Smith EDII Update

Week of April 8, 2021

This is a regular summary of actions and initiatives underway at Smith School of Business to address equity, diversity, inclusion and indigenization (EDII) at the school. Note that these up-dates do not capture every initiative but highlight key efforts.

To view past up-dates, or review information about Smith’s activities in this area go to

Commerce Resources & Staffing

  • Ann Deer, Indigenous Recruitment & Initiatives Coordinator, has moved from splitting her time between Smith and the Law faculty to 100% Smith, recognizing the need for dedicated support for Indigenous business students, as well effort in recruitment of Indigenous applicants.
  • The Commerce Office recently hired an International Academic Advisor, Amr Hosny, to provide additional guidance and support to international students.
  • Commerce students Fatin Noor, Breana Dudemaine and Emily Prpic were hired as interns to support the work of Mofi Badmos, Diversity and Inclusivity Coordinator, and Ann Deer, Indigenous Recruiter and Initiatives Coordinator.

Commerce Recruitment/Admissions

Application Process

A number of changes to the undergraduate admission process were fast-tracked for this cycle (September 2021 entry), with more to come in the next year:

  • For some programs at Queen’s, supplementary information is used to help make admission decisions above and beyond minimum grade average requirements. For Commerce applicants, the Supplementary Essay is a required component.
  • Changes made this year to the Supplementary Essay process include essay questions designed to capture a wide range of experiences and perspectives from applicants rather than requesting a list of extra-curricular activities. The essay topics were changed multiple times throughout the admission period.
  • The Commerce Supplementary Essays are being assessed by Smith and Queen’s staff who have received specific training from Queen’s Human Rights and Equity Office to mitigate against bias. Readers include those with lived experience as a member of BIPOC, 2SLGBTQ+ or differently abled communities, or professional experience and skills in EDII.
  • In prior years, a portion of the Commerce applicants’ essay assessments (typically 10 to 15 per cent) was done by Smith alumni at in-person events held in the Greater Toronto Area. That component was suspended this cycle due to COVID restrictions. A new approach and secure content sharing system is being developed to engage a broad range of alumni for the next application cycle.

Engaging & Recruiting Prospective Students

  • Commerce-specific Student Experience Information Sessions for Black, Indigenous and People of Colour were developed and led by Fatin Noor and Mofi Badmos to provide prospective students with insight into the Smith Commerce program experience.
  • Student intern Breana Dudemaine has been running high school student focus groups within the Toronto District School Board and the Limestone District School Board to identify ways to improve our recruitment process and information.
  • The “Wright Family Award”, recently created to support an Indigenous student newly admitted to Commerce, will be awarded this year.

Indigenous Initiatives (led by Ann Deer)

  • The Commerce team is collaborating with Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre at Queen’s to review Indigenous recruitment material and recruitment plans for 2021/2022.
  • A summer camp for Indigenous youth from Tyendinaga, Wikiwemkoong Unceded Territory and Akwesasne will take place virtually August 9-11, 2021.
  • The Commerce program is collaborating with Smith’s Centre for International Management to build an Exchange Pathway specifically for Indigenous youth with the support of Indigenous alumni.
  • Emily Prpic, student intern supporting Ann Deer, is creating a Video Learning Tool called “Unpacking the Single Story of Indigenous Identity”. She is also assisting in the creation of a virtual interactive map of Indigenous services and supports located across Queen’s University that will be used for Early Outreach Recruitment.
  • Ann Deer, along with Professor Matthias Spitzmuller and Assistant Dean (Teaching & Learning) Arcan Nalca, received Smith EDII Blue Sky funding to support the building of an Indigenous Knowledge Resource Bank.

Current Commerce Student Experience

  • Under the guidance of Queen’s Human Rights and Equity Office, Fatin Noor, Mofi Badmos, and Amanda Kesek designed and launched a Commerce Equity Census to gather detailed information about the demographics of the Commerce student body. Results will be released soon.
  • Mofi Badmos launched the Smith Commerce Anti-Oppression and Equity Speaker Series. This speaker series enables students to engage with experts, academics, students, activists, etc. — to increase dialogue, challenge assumptions, and enhance understanding of anti-racism, equity, and anti-oppression in post-secondary institutions and our communities. As part of this series, Smith Commerce has hosted Yamikani Msosa, Marquis Bey, and Syrus Marcus Ware to date.
  • Mofi Badmos and Breana Dudemaine developed the Smith Commerce Equity Fund, a resource for students to start or continue doing equity work within the Smith Commerce community, which will launch in summer 2021.


Smith Updates

Task Force Updates