Inclusive Education – A Multifaceted Reality

Faculty of Education
Equity, diversity and inclusion
Colorful illustration showing LGBTQ faces with powerful expressions
A look back on a year of action for equity, diversity and inclusion for 2SLGBTQA+ persons.

It’s already been a year since the Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Antiracism Action Plan was adopted by the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Education. This framework aims to ensure equitable representation of members of Indigenous, racialized, disabled, 2SLGBTQA+ and underrepresented communities among chairholders as well as grant and award recipients. What have we accomplished, and what work remains to be done?

Let’s talk equity, diversity and inclusion

Equity, diversity and inclusion play a central role in the Faculty of Education’s Strategic Plan. This commitment is key to the initiatives undertaken to foster an ethical, inclusive culture within our Faculty. By design, our approach is open, sustainable and adaptable.
Each year, the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee works on a specific issue. In 2022, the EDI Committee focused on gender identity and sexual orientation, in addition to drawing parallels between various forms of discrimination.
With 2023 coming to a close, we revisit the flagship initiatives to promote EDI culture that were either begun or completed. This long-term undertaking will undoubtedly help to remove barriers around topics related to gender, identity and sexuality in education in order to create safe spaces for dialogue and discussion.

Starting points for equity, diversity and inclusion for 2SLGBTQA+ persons

Francis Bangou, professor of second-language teaching in the Faculty of Education and a founding member of the EDI Committee, says it is important to make the University community aware of the daily reality of 2SLGBTQA+ individuals. Bangou maintains that the killing of George Floyd was an event that magnified the urgency of raising awareness around issues of equity, diversity and inclusion, a process that begins with education.
“As someone who is a product of that diversity, I’ve always felt supported by the administration, my colleagues and my students,” says Professor Bangou. "That doesn’t mean, however, that everything is perfect and that there are no challenges left to be addressed. Education is at the heart of issues involving 2SLGBTQA+ people; that’s why it’s vital that we maintain this momentum and place greater emphasis on initiatives whose goal is not only to raise awareness and create a welcoming space at the University, but also to develop more teaching tools and conceptual frameworks that will enable faculty members to broach these topics in the classroom and to feel more comfortable doing so,” he adds.

Fall Institute: Bodies, Identities and Intersections

This four-day conference was organized by Education Graduate Students of Colour, a volunteer student group made up of students from the Faculty of Education. The collective is dedicated to fighting against structural and systemic racism. Each Fall Institute is devoted to a specific topic and the most recent event was 'Bodies, Identities and Intersections'. The conference provided an opportunity for participants to learn and unlearn, and to talk about the juxtaposition between violence and ethics, as well as the need for safe spaces in the classroom.
Find out more about Fall Institute: Bodies, Identities and Intersections

Jean-Paul Dionne Symposium – Keynote by Professor Lee Airton 

During the 2022 Jean-Paul Dionne Symposium, organized by and for Faculty of Education graduate students, Professor Lee Airton gave a lecture titled “Ditch the gender box: What (if anything) you should do about ‘gender’ in your graduate research.” Airton is an assistant professor of Gender and Sexuality Studies in Education at Queen’s University. Their research explores how K–12 teacher education and training in Canada responds to the inclusion of gender identity and gender expression protections in human rights legislation.
Find out more about Lee Airton’s Gender: Your Guide.

Spring Institute: Gender Identity and Education

This initiative covers different EDI-related topics each year. The Spring Institute 2022 featured a range of workshops, presentations and training sessions to raise awareness within the University community about the inclusion of gender diversity and sexual orientation in education. This gave participants the opportunity to engage in deeper conversations about gender identity.
Learn more about the Spring Institute: Gender Identity and Education.

Gender diversity in our schools: Why and how to address it?

This workshop on gender diversity in schools, organized by the EDI Committee, was hosted by Janelle Fournier, a doctoral student in the Faculty of Education.
With the aim of learning more about gender identity, the workshop explored the differences between birth-assigned sex and gender, and gender expression.

What can we expect?

"As a Faculty, we recognize that our commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion is an ongoing journey, not a destination. We have made significant strides, but we expect and encourage every member of our faculty to continue their unwavering efforts to foster an environment of true inclusivity, where every voice is heard, every perspective is valued, and every individual feels a sense of belonging. We believe that this collective dedication is not just a responsibility but a commitment to shaping a brighter and more equitable future, and we stand together in this endeavor." Jess WhitleyChair of the Faculty EDI committee, Professor of Inclusive Education and Vice-Dean, Research and Professional Development.