Recognized as one of Manitoba's Top Employers (2017)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Nov 29, 2016)
Here are some of the reasons why University of Manitoba was selected as one of Manitoba's Top Employers (2017):
- University of Manitoba supports new moms with maternity and parental leave top-up payments (for up to 35 weeks) as well as new dads and adoptive parents (up to 18 weeks of parental leave top-up) -- and when they're ready to return to work, new parents can enjoy the convenience of onsite daycare
- University of Manitoba helps employees save for the future with a unique hybrid defined benefit and defined contribution pension program and encourages them to plan for the long term with retirement planning assistance and health benefits that extend to retirees (ranging from the age of 75 to no age limit)
- University of Manitoba employees working on campus have convenient access to an onsite fitness facility, complete with state-of-the-art exercise equipment, basketball, badminton, volleyball and tennis courts, an indoor soccer facility, skating rinks and an Olympic-sized swimming pool
Recognized as one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers (2017)
By Kristina Leung and Richard Yerema, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Mar 27, 2017)
Here are some of the reasons why University of Manitoba was selected as one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers (2017):
- University of Manitoba recently established a diversity and inclusion working group to advise on a university-wide diversity and inclusion strategy, and encourages departments and faculties to create their own committees -- the University is also developing an Inclusion Fund to help subsidize the costs of diversity training, beyond what the university offers internally
- University of Manitoba created an Accessibility for Manitobans Act Steering Committee to address the province's new accessibility legislation, forming four additional subcommittees to address accessibility planning, post-secondary institution, information and communications, and customer service training -- additionally, the University offers an accessible van service for staff and student transportation, which can also be booked for evenings and weekends
- As part of the University of Manitoba's mental health strategy, the organization employs a Campus Mental Health Facilitator and maintains a "Champions for Mental Health" working group which is responsible for implementing strategy recommendations -- the University also recently hosted its first mental health week to encourage staff and faculty to take care mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually and socially
"We all need to learn about the treatment of Indigenous peoples in this country so that we break the cycles of history that have been so damaging. As an Indigenous woman working in a senior role at the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation and within the greater University, I am able to provide an Indigenous perspective and broaden conversations that are taking place. I am thrilled to be a part of the University of Manitoba community." Stephanie Scott, Director of Operations, National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation
Inclusiveness is critical at the University of Manitoba
When Ruth Shead did post-secondary studies 20 years ago, she says, "outside of a handful of courses, there weren't many opportunities on campus to learn about Indigenous knowledge and perspectives. There was very little that reflected me and where the Indigenous side of my family comes from." So Shead, who is Cree and a member of Manitoba's Peguis First Nation, finds it particularly gratifying to work at the University of Manitoba, where she has been Coordinator of the Office of Indigenous Achievement since October 2014.
The Office of Indigenous Achievement - just one manifestation of the U of M's priorities of diversity and inclusion - focuses on expanding the First Nations, Métis and Inuit presence at the university among its 30,000 students and 9,000 faculty and staff. And Shead, whose grandmother was a residential school survivor, notes that in 2011, the university was the first in Canada to issue a public apology for having "educated and mentored individuals who became clergy, teachers, social workers, civil servants and politicians [who] carried out assimilation policies aimed at the Aboriginal peoples of Manitoba" at residential schools.
She also points out that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission chose the U of M to host the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, which opened in 2015. "That's important for me, to be on a campus that has that space," she says.
In numerous other ways, the university is welcoming to Indigenous students, faculty and staff. Last year, it created an Indigenous Scholars Fund to support the recruitment of six new faculty members of Canadian Indigenous background across different faculties (they join 30 Indigenous faculty). The fund advances the U of M's commitment to ensuring that every student graduates with a basic understanding of contributions of Indigenous peoples in Manitoba and Canada. The number of Indigenous faculty and staff has increased 15 per cent over the past two years.
Another 2016 project was the university's $800,000 Indigenous Initiatives Fund for 22 new initiatives to support Indigenous inclusion among both students and staff.
Over the past decade, the 140-year-old, Winnipeg-based U of M - the province's only major research-intensive university - has also been at the vanguard of post-secondary institutions becoming more responsive to other traditionally disenfranchised people, including women and racialized groups.
Late last year, after extensive surveys and consultations, the university submitted its first Accessibility Plan to comply with the Accessibility for Manitobans Act. The plan's campus-wide efforts include an extensive awareness campaign and workshops.
In 2016, the U of M also participated in Winnipeg's Pride Parade and Pride Festival events. Greg Juliano, the institution's Associate Vice-President for Human Resources, says his department regularly brings the LGBT-focused Rainbow Resource Centre to campus for student and staff workshops.
Juliano is proud of all of the U of M's strategies for inclusion, but he notes that the institution is becoming a leader in welcoming Indigenous students, faculty and staff. That makes perfect sense, he says, because Winnipeg has the highest proportion of First Nations and Metis inhabitants - 11 per cent of its roughly 727,000 people - of any city in Canada.
"Focusing on Indigenous success and working with other educational partners to become a global centre of excellence for Indigenous education, research, languages and cultures will create a stronger, healthier future for the city of Winnipeg and the province of Manitoba," he says. "The Indigenous community is such a fast-growing segment of our population, and we believe it's imperative to contribute to the success of our Indigenous staff and students, and to advance reconciliation."