As many of you may be aware, Mr. Tom W. Patch, former Associate Vice President Equity, retired from UBC on December 31, 2012. During his tenure from October 2005 to December 2012, Tom approached his role as a strong and consistent advocate for equity and diversity not only at UBC but the broader community. He also ensured the pursuit of equity and diversity by integrating many voices into our University.
As the Acting Associate Vice President Equity and Inclusion providing transitional leadership, I hope to build on what Tom and the Equity Office staff have done and continue to work diligently to ensure that UBC is a place where faculty, student and staff are treated fairly and with respect. Equity requires participation and inclusion. As an institution we thrive on the open expression and exploration of differing perspectives. We advance our academic mission by bringing new voices to that discourse in a meaningful way.
The University of British Columbia is committed to creating an environment “dedicated to excellence, equity, and mutual respect.” The work of the Equity and Inclusion Office is central to that commitment. Equity is, at its heart, about fairness. Whether we are promoting the removal of barriers to fair employment opportunities under UBC’s Employment Equity Policy, or addressing conduct that treats individuals unfairly because of irrelevant personal or group characteristic contrary to the Discrimination and Harassment Policy, we work to ensure that UBC is a place where faculty, student and staff are treated fairly and with respect. The Equity and Inclusion Office recognizes that creating an environment dedicated to excellence, equity, and mutual respect requires that UBC be an environment that respects, values, and includes the diverse perspectives that make up Canadian society. To that end, we collect statistics on the representation of women, visible minorities, Aboriginal people and persons with disabilities with UBC’s workforce and we analyze the data we collect in Annual Reports. However, advancing diversity at UBC is about much more than hiring a representative workforce; it’s about ensuring that diversity is supported and promoted throughout our organization.
Equity has a particularly important role to play in our academic mission. UBC must be a welcoming place for the diverse communities that make up our society – an inclusive campus where all are treated with respect and have their voices heard. Working towards that vision, Tom’s invaluable contribution to UBC will unquestionably be the equity and diversity strategy he developed, together with Professor Anne Condon in the Faculty of Science, as part of Place & Promise: the UBC Plan. Through Valuing Difference: A Strategy for Advancing Equity and Diversity at UBC, Tom and his staff have worked diligently to ensure that the ideals of equity are embodied, not only in the policies of the University, but translated to the day-to-day operations in all levels of campus life for our faculty, staff, and students.
UBC and the Equity Office have made considerable progress in advancing equity at UBC. We are pleased to be recognized as one of Canada’s Top Diversity Employers again in 2012 for the fifth consecutive year. Nevertheless, we recognize that there is still much work to be done.
Thank you for your interest in equity and inclusion at UBC.
Gurdeep Parhar, M.D.
Acting Associate Vice President, Equity and Inclusion
Executive Associate Dean, Clinical Partnerships and Professionalism