Joel Schlesinger © Postmedia Network Inc.
Sometimes efforts promoting greater equity, diversity and inclusion can be seen as a ‘to-do list’ for organizations, outlining their shortcomings, where change may be viewed with skepticism and even considered burdensome.
But that’s not how Dr. Moussa Magassa, Mount Royal University’s new associate vice-president of equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) sees it.
“Equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives are not something we do only for the benefit of others,” he says. “It is really a gift of humanity that we give to each other.”
Magassa took on the role of helping develop the Calgary post-secondary institution’s evolving EDI framework and policies in May 2022 after working in a similar role at the University of Victoria for many years.
Among the successes at the Vancouver Island university he was part of were Five Days of Action that helped foster programs to address discrimination, sexualized violence and harassment on campus and in the community.
Now, Magassa aims to help bring similar EDI best-practices to Mount Royal University (MRU) to engage students, faculty, administration and the city itself to create a fairer, more diverse and inclusive learning environment and place to live — for everyone.
“Dr. Magassa is someone who believes in creating an action-oriented strategy that aligns with clear goals as a way to strengthen our institution,” says Dr. Tim Rahilly, MRU president and vice-chancellor. “I believe this will serve as the perfect complement to EDI work already underway across this university.”
Indeed, MRU already has a strong reputation on this front, recently recognized by Forbes as one of Canada’s Best Employers For Diversity in 2022. Yet building a post-secondary institution that reflects the larger, ever-changing community is always a work in progress, Magassa notes.
“When you think about it, change is the only thing that is permanent,” he says. “Every institution needs to change, not because we’re doing something badly, but because we want to build on our successes to move forward.”
Undoubtedly, he adds, equity, diversity and inclusion are important to the future success of the university, Calgary and the nation.
“Equity, diversity and inclusion are important because equity is not only about fairness; it’s a principle, condition and an outcome rooted in human rights,” Magassa explains. “Then diversity is the recognition that we’re all different, and these differences are strengths, not weaknesses.”
Yet inclusion is truly the goal, he says.
“After all, everyone wants to feel included, sharing in access to resources like education, to succeed in life.”
This story was created by Content Works, Postmedia’s commercial content division, on behalf of Calgary Economic Development.