to assess future improvements in EDI training, awareness, and teaching.

Based on the result of this initial survey, the EDI committee found many faculty members in the department are already incorporating particular elements of EDI into their classroom teaching, and the next step is to seek more creative ways in order to further enhance the focus on EDI in our teaching and research. The EDI committee will work with the faculty members and recommend about which forms of training should be considered most important and desirable, how often faculty should be asked to refresh their training, and how to best incorporate EDI-related training systematically into faculty teaching and research practices.

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