U of T collected information on this year’s faculty and staff in an online survey pertaining to race and gender.
The university has been doing the survey for a few years. According to Angela Hildyard, U of T’s vice-president for human resources and equity, in an interview with The Medium, some changes took place in the structure of the survey this year “to better mirror the ethnic diversity of U of T”.
Hildyard stated that questions on past surveys included the staff “self-identifying” themselves in terms of gender, stating whether or not they are a visible minority, if they have a disability, and if they have an Aboriginal status or not.
Hildyard also mentioned that most of the questions asked were what the federal government had required and outlined for the university.
The Human Resources and Equity Office of U of T has altered this year’s survey by taking into account how many trans staff members the university has, and to take into consideration that the term “Aboriginal” is not what indigenous staff prefer to be identified as.
“By changing the language to make it more appropriate for 2016 and changing the categories in the questions, the survey now includes specific questions on race and ethnicity and sexual orientation,” said Hildyard.
According to Hildyard, the employment number is entered into the online system when completing the survey, but is not reflected in the employment data, so that it doesn’t affect the employment history and remain confidential.
Analysis will take place to understand what positions the staff are in, how promotions could be earned, and if there could be any development opportunities.
“Our hope then is to, by the end of the calendar year, have collected data from the vast majority of our staff and faculty tri-campus, so that we can start doing some analysis of that data,” said Hildyard.
The university is also looking into conducting a survey for students. Prior to launching it, the university will be considering methods that can ensure the confidentiality of the students.
“It could be done anonymously, but if it is connected to a student’s academic program, then it creates some other issues,” said Hildyard.
“That is why discussions are still ongoing and active at the present time regarding student surveys to analyze the diversity of students on campus,” she continued.
According to Hildyard, a report about the areas of diversity in the university will be posted online in the spring.