About the Inclusion Lens

What does inclusion mean? 

Inclusion is achieved when everyone within a community feels like they belong, fit in, and can see themselves reflected in all aspects of life.

Why does inclusion matter?

Inclusion matters because it unlocks our collective creative potential to innovate in research, augment teaching effectiveness, and enrich student experience.

Tackling the challenge

Acknowledging that inclusion and accessibility are key values of the University's Academic Plan 2015-2020 and the administration's Strategic Priorities, the newly re-named Centre for Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion is implementing an enhanced mission to give institution-wide form and content to those values and assist York in proactively cultivating difference.

Focused on ensuring that each individual achieves their full potential and brings their whole selves to York's campuses without suppressing or denying any part, the Centre is consulting, advising, developing programs, and building tools to assist the York community in achieving this goal.  For this project, it is drawing on the successful work of other Canadian institutions, such as the Ontario Public Service who created an Inclusion Lens for policy and program review (and on which many concepts of this lens is based).

The Lassonde School of Engineering is tackling a longstanding gap in the fields of engineering and science where on average only 20 percent of students and faculty are women.  Based on research that shows improved innovation and business results when women are included in research and corporate teams, the school launched its 50-50 Challenge in March 2015 to achieve gender parity.

At the same time, the school knew it had to be inclusive of all peoples to shift the culture within science and engineering to include women.  After training over ninety Lassonde students as inclusivity ambassadors in the spring of 2016, the school wanted to provide its students practical steps to weave inclusion throughout all of their campus experiences.

To read more about the creation of the lens and how its actual design kept inclusion principles at the forefront, click HERE!

The Partnership

During the summer of 2016, the Lassonde School of Engineering and the Centre for Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion came together on a shared vision to create a tool that would assist the York community in achieving inclusion on campus.  While meant to be used by anyone at York and beyond, the team focused their work on student leaders - acknowledging that they are the next generation of chief executive officers, presidents, public servants, politicians, etc. - and targets the most common student activity:  the planning and running of events.

Community Consultation

While the Inclusion Lens was announced on January 27, 2017 at York University's Inclusion Day, community consultation began in the late fall of 2016 and will be ongoing until completion. Part of the consultation's purpose is to ensure that the tool's utility and language is deemed respectful by everyone within the York community.  THANK YOU to everyone who participated.

To read more about the consultation process and community engagement, click HERE!

What can you do?

Use the lens:  Please join us on the journey towards creating truly inclusive spaces at York University by using the Inclusion Lens for your next event.  Our hope is that the lens will help you become more aware of the specific steps you can take in the planning, advertising, implementing or evaluating stages.

Spread the word:  Let others know about the tool and encourage people to use it.

Be inspired:  Help us make similar projects across York and encourage other Canadian universities to do the same.

Contact us

Marisa Sterling, P.Eng., Assistant Dean, Inclusivity and Diversity, Lassonde School of Engineering

Project Team

Marisa Sterling, Assistant Dean, Inclusivity and Diversity, Lassonde School of Engineering
Jackie Zeni, Project Assistant, Lassonde School of Engineering
Natahsa Prashad, Coordinator, Committees and Student Outreach, Centre for Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion
Josephine Tcheng, Advisor, Education and Communication, Centre for Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion

About the Len's graphics

The grey dots on the homepage image represent people who are close but somewhat disconnected due to lack of understanding. That disconnection results in an inability to see the fullest potential in people.

The camera lens is a metaphor for the Inclusion Lens. When looking through it, or viewing the world through a lens focused on inclusion, everyone is seen as connected.  The inclusion of everyone allows, and even encourages, everyone to flourish - as represented in the colour of the dots.