Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Indigeneity at Smith

Past Updates

  • Task Force (TF) met on July 28 for the regular weekly meeting.
  • Smith is exploring a partnership with Ivey, Rotman, and Schulich to improve the recruitment pipeline for Black and Indigenous students. The objectives are to: (a) identify communities and schools where sustainable outreach programs can be implemented; (b) provide outreach to these students early (e.g. in grade 9-10); and (c) provide these students with mentorship and support them in preparing for business school. Members of the TF (Lori Garnier and Mofi Badmos) will participate in this initiative.
  • Smith is planning more forums for Commerce students to hear their EDII concerns.
  • Working Groups update:
    • Physical and virtual spaces: three sub-groups (virtual spaces, physical spaces, and policy, procedure, and communications) have been created. Their objective is to create healthy and inclusive spaces for all community members.
    • Incorporating EDII in teaching and learning: members reviewed the PICRDI and Extending the Rafters reports, among others. Meetings to commence shortly.
    • Policy, process, and practice reform: (1) three sub-groups (MSc/PhD programs, MBA and Master of Management programs, and Commerce program) have been created. (2) An overarching vision and strategy statement has been developed that will guide the group’s work.
    • Advancement and alumni engagement in support of EDII: (1) meetings with staff have commenced. Alumni will be engaged shortly. (2) The group will be utilizing Queen’s Executive Decision Centre’s facilitation process to support its work.
    • Advancing EDII through open dialogue with students, staff, faculty, and alumni: meetings will commence shortly. Its focus is on establishing proactive, longer-term sustainable engagement approaches for the Smith community.
    • EDII research and thought leadership: (1) discussion with the City of Kingston has begun on a project to analyze the socioeconomic conditions and barriers that new immigrants in Kingston face. (2) In September, a webinar focused on woman and frontline workers who are forced into poorly paid, high-risk jobs will be provided by the Centre for Social Impact.
  • EDII Data and Dashboard Project team: (1) the group is researching existing EDII KPIs that can be adapted/tailored to fit our mandate and leverage knowledge and expertise from Smith Organizational Behaviour faculty, Queen’s Human Rights and Equity Office, Queen’s Institutional Research & Planning, and Advancement. (2) Guiding principles were established for the project:
    • Create and maintain a master-list of datasets required for / available to all working groups for efficient coordination.
    • Ensure that data collection, storage, analysis conform to GREB standards (General Research Ethics Board) and obtain the necessary (re)approvals.
    • Always justify how any data that is used is legitimately relevant to the mandate.
    • Be mindful that voluntarily reported data is inherently biased unless the response rate is exceptionally high.
    • Anticipate and address alternatives to labour-intensive steps throughout various stages of data analysis.
  • A Smith-wide EDII statement and associated commitments will be drafted as per the EDII Task Force’s mandate, which will be externally facing and serve to articulate how the School will put EDII into action.
  • Update from the Commerce Society: (1) a best practice guide for all Co-Chairs of student organizations has been created. It will guide students on how to engage with each other through an EDII lens. (2) New evaluation mechanisms have been developed to assess the performance of all ComSoc executives. (3) Raised the concern that students involved in EDII projects are engaging in unpaid labour and that some students from equity-seeking backgrounds are averse to volunteering as they may have to relive past trauma in explaining their backgrounds. (4) Requested from the TF that the expectations of student volunteers on the TF working groups be explicitly stated.
  • Update from the PhD/MSc Student EDII Committee: (1) work has commenced in establishing short and long terms goals to address the specific EDII needs of MSc and PhD students. (2) Discussions have taken place with the Teaching and Learning Committee. (3) Future events and activities will be organized with EDII in mind.
  • Update from the MBA/MOM EDII Committee: (1) three MBA clubs have formed a triad to address EDII issues. (2) A case competition will be held, which will address the EDII issues raised by @StolenbySmith using the Smith Living Case team of writers. Students from other universities will be invited. The Committee is looking to include Commerce and other Graduate students in the competition.
  • Task force (TF) met on July 21 for the regular weekly meeting.
  • Update: (1) Smith held a town hall for 2nd, 3rd, and 4th year students on July 16th, ~260 were in attendance; format was too limited for the number of students and quantity of questions. (2) additional town halls and other more suitable forums need to be held for input and discussion will be scheduled on the topic of EDII actions and plans for the immediate, medium, and long term; and (3) it was shared that university-wide discussions with senior administration regarding EDII are taking place.
  • Working groups and their leads were established. The co-leads for each working group are:
    • Physical and virtual spaces: Michael Fisher (Task Force) and Patrick Legresley
    • Incorporating EDII in teaching and learning: Kate Rowbotham (TF) and Arcan Nalca
    • Policy, process, and practice reform: Matt Reesor (TF) and Shari Hughson
    • Advancement and alumni engagement in support of EDII: Rishi Behari (TF) and Jeanette Hepburn
    • Advancing EDII through open dialogue with students, staff, faculty, and alumni: Mofi Badmos (TF) and Erin LeBlanc
    • EDII research and thought leadership: Yolande Chan (TF) and Jean-Baptiste Litrico
  • Working groups will engage students, staff, faculty, and alumni volunteers to support their work.
  • A subgroup of the EDII task force will undertake the EDII TF data and dashboard project (lead: Raga Gopalakrishnan and enlist the expertise of Erin LeBlanc)
  • Comments and suggestions sent to the TF will be reviewed and published (if person indicates permission) on the Smith EDII webpage.

July 16

  • TF members met on July 16 with Kelly Weiling Zou, founder of @StolenBySmith Instagram account, a Commerce Society Diversity and Inclusion Officer, and 4th year Commerce student. Kelly presented a list of action items for Smith to address issues of discrimination, racism, diversity and inclusion among Commerce students. Many of the action items align with the initiatives of the TF and its Working Groups. A commitment was made to continued dialogue with Kelly.
  • Kelly and fellow ComSoc Diversity and Inclusion Officer Meena Waseem met with Dean Brenda Brouwer earlier that day.

July 14

  • Task force (TF) members met July 14 for regular weekly meeting.
  • Six working groups were identified in areas of focus that will deliver on the TF mandate. Each Working Group will have a TF member as well as Smith faculty, staff, and students, several will include alumni. Groups will consider and be guided by PICDRI and TRCTF recommendations as well as other relevant reports and data.
  • Working Groups:
    • Physical spaces (public spaces in Goodes and SmithToronto) and virtual spaces (e.g. Smith web site, student portals)
    • Incorporating EDII into teaching and learning (courses and across curriculum)
    • Research and thought leadership in EDII
    • Policy, process and practice reform (e.g. outreach, recruitment and admissions, award adjudication, clubs)
    • Advancement and alumni engagement in EDII initiatives
    • Advancing EDII through communication and open dialogue
  • Working Groups will work in tandem with program-specific EDII committees and other EDII-focused groups at Smith to avoid duplication, including:
    • Commerce
    • MBA /MOM
    • MMA/MMAI
    • MSc and PhD
    • Centre for Social Impact
    • Commerce Society
    • Career Advancement Centre
  • Working Groups to be populated by the week of July 20 and begin meetings. The TF member on the WG will report back to the TF and upload a brief meeting summary to the teams site.
  • Other EDII initiatives underway across Smith will be communicated on the EDII webpage.
  • Task force (TF) members introduced themselves and why they want to serve on the EDII TF.
  • Reviewed the positioning of the committee as a Smith-wide TF addressing EDII in all aspects of the School’s operations with a defined mandate, workplan and goals. By establishing working groups, broader student, staff, faculty and alumni involvement is possible to accelerate progress and implementation of actions and initiatives. Working groups will complement the work undertaken by program-specific EDII committees and student run EDII committees.
  • The TF will identify performance indicators, targets and monitor progress with periodic reporting and updates posted to the EDII web page.
  • TF will initially meet weekly to get working groups launched and assist with communicating immediate EDII actions thought the EDII web page.
  • A Teams site has been set-up for the TF.
  • Meeting summaries will be posted to the EDII web page (public facing).
  • An invitation will be extended to Kelly Weiling Zhou, founder of @StolenbySmith to meet with the TF members.

EDII Task Force Membership


Brenda Brouwer
Dean (interim)
Smith School of Business

Stephanie Simpson
Associate Vice-Principal
Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion


Mofi Badmos
Diversity & Inclusion Coordinator

Rishi Behari
Staff member, Management

Yolande Chan
Tenured faculty member

Ann Deer
Indigenous Recruiter & Support Coordinator

Michael Fisher
Smith HR

Lori Garnier
Executive Director

Ragavendran (Raga) Gopalakrishnan
Tenure-stream faculty member

Matt Reesor
Program Director
Full-time MBA

Laurie Ross
Executive Director
Dean’s Office

Kate Rowbotham
Continuing Adjunct faculty member

Roshan Udit
Staff member, non management

Student representatives

Cecilia Ying

Joban Chahal

Sebastian Monsalve
Commerce Society President

Sharon Clarke
Associate Director
Queen’s Office of Indigenous Initiatives (ex officio)

EDII Task Force Working Groups

Working Group NameMandateCo-Leads
Physical and virtual spaces working group Examine public spaces (Goodes Hall, website) through an EDII lens, consider need for and structure of a safe and welcoming space for diverse students (virtual, student portals) and for physical & accessible gathering spaces and what that might look like. Michael Fisher, Director, Smith HR
Patrick Legresley, Director, Smith Finance
Incorporating EDII in teaching and learning working group Focus on principles of EDII and weaving them into the fabric of the curriculum and associated activities & materials. Increase awareness of our values, our commitment to them and expectations of behaviour – how best can this be achieved? (e.g. statements on course outlines, activities/events). Strategies to help faculty adopt EDII in their teaching, development of a toolkit. Kate Rowbotham, Continuing Adjunct Professor, Organizational Behaviour
Arcan Nalca, Assistant Dean (Teaching & Learning)
Policy, process and practice reform working group Examine practices related to the implementation of policies and processes relevant to the academic mission of Smith and examining the policies themselves through an EDII lens. Identify systemic barriers, implicit bias and present solutions and strategies for their removal. The group’s initial focus is on actions and approaches to increasing the diversity of the student body especially BIPOC students, through outreach and recruitment efforts, admissions decisions and onboarding incoming cohorts. Matt Reesor, Director, Smith MBA
Shari Hughson, Director, Master of Management Innovation & Entrepreneurship
Advancement and Alumni Engagement in support of EDII working group Identify ways in which alumni can engage in supporting EDII at Smith, in activities related to education, advancement, corporate partnerships, career preparedness, etc. Rishi Behari, MBA’13 Manager, Corporate Relationships
Jeanette Hepburn, BCom’89, Executive Director, Smith Development & Alumni Relations
Advancing EDII through open dialogue with students, staff, faculty, and alumni to ensure initiatives are shaped by student and alumni experience Provide practical guidelines and strategies to work consultatively and collaboratively to advance the EDII agenda at Smith and at Queen’s through engagement of students, student societies, staff, faculty and alumni. Brings together communication of TF activities, systems change. Mofi Badmos, Diversity & Inclusivity Coordinator, Commerce Program
Erin LeBlanc, Director, Accreditations & Special Projects
EDII Research and thought leadership Advance EDII through scholarship, research, and knowledge mobilization. Develop strategies to promote the study of EDII issues by individual Smith faculty, students and Smith teams. Amplify the local and global impact of Smith's EDII research and thought leadership. Yolande Chan, Professor and Associate Dean (Research, PhD/MSc Programs)
Jean-Baptiste Litrico, Associate Professor and Director, Centre for Social Impact