Effective March 29, 2021, the AWA has a New Website!

Our new website is live effective March 29, 2021. Visit us at https://awaualberta.wixsite.com/website and make sure you bookmark the site! Our WordPress site will be discontinued effective April 15, 2021.

AWA Executive Positions – Call for Nominations Deadline Extended to Sept 30th!

The Academic Women’s Association Nominating Committee invites you to submit nominations for an executive position. 

  • President (1 yr term)
  • Vice-President/President Elect (1 year term)
  • Secretary (2 yr term)
  • Treasurer (2 yr term)
  • Communications Coordinator (2 yr term)
  • Committee Chairs/Co-Chairs (Membership, Research, Diversity, and Mentorship)  (2 yr terms)
  • Members-at-Large (2 yr term)

If you would like to discuss your interest in being a member of the Executive, you are welcome to contact Helly Goez, President (2019-2020) at Helly.Goez@albertahealthservices.ca

All nominees must be members (faculty, research associates, APOs, post-docs, graduate and undergraduate students) in good standing. For membership details, visit https://uofaawa.wordpress.com/about/membership/ or contact Anne-José Villeneuve, AWA Membership Co-Chair, at awa.ualberta@gmail.com

Please send your nomination packages (expression of interest, brief bio, contact details) to Catherine Anley, Treasurer (2019-2020), cmanley@ualberta.ca by end of day Sept 30, 2020 (elections will take place between Oct 5 – 9 ).


Presentation: Writing a Great Academic CV by Dr. Janet A.W. Elliott – April 9, 2020, 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Clinical Sciences Bldg. Rm 2-193

There are many kinds of academic CVs. When applying for grants, awards, or other opportunities, having a remarkable CV that meets reader expectations and puts your best foot forward can make all the difference.  The AWA brownbag presentation & discussion will focus on expected elements,  techniques, and strategies for writing different kinds of academic CVs. All are welcome!

Dr. Elliott has served on academic hiring committees, Faculty Evaluation Committee, national and university level award selection committees (including awards that span all academic disciplines such as Killam Annual Professor and Martha Piper Research Prize), and national grant review panels for NSERC, CIHR, NIH, and the Canadian Space Agency, and has contributed to the university’s internal processes for CIHR and NSERC grants and Canada Research Chairs.

AWA Presentation – EDI in STEMM by Dr. Lisa Willis, Biological Sciences, U of A

In this talk, we will discuss the literature on bias and discrimination in STEMM fields. We will also discuss strategies for improving the participation and lived experiences of a diversity of women in STEMM. While the data and literature is based on STEMM fields, the strategies for improving participation could be applied to other fields as well and all are welcome to attend. To register visit: uab.ca/EDIWeek

Mapping the Leaky Leadership Diversity Pipelines at Five Canadian Universities

For Immediate Release

(Edmonton, 3 March 2020) The senior administrative leadership pipeline at Canadian universities is leaky for racialized minorities. Senior university administrators do not yet reflect the diversity of the rank-and-file professors and instructors and are a far cry from reflecting the diversity of the Canadian population.

This leadership diversity gap study, conducted by Genevieve Fuji Johnson and Robert Howsam, and published in collaboration with The Diversity Gap and the Academic Women’s Association at the University of Alberta, focused on 1,299 central and senior administrators from five Canadian universities: Simon Fraser University, University of British Columbia, University of Toronto, University of Victoria, and York University. The administrative positions examined included departmental program chairs (e.g., undergraduate program chair), departmental chairs, associate deans, deans, and senior executives (e.g., vice-presidents, provosts, and presidents). The infographic represents these findings.

Complementing the equity audit methodology used by Malinda S. Smith in the leadership diversity gap studies (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019), three researchers coded headshots, names, and biographical statements for gender expression and racialized identity. In the first phase of analysis, they engaged in independent coding. The results of this coding were used to calculate an overall interrater reliability coefficient, which for qualitative analysis was remarkably high (i.e., .94). In the second phase, the researchers worked consensually to address disagreements in their results.

Relative to Statistics Canada 2016 Census data on professor and lecturer income recipients, we find a notable overrepresentation of White men throughout both central and senior academic administrative structures. Based on Statistics Canada data:

  • We expected to find about 43% White men in these ranks. Instead, in all ranks except associate deans, we find the percentage of White men to range from 45.8% for senior executives to 59.1% for deans.
  • White women are also overrepresented in the ranks of associate deans (42.6%) and senior executives (43.4%) relative to Statistics Canada data, which indicates about 36% White women among professors and instructors.

The benchmark in the Statistics Canada 2016 Census data on professor and lecturer income recipients for racialized men is about 12% and for racialized women about 7.2%. Racialized minorities are underrepresented within the ranks of deans (4.6%) and senior executives (7.2%). Racialized women are underrepresented in the ranks of deans (2.3%) and senior executives (2.4%).

Similar to Smith’s findings (2019), we find that that: 90% of deans and senior executives, when aggregated as one group, are White. Conversely, both racialized men and women are hitting a ceiling at the level of associate deans.

For further information please contact:

Dr. Genevieve Fuji Johnson
Political Science, Simon Fraser University
Email: genevieve_johnson@sfu.ca                                                                 

Dr. Malinda S. Smith
Political Science, University of Alberta 
The Diversity Gap Canada
Chair of AWA Research Committee
Email: malinda.smith@ualberta.ca

The infographics below are also available on this webpage.

U15 Leadership Remains Largely White and Male Despite 33 Years of Equity Initiatives

An examination of the U15 institutions’ leadership diversity finds their most senior leadership, and the academic leadership pipeline, remain overwhelming white and largely male. This is one of the major conclusions of the 2019 Leadership Diversity Gap study recently completed by Dr. Malinda S. Smith, a professor of political science, a 2018 P.E. Trudeau Fellow, and the chair of the research committee of the Academic Women’s Association-University of Alberta. The study examined over 383 individuals serving in roles from deans (n=209), provosts and vice-presidents (academics), vice-presidents (research), presidents, Chancellors and Board Chairs, as well as individuals serving on what is variously called presidents’ leadership teams or cabinets (n=114).

The study also examined disciplinary and professional diversity. It found that individuals in some of the most senior academic leadership positions – presidents, provosts and vice-presidents (academic) and vice-presidents (research) – are overwhelming drawn from science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. The third major finding is that senior leaders at the level of Chair of Governing Boards/Councils and Chancellors are drawn largely from a few professional fields, primarily the corporate sector, particularly banking and finance, and corporate law. Thus, despite over three decades of equity policies to advance diversities of peoples and perspectives, and reflect the diversity of student populations and the broader Canadian society, this social diversity is not represented in senior leadership positions at U15 institutions. The representational diversity results of the study are conveyed in four accompanying Diversity Gap 2019 infographics on the U15 leadership diversity.

For over three decades, Canadian universities have developed employment equity initiatives with the aim of transforming conditions of inequality in the workplace. Longstanding efforts to address inequality is sometimes referred to as the justice position or “doing the right thing”. There is also ample research that diverse teams are a value proposition because they are more high-performing and, in businesses for example, they produce more customers, revenues, and profits. But this “business case” for diversity does not always mesh well with public universities. Beyond compliance, valuing diversity is a public good for universities in democratic societies. Often overlooked is the transformative value of diversity for learners and leaders alike. There is an extensive body of research both on what diversity is, how to do diversity, and on what diversity does. The research on identity diversity shows that, in contrast to homogeneous teams, diverse teams (with respect to race, gender, culture, and nationality) engage in better deliberation processes, make better decisions, produce better outcomes and are more innovative. Despite this research, there is a significant leadership diversity gap in U15 institutions.

  1. U15 Leadership Diversity: Compositional or Social Diversity

In the foundational final report of the Royal Commission on Equality in Employment (1984), Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella noted, “Equality in employment will happen unless we make it happen.”

Does the leadership diversity at U15 institutions reflect their expressed commitment to make happen equity, diversity, and inclusion for women, Indigenous peoples, visible minorities, and persons with disabilities? Put differently, do such universities model leadership diversity? The question is not reducible to the growing trend among the U15 to designate an EDI lead. For example, a number of these universities have appointed or are in the process of hiring an associate vice-provost equity (e.g. Dalhousie, McMaster, Queen’s, University of British Columbia and Waterloo). Rather, the question is about the depth of commitment and efforts to transform inequality and systemic inequities across and within organizational hierarches. In 2019 how equitable, diverse and inclusive are U15 decision-making tables?

This study finds that the U15 leaders, from deans to presidents and Board Chairs, remain predominately white and male, with scant representation of either visible minorities or Indigenous peoples. These findings are illustrated in the four accompanying infographics.  Graph 1, Graph 2 and Graph 3 illustrate the representational diversity of the U15 leadership pipeline, the U15 Presidents’ Leadership Teams and Cabinets, and the U15 Deans:

  • U15 Board Chairs are 85.7% white, and 57% male. Only 7.1% are visible minority female, and none are Indigenous.
  • U15 Chancellors are 100% white, and 26.7% are female.
  • U15 Presidents are 80% white, and 86.7% male.
  • U15 Provosts and VPs (Academic) are 100% white, and 66.7% male.
  • U15 VPs (Research) nears gender parity with 46.7% female, 20% visible minorities (male and female combined).
  • U15 Deans of faculties and schools: 92.2% are white, 32% are female, and a mere 7.7% are a visible minority or Indigenous person (male and female combined).

The second infographic (Graph 2 below), the Presidents’ Leadership Teams or Cabinets, illustrates the leadership diversity among people at U15 presidents’ table. These are constituted differently at various institutions but generally include all of the vice-presidents, principals, legal counsel, and the like. The findings show that some gains have been made on gender equity but less so on visible minorities, particularly women, and Indigenous women and men.  

In most U15 institutions there are a minimum of three positions within the presidents’ leadership teams or cabinets that are held primarily by individuals with, for example, PhDs, MDs or JDs who are primarily drawn from the professoriate. Other members of presidential leadership teams, however, are often recruited from outside the professoriate (e.g. vice-presidents finance, facilities, government relations). Notably, many of the persons who hold these positions are women, which is why, for example, presidents’ leadership teams may be more diverse than, say deans (as shown in the two infographics on these groups). There are two observation of note here: first, despite some of these positions having inordinate power (e.g. vice-president finance), these positions do not track to the top of the leadership pyramid. The second observation is that despite having inordinate power, these leaders may not actively engage with most professors, staff and students or be attuned to academic norms. Another possibility to watch for is whether there is a growing bifurcation in academic leadership between academic and more corporate-like leadership structures and processes.

Graph 3, ‘U15 Leadership Diversity – Deans’ and the infographic on ‘Diversity of Deans at Canadian U15 Universities’, illustrates that overall, U15 deans are primarily white (92.3%) and male (67.4%). An intersectional analysis shows that white men remain the overwhelming majority (67.1%), which is more than double the percentage of white women who make up the second largest demographic group (29.2%). Visible minority men constitute a mere 4.3% of deans, visible minority women are 2.9%, and Indigenous women and men are largely notable for their near absence.

  1. Disciplinary Diversity: U15 Presidents, Provosts & VP Research

Efforts to advance a more equitable academy often encounter a number of diversity diversions, including those who pit perspectival diversity against representational diversity. Some argue that as long as diverse viewpoints are brought to decision-making tables it matters little who sits at these tables. This is a red herring, one that leads to diversity detours and displaces the commitment to addressing inequality.

The third infographic, on Leadership Diversity by Position, provide details about the representational diversity of individuals holding the positions of presidents, provosts and vice presidents (academic), and vice-presidents (research). While the position of vice-president (research) shows some progress on gender diversity, the other roles show few visible minority men but virtually no visible minority women. Indigenous women and men are notable for their absence.

What about the representation of disciplinary diversity among these leaders? The findings are illustrated in Table 1: the U15 presidents, provosts and vice-presidents (academic), and vice-presidents (research) are selected primarily from the disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM): 60% of presidents, 73.4% of provosts and vice-presidents (academic), and 80% of vice-presidents (research) have STEM discipline credentials. Few provosts and vice-presidents (academics) and, particularly vice-presidents (research), are drawn from the humanities.

Table 1: Selected U15 Senior Leadership: Disciplinary Diversity, 2019

Presidents, Provosts & VP Academic and VP Research



Kinesiology %



Social Sciences









Provost & VP (Academic)





Vice President (Research)





  1. Professional Diversity: U15 Board Chairs and Chancellors

The third vector of diversity examined in this study is the professional background of U15 Board Chairs and U15 Chancellors. The findings illustrated in Table 2 show that leaders in these roles are drawn from select backgrounds: 57.1% from the corporate sector, particularly banking and finance, another 14.3% from corporate law, 21.4% from the public and non-profit sectors, and a mere 7.1% from the education sector. While there may be people from a greater diversity of backgrounds on Boards of Governors, the leadership preference at U15 institutions is overwhelmingly from the corporate sector.

U15 Chancellors have similar backgrounds to U15 Board Chairs: The majority are drawn from the corporate sector (57.1%) and the legal profession, particularly corporate law (28.6%). It should be noted that many of these leaders are also philanthropists and often hold at least one degree from the institution in which they serve. The dearth of leaders from the humanities and the creative arts, for example, is notable.

Table 2: Canadian University Leadership – Professional Diversity, 2019

U15 Board Chairs and Chancellors


Business/Banking/ Finance %

Law %

Education Sector %

Public/ Non-profit Sectors %

Board Chairs (n=14)





Chancellors (n=14)





The STEM-turn in U15 university leadership coincides with, although not necessarily caused by, the decades-long attack and questioning of the value of humanities and social sciences. It begs the question: When universities say they are committed to disciplinary or perspectival diversity what do they mean? What are the implications for the U15 in particular, and the broader Canadian academic landscape more generally, of limited social, disciplinary and professional diversity at key decision-making tables?

As with other institutions, the U15 leadership pipeline likely starts well before the meso-level of deans, where this study starts. The lack of diversity among deans, particularly of visible minorities and Indigenous peoples, raises a number of equity questions. It is important to examine what happens at the micro-level of departments. This includes collecting and analyzing candidate diversity data on the selection and appointment of directors, associate chairs, chairs and associate deans. Qualitative studies can help pinpoint formal and informal dynamics that act as self-perpetuating barriers to opportunities for advancement, particularly for severely under-represented visible minorities and Indigenous peoples. This is necessary to help determine whether the academic environment at the micro- and meso-levels provide equitable access to opportunities, as well as to mentoring and coaching, and whether there is cultural cloning among candidates who are appointed or selected for such roles. At the meso- and macro-levels of the university it is worth asking how we might better hold university Boards and senior leadership to account for the persistent leadership diversity gap.

For more information, contact:

Dr. Malinda S. Smith (PI)
Professor, Political Science
Past President & Chair of Research, AWA
University of Alberta
Edmonton, Alberta
Email: malinda.smith@ualberta.ca

Dr. Nancy Bray
Lecturer, Communication Fundamentals for
Professionals & Writing Studies,
Communications Officer, AWA
University of Alberta
Edmonton, Alberta
Email: nbray@ualberta.ca

Web links to infographics:

Press release and infographics for sharing on social media:

PDF files of release and infographics:

Towards Closing the Diversity Gap in Research Chairs

(Edmonton, 2 May 2019) Over the past four years, the Diversity Gap infographics have disseminated independent research and analyses on equity, diversity and intersectionality at Canadian universities and colleges with the aim of assessing how on-the-book policies intersect with outcomes. The two Diversity Gap infographics on Canada Excellence Research Chairs (CERCs) and Canada 150 Research Chairs released today provide an independent equity audit of the two programs. They draw attention to key opportunities and challenges of equity, diversity and intersectionality in the research funding enterprise. They also inform debates about the equitable distribution of research funds, the diversity of talent and institutions that benefit, and those who continue to be disadvantaged by such programs.

Consecutive Canadian governments have created signature research chairs to attract world-leading talent to Canadian universities. In 2000, the Chrétien government allocated $900 million per year to establish the Canada Research Chairs Program that funds up to 2000 mid-career and senior scholars. The Harper government established the Canada Excellence Research Chairs (CERCs) Program that it launched in 2010 with the aim of recruiting “world-class” scholars to Canada. The Canada 150 Research Chairs Program was created by the Trudeau government to mark Canada’s sesquicentennial. Announced in Budget 2017, the program allocated a one-time funding of $117.6 million, “to enhance Canada’s reputation as a global centre for science, research and innovation excellence.”

  • Canada Research Chairs Tier 1 are worth $200,000 annually, tenable for seven years and renewable once (or more in exceptional cases).
  • Canada Research Chairs Tier 2 are worth $100,000 annually, tenable for five years and renewable once.
  • Canada Excellence Research Chairs are worth $10 million over seven years.
  • Canada 150 Research Chairs are worth either $350,000 or $1 million annually for seven years.

Since 2000, these prestigious research chairs have helped to retain Canadian talent and, also, to attract world-leading talent to Canada. They are rightly touted as a “brain gain” for universities and the broader research enterprise. Yet, one key equity issue they raise relates to representational diversity in the distribution of chairs. Equitable representation has been an issue since the launch of the CRC Program. For example, in 2001 only 15% of chairs were held by women, and in 2004 only 17% of the 1,035 CRCs were held by women. Little to no attention was paid to the so-called “other equity groups,” namely visible minorities, Indigenous peoples, and persons with disabilities. Disaggregation and intersectional data were either not collected or not disseminated. The inequities led to a successful human rights challenge by eight women that required the CRC Program to be inclusive of all equity groups in chair allocation.

Equity was again raised when the CERCs were launched and all 19 inaugural chair-holders were men. This led to the establishment of An Ad Hoc Panel on CERC Gender Issues and a report to the Minister of Industry in April 2010. Still, institutional nominations continued to reflect very little representational diversity. In May 2016, and again in May 2017 and September 2018, Dr. Ted Hewitt, the President of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), wrote an open letter to university presidents encouraging them to address the slow pace of change and to become more proactive, transparent, and accountable in their efforts to close the diversity gap in the distribution of research chairs.

What does the evidence suggest about universities’ efforts to close the diversity gap? The data show an uneven commitment to equity for the four Federally-designated Groups (FDGs)–women, visible minorities, Indigenous peoples, and persons with disabilities. In many cases, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission has led universities to focus on Indigenous targets in hiring alongside broader indigenization initiatives. In other cases the focus on gender equity has led to stalled efforts to advance equity for visible minorities and persons with disabilities. Of the 24 new Canada 150 Research Chairs, 58.3% are women and 41.7% are men. An intersectional analysis reveals that visible minority men and women constitute only 17% of chairs, while Black and Indigenous scholars are notable for their absence. Of the current CERCs, 37% are women and 63% are men. Of these, visible minority men and women constitute 19%. In 20 years of the program, there has never been an Indigenous or Black CERC chair-holder. In both programs, there is a persistent data gap for persons with disabilities.

A deeper analysis shows that part of the issue may be a structural inequity in research funding at the level of the federal government. There is an uneven distribution of chairs across the three granting agencies and, relatedly, across disciplines. Of the 24 Canada 150 Research Chairs 62.5% are in NSERC, 16.7% in CIHR, and 20.8% are in SSHRC disciplines. Of the 16 CERCs, 56.25% are in NSERC, 31.25 in CIHR, and 12.5% in SSHRC disciplines. In a previous Diversity Gap analysis in August 2016, we suggested a problem may be the structural inequity in federal funding that prioritizes disciplines and fields of inquiry that are known to have an underrepresentation of members of FDGs.

Third, and perhaps the thorniest equity issues are the interconnections between the diversity of regions and institutional diversity in distribution of chairs. These research chair programs invest millions of dollars to attract a relatively small number of scholars to a small number of universities within Canada. With few exceptions, most of the scholars are recruited from Europe, the United States, and Australia. Within Canada, 82% of CERCs and 75% of Canada 150 Research Chairs are located at U15 institutions. While U15 institutions are across Canadian regions, there are no CERCs or Canada 150 Research Chairs based at major universities in Atlantic Canada. These issues highlight the need for diversity of sources of recruitment and the need for research support for talent within medium and small universities and colleges across regions within Canada.

Finally, the chairs are designed to recruit world-leading talent and fuel ingenuity, creativity and innovation. The equity debate centres on where and how the federal government should invest limited research funds in order to benefit the overall research enterprise across Canada, including whether the programs should prioritize the recruitment of external candidates over internal ones. The debate also highlights the need for greater levels of research funding to support Canadian universities and colleges as they nurture and train the next generation of promising undergraduate and graduate students, ignite the potential of postdoctoral fellows and new scholars, and support the innovative research and scholarship of mid-career and established scholars.

For more information, please contact:

Dr. Malinda S. Smith (PI)
Professor, Political Science
Past President & Chair of Research, AWA
University of Alberta
Edmonton, Alberta
Email: malinda.smith@ualberta.ca

Dr. Nancy Bray
Lecturer, Communication and Writing Studies
Communications Officer, Academic Women’s Association
University of Alberta
Edmonton, Alberta
Email: nbray@ualberta.ca

Web links to infographics:

Press release and infographic files for sharing on social media:




PDF formats:


Annual Fall Reception & Awards Ceremony is on October 16th!

2018 Fall Reception & Awards Ceremony

2018 Women and Graduate Student of the Year

2018 Academic Women’s Association Awards – University of Alberta

 (Edmonton, 25 June 2018) The Academic Women’s Association–University of Alberta is pleased to announce the winners of this year’s AWA awards. The two recipients of the Academic Woman of the Year Award are Dr. Janice Williamson (Arts) for her lifetime achievements and Dr. Sara Dorow, Dr. Lois Harder, Dr. Nat Hurley, and Dr. Susanne Luhmann (Arts) for their collaborative initiative, Research at the Intersections of Gender. The winner of the Bente Roed Graduate Student Award is Ms. Brittany Johnson (Arts). The 2018 winners will receive their awards at the AWA’s reception and awards ceremony in the fall.

“This year’s AWA award winners share a fierce commitment to a creative approach to scholar-activism that is intersectional and interdisciplinary, reaching across barriers and silos—be they within our own institution or erected between communities—to draw connections between people in their fight for social justice.”

First awarded in 1992, the AWA’s Woman of the Year Award is given to an academic woman or female-identified person in recognition of her contributions to the advancement of women and equity-seeking minority groups in the University of Alberta community, either over the course of her career or through current achievements in scholarship, teaching, and/or activism. Since 1999, the AWA’s Bente Roed Graduate Student Award, valued at $500, is given to a University of Alberta student in recognition of academic achievement and for community engagement that advances the status of women and equity-seeking minority groups.

The Academic Women’s Association is the major voice for the advancement of women and female-identified persons at the University of Alberta. It provides opportunities for networking and mentoring and recognizes and celebrates the achievements of academic women and female-identified persons.

This year’s awards committee was chaired by Dr. Carrie Smith (Modern Languages and Cultural Studies) and included Past President, Dr. Sheena Wilson (Campus St. Jean), Dr. Nat Hurley (Office of Interdisciplinary Studies/English & Film Studies), Dr. Naomi Krogman (Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences), Dr. Liza Piper (History and Classics), and Dr. Dilini Vethanayagam (Medicine and Dentistry).

Academic Woman of the Year Award—Janice Williamson


Dr. Williamson and her daughter Rae Xiao Bao Williamson

Dr. Williamson receives this award in recognition of her career-long contributions to the advancement of women and equity-seeking minority groups within the university and beyond. Long before the start of Dr. Williamson’s academic career in the Faculty of Arts in 1987, and throughout her 31-year academic career, social justice was her vocation. A teacher, writer, scholar, public intellectual, and community organizer, she is recognized for a lifetime of activism and commitment dedicated to improving the lives of others and fighting injustice on many fronts. Schooled in Canadian and Women’s Studies, her academic work focuses on intersectional initiatives attending to race, gender, sexuality, disability, citizenship status, and family relationships. She has written and edited six books along with award-winning prose essays and poetry. Her joy and work as a devoted single mother emerge in writing about mothering and adoption.

Over her long career, she taught thousands of students in the Departments of English & Film Studies, Women’s Studies, and the Faculty of Extension Women’s Writing Week program. As well as working with other professors on institutional-level reform, she supported and advocated on behalf of undergraduate and graduate students, colleagues, and visiting scholars and writers. For the past three years, she served as Equity Chair of the 4000 member Association of Academic Staff of the UofA preparing for bargaining equity under the new Alberta Labour Code and working on strategies for salary equity, child care, Indigenous and other initiatives to create an inclusive university that values diverse ways of knowing and learning. In the Faculty of Arts, she participated in responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission through curricular and policy changes.

Among other subjects, her work investigates violence perpetrated on women’s, children’s, and men’s bodies. As one reviewer writes: “Dr. Williamson is unique in how she balances her attention among structural critique, policy development, and sharing personal narratives of lives lived inside [systems of structural violence]. Few academics can tell the stories at these multiple registers…. She is not only helping build a better institutional response at the University of Alberta and across Canada, but she simultaneously adds nuance to the cultural landscape in which these stories emerge.” And, as her nominator, reinforces: “Janice Williamson is not only our Woman of the Year; she is our ‘woman of a lifetime.'” It is in this spirit that the AWA awards her this honour. Read more about Janice Williamson here.

Academic Woman of the Year Award—Research at the Intersections of Gender (Sara Dorow, Lois Harder, Nat Hurley, and Susanne Luhmann)

The collaborative team behind the initiative Research at the Intersections of Gender (RiG)—Dr. Sara Dorow, Dr. Lois Harder, Dr. Nat Hurley, and Dr. Susanne Luhmann—has been named 2018 AWA Woman of the Year together with Dr. Janice Williamson. Find out more about RIG here.

Spearheaded by this team of outstanding feminist scholars, RiG has been named one of three University of Alberta Signature Areas. RiG is multicampus collaboration at its very best, bringing together the expertise of numerous researchers on campus. Through their visionary leadership, dedicated organization, and courageous collaboration, Drs. Dorow, Harder, Hurley, and Luhmann have developed a Signature Area that showcases the UofA as the premier institution in Canada for gender-based intersectional research. In the words of their nominator, RiG is a “game changer for researchers, graduate students, undergrads and administrators across all 18 Faculties, and it responds to EDI commitments at every level of government.” These four scholars have led institutional change that positions the university as a global leader in feminist, gender, and intersectional research.


Left to right: Dr. Nat Hurley, Dr. Susanne Luhman, Dr. Sara Dorow, and Dr. Lois Harder

Dr. Sara Dorow is currently Chair of the Department of Sociology and Alberta Team Lead for the SSHRC-funded On the Move partnership, a major project taking an intersectional approach to studying mobile work in the Alberta oil context. Her research and teaching are in the areas of gender and family; migration and mobility; transnationalism and racialization; and qualitative methods. She is the author of the book Transnational Adoption: A Cultural Economy of Race, Gender, and Kinship (NYU Press, 2006).

Dr. Lois Harder is currently Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science and incoming Principal of the Peter Lougheed Leadership College. Her research engages issues of citizenship determination, birth and family status. She is a former Associate Dean (Research) for the Faculty of Arts and is a strong proponent of interdisciplinary research and collaboration. Recent publications include “Does Sperm Have a Flag? On Biological Relationship and National Membership” (Canadian Journal of Law and Society) and Patriation and Its Consequences: Constitution-Making in Canada (co-edited with Steve Patten).

Dr. Natasha Hurley is currently the Senior Director of the Office of Interdisciplinary Studies and Associate Professor in the Department of English and Film Studies. Her research and teaching take as their focus the fields of American Literature, Children’s Literature, Queer Studies, and Critical Theory. She is the author of Circulating Queerness: Before the Gay and Lesbian Novel (Minnesota 2018) and co-editor of Curiouser: On the Queerness of Children (Minnesota 2004).

Dr. Susanne Luhmann is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies. Her research agenda is broadly concerned with pedagogies or epistemologies of implication. Recent publications have grappled with ways to un-settle queer and feminist pedagogies. Current projects include a co-edited volume Feminist Praxis Revisited: Critical Reflections on University-Community Engagement (forthcoming from Wilfrid Laurier University Press); a co-edited collection (with Marie Lovrod) Prairie Sexualities: Theories, Archives, Affects, Communities, and a monograph in progress: Domesticating the Nazi Past: Gender and Generation in Recent German Cultural Memory.

AWA Bente Roed Graduate Student Award—Brittany Johnson

Ms. Brittany Johnson has been awarded the Bente Roed Graduate Student Award. Since 1999, the AWA’s Bente Roed Graduate Student Award, valued at $500, is given to a University of Alberta student in recognition of academic achievement and for community engagement that advances the status of women and equity-seeking minority groups.

Brittany Johnson_2018_AWA_Student_of_the_Year

Brittany Johnson

Ms. Johnson is a Métis Ph.D. Student in the Department of English and Film Studies in the Faculty of Arts. In addition to being a graduate student, she is a singer/songwriter, burlesque dancer, creative writer, wife, and mother of two. Her cutting-edge research and activism are both grounded in creative knowledge mobilization across different communities. As her nominator writes: “[Brittany] does what she does in order to create communities of support for Indigenous students—in particular, for women and non-binary folks—and she does so with tremendous good humour, charisma, and innovation.”

As a decolonial burlesque performance artist, creative writer, artist, and Métis scholar, she deploys interdisciplinary methods of research creation in her dissertation work to explore Métis identity and sexuality through Indigenous feminism. This interest comes through also in her activist and other creative works. As a trained Indigenous full-spectrum doula, she aims to encourage traditional teachings about bodies and sexualities. Further, her song “Making Bacon Naked” can be heard on CFWE and her poetry can be read at ayikisispoet.com. Other writings appear in the most recent edition Birth Issues magazine and the NDN Country edition of Prairie Fire magazine in Fall 2018.

For more information:

Professor Malinda S. Smith (Political Science)
President, Academic Women’s Association
Email: malinda.smith@ualberta.ca

Dr. Nancy Bray
AWA Communications Officer
Email: nbray@ualberta.ca

Equity at Canadian Universities: National, Disaggregated, and Intersectional Data

Edmonton, 22 June, 2018) The Academic Women’s Association at the University of Alberta is pleased to release three infographics that we believe represents for the first time the academic pipeline for three of four Employment Equity Act federally designated equity groups (FDGs)—gender, Indigenous peoples, visible minorities – and their intersections. The three infographics provide answers to, and visual representations for, the following questions: (1) “Where are the Indigenous Peoples at Canadian Universities?” (2) “Where are the women at Canadian universities?” and (3) “Where are the visible minorities at Canadian universities?” Each infographic presents national and, where available, disaggregated, and intersectional data on Indigenous peoples (First Nations, Métis, and Inuit), the 10 visible/racialized minority groups, and gender (including white, Indigenous, and visible minority women and men).

Disaggregated and intersectional data analyses are indispensable to advancing an equitable academy for all FDGs. The research included in the three infographics was conducted by Dr. Malinda S. Smith in the Department of Political Science at the University of Alberta, and the visual designs were developed by Dr. Nancy Bray, Lecturer in Communications Fundamentals for Professionals and Writing Studies at the University of Alberta. The research on equity, diversity, and intersectionality builds on and extends previous studies for the AWA initiated and led by Dr. Smith as part of the AWA’s Diversity Gap Campaign. They present data that maps the “academic pipeline” for each equity-seeking group, a process that is necessary to avoid the pitfalls of a one-size-fits-all approach to equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI). The infographic data presentation also recognizes the importance of presenting research findings in ways that are accessible to diverse publics.

The graphics presented here measure only one of the important dimensions of EDI challenges in contemporary Canadian universities. On matters of equity and diversity we know well the adage: “if it doesn’t get measured it doesn’t get done.” Good data are widely recognized as critical to establishing benchmarks in efforts to assess the advancement of equity, diversity, and inclusion in Canadian universities. Data for equity are important to identify, monitor, and develop relevant policies and strategies to improve the status of FDGs, as well as members of LGBTQ2S communities. This research, as previous research for the AWA, shows that in the cases of persons with disabilities and LGBTQ2S there are persistent data gaps.

The full press release and the three infographics can be found here.

For more information on this study please contact:

Professor Malinda S. Smith
Professor, Political Science
President, Academic Women’s Association
Email: malinda.smith@ualberta.ca

Dr. Nancy Bray
Lecturer, ALES & Writing Studies
AWA Communications Officer
Email: nbray@ualberta.ca

For more information on the AWA please visit our website: https://uofaawa.wordpress.com/