Black Cultural Competency Toolkit

As part of U of T Engineering's commitment to addressing anti-Black racism, faculty, staff, students and alumni are called upon to start or continue their personal learning journey towards improving Black inclusion and fostering Black excellence.

Launched at the start of Black History Month in February 2023, the Black Cultural Competency Toolkit has been carefully curated by the Faculty’s Office of Diversity, Inclusion & Professionalism in consultation with Black leaders, including the Dean’s Advisor on Black Inclusion, FASE Black Grad & Beyond Group and the Anti-Racism & Cultural Diversity Office (ARCDO).

The toolkit aligns with recommendations, actions and commitments outlined in:

Register today to record your commitment to Black cultural competency and measure your progress. By registering, you will help the Faculty assess uptake and impact, and will be recognized upon completion of the modules.


This self-directed toolkit includes three modules for you to explore, which we recommend completing in order.

The three modules provide a pathway to Black cultural competency by acknowledging Black history in Canada, understanding diverse Black identities, and recognizing the bold contributions of Black scientists and engineers. With this education, you will have more tools to reduce acts of anti-Black racism and promote the health and well-being of Black communities.

Each module includes a range of readings, videos, podcasts and workshops as well as community reflections and teaching resources. We encourage dedicating a minimum of two hours per module.

Please be aware that this content may be activating to survivors of trauma. Along the way, please practice self care and seek support as needed.

Cultural Competency and Principles

The following four components of cultural competency have been integrated in this toolkit to help you develop more positive, cross-cultural interactions.

Component Definition Importance
Awarenessself-reflection and understanding of both conscious and unconscious biases, stereotypes, and prejudicesprevents the creation of personal barriers for learning and personal development
Attitudethe emotions, thoughts, and perceptions brought forth during learning processimpacts willingness to learn, co-exist, and be inclusive
Knowledgeunderstanding of differing cultures, values, beliefs, etc.improves cross-cultural interactions
Skillspractical strategies and experiences to manage cross-cultural interactionsallows the translation of knowledge to action

The following four overarching principles defined in the Scarborough Charter have been applied to this toolkit.

  • Black Flourishing: removing structural barriers to equity, inclusion and social justice
  • Inclusive Excellence: valuing, embracing and promoting contributions from diverse backgrounds, perspectives and experiences
  • Mutuality: fostering equitable relationships within communities that have reciprocal benefits
  • Accountability: delivering on commitments made to transform structures, policies, and procedures. We hope you will apply your learnings in your own spheres of influence.

Self Care

It is encouraged that you engage in self care throughout your learning journey. You may wish to schedule 30 minutes of open time after each module activity for reflection. Consider going for a walk, sitting quietly and taking a few breaths, talking to a friend or family member, or doing anything else that nourishes you. You may be unlearning what you were previously taught or revisiting past trauma. If you are experiencing any discomfort, please access the resources and services below:

U of T resources for Black students, staff, faculty and alumni Description
National Society of Black Engineers U of T Chapter (NSBE)Founded in 1999, this student group organizes initiatives and events, such as NSBEHacks.
FASE Black Grad & Beyond GroupAn informal community of support including Black professors, staff and students within U of T Engineering. Black-identifying community members can indicate their interest in joining via email
U of T Black Students’ AssociationPromotes community interaction among Black, African Canadian, Afro-Caribbean and all self-identifying Black students.
Connections & ConversationsSupports racialized staff in professional development, mentorship, and community engagement.
U of T's Anti-Racism & Cultural Diversity Office (ARCDO)Provides support to students, staff, and faculty through equity, diversity, and inclusivity efforts.
External resources for Black students, staff, faculty and alumni Description
Across BoundariesProvides equitable, inclusive, and holistic mental health and addiction services to racialized communities.
Black Support in OntarioA list of Black counsellors, social workers, and therapists in Ontario compiled in Psychology Today.
Black Therapists DirectoryA list of Black therapists compiled by Therapy for Black Girls, Toronto Grassroots Edition.
BlackLine 24/7 Hotline1-800-604-5841 provides a safe space for peer support and counselling, reporting of mistreatment, and affirming the lived experiences to folxs who are most impacted by systemic oppression with an LGBTQ+ Black femme lens.
Black Legal Action CentreA non-profit community legal clinic that provides free legal services for low or no income Black residents in Ontario.
Legal Aid Resource ListA list of legal aid resources compiled by Black Lives Matter movement.
Caribbean African Canadian Social ServicesA not-for-profit agency whose primary focus is on building and strengthening the service framework for African Canadians through the use of psycho-social Interventional approaches.
TAIBU Community Health CentreA multidisciplinary, non-for-profit, community led organization established to serve the Black Community across the Greater Toronto Area as its priority population.
The Black Health AllianceA community-led registered charity working to improve the health and well-being of Black communities in Canada.
Women's Health in Women's Hands Community Health CentreProvides primary health care to racialized women from the African, Black, Caribbean, Latin American and South Asian communities in Toronto and surrounding municipalities.


Black History Month Virtual Background

Virtual background


Set of 4 Anti-Black Racism posters


Slide for classrooms


Inclusive language guidelines

ARCDO Resources

Throughout Black History Month and beyond are a number of additional initiatives that pay tribute to Black Canadians through symposiums, panel discussions and poetry sessions hosted by ARCDO.

Upcoming ARCDO Events

Questions or feedback

If you have questions or feedback, please contact:
  • Marisa Sterling, P.Eng., Assistant Dean and Director of the Office of Diversity, Inclusion & Professionalism
  • Professor Philip Asare (ISTEP, EngSci), Dean’s Advisor on Black Inclusivity.
We will continue to collaborate and listen to the voices of the community we serve in hopes of improving Black inclusion and Black excellence throughout U of T Engineering.