Equity, Diversity & Inclusion at UTM
Video: Alexandra Gillespie speaks about Equity, Diversity & Inclusion at UTM.
Since I started my position as Principal in July 2020, I have had the good fortune of listening to many members of the UTM community as they share their priorities for our institutional future. Building on values affirmed in our 2017 Academic Plan, the community’s suggestions have often cohered around five capacious goals, the first three of which include: to enable impactful discovery in student and faculty research; to develop inclusive communities and sustainable spaces; and to inspire academic creativity student success.
Rather than a sequence of separate actions, these three goals comprise an interdependent whole, which I intend to signal with the order and language of their arrangement. Their respective verbs (“enable,” “develop,” “inspire”) form the acronym EDI to match the familiar abbreviation for one of UTM’s holistic commitments: equity, diversity and inclusion. The shared acronym, as I intend it, indicates that equity, diversity and inclusion will permeate all aspects of UTM’s future, from research to community engagement, from teaching to infrastructural development.
Our commitment to EDI entails a responsibility to dismantle historical and systemic barriers; to ensure access and opportunity; to foster a welcoming community of reciprocal respect; and to celebrate a variety of perspectives and lived experiences. We recognize this responsibility as a way to make UTM an even better place to learn, live and work—a deserving home for underrepresented and disenfranchised groups; a supportive environment for physical, mental and ecological wellbeing; and dynamic site for groundbreaking faculty and student research, teaching and innovation.
UTM will soon complete a new EDI plan to continue putting our inclusive ideals in practice. Emerging from collaborations among multiple people and units across campus, including our Office of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, the plan represents both tremendous work already done and a larger pursuit of continual improvement. In proudly supporting our current efforts, I also welcome suggestions for new opportunities to sit with truth; to advance anti-racism; and to support equity-deserving groups. Our commitment to equity involves ongoing action, both now and in the future: the time, as Dr. King put it, is always ripe to do right.