Equity Matters

Equity Matters

Equity Matters: Building a More Inclusive Curriculum

January 21, 2020 , 1-3:30 pm

Registration has closed.  You may contact DeanHR@utsc.utoronto.ca for more information.


This online event is organized in conjunction with campus-wide conversations about curriculum renewal as we work to ensure our commitment to inclusion, Indigeneity, and anti-racism outlined in the UTSC Strategic Plan is reflected across our programs, curriculum, pedagogical approaches and supports. The seminar given by Dean Amy Sueyoshi (San Francisco State University) will discuss a campus-wide initiative Sueyoshi led to promote undergraduate education in race, ethnicity, social justice, and equity. A panel discussion led by Professor Aarthi Ashok, Professor Dani Kwan-Lafond and Professor Lance McCready will follow to discuss learnings, the local context and possible next steps. Discussions will be moderated by Professor Jessica Fields and Professor Katherine Larson. Events in this series are open to faculty, librarians, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and staff. 



1:00 – 2:20 pm – Seminar & Discussion: Why Ethnic Studies: Student Success in the 21st Century

2:20 – 2:30 Break

2:30 – 3:30 pm – Panel & Discussion


Seminar Description 

The U.S. is facing a national crisis around college completion, with fewer than half of its 20 million students who embark on college actually obtaining their baccalaureate degree even after a 130 billion dollar investment from taxpayers. As campuses ponder how to better keep student and facilitate their smooth passage through the curriculum, San Francisco State University found a high correlation between Ethnic Studies curriculum and increased student retention and graduation rates. Majors and minors in the College of Ethnic Studies graduated within six years at rates up to 92% as opposed to a university wide rate of 54%. Those who were neither majors nor minors in Ethnic Studies also boosted their graduation rates by up to 72% by taking just a few courses in Africana Studies, American Indian Studies, Asian American Studies, Latina/Latino Studies, or Race and Resistance Studies. Students in the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) and senior exit surveys reported faculty in the College of Ethnic Studies employing significant levels of high impact instruction as compared with other faculty across the university.


Amy Sueyoshi is the Dean of the College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University, the first and longest standing college of its kind, which houses the five departments of Africana Studies, American Indian Studies, Asian American Studies, Latina/o Studies, and Race and Resistance Studies. The College provides relevant and transformative curriculum on race and equity to 9,000 students each semester across 170 courses. Amy is a historian by training with an undergraduate degree from Barnard College of Columbia University and a Ph.D. from University of California at Los Angeles. Her research area lies at the intersection of Asian American Studies and Sexuality Studies. She has authored two books Queer Compulsions: Race, Nation, and Sexuality in the Affairs of Yone Noguchi and Discriminating Sex: White Leisure and the Making of the American “Oriental.” She is also a founding co-curator of the GLBT History Museum, seeded the intergenerational Dragon Fruit Oral History Project at API Equality Northern California, and served as co-chair of the inaugural Queer History Conference 2019 hosted by the Committee on LGBT History. Amy is the recipient of numerous awards including the Clio Award for her contribution to queer history and the Phoenix Award for her service to the Asian and Pacific Islander queer women and transgender community.



Aarthi Ashok is a Professor, Teaching Stream, and Associate Chair, Undergraduate Affairs, in the Department of Biological Sciences at UTSC. Her teaching philosophy combines a commitment to the principles of active, team-based, collaborative learning with a dedication to rigorous evidence-based methods for the evaluation of teaching outcomes. Aarthi is passionate about creative assignment design and uses projects to enhance student learning through collaborations across courses and disciplines, and with community partners. Her current pedagogical research projects explore student learning in the context of community-based experiential assignments, and examine student attitudes and experiences in active learning classrooms as part of a cross-disciplinary educator group. Aarthi mentors both graduate and undergraduate students as pedagogical research assistants and these students have shared in publications, numerous conference presentations and awards. Her student-centered learning approaches have been recognized by several awards including the 2020 University of Toronto President’s Teaching Award.


Dani Kwan-Lafond, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream in the Department of SociologyDani Kwan-Lafond is an Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream in the Department of Sociology.  She is a mixed-race woman from Treaty 4 territory (Saskatchewan) who has lived in Tkaronto (Toronto) for many years. Her teaching and research interests include social inequality, Indigenous studies, race/racism, youth studies, and the sociology of education. Her teaching practice includes community-engaged projects, land-based learning, and trauma-informed education. Her courses include guests, collaborators and activities that enhance students’ engagement with difficult material. She was formerly the Coordinator of the Indigenous Studies certificate program at Centennial College, where she helped create a free online eTextbook available to all learners in Canada, and she was a recipient of the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship. Her dissertation looks at notions of success, post-secondary pathways, and the influence of parental sacrifice on first generation and immigrant high school students in Brampton, ON.


Lance McCready is an Associate Professor in the Department of Leadership, Adult and Higher Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE/UT). His research program is concerned with the education, health and well-being of urban youth. His dissertation and subsequent publications focused on "making space" for diverse masculinities in urban education and how the experiences of gay and gender non-conforming Black male students reframe the troubles Black males face in urban high schools. His most recent research focuses on the educational trajectories of young black men in Canadian urban centres, and programs and services for ethnic and racial minority males who are underrepresented in North American colleges and universities. Conceptually, he is interested in the ways intersectionality, social determinants of health, and gender relations frameworks can be mobilized to develop more effective programs that promote academic achievement, well-being, school engagement, and access to higher education.



Jessica Fields, Professor and Chair of the Department of Health and Society at the University of Toronto Scarborough and Professor of Sociology in the University of Toronto tri-campus graduate facultyJessica Fields is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Health and Society at the University of Toronto Scarborough and Professor of Sociology in the University of Toronto tri-campus graduate faculty. Fields is also Special Advisor to the UTSC Vice-Principal Academic & Dean  on the Transitional Year Programme. Her research focus on teaching and learning about sexuality, particularly as those lessons imagine and constrain intimate possibilities for members of racialized communities, youth, and queer people. As a teacher and administrator, Fields has committed herself to educational access and justice for first-generation, racialized students, and formerly incarcerated students.


Katherine Larson, Professor of English and Vice-Dean Teaching, Learning, and Undergraduate ProgramsKatherine Larson is a Professor of English and Vice-Dean Teaching, Learning, and Undergraduate Programs at the University of Toronto Scarborough. Her research and teaching focus on 16th- and 17th-century literature, with particular interests in women’s writing, feminist methodologies, aspects of gender and embodiment, and intersections between music and literature. As Vice-Dean, she is convening a working circle that is leading a campus-wide curriculum review to ensure that UTSC’s commitment to inclusion, Indigeneity, and anti-racism is embedded in its programs and its pedagogical approaches and supports.




More about the Equity Matters Seminar Series

The Equity Matters Seminar Series was developed by Vice-Dean Faculty Affairs, Equity & Success Maydianne Andrade to provide an opportunity for the U of T Scarborough community to engage with prominent speakers on issues of equity, diversity and inclusion in academia. Seminars are open to faculty, librarians, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and staff.  Events previously offered in this series include:

  • Equity Matters: Representation at UofT: Are we Turning the TIDE? - Maydianne Andrade, Vice-Dean Faculty Affairs & Equity, University of Toronto Scarborough; February 2020.
  • Equity Matters: Strongly Committed to Diversity - Professor Carl James, Jean Augustine Chair in Education, Community and Diaspora, Faculty of Education, York University; October 2020.

  • Equity Matters - Seminar & Discussion with Professor Imogen Coe, Dean of the Faculty of Science at Ryerson University; January 2019.

  • Equity Matters: Beyond Contested Diversities: Intersectional Equity Matters at Canadian Universities - Professor Malinda Smith, Pierre Elliot Trudeau Fellow; Provost Fellow, University of Alberta; October 2018

  • Equity Matters: Finding Ways to Honour the Trailblazing Women of the Past & Future – Elly Zupko, communications specialist, founder of SMLX Good; 2017


Questions? Please contact Eileen Egan-Lee, Faculty Development Administrator.