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Interdisciplinary Area and Critical Studies Implementation Team: Terms of Reference September 2020

EDI Strategy Implementation Teams have been constituted to advance as set of assigned strategic priorities. The Teams will report activities and recommendations to the EDI Strategy Steering Committee for endorsement and engagement of appropriate leadership and governance bodies as appropriate.


The Implementation Team is tasked with advancing a set of assigned strategic priorities, which support relevant Strategic Objectives listed in the 2019 – 2022 EDI Action Plan (See Strategic Alignment and Tasks section below).


The Team will:

  • Develop a task list with timelines and assigned team members and;
  • Discuss historical and contemporary challenges and opportunities;
  • Identify and review relevant resources and contextual information;
  • Conduct environmental scan and comparative review of best practices;
  • Develop models of initiatives that could be enhanced or piloted at McMaster;
  • Engage appropriate campus partners for consultation and endorsement; and
  • Report activities and recommendations to the EDI Strategy Steering Committee.

Expandable List

The Teams are constituted after a broad call for nominations, including self-nomination.

Nominees should demonstrate a commitment to advancing inclusive excellence and some expertise in an area that would advance the work of the Team. Additionally, experience implementing similar initiatives and an ability to share challenges and successes is an asset.

Nominees will be contacted by the AVPEI and invited to submit a paragraph describing how they meet the criteria for membership, and they will also be asked to select one or more Implementation Teams to which they would consider contributing.

The EDI Strategy Steering Committee will review nominations and appoint members accordingly, giving consideration to establishing diverse memberships.

Membership terms may be one, two, or three years in duration depending on the availability and interest of individual members.

The Team lead(s) may determine that addition members are required to support the work, in which case they may initiative a call for expressions of interest. If endorsed by the membership, the Team lead(s) may target their invitation if a particular set of experiences or expertise is required.


To ensure that historically and contemporarily underrepresented, under-utilized, and under-served groups are consulted, meaningfully engaged, and part of the decision-making through the implementation process, the Team will include among its membership the voices and lived experiences of relevant equity-seeking community members, and meaningfully engage key institutional and community-organized groups, including: the Indigenous Education Council, the President’s Advisory Committee on Building an Inclusive Community, the African and Caribbean Faculty Association of McMaster, Women in Science and Engineering, Academic Women’s Success & Mentorship Network, and the Employee Accessibility Network, for example.

The Interdisciplinary Area and Critical Studies Implementation Team is tasked with advancing the following strategic priorities under Objective 3: to enhance inclusivity and opportunities for interdisciplinarity in teaching and research across Departments and Faculties of the 2019 – 2022 EDI Action Plan:

  • To strengthen African and African Diaspora Studies administrative infrastructure and capacity for teaching and research
  • To explore opportunities for synergies across and/or expansion of Area and Critical Studies

The focus for the 2019/2020 year will be: 

  • Advise on approaches to and support engagement of relevant stakeholders in discussion of AADS expansion:
    • Consultation with Humanities and Social Sciences Deans (and other Deans for interdisciplinary focus)
    • Consultation with Internationalization Consultant
    • Consultation with VPR and exploration of Social Justice Institute
    • Consultation with Provost and Deans regarding feasibility of Expanding to Program with Director, Admin Support, and additional faculty through Cluster Hire Initiative

The focus for 2020/2021 will be to: 

  • Engage Deans in examining shared resource and other creative synergistic models to sustain Minors, Programs and Departments which are financially challenged
  • Explore whether and how to leverage existing interdisciplinary area and critical studies courses for broader student engagement with social justice related learning outcomes (begin with an inventory of courses with social justice content)
    • Relatedly, support MacPherson Institution/Inclusive Teaching and Learning Implementation Team in their task of developing EDI-related learning outcomes and pedagogical resources

The focus for 2021/2022 will be to:

  • Engage the Provost and Deans to discuss opportunities to expand existing and new strategic interdisciplinary programs under the banner of “area and critical studies”

Relevant resources and contextual documents which may help advance these tasks are listed in Appendix I.


Arig al Shaibah (tentative)


Vivian Lewis, University Librarian
Pamela Swett, Dean of Humanities
Jerry Hurley, Dean of Social Sciences
TBD (e.g., VPR, additional Deans for interdisciplinary opportunities)

Advising Members:

Bonny Ibhawoh (co-leads on AADS-related actions)
Juliet Daniel (co-lead on AADS-related actions)
Alpha Abebe
Ellen Amster
Emma Apatu
Christina Baade
Sarah Brophy
Ana Campos
Chandrima Chakraborty
Daniel Coleman
Amber Dean
Paula Gardner
Faiza Hirji
Ameil Joseph
Rodrigo Narro Perez
Eugène Nshimiyimana
Susanna O’Brien
Christine Quail
Peter Walmsley
Vanessa Watts
Eugenia Zuroski



Relevant Resources and Contextual Documents

 2011 Taskforce on Interdisciplinary Programs (TIPS): Report/Recommendations