Our plan for the future: 2023-2025 Equity Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan

Monash Faculty of Information Technology has released its 2023-2025 Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan which delves deeper into the nuanced issues faced by people from multiple marginalised backgrounds.

An evolution of the previous strategy and reinforced by the research, expertise and experiences of the EDI Committee, this new plan responds to the University’s EDI Framework, by targeting the compounding challenges that arise from intersectionality and the multifaceted support required.

The communities and groups that the plan focuses on include women and non-binary people, students from low socio-economic areas, people living with disabilities and ongoing health conditions, and primary carers and caregivers.

With the recent appointment of its inaugural Associate Dean (Indigenous), the Faculty is also broadening its scope to include Indigenous engagement initiatives to amplify the representation of Indigenous peoples within higher education and industry.

‘People from multiple marginalised identities face a compounded set of societal, systemic, and personal barriers that stem from various dimensions of their identity, such as gender, race, disability, and sexuality,’ said Associate Dean (Equity, Diversity and Inclusion) Professor Yolande Strengers.

‘These intersecting layers of underrepresentation weave together into a complex network, often exacerbating the difficulties people encounter. This complexity demands a multifaceted approach that targets diverse communities and people.’

To achieve this, the plan spans across all facets of the faculty. Encompassing the full student lifecycle, it extends from recruitment to the array of university programs available. Likewise, it covers the hiring procedures of staff to their career progression as well as the buildings and facilities that faculty members work and study in.

The plan outlines targeted priorities and planned activities to be updated iteratively in the next three years, including ongoing actions to demonstrate the progression from these foundational efforts.

Here are some exciting initiatives already underway as part of the 2023-2025 EDI Strategic Plan:

Increasing inclusivity in education initiatives

  • Launch UnITy, an undergraduate student-led initiative that supports women and non-binary/gender-diverse learners in IT.
  • Deliver a Disability Support Services student mentoring program to provide tailored education support for those living with a disability or mental health condition.

Nurturing the professional development of staff of marginalised identities

  • Implement new workload adjustments for people returning from parental and caregivers leave, including for fathers and carers of older parents or children with disabilities.
  • Support the Carer’s Travel Support program which assists staff with caregiving responsibilities who need to travel for work.

Ensuring faculty facilities are accessible and inclusive

  • Open a dedicated breastfeeding and expressing room, and breastmilk storage facilities for staff and graduate research students.
  • Promote guidelines and training on how to ensure meetings, events and facilities are accessible for people living with disabilities.

Recruiting more staff and students from underrepresented groups

  • Review and update the PhD guidelines to encompass more equitable allocation of PhD scholarships.
  • Develop and design new training programs for hiring managers to help them recruit inclusively.

Fostering respect for EDI across the faculty and the IT field

  • Create a framework for engaging and working with Indigenous communities and partners across education and research.
  • Work with international counterparts to progress EDI initiatives on other Monash campuses.