The Equity Diversity Decolonization Indigenization Initiative (EDDII) has evolved out of a process that began in spring 2020 to reconceptualize the existing Equity Committee. The intent of rethinking and restructuring is to facilitate our collective capacity – students, staff, course and field instructors, faculty, and alumni – to move to action on section 1.2.4 statement on Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion (EDI) of the School of Social Work’s School Council Bylaws. The EDI statement was ratified by the department’s governing body, the School Council, in fall 2019 to ensure that all that we do at the School of Social Work (SSW) – policy, pedagogy, and practice – is infused with the principles and practices of EDI. In order to bring about transformative social action, the statement calls for engagement of the entire school community in this process.
The EDDII is proposed as a mechanism by which to translate section 1.2.4 of the School Council Bylaws into action. The first step was to create a structure for collective collaboration that engages with and provides opportunities to achieve the integration of and responsibility for EDI across the whole SSW community. For this reason, EDDII is an initiative rather than a committee with exclusive membership, which tends to silo responsibility for enacting transformative social change to a few people, limiting the scope and capacity for action. Therefore, participation in EDDII is open to and encouraged for all members of the SSW community, including students, staff, course and field instructors, faculty, and alumni. The structure is permeable and flexible, meaning that participants may engage to varying degrees on one or more of the strategic actions to be undertaken to achieve the School Council Bylaws objective of integrating EDI principles throughout the activities of the SSW. The initiative is non-hierarchical and leadership on specific actions will come from all constituencies within the SSW community – students, staff, course and field lecturers, faculty, and alumni - with support from the EDDII, which will serve as a launching pad for action and a tracking mechanism to promote transparency of progress on strategic objectives. The name of this initiative has been specifically chosen to prioritize decolonization and indigenization within the SSW curriculum, pedagogy, policies, and practice, and expand the focus beyond basic EDI principles.
In order to achieve transformative social change within the SSW and beyond, the EDDII has developed a strategic plan with clearly stated objectives, actions to achieve those objectives, and indicators to measure progress in achieving the objectives. The EDDII Strategic Plan 2020-2024 has been developed through collaborative consultation with members of the SSW community (students, staff, course instructors, and faculty) via Zoom-hosted brainstorming sessions, town halls, and a survey over the past five months.
At the School Council on October 28, 2020, the EDDII will propose a motion to add the initiative into the governance of the SSW. Secondly, the EDDII will propose a motion to adopt the Strategic Plan for 2020-2024. Related motions will be proposed to prioritize objectives for and action on anti-Black racism and decolonization and indigenization. Add your voice by reviewing the EDDII Strategic Plan 2020-2024 here.
The EDDII SSW website will host access to resources to achieve the Strategic Plan and keep visible progress on the actions to achieve the objectives, with priority on actions related to anti-Black racism and decolonization and indigenization. The EDDII will meet a minimum of twice a month during the academic year and as needed in the summer. Five faculty members will commit to regular participation as a liaison to actions in one of five domains of the Strategic Plan: Pedagogy, Student Engagement, Governance, Research, and Community. One faculty member will take on the role of EDDII lead, responsible for setting the meeting schedule and agendas, posting the meeting notes made available to all members of the School Council, and making a report of the progress towards achieving the Strategic Plan 2020-2024 objectives at the final School Council meeting of each academic year.
The vision laid out in the School Council Bylaws of section 1.2.4 of integrating the principles of EDI throughout the governance of the SSW can only be achieved through collective, collaborative transformation-oriented action for social change. The intent of the new structure of EDDII and the Strategic Plan is both a call to action for all members the SSW to take initiative and responsibility to work together, and a mechanism to achieve the call to action throughout the SSW.
For more information about how you can become involved in the McGill School of Social Work Equity Diversity Decolonization Indigenization Initiative (EDDII) or to share feedback, please edissw [at] mcgill.ca (Email) us.
For more information about the work of SEDE, please visit https://www.mcgill.ca/equity_diversity/
To contact Shanice Yarde directly for any questions or feedback, please email shanice.yarde [at] mcgill.ca.