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Ryerson’s 2018 Employee Diversity Self-ID Report showed a slight improvement in the representation of racialized employees since 2014.
The report was released in June 2019 by the office of the vice-president equity and community inclusion. It details the university’s performance in a variety of areas such as recruitment, representation and retention of employees for five equity groups: women, racialized people, Aboriginal Peoples, persons with disabilities and 2SLGBTQ+ people.
The representation of racialized employees increased to 34 per cent of employees on campus in 2018 from 31 per cent in 2014.
“We want to have our faculty and staff reflect our students and our community. What is more important is to see where we are making progress and where we may need to identify and remove barriers so that we can improve our progress,” said Tamar Myers, director of research, planning and assessment in the office of the vice-president, equity and community inclusion.
Myers added that the office of the vice-president has been making efforts to bring in more racialized employees to Ryerson.
“Our office provides leadership and consultation with different areas about what we can do. We’ll work with human resources on hiring practices and we’ll work with the different offices and faculties on looking at their data and talking about ways that they can improve the representation of underrepresented equity groups,” she said.
The ratio of racialized full-time faculty to that of racialized students stands at 26 per cent to 57 per cent, according to the report.
“I believe there have been students who have raised this issue in the past and we are aware of the evidence that having faculty who students see reflect them in the classroom actually benefits learning, so there is room for improvement,” Myers said.
Anirudh Muruganand, a second-year student in film studies, said he is surprised by these statistics and hopes to see this gap reduced.
“Being at Ryerson and knowing only 26 per cent of full-time faculty consists of racialized employees actually shocks me, because 57 per cent is in fact the majority. If we, the students, can reflect Toronto’s diversity, why can’t the professors reflect it as well?”
The Faculty of Science ranks last in terms of the representation, accounting for 13 per cent, of racialized full-time faculty. However, Myers said it should not be singled out, and that efforts are being made to bring in more racialized professors into faculties that have shown lower numbers.
“Other than the Faculty of Engineering and Architectural Science, which is at 47 per cent, the other faculties have a lot of work to do. So I don’t want to single the Faculty of Science out as the only one that needs to put more effort,” Myers said.
Myers added that they have been working with the Ryerson Faculty Association to “‘incorporate equity, diversity, and train department hiring committees to make sure they do broader outreach to attract more diverse candidates.’” She also said that they understand about “implicit and unconscious biases and how they can affect the assessment of the qualifications of applicants to faculty positions. Hence, everyone has a fair opportunity to be considered for those positions.”