The numbers are in, and they show the University continuing to make headway in increasing equitable representation among the approximately 6,750 faculty and staff who make up the McGill workforce.
Prof. Angela Campbell, Associate Provost (Equity & Academic Policies), presented the Biennial Report on Employment Equity to Senate on May 12. The Human Resources Committee of the Board of Governors will receive the report as an information item at its next meeting, on June 10.
As a requirement of McGill’s Employment Equity Policy, the University must report to Senate every two years on the status of employment equity in the various sectors of its workforce. The Quebec and federal governments also require universities to collect and analyse employment equity information.
The University is committed to removing barriers faced by members of groups that have been shown to face persistent and systemic barriers to equity in employment. The Biennial Report on Employment Equity is an important tool for identifying those sectors of the workforce where members of designated equity groups are under-represented—and, crucially, to develop measures to address such under-representation.
The report breaks down representation in academic and administrative staff according to six designated equity groups:
- Persons with disabilities
- Indigenous peoples
- Racialized people or visible minorities
- Ethnic (language) minorities
- 2SLGBTQIA* people
The full report, including detailed breakdowns of each category, is available via McGill’s Equity Team website.
McGill staff and faculty can contribute to the thoroughness of the next biennial report by filling out the Employment Equity Survey.
Making important progress
“We’ve moved some key numbers, which is a big deal,” says Campbell of the latest results. “Tenure-track faculty representation for underrepresented groups had flatlined for quite a long period of time, but now we’re seeing positive change in the representation of women faculty, racialized and Indigenous faculty, and faculty with disabilities.”
Campbell says the latest figures put the University close to meeting the equity targets set by the Provost in the 2017-2022 Strategic Academic Plan. In the case of the representation of women holding full professorship, the current 26 per cent already exceeds the target of 25 per cent.
Other goals have a longer timeframe, but are nonetheless showing progress. The Provost’s 2017 Task Force on Indigenous Studies and Indigenous Education, for example, set a target of appointing 35 Indigenous tenure-track or tenured professors by 2032. The latest equity report records 15 Indigenous professors, up from 7 in the report filed two years ago.
Similarly, the 2020 Action Plan to Address Anti-Black Racism set a target of 40 Black tenure-track or tenured professors by 2025, and 85 by 2032. There are currently 13 Black professors, up from 8 in 2019. This increase is accompanied by 18 tenure-track licenses issued since December 2020 as part of a multi-year interdisciplinary initiative designed to strengthen and support research innovation and excellence in African and Black Studies at McGill, while simultaneously addressing the under-representation of Black faculty in the tenure stream.
The work continues
“Having accurate data about our workforce allows us to understand the composition of our workforce, and address gaps to accessing employment,” says Prof. Campbell. “Too often, conversations about equity can be impressionistic. Good data are key to fact-based discussions and decision-making.”
Recent or upcoming initiatives to address those gaps include:
- Equity and anti-racism training for Senior Leaders, Deans, and Chairs and across Departments and units
- Strategic hiring initiatives in Indigenous Studies and Indigenous Education and Black and African Diasporic Studies
- Ongoing mandatory employment equity training for members of academic search committees
- Launching the Provost’s Faculty Mentorship Network, designed to supplement local initiatives for tenure track professors (Summer 2021)
- Launching the HR Working Group to Address Anti-Black Racism (Spring 2021)
- Relaunching the Employment Equity Community of Practice for HR Professionals (Winter 2020)
- Launching Employment Equity Community of Practice for Managers, facilitated by Employment Equity Advisor (Summer 2021)
- Appointment of an Associate Provost, Indigenous Initiatives (search underway)
- Appointment of Provost’s Academic Lead and Advisor (PALA), Anti-Black Racism Action Plan (joining July 2021)
- Creation of new positions: Program Manager: Anti-Black Racism Action Plan, and Senior Advisor: Anti-Racism and Equity Education (all created)
“We are making positive steps toward change, but there’s still a road ahead of us to travel,” says Prof. Campbell. “The more we enhance awareness and understanding of equity in employment, the closer we are to achieving a key element needed to advance our EDI objectives at McGill.”