Humber Leads the Way for Diversity and Inclusion
Workplace Wellness Not only can workplace diversity contribute to innovation and better performance, but it also attracts top talent and is tied to higher business returns.
There’s currently an urgent call from all levels of government for the postsecondary sector to embed equity, diversity, and inclusion into all of its services and programs. Diverse students and employees provide many benefits, including the capacity to increase innovation and creativity, support all students by increasing academic achievements, assist in improving retention rates, and assist both student and employees to be better prepared for the current globalized environment. In simple terms, diversity and its intersectionality benefit us all.
In its 2018‒2023 Strategic Plan, Humber College has identified “Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion” (EDI) as intentional imperatives for the College under the strategic pillar of a healthy and inclusive community. While the College already has a robust EDI program, it recognizes the need to expand, deepen, and integrate its breadth throughout Humber.
Equity, diversity, and inclusion
Humber’s EDI Taskforce has more than 45 members comprising students, employees, alumni, community, and industry partners.
Nancy Simms, Director of Human Rights, Equity, and Diversity at Humber College, is responsible for ensuring the school embeds equity, diversity, and inclusion throughout the College. Simms is also leading Humber’s EDI Taskforce with Ian Crookshank, Dean of Students, with the mandate to establish and implement an institutional EDI framework and strategy. This implementation plan addresses the needs of students, employees, faculty, and the community.
“Humber has committed a great deal of resources in terms of staff, time, and finances to this critical strategic priority.”
– Nancy Simms, Humber College
Simms explains that, “the EDI strategy addresses four program areas with five streams — Access and Equity, Students and Employees, Curriculum, Campus Culture, and College-wide Communication and Engagement.” Additionally, Simms states that, “our goal with these four program areas is to ensure that we’re intentional in our thinking about how we continually increase diversity and inclusion at Humber.”
“Humber has committed a great deal of resources in terms of staff, time, and finances to this critical strategic priority,” adds Simms.
Diversity starts at Humber
Thomas Silcox-Childs is the Manager of Sustainment and Continuous Improvement with Humber’s Human Resources department. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, he’s proud to work with an organization that prioritizes diversity and inclusion.
“As an ‘out’ gay man with children, I want to be comfortable in my workplace,” says Silcox-Childs. “We spend so much time with our colleagues — often more time than with our own families — and it’s important for me to be free to be myself in both worlds.”
For years, Silcox-Childs’ home has been filled with Humber’s pride paraphernalia, and he’s happy that his kids can see that his workplace celebrates and values diversity and inclusion like they do at home.
“Having Humber’s steadfast commitment to diversity and inclusion also makes that a lot easier,” he adds.
Early in his career, Silcox-Childs was advocating for growing services for and visibility of LGBTQ+ community at Humber and was encouraged by senior administration to raise awareness with college leaders about issues he felt personally passionate about.
“They provided financial backing, open door leadership, and access to decision-makers that helped us begin these conversations,” he says. “They helped us establish a resource centre on both campuses, with full-time staffing and programming.”
Silcox-Childs believes that a formalized Taskforce dedicated to diversity and inclusion encourages and promotes further discussion by establishing a mechanism to advance various initiatives. “It demonstrates that Humber is committed to making these key priorities part of the institution’s corporate culture,” he adds.