Increasing the diversity of faculty and senior leadership, creating a more inclusive curriculum and developing guidelines for faculty and student interactions are recommended next steps in the executive summary of the Climate and Culture Review undertaken by the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music.
Faculty of Music Dean Ellie Hisama has accepted the review, including all recommended actions that lay the groundwork to chart a course forward. The review was released on May 24 at two Faculty of Music town halls.
“I am glad to receive such a thorough report that takes an unflinching look at many of the issues that have been flagged to me by individuals,” said Hisama. “It’s distressing to learn about these experiences, but it is necessary to acknowledge what people have experienced, appreciate their willingness to speak about it, and reflect on the information shared before taking action.”
In July 2021, Hisama – then the incoming dean – commissioned the review to help gain a comprehensive understanding of the Faculty of Music. She chose an independent third party to conduct an impartial and confidential review aimed at addressing concerns that had been raised by members of the Faculty of Music community before her arrival.
“The review and recommendations are a top priority for me as the new dean, and I am committed to working to build a stronger, more inclusive faculty,” said Hisama. “The work ahead requires a community of people to participate and hold each other accountable. I look forward to further engaging with members of the Faculty of Music and the broader university on these issues.”
The review acknowledged work underway in the Faculty of Music such as the creation of the Task Force on Equity & Belonging, the creation of a new code of conduct and the hiring of an equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) director who will assist the Faculty of Music in carrying out the report’s recommendations. In addition, the review suggested that the Faculty of Music examine course offerings and their content to include more musical traditions, composers and histories outside of Western classical music; take steps to lessen the isolation of students in one-on-one lessons to increase their sense of security; and continue to diversify the programming of its performances and guest artists.
Rubin Thomlinson LLP, a Canadian law firm focused on workplace and institutional investigations and assessments, conducted the review, which consisted of group interviews with key stakeholders and review of information from 470 responses to a confidential survey, 87 one-on-one interviews and reports provided by individuals and groups.
The review’s executive summary, which was discussed at town halls with students, staff, librarians, faculty and alumni of the Faculty of Music, outlines community concerns and provides recommendations under five broad categories: results of the Climate & Culture Review; fostering equity, diversity and inclusion; addressing and preventing sexual misconduct; increasing respect; and training and awareness.