Diversity and respect fundamental
to Western's success
Western’s efforts to ensure a supportive and respectful campus community continue on many fronts, including the recent delivery of three workshops designed to illustrate examples of harassment in the learning and work environment, and how to respond to it.
Two “Say Yes to Respect” workshops attracted participation from hundreds of UWOSA and PMA staff members on May 27 and June 17, respectively. A separate session for Associate Deans, Chairs, Directors and leaders of the University Librarians and Archivists was held during an academic leaders retreat June 18-20.
Developed in partnership between HR’s Learning and Development, Equity and Human Rights Services, and Campus Police – with input and direction provided by UWOSA, PMA and a faculty advisory group – each workshop featured role-plays in which bullying behaviour was performed by professional actors. Participants had an opportunity to discuss their observations of the scenarios with colleagues, and then consider what could be done to intervene in such circumstances to prevent further escalation.
These workshops are the latest in a series of initiatives undertaken in support of the Safe Campus Community Policy, approved by the Board of Governors in May. The new policy’s key principles emphasize that harassment and violence in any form will not be tolerated at Western, and that all members of our campus community have a role to play in preventing and responding to it. An education and awareness campaign on the new policy is being led by Campus Police, who have so far presented to some 1,200 faculty, staff and students, over and above the 800 people reached through the recent UWOSA, PMA and academic leaders’ workshops.
Other initiatives undertaken this year to promote respect and safety on campus include:
- the January Leaders/Managers forum was devoted to an examination of how to identify and handle workplace behaviours that are unacceptable – from basic harassment to physical violence;
- the allocation of funds to support development of a sequel to the “Chilly Climate” video – currently in production, and anticipated for release this fall;
- the development and acceptance of a Journalistic Code of Ethics for the Gazette, with prominent academics and journalists on its Advisory Board;
- the inclusion of guidelines for the 2007-2008 planning cycle requiring Deans to identify equity and “climate of respect” initiatives in each Faculty, including practices, policies and guidelines addressing acceptable standards of behaviour and the means by which complaints are addressed;
- the development of a new edition of the Employment Equity Guide by the Employment Equity Committee (a joint committee of the University and UWOFA), of which copies were distributed to all full-time faculty;
- the Employment Equity Committee has also reviewed data on Annual Performance Evaluation of faculty; no evidence was found for gender differences in PAI scores;
- a Request for Proposals for an Employment Systems Review has been issued by the University to examine Western’s processes for recruitment and career advancement; the review will seek to identify whether there are systemic barriers inherent in our appointment, evaluation, and promotion processes;
- following Western’s recent gender-based salary anomaly review, UBC has undertaken a study of gender-based salary differences and gender-based differences in time-to-tenure and time-to-promotion – this study will be extended to interested G-13 universities, of which Western will be one;
- the Vice-Provost (Academic Planning, Policy and Faculty) is currently preparing an update of the 2000 report on faculty appointments, promotion and tenure, disaggregated by gender;
- Equity and Human Rights Services is meeting on an ongoing basis with the Affiliated Colleges, which includes a review of policy structure for responding to complaints across the institution;
- a new course for administrative leaders titled “Respect in Action: Leaders’ Role in Stopping Harassment” is being piloted as an extension of the foundational leadership training offered by Human Resources;
- a Safe Campus web site is under development to bring together all existing online resources concerning emotional, physical, online and environmental safety on campus;
- an online (WebCT) training module is being developed to augment the learning opportunities provided through the respect workshops offered by Human Resources.
As I move into my last year as President, my top priority will be to maintain a sense of solidarity and commitment among our faculty, staff, students, and alumni, which is the foundation of all our achievements. And fundamental to this will be nurturing a learning and work environment that values diversity and respect for others.