May 4, 2018
UCalgary's champion of diversity, equity and inclusion honoured by Faculty of Arts
On May 3, the Faculty of Arts honoured some of their best and brightest teachers, researchers, staff, champions of internationalization and outstanding alumni at the Faculty of Arts Awards and Celebration of Excellence. Among them, Valerie Pruegger, PhD, Faculty of Arts alumna and director of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Protected Disclosure (ODEPD), exemplifies the innovation and achievements that make the faculty great.
- Pictured above, Pruegger celebrates her Faculty of Arts Award with Dean Richard Sigurdson, left, and Michael Sclafani, associate vice-president, Alumni Engagement and Partnerships.
Winner of the Celebrated Alumni Award, Pruegger earned her honours BA and an MSc in psychology before completing a PhD in industrial/organizational psychology and cross-cultural psychology at Queen’s University. She eventually returned to UCalgary as an assistant professor in psychology.
Throughout her career, Pruegger has worked tirelessly to promote diversity, equity and inclusion in our community. Among her positions, she has served as executive director of the Calgary Multicultural Centre, diversity education consultant for the Calgary Police Service, and as a research social planner for The City of Calgary. She is currently the director of the University of Calgary’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Protected Disclosure.
“To me, it is like an Academy Award in my profession as it is adjudicated by one’s peers who know and understand the work. That makes it really meaningful,” says Pruegger, who has been with UCalgary in various capacities since 1976. “Many of my former professors are still here and are my colleagues today. It is a place I feel really comfortable and where I have met some of the most influential people in my life.”
The ODEPD was created in 2014 to advance the core values of collaboration, communication, support and excellence which underlie the university's strategic direction, Eyes High. Pruegger, who has been with ODEPD for four years, has seen equity and protected disclosure become a key priority for UCalgary’s diverse faculties and units.
Riley Brandt, University of Calgary
“I think our over-arching achievement so far is creating connections between people who were working on similar things, but didn’t know about the other’s existence,” she explains. “This has led to rich partnerships on campus and a sharing of responsibility for achieving inclusion and equity goals.” UCalgary was named Diversity Employer of the Year two years running, which speaks to these partnerships and our shared commitment to a welcoming space where all can realize their potential.
The ODEPD has also seen an increase in concerns being brought forward to the protected disclosure adviser, Shirley Voyna Wilson, which is a good indicator of increased trust in the office and the process for resolving incidents that may lead to feelings of exclusion. In addition to ongoing resource sharing, workshops and talks, ODEPD’s main programming event, Diversity Days, provides opportunities for students, faculty and staff to learn more about issues such as bullying, power and privilege, intercultural communication and implicit bias.
To learn more about the ODEPD and its offerings, visit the website.