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EDI Takeaways from CELC 2023

Over 200 student leaders from 46 universities across Canada are currently gathered in Hotel Arts in Calgary. What does this mean? It’s the ideal time to share knowledge on equity, diversity, and inclusion. Here’s some takeaways and awesome resources from the sessions so far.

The conference began with fantastic EDI training from Engiqueers Canada, and delegates had thought-provoking conversations on intersectionality and recognizing bias.

Everyone has bias, but we learned that being aware of and not acting on our biases is important. Harvard’s Implicit Differentiation Test was brought up as a simple (and fun!) way to increase self-awareness, so I encourage you to try it!

Dr. Emily Marasco of the University of Calgary presented on the importance of EDI in engineering and education. She highlighted the need for diversity in the engineering profession: McKinsey & Company found that diverse teams and representation in leadership lead to better performance.

“Diversity is a fact. Equity and inclusion are choices.”

Dr. Emily Marasco

So how do we become more inclusive? We learned the six Cs identified by Deloitte, which describe traits of an inclusive leader: Cognizance, courage, commitment, collaboration, cultural intelligence, and curiosity.

She ended the session with a challenge. In a Torrance Test of Creative Thinking, she asked us to come up with as many ways to use a standard paper clip as we could in a minute. Twelve items was the record, but we learned that our creativity also materializes in how much we modified the paper clip and the originality and detail of our ideas (though no one came up with something quite as original as a tattoo needle, an answer which Dr. Marasco once heard).

As Sam Bhardwaj, the Engiqueers Canada presenter stated, engineering is a privileged profession, and it’s not apolitical. Creating an inclusive, robust, and sustainable future will require an inclusive and diverse community of engineers, so let’s ensure that Lakehead is part of this critical paradigm shift.

Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

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