Inclusion, Diversity, Decolonization, Equity, and Accessibility (IDDEA)
What is IDDEA?
Post-secondary institutions across Canada are actively engaged in laying the foundations for equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) within their school communities. Within this discussion of EDI, we can further open it up to include decolonization and accessibility. So, what's the IDDEA?
Inclusion is "creating a culture that strives for equity and embraces, respects, accepts, and values differences" (The Canadian Centre for Inclusion and Diversity). In their book, Inclusive Teaching: Strategies for Promoting Equity in the College Classroom, Hogan and Sathy (2022) further define inclusion as "a culture in which all learners feel welcomed, valued, and safe."
Diversity is "the variety of unique dimensions, qualities and characteristics we all possess," (The Canadian Centre for Inclusion and Diversity), such as, but not limited to "race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, social class, physical ability or attributes, religious or ethical values system, national origin, and political beliefs" (Ferris State University).
Eve Tuck and K. Wayne Yang (2012) remind us that decolonization is not a metaphor or "an approximation of other experiences of oppression. Decolonization is not a swappable term for other things we want to do to improve our societies and schools." Specifically, decolonization in Canada means not only the repatriation of land belonging to First Peoples, but making structural changes to our institutions, like education, with a commitment to the Commission of Canada's Truth and Reconciliation's Calls to Action.
On September 22, 2015, St. Clair College, with Aboriginal leaders Chief Louise Hillier from Caldwell First Nation and Bernita Brigham-Jones of the Bkejwanong Territory on the Walpole Island First Nation, signed the Indigenous Education Protocol, which outlined seven principles, as commitments, to Indigenous learners to support their learning needs, self-determination, and the socio-economic development of Indigenous communities. On August 31, 2020, St. Clair College also became a signatory of the Southern First Nations Secretariat's Post-Secondary Education Collaborative Agreement. This agreement provides the framework and conditions under which the Collaborative will work together toward a shared goal of supporting local First Nation post-secondary education (PSE) students to ensure they have a safe, positive, and successful PSE experience.
Equity is "treating individuals and groups fairly, not necessarily equally or the same; recognizing that there are barriers to employment, participation, access, and inclusion in the workplace. The principle of equity acknowledges that systemic barriers exist, and action is needed to address historical imbalances," (Algonquin College).
Accessibility "is shaped by what we need to do, our interactions with the environment, and our personal preferences" (The National Centre on Accessible Educational Materials). Considering educational materials, accessibility means that a person with a disability can acquire, engage, and enjoy the same information, interactions, and services as a person without a disability.
Universal Design for Learning (UDL)
In Inclusive Teaching: Strategies for Promoting Equity in the College Classroom (2022), Hogan and Sathy ask teachers to be intentional, deliberate, and structured in their approach to designing a syllabus and lessons plans to include teaching strategies that attend to an inclusive classroom.
Within an IDDEA mindset, we can utilize the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework. This framework's vision for education strives to provide learning opportunities for all students, offer flexible ways to help students achieve the course learning outcomes, empower learners, and nurture individual potential. When put into practice, UDL offers a broader level of inclusion, equity, and accessibility for all students and their diverse needs.