Inclusion

Inclusion is a key piece of EDID, closely connected to the other dimensions.

How can we go further in creating an environment where all undergraduate students, graduate students, staff, and faculty members feel welcome, respected, and able to participate fully?

Read Western’s Inclusive Washroom Policy. The Social Science Centre has several gender-neutral single-user washrooms: SSC 3318, SSC 4318, SSC 5318, SSC 6318, SSC 7318, SSC 8351.  

Representation matters, in ways that connect to Inclusion, to Equity, and to Decolonization. As our community becomes increasingly diverse, how can we make sure that new barriers are not created and that everyone has an opportunity to succeed? How can spaces be created with sufficient critical mass of scholars and students to foster community, mentoring, and support? How does Diversity strengthen Inclusion, as more students see themselves and their experiences reflected in both the university community, and in their classes, readings and coursework?

There are many dimensions to inclusion. Below are some relatively easy steps to take as we continue to work collectively and at the institutional level on more challenging steps. Choose any place to start. Then add another.

In your teaching, consider whether any examples, case studies, or language you use would change if you imagined that in your classroom there are disabled students, Indigenous students, racialized students, LGBTQ+ students, students from a country or region you are discussing.

Consider how inclusive your language is.

Accessibility in Teaching

Accessibility in teaching – alongside and beyond the Accessible Education office’s procedures – is another good place to start. Not all students with disabilities at Western are registered with Accessible Education, due to barriers in accessing diagnoses. And the majority of disabled students have non-apparent disabilities. Are there more ways you can build in accessibility and flexibility in learning environments?

  • Provide information in accessible formats, whether in teaching, events, or other forms of communication.
  • Use the accessibility checker in Office 365 products (found in the Review tab) and click “Keep accessibility checker running while I work.” Use the “Heading” functions in Microsoft Word and in OWL pages to help those with screen readers.
  • Post your lecture slides for your students.
  • Turn on transcription in Zoom meetings.
  • Caption your videos.
  • Provide descriptive/alternate text for images.
  • Consider using low-cost alternatives for class readings, including Western Libraries’ “Course Readings” service. Alongside reducing the financial cost to students, the Course Readings service runs scanned readings through Optical Character Recognition software to ensure it is accessible to those using assistive technologies.
  • Are you providing a break during long classes?
  • Are you using a microphone for in-person classes? This does not only help hearing-impaired students.

Did you know that in the 2021 Graduating Student Survey from the Canadian University Survey Consortium about one quarter of graduating students across Canada reported having a disability?