Upholding and facilitating the university campus as a place for creative, respectful, constructive debate or dialogue about controversial issues in a safe environment; supporting healthy conflict
Fostering the understanding of different points of view
Fostering a community of change makers
Supporting the development of future leaders able to work effectively in a pluralistic society by acquiring intercultural competence
Developing an integrated strategic plan to continue building a welcoming and inclusive campus community
Ensuring each individual feels valued for his or her skills, abilities and contributions
Providing a centralized resource for diversity and inclusion information/resources and to link related initiatives/programs across campus
Providing a safe and confidential space for individuals to discuss protected disclosure matters, e.g., breaches of ethical conduct including alleged breaches of research integrity; (sexual) harassment, and/or discrimination.
Dr. Malinda S. Smith
Inaugural Vice Provost (Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion), and a professor of political science at the University of Calgary.
Dr. Smith has published widely in areas of international and comparative politics, and equity, diversity, and human rights in higher education. She is a coauthor of The Equity Myth: Racialization and Indigenity at Canadian Universities (2017), and a coeditor of the forthcoming book, Nuances of Blackness in the Canadian Academy (UofT Press, 2021). She is the editor of three books on Africa, including Securing Africa: Post-9/11 Discourses on Terrorism (2010), Beyond the African Tragedy: Discourses on Development and the Global Economy (2006), and Globalizing Africa (2003); as well as coeditor of Critical Concepts: An Introduction to Politics, 6/E under revision with OUP; and States of Race: Critical Race Feminism for the 21st Century (2010).
Dr. Smith is a 2018 Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Fellow and the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including the Susan S. Northcutt Award from the International Studies Association (2020), 100 Accomplished Black Women Honouree (2020), and the Rosalind Smith Professional Award (2020) from the National Black Coalition of Canada-Edmonton, the Distinguished Scholar Award (2018-19) from International Studies Association-Canada, the HSBC Community Contributor of the Year Award (2016) from the Canadian Centre for Diversity & Inclusion; and the Equity Award from the Canadian Association of University Teachers (2015).
- Chair, Advisory Committee on Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Decolonization, Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences.
- Member, Advisory Committee on Immigration and Ethnocultural Statistics, Statistics Canada.
- Member, Working Group on Black Communities in Canada, Statistics Canada.
- Member, Canada Research Chairs Advisory Committee on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Policy.
- Member, Inter-Institutional Advisory Committee for National Dialogues and Action for Inclusive Higher Education and Communities.
- Member, Education Committee, BlackNorth Initiative.
- Anti-Racism: The Urgency of Action, Renison University and Waterloo Public Library, September 1, 2020
- Hearings on Systemic Racism, City of Calgary (Co-Chairs Coun. Gian-Carlo Carra and Malinda S. Smith), July 7-9, 2020
- Inclusive Excellence in Science Post-COVID19: Matching Words with Action (Imogen Coe and Malinda S Smith), Canadian Science Policy Centre Virtual Sessions, June 29, 2020,
- EDI and Canadian Postsecondary Sector (Malinda S Smith with Alex Usher), Higher Education Strategy Associates, June 12, 2020
- An African Canadian Response to the Pandemic and International Uprisings, June 7, 2020,
Ms. Svetlana Ponic, BA (she/her)
Ms. Ponic works in the Office of the Provost, as the Executive Assistant to the Vice-Provost Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. She holds bachelor degree in Communication and Public Relations from the University Institute for Modern Languages (IULM) in Milano, Italy. Since 2015 her work at the University of Calgary has focused on the International portfolio, in support of the Vice-Provost (International). In 2020 she is thrilled to join the Office of EDI given her values and passion for EDI issues.
Dr. William Yimbo, BA, MA, PhD (he/him)
Dr. William Yimbo is the Education Specialist in the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. He holds a BA in Political Science and Economics from the University of Nairobi, Kenya, a graduate diploma in International Relations from the Institute of Social Studies in the Netherlands, an MA in Public Affairs, and a PhD in Mass Communication from the University of Minnesota, USA.
As EDI Education Specialist, Dr. Yimbo develops and delivers equity, diversity, and inclusion workshops to staff, faculty, and students across the university. He previously worked as a diversity advisor in immigration and settlement services. In this role, he delivered diversity education and advocated for equity and inclusivity in government services for Canada’s newcomer communities. Dr. Yimbo has an extensive career background and experience in the public and foreign policy administration in Kenya, Africa.
Ms. Carla Bertsch, BJUS, BA, MSW, RSW (she/her)
Ms. Bertsch is the EDI Sexual Violence Support Advocate, is a queer, Cree, cis gender woman who holds bachelor degrees in Political Science and Justice Studies, as well as a master’s degree in Social Work. She is guided by her social work education and 20 years of professional experience working in gender-based violence, education and mental health. Carla brings an intersectional, trauma-informed perspective to her role championing the needs of anyone impacted by sexual violence and promises a safe space for people of all genders, sexualities and backgrounds.
As the EDI Sexual Violence Support Advocate, she serves as a primary point of contact for all members of the University community who are impacted by sexual violence, and advocates for those community members by providing independent, impartial and confidential emotional support including effective referrals to resources on and off campus, navigating and negotiating necessary accommodations on behalf of impacted individuals.
Ms. Bertsch also leads education initiatives and delivers workshops on sexual violence, prevention, consent, gender equity, and gender socialization to inform and empower the campus community, who are working together, to end gender-based violence. Carla is a strong advocate for all oppressed communities, knowing that our liberation, equity, and just treatment in all aspects of life, is connected.