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Racialization at Canadian Universities


Date: Tuesday 21 April 2015, 1:00 - 2:00pm
Location: Baines Wing SR 1.14

Presenters Include:

  • Professor (Emerita) Frances Henry, York University, Toronto
  • Professor Carl James, York University, Toronto
  • Professor Ena Dua, York University, Toronto
  • Professor Audrey Kobayashi, Queens University, Kingston
  • Professor Malinda Smith, University of Alberta, Edmonton

We will be presenting some of the major findings of our nationwide study of Canadian universities on issues of race and racialization and Indigeneity. The first of its kind undertaken in Canada, this Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada supported study was conducted by a multidisciplinary team of critical race scholars and is now in its last year. The study used a multifaceted methodology which included in-depth personal interviews with racialized and Indigenous faculty; discourse analysis of mission statements, equity reports and other documentary materials from University websites, and a nationwide quantitative survey including both racialized, Indigeneous and 'white' faculty.

Our findings show a significant level of under-representation of racialized and particularly Indigenous faculty in most of the universities. Moreover, racialized faculty are clustered in certain disciplines primarily the 'helping' professions such as medical and health faculties, education and social work but minimally represented in social science, humanities and to some extent, physical sciences. Interviews revealed many complaints of differential treatment, marginalization, lack of mentorship or collegiality, little or limited respect for the non-mainstream research interests of racialized faculty, difficulties in achieving tenure/promotion and many other grievances. The survey data shows important income differences and supports the complaints involving tenure and promotion. Of particular note is that university management and its very limited attempts at creating equity were severely criticized by racialized and especially Indigenous faculty.