Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 69.54
Liaison Mike Versteege
Submission Date June 30, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Alberta
PA-6: Support for Underrepresented Groups

Status Score Responsible Party
3.00 / 3.00 Trina Innes
Chief Sustainability Officer
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have a publicly posted non-discrimination statement? :

The non-discrimination statement, including the website URL where the policy is publicly accessible:


It is the policy of the University of Alberta that acts of discrimination or harassment committed by any
individual to whom this policy applies are strictly prohibited. Discrimination and harassment in the work, study
and living environment includes, but is not limited to, discrimination and harassment on University of Alberta
property, at University-related functions, in the course of work or study assignments outside the University, at
work or study-related conferences or training sessions, during work or study-related travel, or by phone,
computer, or other electronic means.

Individuals affected by discrimination or harassment will be provided with a process for making and resolving
complaints. Complaints relating to sexual violence will be addressed under the Sexual Violence Policy.
Complaints of discrimination or harassment will be addressed and resolved in a timely manner, whenever
possible. When a complaint of discrimination or harassment is established, appropriate action is taken,
regardless of the authority or seniority of the offender. Individuals who engage in harassing or discriminatory
behaviours may be subject to disciplinary action.

The University has an overriding institutional interest in maintaining an environment free from discrimination
and harassment and may therefore itself initiate an investigation, or become a complainant, or continue with a
complaint withdrawn by a complainant.

Retaliation or reprisal against a person who has made a complaint, or against witnesses to a complaint, are
similarly prohibited. Individuals who engage in retaliation may be subject to disciplinary action.

The University also recognizes the serious nature of allegations of discrimination and harassment that are
made in bad faith, and it may take disciplinary action should allegations of discrimination or harassment be
shown to be malicious, frivolous, fraudulent, or vexatious. Submitting a complaint in good faith, even when the
complaint cannot be established, is not a violation of this policy.

Procedures on reporting and resolving discrimination or harassment complaints are published under this

Does the institution have a discrimination response protocol or committee (sometimes called a bias response team) to respond to and support those who have experienced or witnessed a bias incident, act of discrimination or hate crime?:

A brief description of the institution’s discrimination response protocol or team (including examples of actions taken during the previous three years):

Our discrimination response response protocol is housed in the Office of Safe Disclosure and Human Rights (OSDHR). This is a safe, neutral and confidential space for the UAlberta community to reach out to if they who have experienced or witnessed a bias incident, act of discrimination or hate crime. In addition to the OSDHR, the Employee & Family Assistance Program (EFAP) and the Ombudsman offer support and confidentiality.

UAlberta's policy "Discrimination Harassment and Duty to Accommodate" outlines the procedures followed by the bias response teams on campus.


Does the institution have programs specifically designed to recruit students from underrepresented groups?:

Does the institution have programs specifically designed to recruit staff from underrepresented groups?:

Does the institution have programs specifically designed to recruit faculty from underrepresented groups?:

A brief description of the institution’s programs to recruit students, staff and/or faculty from underrepresented groups:

The University of Alberta offers a range of programs to support recruitment of underrepresented groups. A selection of these programs are outlined below.

Employment Equity Program

Staff in the Employment Equity Program offer coaching, consulting, formal learning opportunities, and outreach programs to recruit and retain qualified diverse candidates for faculty and staff positions — including women, especially in non-traditional occupations, Aboriginal people, members of visible minorities, and persons with disabilities.

Transition Year Program

The Transition Year Program (TYP) offered by Aboriginal Student Services Centre is designed to provide post-secondary opportunities for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit students at the University of Alberta. TYP is a full-time university program for Aboriginal students who may not be prepared to enter a faculty through the regular admissions route. This is not an upgrading program, but a full-time University of Alberta program in Open Studies.

Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry

The Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry has quota positions reserved for Rural and Indigenous applicants. These applicants must meet all minimum requirements. We offer these positions over and above those who receive offers of admission through the regular process. These positions are to promote applicants who come from and have an understanding of rural, remote, northern, or indigenous communities who may have the goal of returning to practice in these communities.

Faculty of Law

The Faculty recognizes that Indigenous peoples have traditionally been underrepresented in the legal field. In order to assist Indigenous students in obtaining legal training, the Admissions Committee admits Indigenous Applicants in accordance with special guidelines.

Does the institution have mentoring, counseling, peer support, academic support, or other programs to support students from underrepresented groups on campus?:

Does the institution have mentoring, counseling, peer support or other programs to support staff from underrepresented groups on campus?:

Does the institution have mentoring, counseling, peer support or other programs to support faculty from underrepresented groups on campus?:

A brief description of the institution’s programs to support students, staff and/or faculty from underrepresented groups:

Canada's Employment Equity Act recognizes four historically disadvantaged groups: Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities, members of visible minorities and women. For this reason we have specifically focused on Aboriginal peoples, women and people with disabilities for this credit. In addition we included supports for those from sexual and gender minorities.

In the past 3 years the Office of the Provost has done the following to support historically disadvantaged groups on campus:

- hired an Indigenous Initiatives Manager/Coordinator;
- has established the Cultural Support Office;
- has created the Indigenous Peoples portal on the Website


Some of the ways in which First Nation, Metis and Inuit students are supported by the Aboriginal Student Services Centre (ASSC) are:

- Hosting the Transition Year Program, a University access program for Aboriginal students who may not be prepared to enter a faculty through the regular admissions route. Each year up to 55 students are admitted to this program and given the opportunity for post-secondary education with additional academic, social, and cultural supports. Example supports include attending full credit courses, University 101 and 102, which teach holistic curricula and focus on stress and coping strategies, transition services, and brings in elders for cultural teachings.
- Honouring ceremony at convocation recognizes Aboriginal students with a culturally significant gift and banquet to celebrate their academic achievement.
- Recruitment efforts focusing specifically on Aboriginal student audiences, accomplished by an Aboriginal Recruitment reaching out to remote communities.
- ASSC provides financial support for students from all faculties to access tutoring support and other academic workshops offered on campus that require a fee. Students can receive up to $250 in financial support for academics per semester.
- ASSC offers reserved on-campus residences for FNMI families and single students.


Since its inception in 2008, the Council on Aboriginal Initiatives (CAI) have met on a quarterly basis. Self declared Aboriginal students, staff and faculty are supported by the CAI, for example:

- The CAI is co-chaired by high level senior administration, the Chancellor and the Provost Vice President (Academic) and has representatives (delete - from every) at the academic and community level. This 45 member Council consists of five representatives from the Aboriginal student groups on campus, three Deans, various faculty and staff members (from Natives Studies, Education, Law, Medicine and Dentistry, and Nursing), representative from Human Resource Services, members of the Senate and City of Edmonton employees. This diverse group allows for incredibly rich and expansive discussions and opens up a space for meaningful and consultative dialogue.

The Michael Phair Leadership Award is awarded to student(s) with satisfactory academic standing entering the first year in any undergraduate degree. Selection is based on demonstrated leadership in secondary school and community activities and preference given to student(s) who have demonstrated commitment to the advancement of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans identified, two-spirited or queer communities.


The Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services (iSMSS) at the University of Alberta leads ground breaking research that affects policy development, intervention, education and community outreach for sexual and gender minorities (SGM), nationally and globally

ISMSS supports SGM students in many ways, such as:

- Providing therapeutic supports to students under 24 through our Family Resilience Project, which includes two drop in groups (trans and gender question youth group, PFLAG group for parents and family members), and individualized counselling.
- Providing resources and support for many sexual and gender minority related groups and their programming on and off campus. Examples include Siderite, the residence-specific LGBTQ student initiative, Outreach, the university-wide LGBTQ student initiative, Outlaw, the LGBTQ student group in Law, and the Sexual Orientations and Gender Identity Advocacy Committee made up of medical students
- Providing leadership opportunities for students to volunteer their time and develop new skills in a variety of ways, including the volunteer-supported annual Camp fYrefly (a summer camp providing youth self-identified as being a sexual and gender minority the opportunity to discover community and increase their knowledge base) and fYrefly in Schools (a Junior and Senior High LGBTQ* awareness and anti-homophobia outreach program).
- Providing mentorship to potential and current students who identify as being a sexual or gender minority, a role that includes advising, referrals, and hosting an open social community for them to participate in with the goal of making post-secondary education more welcoming and accessible to these individuals.

The Landing is a non-profit service at the University of Alberta that offers support for gender and sexual diversity. Promoting gender equity on a broad scale, and advocate for the safety and acceptance of individuals of all genders and sexualities in campus life. The Landing supports LGBTTQQPIANU+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Two-Spirit, Queer, Questioning, Pansexual, Intersex, Asexual, Non-Binary, Unlabelled, and more) communities and individuals, as well as their supporters, friends, family and loved ones.


Student Accessibility Services (SAS) promotes and coordinates the efforts of University departments and off-campus agencies to provide the following services to those with disabilities:

- Providing students with adaptive technology and assistive devices, such as braille devices and software, assistive listening devices, voice input and output software and devices, screen magnification devices and software, alternate formats for print materials, and adaptive technology supported computer labs.
- Delivering a Specialized Support Transition Course for students who are blind or partially sighted, and assists in developing competence in completing university-level coursework with the aid of adaptive technology, provides technology training, and fosters a peer support group for students.
- Offering communication, advocacy, and counselling support, including interpreting services, note taking services, communication with instructors to advocate disability-related need for accommodations, field and practicum placement supports, exam arrangements and accommodations, and short-term support counselling and advising related to disability issues.
- Conferring of several awards, bursaries, and scholarships for students accessing SSDS services.


Women in Scholarship, Engineering, Science and Technology (WISEST) encourages more women to pursue science, engineering and technology fields, which currently have an under-representation of women. WISEST has several programs and events to support female students within these areas of study at the U of A and also supports two student networks:

- UAWiSE – an undergraduate support group for women in science, engineering and technology
- WISER – an early career support group for women pursuing science, engineering and technology graduate or PhD studies or careers.

Does the institution have training and development programs, teaching fellowships and/or other programs that specifically aim to support and prepare students from underrepresented groups for careers as faculty members?:

A brief description of the institution’s programs to support and prepare students from underrepresented groups for careers as faculty members:

Graduate Teaching and Learning Program (GTL)

The Graduate Teaching and Learning (GTL) Program is an initiative designed to help develop the teaching and learning skills of graduate students. The multi-tier program–a collaboration of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research, departments and faculties, and the Office of the Vice-Provost (Academic Programs)–will deliver new and exciting opportunities for training in university instruction. The GTL Program is open to all graduate students and postdoctoral fellows and focuses on pedagogical theories. This program is intended to assist with the professional development of graduate students who intend to pursue academic and non-academic careers.

Academic Women's Association

Active memberships is open to women who are full- or part-time graduate students at the University of Alberta. Associate memberships are open to women who are full- or part-time graduate students in other Alberta universities. The purpose of the association is to provide a voice for women on campus, opportunities for networking and nurturing among women from different disciplines and at different levels of their academic careers and to celebrate the achievements of academic women. This organization seeks to support and mentor undergraduate and graduate women students and provide networking and support opportunities for academic women.

Women in Scholarship, Engineering, Science & Technology (WISEST)

WISEST seeks to investigate the reasons why few young women were choosing careers in science and engineering, to take action to alter the situation, and to work to increase the percentage of women in decision-making roles in all fields of scholarship. WISEST collaborates with industry, government, academia, and over 600 volunteers a year to deliver programs and networks that increase the diversity of voices represented in science, engineering and technology, thus strengthening the workplace and society. WISEST has also expanded programming to pay specific attention to encouraging Aboriginal students to pursue their gifts in the sciences. WISEST provides formal and informal networking opportunities with the goal of improving retention of women in under-represented areas including academia by providing mentorship supports (and developing leadership skills. This contributes to improved educational experiences for women and therefore also acts to encourage their involvement in higher education as professors. WISEST is proud to support and be affiliated with two networks for undergraduates, graduates, and early-career female professionals in science, engineering and technology UA-Wise (University of Alberta - Women in Science and Engineering) and WISER (Women in Science, Engineering and Research).

Does the institution produce a publicly accessible inventory of gender-neutral bathrooms on campus?:

Does the institution offer housing options to accommodate the special needs of transgender and transitioning students?:

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Additional Responsible Parties:

Catherine Anley
Employment Equity Advisor
Human Resource Services

Suzanne Butler
Transition Year Program Coordinator.
ASSC (Aboriginal Student Services Centre)

Fervone Goings
WISEST Assistant Coordinator

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.