Through research, policy development, advice seeking conversations and focused resources, we will continue this important work as an implicit responsibility to live the college’s values, achieve our educational mandate and improve our accessibility, safety, and relevance to students.
Understanding Our Commitment...
At Selkirk College, we recognize and celebrate diversity. We value differences protected under the BC Human Rights Code – such as race, religion, disability, gender identity – as well as differences beyond the code, such as health status, educational background and ways of being, knowing and doing. Everyone at Selkirk College has a role to play to support each other to feel valued, a sense of belonging and ability to contribute to the college community and its mission.
As an institution devoted to learning, we play an essential role in understanding and addressing the effects of colonization, racism, prejudice and injustice against marginalized peoples and inequity in society. Through our programs and services, we will work to dismantle systemic barriers to access, opportunities and full participation in our college, community and society.
We aim to cultivate a working and learning environment that honours human dignity – one free of harassment, intimidation and discrimination. We design our programs and services to provide learners and employees with the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to build more equity, diversity and inclusivity for all. These commitments enrich the lives and communities we touch.
Our Work and Initiatives...
The journey of equity, diversity and inclusion at Selkirk College began formalizing in 2018. At that time, we were finalizing Building Remarkable Futures: Strategic Plan 2019-2024. Along with Environmental Sustainability, Health & Wellness, Innovation and Reconciliation, Diversity & Inclusion was included as an institutional commitment.
To help us effectively and appropriately address the commitment of Diversity & Inclusion, in 2019, Selkirk College hired consulting firm HRx to provide training, leadership development, policy development, strategic consulting and data analytics. You may have participated in interview sessions with HRx’s Wyle Baoween early on in the project, participated in train-the-trainer sessions, or at various in-house PD sessions. Work with HRx continues on a number of fronts.
A Diversity & Inclusion Committee was established in November 2019 to guide action on this commitment with three working groups engaged in research and consultation focusing on systemic change, gender diversity in leadership and the student experience.
Today, this original committee has reformed under a broader name: Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) with two branches - an advisory committee made up of employees with lived experiences and a leadership committee, who also have accountability within their positions to plan, resource and implement specific EDI initiatives that will advance the college’s EDI commitments, and act on the advice of the EDI Advisory Committee.
Also guiding Selkirk College's work is the Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity policy.
It is important to note that Selkirk College is also working toward Reconciliation through Indigenization. While this effort is connected to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Indigenization has its own separate framework.
Our Community, Our World...
At Selkirk College, in our classrooms and everyday work, we are directly involved with the future generation. Students entering new careers and dynamic futures must be equipped with skills to meet the climate of tomorrow.
And, the global climate is rapidly changing. The importance of work in equity, diversity and inclusion has grown in the past several years. Events such as the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police solidified the Black Lives Matters movement. Hate crimes targeting minority goups are on the rise, the opioid crisis is worsening and the COVID-19 pandemic is increasing division among communities. Ongoing global crises, racial injustice and social movements have heightened the need for and awareness around formalizing work and policies.
The nature of work in equity, diversity and inclusion has also changed. Best practices, policies, values and strategies are evolving as organizations move forward. Even the nomenclature has changed from Diversity & Inclusion to include Equity. Selkirk College is committed to evolving and adapting in a good and collaborative way as we aim to lead this work in our communities.
As a community college, we engage in this work collaboratively across sectors and institutions. We give thanks to our collaborators and we acknowledge the work that has been done by Camosun College in developing best practice definitions that help shape our work. Thank you for these definitions:
Equity: Equity is about fairness. It is the process that removes barriers to ensure access to educational and employment opportunities. To maintain and enhance the quality of teaching and learning at the College, and to ensure fairness, individuals or groups may at times need to be treated differently. Equity addresses the effects of colonization, economic and social disparity, and injustices against marginalized groups, and systemic barriers to access and participation.
Diversity: Diversity functions to affirm individuals' unique and varied histories, experiences, and ways of being, knowing, doing and relating. It is about being different and acknowledging and celebrating differences. Our experience and understanding of diversity strengthens us and supports the work we do at the college.
Inclusion: Inclusion is the process through which we build a community where the diversity of human experiences, perspectives and identities is recognized and respected. Inclusion fosters belonging. It affords everyone the right to participate and strengthen the collective well-being of our communities.