The Courageous Conversations are now complete. Please stay tuned for how we will continue these sessions in the future.
The EDI Task Force organized a series of “courageous conversations” virtual focus groups to increase the College’s understanding of the experiences and perceptions of students, faculty, and staff (especially those from designated equity groups) regarding matters related to equity and feelings of belonging.
Thank you to everyone who attended a virtual event or completed an anonymous survey and engaged in Courageous Conversations. The EDI + Belonging Task Force facilitated 16 Courageous Conversations virtual events between January 25 and February 17, 2021.
These listening tours will help to inform the EDI Task Force efforts to address equity gaps and create more equitable educational and work experiences that facilitate the success of all members of the SLC community.
Most importantly, these courageous conversations will help the EDI Task Force to develop a comprehensive, action-orientated list of recommendations that will focus on removing barriers, fostering inclusion, and articulating objectives, and accountability for implementation.
Belonging begins with knowing your story
Engaging in courageous conversations is about challenging current practices and fostering improvement and growth through conversation, listening to and acting on feedback, and providing feedback that will lead to improvements in student achievement and well-being (Ontario Leadership Framework, 2020).
In courageous conversations, in the context of EDI strategic work and learning, individuals are encouraged to express their views openly and truthfully, rather than defensively or with the purpose of laying blame.
Integral to courageous conversations is an openness to learn. Both dialogues and discussions are considered “courageous” when the participants are able to expose the values and check the validity of the assumptions that underlie their actions and views.
Building an atmosphere of trust and respect is key to both enabling individuals to participate in courageous conversations and establishing a culture in which courageous conversations and feedback are seen as necessary for improvement.
The EDI Task Force is inviting members from designated equity groups to share and provide meaningful insight into their experiences on campus.
The designated equity groups include:
- Indigenous Peoples
- Person’s with disabilities
- Racialized minorities
- Members of the LGBTQQ2S+ community
We have also added international students, white, heterosexual men, and allies.
Some individuals at the College may have an intersectionality of their identities. This means they may belong to multiple designated equity groups and face challenges by multiple sources of oppression: their race, class, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, and other identity markers.
Intersectionality recognizes that identity markers (e.g. “woman” and “Black”) do not exist independently of each other and that each informs the others, often creating a complex convergence of oppression.
If you belong to multiple equity identity markers, you are welcome to as many sessions that apply to you or attend one session that is most relevant to your experiences on campus.
Each Courageous Conversations focus group will be 1.5 hours in length, conducted virtually using Microsoft Teams, and will be facilitated by the Senior Advisor, EDI + Belonging, and a member(s) of the EDI Task Force and/or student leaders.
The sessions will begin with a review of ground rules, assurance of confidentiality, and consent and then move through a series of questions aimed at learning more about the experiences of participants through the EDI lens.