Overall Rating Platinum
Overall Score 85.48
Liaison Emmanuelle Jodoin
Submission Date Dec. 6, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Université de Sherbrooke
PA-5: Assessing Diversity and Equity

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.75 / 1.00 Lucie Durand
Institutional Research Advisor
Management - Support Service
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Has the institution engaged in a structured assessment process during the previous three years to improve diversity, equity and inclusion on campus?:

A brief description of the assessment process and the framework, scorecard(s) and/or tool(s) used:

Université de Sherbrooke aspires to become an exemplary environment in terms of equity, diversity and inclusion. This is indeed one of the objectives part of the four broad priorities of its 2018-2022 Strategic Plan, which is to “Develop pride and engagement throughout the entire university community “, as to make of the University a place to study, work, achieve and belong. As such, in 2018, an institutional equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) Strategic Committee was established to structure the various EDI-related initiatives that had previously emerged at the University and undertake a framed assessment process to ensure continued progress towards improving equity, diversity and inclusion at the institution.

The EDI Strategic Committee first draws on the work of four sub-committees, each of which has proceeded to implement a structured assessment process related to specific equity, diversity and inclusion issues applicable to students and/or employees. These assessments, aimed at portraying strengths and areas for improvement in terms of EDI at the University, were conducted using several means such as surveys, self-declaration online forms, statistical surveys, and focus groups. These committees are: the Canada Research Chairs (CRC) EDI Committee, the Inclusion of Sexual and Gender Diversity Committee, the Intercultural and Language Skills Committee, and the Institutional Indigenous Peoples Affairs Committee.

Although the evaluation process carried out by the four EDI sub-committees led to findings and initiatives specific to their respective key priorities, broadening the scope of the evaluation was needed (the University being required to meet specific institutional targets within designated groups (for instance, by the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse (Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission), to which the University has to be annually accountable)). The EDI Strategic Committee was hence supported by an EDI Working Committee which oversaw the production of a statistical profile of the Université de Sherbrooke’s designated groups representation. With this data in hand, EDI Working Committee’s representatives were mandated to tour faculties and administrative units of the University. These visits, which occurred for the most part in the fall 2019, consisted in informing them about the institutional equity, diversity and inclusion framework, including the priorities put forward in this context, to take account of existing EDI-related initiatives and to provide them with their relevant students and employees designated groups representation data (i.e. women, visible minorities, ethnic minorities, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities), compared to the University overall and chosen regions. They were also provided with the University's targets related to employees based on the representation of designated groups (in the context of the Law on Equal Access to Employment in Public Agencies).

These visits, in addition to portraying the situation and raising awareness to EDI issues, were also meant to assess the level of knowledge, perspective and experiences in terms of equity, diversity and inclusion, and to engage with the participants a reflection on their contribution to help achieve the set targets and requirements, both in terms of student and employee equity, diversity and inclusion. This dialogue proved to be insightful and has permitted to probe the different views and angles on the matter. The information collected through these visits was logged and validated with each of the faculties and administrative units met. It will provide a basis for monitoring progress and for the EDI Working Committee to assist as needed (support the faculties and administrative units with assessment tools, etc.).

Faculties and administrative units engage in their own EDI assessments based on their particular context, and there are positive aspects associated with this approach. For instance, disparities between fields of study and work environments are thereby considered, allowing a more comprehensive assessment of the situation in terms of equity, diversity and inclusion and thus to address those more effectively (to that end, it should be noted that several faculties and services have structures in place to that regard (i.e., EDI committees, offices). However, a global institutional approach remains necessary (e.g., due to external accountability requirements) and it is within that context that the EDI Working Committee developed and presented an institutional 3-year action plan, as to address, in addition to the priorities identified by the EDI Strategic Committee (see below), issues such as students and employees attraction and recruitment from designated groups (e.g., targeted posting by designated groups, facilitating the recognition of prior learning and diplomas, admission scholarships), welcoming and integration (e.g., accommodation measures, reduce (architectural) barriers to mobility, etc.), etc. Now adopted by the EDI Strategic Committee, the plan will be monitored annually and adjusted as needed.

All things considered, the University’s overall assessment process is one of consolidation, considering that assessments in terms of EDI emanate from many different sources in a university setting, according to a variety of contexts and, admittedly, prominent priorities. That being said, the University has, and has had for quite some time, a very good appreciation of what equity, diversity and inclusion entails and is committed to ensuring that specific measures be in place to support its students and staff to that regard. An assessment process as such is an ongoing process, where all can be adjusted and modified, bearing in mind that such assessment and consequent results are there to improve one’s experience, in a fair and just environment.

For more information on EDI at the Université de Sherbrooke: https://www.usherbrooke.ca/recherche/fr/organisation/equite/

EDI Strategic Committee Priorities
1. Gender representation in various sectors (target of 20% growth in women faculty in engineering and sciences by 2022; males' interest in education and to the health sciences; achievement of gender parity in the institutional bodies as provided for in the Université de Sherbrooke’s Statutes);
2. Attainment of diversity targets (external requirements) related to the presence of five designated groups (women, visible minorities, ethnic minorities, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities) (from Canada Research Chairs (CRC); from the Equal Employment Opportunity Program);
3. Integration of persons with disabilities;
4. Development of openness and support measures, in particular for the student population of sexual and gender diversity groups (LGBTQ2+) within the university environment;
5. Development of intercultural skills of employees and students.

Designated Groups - Definitions
Women: any person who identifies herself as a woman.
Indigenous Peoples: any person who is a North American Indian, First Nations, Métis or Inuit.
Visible Minorities: a person (other than an Indigenous Peoples person or a member of an ethnic minority) who is non-white in colour, regardless of place of birth.
Ethnic Minorities: any person whose mother tongue is neither English nor French and who is not an Indigenous Peoples person or a visible minority.
Persons with a Disability: a person who has a long-term or recurring physical, mental, sensory, psychiatric or learning impairment.
(Charte des droits et libertés de la personne du Québec (Québec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms))

Does the assessment process address campus climate by engaging stakeholders to assess the attitudes, perceptions and behaviors of faculty, staff, administrators and students, including the experiences of underrepresented groups?:

Does the assessment process address student outcomes related to diversity, equity and success (e.g. graduation/success and retention rates for underrepresented groups)?:

Does the assessment process address employee outcomes related to diversity and equity (e.g. pay and retention rates for underrepresented groups)?:

A brief description of the most recent assessment findings and how the results are used in shaping policy, programs and initiatives:

Based on assessment findings, particularly related to the four EDI sub-committees, here are some of the approaches undertaken by them and resulting initiatives:

1) The Université de Sherbrooke is dedicated to achieve targets formulated by the Canada Research Chairs secretariat (CRC), which in May 2017, directed Canadian universities to address the underrepresentation of the four designated groups (i.e., women, Indigenous Peoples, visible minorities and persons with disabilities) among Canada Research Chairs holders (i.e., for recruitment, hiring and retention).
The Canada Research Chairs (CRC) EDI Committee conducted a survey of the research chair teams. These results made it possible to structure the EDI framework for all research activities.

2) The Inclusion of Sexual and Gender Diversity Committee was created following representations made by the Université de Sherbrooke’s Trans Action Group. The participation of trans persons and the Groupe d'action trans de l'Université de Sherbrooke (GATUS) on this committee, during exchange and discussion sessions, was the mean to assess the needs of trans persons in a very precise manner. Various changes have been made and are being implemented (for example, the establishment of an identity designation policy, access to non-gendered washrooms, inclusion of gender plurality in surveys, etc.).

3) The Intercultural and Language Skills Committee was set in late summer 2019. This Committee draws in particular on the progress made by the orientation and international activities planning table since 2010. A major survey has been conducted with the support of a consultant in intercultural psychology. Her report led to several changes, including the introduction of peer mentoring, the hiring of professional staff, and the development of specialized resources. The work of the Intercultural Committee is aimed at further developing measures and better training staff and members of the student community in acquiring intercultural skills.

4) The Institutional Indigenous Peoples Affairs Committee is also being structured, drawing in particular on the activities carried out by the indigenous Law student group. Consultation and collaboration with indigenous communities, in particular the Waban-Aki Grand Council and the Atikamekw, has made it possible to identify the pitfalls and needs of these communities with respect to access to and success in university studies. Various measures aimed at the educational success of indigenous people have been implemented, including an Indigenous Peoples contingent in the Bachelor of Law and Doctor of Medicine programs and various other initiatives to promote awareness of indigenous cultures. Other actions under way include work at the Faculty of Education to include indigenous content in teacher training programs.

In this context, these initiatives are closely aligned with the EDI priorities put forward by the Strategic Committee. However, several more initiatives and programs aimed at equity, diversity and inclusion also stem, in this case, from the global institutional assessment:

Initiatives related to students’ support (some examples)
Facilitate housing for students with disabilities in residences (rooms accessible to persons with reduced mobility, as well as a bathroom and a kitchen which, in addition to being accessible to persons with reduced mobility, is equipped with Braille to facilitate its use by visually impaired persons);
Health Clinic (adapt practices and forms to respect changes to the first name as per the University’s guideline);
Non-traditional student backgrounds and University studies (the Faculty of Physical Activity Sciences offers student athletes an entry path to a Certificate in Applied Physical Activity Sciences to Sport Training allowing them to better combine sport life and university student life, and to eventually qualify for the baccalaureate).

Initiatives related to employees’ support (some examples)
Faculty hiring committees are trained on issues related to EDI;
Representation of women in Science and Engineering (professor Eve Langelier, holder of the Québec Women in Science and Engineering Chair, and her team have been actively working to increase the representation of women in Science and Engineering. They offer as well an online EDI training session: http://cfsg.espaceweb.usherbrooke.ca/formation-en-equite-diversite-et-inclusion/ );
Workshops to help faculty increase the use of inclusive teaching and learning methods in the classroom (https://www.usherbrooke.ca/ssf/veille/perspectives-ssf/numeros-precedents/decembre-2018/les-debats-de-la-propos/);
Equal employment opportunity (Equal Employment Opportunity Questionnaire - - in order to introduce measures to support designated group members in employment through the elimination of systemic bias and barriers in the workplace).

Other initiatives (some examples)
Support to students and employees (EDI training and awareness tools put in place - - short videos, online learning modules - - What is EDI? What it consists of? How to serve clienteles from designated groups? Etc. As well, staff members from higher education institutions in Québec are obliged to undergo training on sexual violence, which is offered by the University;
The Faculty of Law has created and filled a new position of Director of Indigenous Peoples Affairs.

The initiatives come from very different sources, and there are many. Though, over the next three years, the institutional action plan will lead the way to the implementation of several other EDI measures resulting from the institutional structured assessment process, concerning both students and employees.

Are the results of the most recent structured diversity and equity assessment shared with the campus community?:

A brief description of how the assessment results are shared with the campus community:

Are the results (or a summary of the results) of the most recent structured diversity and equity assessment publicly posted?:

The diversity and equity assessment report or summary:

The website URL where the report or summary is publicly posted:

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:

Additional documentation to support the submission:

Annual progress report regarding the Equity Action Plan for the Federal Tri-Agency Programs (2017-2022) (Plan d’action d’équité pour les programmes interorganismes fédéraux (2017-2022)): https://www.usherbrooke.ca/gestion-recherche/fileadmin/sites/gestion-recherche/documents/edi/HL-Documents/Rapport_des_progres_UdeS__15_dec._2018.pdf

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.