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Journeys Along the Path to EDII in Advancement Part 2

June 2022
Written by: Janet Gottlieb Sailian

Part Two of the Journeys Along the Path to EDII in Advancement series explores the work of advancement leaders at McMaster University and Branksome Hall School to understand, define and implement principles and strategies of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Indigeneity.

CCAE interviewed advancement leaders at two universities, one college and an independent school, asking them to report on their school’s — and specifically, their advancement operation’s — plans  and progress to embed EDII in their outlook and their work.

See the first article in this series to learn about the progress of the University of British Columbia and Algonquin College along their EDII journey.

Please share your insights and stories about EDII in your advancement operation — and any other advancement innovations — with the author at janetsailian@gmail.com

Karen McQuigge ’90
Director, Alumni Engagement, Office of Alumni Engagement / McMaster Alumni Association 
McMaster University 

What steps is your advancement operation taking to diversify and Indigenize educational advancement specifically?

Alumni team and programming

For the office and makeup of our team, we are reaching out to non-traditional networks, and encouraging our interns — who often are more representative of our student body’s diversification — to apply for these roles. 

For the alumni program, we have focused on ensuring we have a broad range of speaking and recognition opportunities for our racialized and Indigenous alumni. We are also expanding our volunteer base to ensure a diversified volunteer group, including the Association’s board of directors. Our current president is the first Indigenous person to hold that role.

EDII in the Strategic Plan and alumni profiles

EDII was a focus of our strategic plan which we developed during 2020 and is guiding our programming for the next three years.

For example, for Black History Month we had three Black speakers, two podcast episodes feature Black alumni and16 Black alumni profiles scheduled for our digital channels and alumni stories website – mcmasteralumnistories.ca

How can advancement staff members in any position at any level be part of the EDII solution and make a difference? 

Be aware. Be proactive in your learning. Take action. The only way we are going to ensure that this becomes a regular part of our programs and hiring is by committing to making it happen so that down the road, EDII is part of our regular hiring practices and program / engagement / volunteer delivery.

Can you identify any exemplary programs / institutions in Canadian advancement in this regard?

On Indigenous matters, western schools such as Saskatchewan, UBC and Alberta have been ahead of the curve.


Liisa Stephenson, PhD
Associate Director, Communications
Branksome Hall

What steps is your advancement operation taking to diversify and / or Indigenize educational advancement specifically? 

EDII principles

Branksome Hall aims to be a community that embraces diversity, equity and inclusion so that it permeates the school's institutional culture, guides actions, and is reflected in its community members' lived experiences.

As an International Baccalaureate World School, Branksome also aims to engage multiple perspectives, critically challenge assumptions, and collaborate across campus to support diversity, equity and inclusiveness, as well as community engagement and action.

Goals, strategies, action plans

To support these values, a new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion website offers a range of resources and updates, and an initial Action Plan outlines the school's goals and actions.

Branksome Hall began its diversity, equity and inclusion journey in the spring of 2020. This includes:

  • The appointment of Dr. MiraGambhir as Head, Research, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion;
  • Alumnae DEI book clubs and programming, invited speakers and panel discussions;
  • Creation of a DEI Working Group; and
  • A DEI audit.
Measurable results

Branksome’s first-ever DEI Report Card, published in July 2021, provides a detailed look at work completed and what is underway in the current school year. View this video for more about the DEI audit underway at Branksome: https://branksome.myschoolapp.com/app/detail/video/8556582)

Recently, Branksome Hall raised more than $500,000 towards scholarships and bursaries focused on Indigenous and racialized groups. We are working closely with our community to further grow financial assistance.  

Branksome Hall has a longstanding relationship with Anishinaabe Elder Shelley Charles, who provides education and knowledge to students of all grades and works with faculty and staff. Relevant links: 

 

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