Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 67.16
Liaison Mike Versteege
Submission Date June 24, 2020
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Alberta
PA-6: Support for Underrepresented Groups

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 3.00 Gerry McCune
Director, Organizational Development, Equity and Health
Human Resource Services
"---" 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harassment and may therefore itself initiate an investigation, or become a complainant, or continue with a complaint withdrawn by a complainant.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 policy.

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):

UAlberta's policy "Discrimination, Harassment and Duty to Accommodate Policy" and “Discrimination and Harassment Complaint Procedure” outline the procedures followed by the bias response teams on campus for disclosure and for informal and formal resolution of complaints.


Our discrimination 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 Office of the Student Ombuds offer support and confidentiality.

Reports of wrongdoings or “disclosures” are treated on a case-by-case basis. OSHDR along with the Office of the Dean of Students maintain confidentiality in incidents of discrimination or hate crimes.

Incidents of sexual violence will receive immediate response and referral to the U of A Sexual Assault Centre, amongst other medical attention or counselling and emotional support.

The Office of the Student Ombuds is available for students who have experienced an act of discrimination, hate or sex crime. The Office of the Student Ombuds offers an impartial third party, working to find the best possible resolution within the rules of the University of Alberta.

Students can also contact their respective faculties and departments at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Staff may receive further support from their respective staff associations, the Association of Academic Staff University of Alberta (AASUA) and Non-Academic Staff Association (NASA).

For reports made through the OSHDR, individuals may be referred to Counselling & Clinical Services, where free, confidential services for a range of mental health concerns are offered.

In a situation involving an occupational, social, or psychological incident, Environment, Health & Safety (EHS) would manage that intake.

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

The Employment Equity Program offers 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.

Canada Research Chairs (CRC) Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan

Developed in 2018, the University of Alberta's Canada Research Chairs (CRC) Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan helps the academy with efforts to set, achieve, and exceed federal diversity and equity targets.

Recruitment Policy
Full Policy: https://policiesonline.ualberta.ca/policiesprocedures/policies/recruitment-policy.pdf
Policy Excerpt: "The University will actively encourage the recruitment of persons historically under-represented at the University - including women, Indigenous persons, members of visible minority groups, persons with disabilities and persons who identify with under-represented sexual orientations, gender identity or expression."


Transition Year Program

Transition Year Program (TYP) offered by First Peoples' House is designed to provide post-secondary opportunities for First Nation, Métis, and Inuit students at the University of Alberta. TYP is a full-time university program for First Nation, Métis, and Inuit 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.

Black Applicant Admissions Process
As part of our ongoing commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, the MD Program at the University of Alberta has introduced the Black Applicant Admissions Process (BAAP). The goal of the BAAP is to ensure self identified Black applicants have Black representation as a part of their file review, interview, as well as on the MD Admission Committee.

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.


Vice-Provost (Indigenous Programming and Research)

The University of Alberta has been working towards implementing the Truth & Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action in thoughtful, meaningful and sustainable ways. The goal is to ensure that the University of Alberta is a welcoming and safe environment for Indigenous students, staff, faculty and community members and that programs and strategies reflect the institutional commitment to engaging Indigenous perspectives. With that goal in mind, the new Indigenous Programming and Research Portfolio was established in 2019 in the Office of the Provost & Vice-President (Academic) to facilitate institutional collaboration and communication to support the development and implementation of programs, services and initiatives related to Indigenous engagement and transformative practices that respect and honour Indigenous knowledges across the University of Alberta.

Accessibility Resources

Accessibility Resources promotes an accessible, inclusive, and universally designed environment at the University of Alberta. Individuals with documented disabilities are connected to the resources and support needed to achieve their full potential. Accessibility Resources serves prospective/current students, staff, and faculty with disabilities affecting mobility, vision, hearing, learning, and physical or mental health.


Organizational Development, Equity and Health

Organizational Development, Equity and Health provides transformational change and strategic planning consulting services, staff and leadership professional development programs and services, equity, diversity and inclusion education and consulting and organizational health promotion, health recovery and return to work education, supports and services.

Intersections of Gender

Intersections of Gender is an academic hub focused on illuminating intersectional gender research, supporting interdisciplinary research collaborations, growing inclusive mentorship and teaching, and engaging communities across all sectors on gender + intersectionality.

Faculty Women's Club

The Faculty Women's Club is a dynamic organization that offers fun, friendship and support to its members through social, creative, and athletic events and activities in a variety of interest areas.


First Peoples' House (Formerly Aboriginal Student Services Centre)

Some of the ways in which First Nation, Metis and Inuit students are supported by First Peoples' House are:
- Hosting the Transition Year Program, a University access program for First Nation, Metis and Inuit students who may not be prepared to enter a faculty through the regular admissions route. Each year up to 70 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 First Nation, Metis and Inuit students with a culturally significant gift to celebrate their academic achievement.
- Recruitment efforts focusing specifically on First Nation, Metis and Inuit student audiences, accomplished by Indigenous Recruitment reaching out to remote communities.
- FPH 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.
- FPH offers reserved on-campus residences for FNMI single students.
- Miyopimâtisiwin (Living the good life) Program--FPH will offer up to $50.00 per term, a maximum of $100.00 per year, for you to register for the classes offered through Campus and Community Recreation for all classes offered in Fall and Winter Terms
- Community Meals program--Once a month we gather our community to share a meal together while sharing stories and meeting new friends from a variety of backgrounds and faculties.
- The Bridges Orientation is a two-day orientation specifically for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit students, which includes a campus tour, attendance at the TAWOW Welcoming Event, the Find What Moves You! Introduction to Campus and Community Recreation.

Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services (iSMSS)

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

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.

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

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:


The PLLC Teaching Fellow (TF) program provides a unique opportunity for graduate, law, or professional students to teach undergraduates from faculties across the University of Alberta while receiving training in teaching and leadership.

The TF Team is carefully assembled by PLLC's Director of Instruction, who hires talented applicants who represent a spectrum of genders, ages, sexual orientations, cultures, and ethnicities. As leaders in their own fields, TFs are also role models to scholars, who especially appreciate seeing how a diverse team maximizes creativity and success.

Fellows serve as Teaching Assistants (TAs) for PLLC courses, working directly with the adjunct professor for each course, and receive intensive teacher training on topics including facilitating discussion, assessment, and classroom management; they also participate in a cohort-based leadership development program, meeting monthly during the academic year.

Successful candidates receive a $2,500 award and are paid at the Graduate Student Association rate for their TA contract.


While these do not constitute a pipeline program it is worth highlighting that there are a number of graduate degree and postdoctoral fellowship awards available only to or with a preference for women and other underrepresented groups at the department level. These are easily found by searching the following site:

Avadh Bhatia Women's Postdoctoral Fellowship - Department of Physics
Postdoctoral fellowship; Physics; awarded to a woman.

Delta Delta Delta Alumnae Fellowship
Graduate degree; any focus area; awarded to a woman.

Gwendolyn Ewan Graduate Scholarship
Graduate degree; any focus area; preference for female nominees from the Northwest Territories.

Jean Isabel Soper Memorial Graduate Scholarship in Science
Graduate degree; engineering and physical sciences; preference for women.

Dr. Ayesha Khatun Memorial Graduate Award for Women in Civil Engineering
Graduate degree; Civil Engineering; awarded to a student who identifies as female.

Molly and Spencer Dier Memorial Scholarship
Graduate degree; any focus area; awarded to a student from a developing country; preference for students who identify as female.

Verna Tate Graduate Scholarship in Science
Graduate degree; Computing Science; awarded to students who identify as female.

Becky Sjare Graduate Award in Biology
Graduate degree; Biological Sciences; preference for students who are female and /or conducting arctic and climate change research.

Teresa Brychcy Graduate Award in Genetics
Graduate degree; Biological Sciences - Genetics; awarded to a student who identifies as female; preference for a student who has received no or limited financial support.

Ashley Finlayson and Diane Hollinshead International Graduate Scholarship in Science
Graduate degree; Computing Science, Mathematical and Statistical Sciences, or Physics; preference for a student who identifies as female and who has received no or limited funding.

Dr Jean Cooley Graduate Award in Analytical Chemistry
Graduate degree; Chemistry; awarded to Canadian citizens or permanent residents who identify as female.


WISER (Women in Science, Engineering and Research) supports the retention and advancement of women and under-represented groups in STEM careers by providing opportunities for networking, mentoring, information exchange, and professional development. To this end, WISER encourages participation of everyone in order to promote the awareness of gender diversity and inclusion.

UA-WiSE (University of Alberta Women in Science and Engineering) is a student group that supports all undergraduate students underrepresented in fields including science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

WISER and UA-WiSE run a Mentorship Program structured around trios consisting of one undergraduate student, one graduate student or early-career professional, and one experienced professional. This structure allows the graduate student or early-career professional to gain experience mentoring an undergraduate student under the supervision of an experienced mentor.

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:


Logan Mardhani-Bayne
Strategic Development Manager
Office of the Provost and Vice-President (Academic)

Evelyn Hamdon
Safe Disclosure & Human Rights

Suzanne Butler
Associate Director, Transition Year Program
First Peoples' House

Fervone Goings
WISEST Team Lead
Women in Scholarship, Engineering, Science, and Technology

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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.