Led primarily by a determined group of graduate student leaders, our department established a series of monthly conversations that began with the #ShutdownSTEM initiative and its call to reflect on anti-Black racism on June 10, 2020. In that inaugural discussion, a panel of students and faculty members discussed racism; the accounts of the students in particular, were courageous, disturbing, and deeply moving.
This inaugural event and the creation of this committee have been followed by many thought-provoking conversations with members of the department and beyond (including McMaster’s Equity and Inclusion Office and other experts external to the department) on a broad range of topics, including:
- EDI scholarship
- Harassment and sexual violence
- Inclusivity in the classroom
- Mental health
These conversations have provided a valuable opportunity for the department to engage with challenging topics that shape the daily lives and academic careers of of all, and especially the equity-seeking members of our community. They have already fostered positive change, including the implementation of a graduate-level EDI module, the early stages of the development of an undergraduate-level EDI course, and new scholarship opportunities for equity-seeking students. The committee hopes to sustain the momentum we have achieved, continuing to strive towards an equitable, inclusive and accessible working and learning environment for all in our community.
The McMaster Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology strongly promotes intersectional equity, diversity, and inclusion in the classroom, research lab, department, university, and broader scientific community. As members of one of the leading research institutions in Canada, we affirm that diversity leads to better science and that accessible and equitable education provides a critical foundation for a just society. We believe that the values we promote within our department shape our community and the scientific endeavours we participate in. It is therefore our responsibility and our moral imperative to strive to build more just and equitable communities both locally and globally.
Our commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion is guided by the following values:
- The pursuit of equity requires actively dismantling barriers and remedying disparities that have resulted in the underrepresentation of equity-seeking groups in our field. It is not merely a passive rejection of past attitudes but rather a deliberate process of building a more equitable and inclusive department.
- The pursuit of equity is a continuous process of learning and improvement, not a journey with a fixed endpoint. We commit to educating ourselves and others and to re-evaluating departmental norms and practices on an ongoing basis.
- The pursuit of equity must be systematic, transparent, and informed by data. We commit to maintaining open dialogue within our community about this work and to seeking out both qualitative and quantitative data to guide our activities.
- Leadership and advocacy for the pursuit of equity is real work that brings significant value to our community. We commit to supporting and recognizing this work, and to providing opportunities to take on these roles for those who are interested.
We acknowledge that the statement of these values means little without concrete action. In our Terms of Reference, we lay out the specific actions our department’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee commits to undertake in order to work toward a more accessible and inclusive departmental and scientific community.
The equity-deserving groups in our community include, but are not limited to:
- Adult learners;
- First generation students;
- Indigenous (First Nations, Métis, and Inuit) peoples;
- Members of marginalized sexual orientation and gender identity communities;
- Persons belonging to racialized communities;
- Persons with disabilities;
- Students from low income families and neighbourhoods;
- Students from rural communities;
- Women; and
- Persons with intersectional identities.
Co-chair (department): Gillian Goward (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Grad Student Co-Convenors: Grace Yao and Alison Xu
Undergraduate Communications Rep: TBD
Faculty Members: Paul Berti, Joseph Okeme, Kalaichelvi Saravanamuttu, Sarah Styler
Student Members: TBD
Staff Members: Tanja Petrovic, Andrea Bianchi
Postdoc Members: TBD
Last Updated June 15, 2023
Also known as the Chemistry & Chemical Biology Conversations Committee (CCBCC), the Equity, Diversion, and Inclusion Committee seeks to promote the ideas laid out in our Value Statement within the department and beyond.
- Faculty or staff chair
- Two graduate student co-convenors
- One undergraduate communications rep
- Faculty members
- Graduate student members
- Undergraduate student members
- Staff members
Selection of Chair and Co-Convenors
The faculty or staff committee chair will be selected in accordance with the departmental process for committee assignments. The EDI committee may choose to make a recommendation to the CCB Department Chair.
Graduate student co-convenors will be appointed through an application process. Applications will be solicited and reviewed in May by the committee chair, the current co-convenors, and one person external to the committee. The external reviewer is to be selected by the chair and co-convenors and may be another member of the CCB community or somebody from the Office of the AD EDII.
Co-convenors will be appointed in June for an initial one-year term to commence July 1. If a current co-convenor should wish to renew their position for a second year, a one-year renewal will be granted automatically, provided that the co-convenor has fulfilled the duties of the position as determined by the committee chair. No co-convenor may serve in the position for more than two years.
Co-convenors will receive a stipend (dispensed in three payments in September, January, and May) for their service. If a co-convenor steps down from their position before the end of their term of service, the stipend will be pro-rated appropriately.
Co-convenor duties may include the following:
- Assist the chair in generating the agenda for committee meetings
- Attend all committee meetings
- Take minutes at committee meetings
- Brainstorm, organize, and implement EDI events and initiatives within the department
- Attend committee-sponsored events and initiatives
- Advertise and encourage department participation in committee events and initiatives
- Help collect and analyze data and metrics associated with committee events and initiatives
- Help compose an annual report on committee activities and spending
- Participate, as possible, in the Faculty of Science EDII leadership network
- Help review applications for the next year’s grad student co-convenors
- Take on additional duties that may arise in consultation with the faculty/staff chair
Selection of Undergraduate Communications Rep
An undergraduate communications rep will be selected through an application process to be conducted in September of each year. Applications may be submitted by any CCB program student (Level II and above). The applications will be reviewed by one internal committee representative (the Chair or their designate) and one person external to the committee, to be selected by the chair and co-convenors, and may be another member of the CCB community (including program students) or somebody from the Office of the AD EDII.
The communications rep position will be held in the Fall and Winter terms of the year in which the rep is appointed (September-April) and is non-renewable unless there are no new applicants (in which case a previous rep may assume the role for a maximum of two terms). The rep will receive a small stipend (disbursed in two payments in October and January) for their service. If a co-convenor steps down from their position before the end of their term of service, the stipend will be pro-rated appropriately. Applicants are welcome to apply as a two-person team (in which case, they would share the stipend).
Communications rep duties may include the following:
- Attend committee meetings (September – April)
- Create posters/social media posts for EDI events
- Support the committee in basic graphic design for specific projects as needed
- Take the lead in advertising and promoting CCB EDI events specifically to undergraduate students (e.g. sending advertising materials to core CCB classes/instructors/Mentorship Circle/MUSCS etc.)
- Take on additional duties that may arise in consultation with the faculty/staff chair
The functions of this committee fall into several broad categories.
Awareness and Connections
- Cultivate strong relationships with relevant offices and organizations supporting EDI within the Faculty of Science, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, and internationally.
- Seek to understand and, where possible, implement the policies relevant to EDI at McMaster, as well as legislation at the provincial and federal levels.
- Seek expert advice and guidance as needed about these policies/laws and how they may apply in specific situations.
- Refer individuals and groups to the appropriate offices and organizations on campus and beyond when particular situations arise. We acknowledge that it is not the role of this committee to adjudicate or address specific complaints but, rather, to be a resource for members of our community as they seek to resolve any issues they encounter.
- Do you need to talk to someone? We encourage students, staff and faculty in our community to be trained in the skills of Recognizing, Responding, Referring in cases of disclosure of harassment or sexual violence by reviewing the resources or by partaking in workshops available through the Equity and Inclusion Office. We are available to support anyone who comes forward by directing them to the appropriate supports at McMaster.
Transparency and Communication
- Maintain a website to serve as a a repository for EDI resources and a MS Teams channel to serve as a venue for open communication on the subject of EDI within the CCB community.
- Regularly update the department on committee activities through reports at department meetings, emails, and the EDI page on the CCB website.
- Actively seek feedback from the department on committee activities through focus groups, workshops, and surveys. Share this feedback on a regular basis and use it to review and revise the committee’s mandate and activities.
- Keep records of aggregate attendance at events sponsored by the committee.
- Consult with the Equity and Inclusion Office to review and reflect on statistical demographic data acquired by the university about the department and the broader university community.
Chemistry and Chemical Biology Curriculum
- Promote accessible and inclusive learning spaces in all classrooms and labs.
- Building on the successful creation of an EDI module at the graduate level (through Chem/ChemBio 700), support further curricular development to foster EDI.
- Promote research and scholarship opportunities for equity-seeking students. Participate in the review of applications for such initiatives at the department level as appropriate.
Department EDI Activity
- Provide and promote opportunities for education and discussion on issues related to EDI. Such events may include, but are not limited to:
- Continued CCB conversations
- Book clubs
- Screening documentaries and movies
- Commemoration of events that are significant to our diverse community
- Sponsoring workshops and training opportunities from campus partners relevant to EDI
- Bringing guest speakers to campus to address topics relevant to EDI
- In collaboration with the Recruitment, InReach, and Outreach Committee, create opportunities for high school students in the Hamilton catchment area (particularly students from equity-seeking groups) to engage with CCB and with the field of science more broadly.
- In collaboration with the CCB Chair, support the recruitment of faculty and staff who will contribute to EDI in the department and beyond. Help the Chair to implement EDI-based institutional directives and policies in search committees, including the participation of an Employment Equity Facilitator.
Committee Operations and Conduct
- Ensure the compositional diversity of the EDI Committee itself, as well as other department committees.
- Support leadership opportunities and appropriate recognition for undergraduate and graduate students who wish to engage in EDI advocacy.
- Conduct meetings with mutual respect and courtesy. Promote open and honest communication at meetings by agreeing to share ideas but not the identity of individual speakers beyond the committee meeting (in line with the Chatham House Rule).