Reflections on the year in higher education 2019: Part 2

When I realized that the first of my six catch-up 2019 blog posts was really long, I split it into three posts!

Some thoughts about my past decade in academia: 2000-19

In 2010, I was three and half years into what would become a seven-year, four-term stint as director of the pan-university Institute for Research and Innovation in Sustainability (IRIS). I'm relieved to say that, despite IRIS being shut down, as the result of stunningly short-sighted meddling by members of York University's senior leadership administration (thankfully, they have now left the institution), I have consolidated, extended and implemented many of the research projects and skills that I developed with members of the broader IRIS community. These include:

  1. Learning about and supporting open access and institutional repositories. In 2019, five years late, I finally reported back to this resilient Manitoba community on the Churchill Community of Knowledge Digital Archive!
  2. A sustained presence and participation as members of civil society at the United Nations Climate Change negotiations. In 2019, Professor Idil Boran from Philosophy, and I accredited our largest delegation since COP15 Copenhagen.
  3. Incorporating the blogging and social media skills that graduate students and IRIS co-ordinators taught me, into my undergraduate and graduate courses in Biology. The high point was co-developing an entire Science Communication summer school that, sadly, has only run once, at Seneca College.
  4. Incorporating the leadership, collaboration and policy development skills that my non-STEM IRIS colleagues taught me, about how to advocate more effectively for improved equity, diversity and inclusion policy. Since 2013 I have been blogging about the lack of women on prestigious panels, the UK Athena SWAN programme, and holding annual Ada Lovelace Day events (with co-conspirator, John Dupuis) and symposia highlighting Women in STEM that have contributed to propelling the ongoing challenges presented by unconscious and systemic biases into the national conversation. Outcomes of the collective activism of myself and fabulous colleagues, including Marisa Sterling, Imogen Coe, Eden Hennessey, Bryan Gaensler and Jeremy Kerr, include the Tri-Council Dimensions EDI programme, and an increasing number of local and regional conversations about Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. We've come a long way since 2013, when the acting dean of science told me to "get off my feminist soapbox".