Community Projects Awarded Funding to Build a More Inclusive UBC

18 student, faculty and staff projects are awarded funding from the UBC Equity Enhancement Fund. Projects will engage the campus community in building a more welcoming and inclusive UBC.

As part of the annual Equity Enhancement Fund call for applications, the Equity & Inclusion Office received 37 submissions for a total of $406,000 in requested funding. With $90,000 in the Equity Enhancement Fund available for disbursement, an internal adjudication panel evaluated applications and selected 14 projects at UBC Vancouver and four at UBC Okanagan to receive funding.

This year’s projects focus on diverse areas of equity and inclusion work, including race and culture, sexual orientation and gender identity, gender equity, and indigeneity. A number of projects also seek to inform broader campus experiences across teaching, learning and research, and community engagement.

Associate Vice-President Sara-Jane Finlay praised the quality and variety of this year’s projects.

“It was wonderful to see all the creative ideas in the applications received – however, that also made it more difficult to make the final selection. The selected projects focus on bringing benefits to the representation or experiences of those people who have been historically marginalized, and seek to build the competencies of our students, staff and faculty to engage with diversity.”

The Equity Enhancement Fund is open to students, staff and faculty as a way to support collaborative community-led initiatives that engage the community and help advance equity and inclusion at UBC.

Each year, a total of $90,000 is available for disbursement across UBC Vancouver ($75,000) and UBC Okanagan ($15,000) campuses. Individual projects can receive up to $25,000 at UBC Vancouver, and up to $10,000 at UBC Okanagan.

Call for applications opens in January each year and is widely broadcast across the university. The Equity & Inclusion Office hosts workshops and events to showcase past projects and support those interested in applying.

Inclusion is one of the key priority areas in UBC’s new strategic plan, Inspire, and these projects will now play an important role in helping to build a more inclusive UBC.

Reflections from Past Participants

“The Equity Enhancement Fund we secured two years ago catalyzed an extremely effective project, Teacher Education For All. It has grown into a Faculty-wide initiative highlighting SOGI-inclusive culture and practices.”

  • Wendy Carr, Associate Dean, Teacher Education Faculty of Education

“The Equity Enhancement Fund has been critical to the success of the Wingspan Disability Arts, Culture and Public Pedagogy’s cluster success, drawing attention to the neglected turn of disability in social justice work at UBC and beyond.”

  • Professor Leslie Roman, Co-Chair, President’s Working Committee on Disability Culture, Art and Equity

“The Equity Enhancement Fund not only provided us funds to do great things, but helped spark a more strategic conversation about what our unit needs and gave us latitude to experiment.”

  • Sarah E Gergel, Associate Dean, Diversity & Inclusion Faculty of Forestry

Funded Projects

UBC Vancouver

The F-Word Conference is a student-run initiative providing a platform for community-based collaborative work on social injustice. This year, the project seeks to facilitate discussion surrounding issues of climate change, food sustainability, Indigenous land rights, race and space, ableism, gentrification, queer studies, and reproductive rights. The F-Word conference is attended by students, faculty, and members from the UBC community and is deeply involved with issues present on our campus. Our theme directly relates to environmental justice and sustainability by bringing into question the current state of our environment, and how it disproportionately affects marginalized groups. This year, our keynote speaker is Ta’Kaiya Blaney, a young Indigenous activist for environmental rights. Our six workshops are centered around topics relating to climate justice, food (in)security, refugees, sexual assault, divestment from fossil fuels, residential schools.

Primary contacts: Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Social Justice Undergraduate Association
Additional contacts and/or parties involved: UBC Arts Undergraduate Society, UBC Sexual Assault Support Centre, UBCC350

This project will facilitate a community consultation between academic philosophers based in the Vancouver area and members of the local Indigenous communities about the prospects for a dialogue between Indigenous and academic philosophy. Academic philosophy in Canada has been slow to include Indigenous philosophies within the mainstream curriculum, at least partly because of sensitivity to concerns about cultural appropriation. This student-initiated proposal for a collaborative dialogue on how to move forward would assist academic philosophers interested in including Indigenous curriculum in existing courses, and will help address barriers to greater participation of Indigenous students in mainstream academic philosophy as a discipline. It will enhance diversity in UBC philosophy classrooms, and explore models for an equitable and collaborative dialogue between academics and community members.

Primary contacts: Prof. Sylvia Berryman, Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Arts
Additional contacts and/or parties involved: Kwantlen Polytechnical University Aboriginal Club, Department of Philosophy, Simon Fraser University

This project creatively theorizes and critically explores blackness as it relates to the settler land of Canada. How do we consider multiple sites of oppression, both as oppressors (as settlers) and subjects of oppression (as minorities)? How do we situate these questions locally and nationally, whilst building and sustaining relationships between the people that these matters affect? By creating a film and holding public panels, the project aims to foster supportive reflections and contribute to the project of modifying what constitutes the archive. Importantly, focusing on diversity within communities of colour and promoting POC-led initiatives will help to dismantle the framework of White vs. Other. What we intend is to promote conversations about how all communities can live with one another in a meaningful way.

Primary contacts: Emmanuelle Andrews and Pedro Daher, Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice
Additional contacts and/or parties involved: Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice

Creation of an online, self-paced module that equips Search and Selection Committees with a baseline knowledge of equity and diversity best practices for the hiring of faculty and leadership roles (deans, vice-deans, assistant deans, associate deans, executives, department heads). The proposed online module will replace a portion of, and act as a supplement to current practices. An online module of this nature enhances the equity, diversity and inclusion of UBC by guiding the selection process for faculty and leadership roles to be more equitable and inclusive, through the identification of qualified and outstanding candidates who may otherwise be overlooked due to the unconscious biases held by members of Search and Selection Committees. The online module will be first piloted in the Faculty of Medicine with the view that this would be available –at no cost- to all faculties and academic units.

Primary contacts: Dr. Gurdeep Parhar, Executive Associate Dean, Clinical Partnerships and Professionalism, Faculty of Medicine
Additional contacts and/or parties involved: Senior Advisor to the Provost on Women Faculty; Faculty of Medicine

UBC can act as a role model for promoting equity and inclusion in recreation, and by doing so can reach an organizational goal of improving health and enhancing overall campus experience. This project proposal is grounded in a vision to integrate research with practice, leverage internal and external partner expertise, and set the foundation to address gaps in recreation service provision to better meet the needs of underrepresented groups.

Specifically, this project involves:

  • Research (existing and new): Gather info on participation, barriers to access & facilitating factors, and considerations around culture, perceptions, concerns, beliefs.
  • Partnerships: Work cross-campus to understand needs, gaps, and leverage human expertise.
  • Capacity building: Develop & deliver staff training, create targeted education campaign, change A&R messaging, target programming.
  • Inform department plans: Review, adapt and develop recreation programs, marketing and messages.

Primary contacts: Lizzy Gun, Manager, Physical Activity, UBC Athletics and Recreation
Additional contacts and/or parties involved: School of Kinesiology; Office of the Vice-President, Students

UBC can act as a role model for promoting equity and inclusion in recreation, and by doing so can reach an organizational goal of improving health and enhancing overall campus experience. This project proposal is grounded in a vision to integrate research with practice, leverage internal and external partner expertise, and set the foundation to address gaps in recreation service provision to better meet the needs of underrepresented groups.

Specifically, this project involves:

  • Research (existing and new): Gather info on participation, barriers to access & facilitating factors, and considerations around culture, perceptions, concerns, beliefs.
  • Partnerships: Work cross-campus to understand needs, gaps, and leverage human expertise.
  • Capacity building: Develop & deliver staff training, create targeted education campaign, change A&R messaging, target programming.
  • Inform department plans: Review, adapt and develop recreation programs, marketing and messages.

Primary contacts: Chris Lee, Associate Professor, Department of English, and Director, Asian Canadian and Asian Migration Studies (ACAM)
Additional contacts and/or parties involved: St. John's College

Community Development, the Centre for Community Engaged Learning and the Arts and Culture District are proposing to launch a bold, new festival-like conference at UBC for International Women’s Day 2019.  This project aims to engage our community of students, faculty, staff the general public in an important dialogue about issues central to the lives of women, trans women, non-binary people and those who face inequalities based on sex and gender identity through discussions, workshops, art and performances that inspire and allow our community to creatively co-create change together. This will not be an ordinary conference; in fact we aim to we aim to strike new partnerships across our campus to provide an event with programming, lessons and celebrations that are as diverse as women themselves.

Primary contacts: Shiloh Bouvette, Manager, Community Programs, Campus + Community Planning
Additional contacts and/or parties involved: Arts and Culture District; UBC Centre for Community Engaged Learning (CCEL)

Multiprofessional and interprofessional opportunities for students to learn from people with visible and non-visible disabilities are offered by Patient & Community Partnership for Education, Office of UBC Health. Our goal is to extend opportunities for all students in health professional programs to learn directly from people living with a disability by producing learning resources illustrating multiple perspectives on stereotypes, barriers to access, and communication challenges. In Phase 1 we conducted needs assessments with students and people with disabilities, developed collaborations with community organizations, created a database of recommended learning resources, developed a workshop model and began to create a digital ‘human library’. In Phase 2 we will maximize use and sustainability of resources through user testing and faculty engagement linked to UBC Health Patient Engagement Framework, and create new resources on experiences of people who are deaf and hard of hearing.

Primary contact: Dr. Angela Towle, Co-Director, Patient and Community Partnership for Education, UBC Health

In Phase 3 of our successful Perspective and Strength project, the Learning Exchange (LE) will enhance our Downtown Eastside
(DTES) orientation materials to fill identified gaps. This project enhances equity by directly involving DTES residents as experts with lived experience, who put a human face to an often misunderstood and underrepresented community, to help counter stereotypes and negative perceptions through orientations. Based on the continuing interest and positive responses to the project thus far, and growing interest from community partners, we would like to create new materials that further reflect the DTES community and its residents in an inclusive, equitable and authentic way.

Primary contact: Kathleen Leahy, Director, UBC Learning Exchange
Additional contacts and/or parties involved: UBC Learning Exchange; UBC Health

In Phase 3 of our successful Perspective and Strength project, the Learning Exchange (LE) will enhance our Downtown Eastside
(DTES) orientation materials to fill identified gaps. This project enhances equity by directly involving DTES residents as experts with lived experience, who put a human face to an often misunderstood and underrepresented community, to help counter stereotypes and negative perceptions through orientations. Based on the continuing interest and positive responses to the project thus far, and growing interest from community partners, we would like to create new materials that further reflect the DTES community and its residents in an inclusive, equitable and authentic way.

Primary contact: Dr. Alison Taylor, Faculty of Education
Additional contacts and/or parties involved: UBC Learning Exchange; UBC Centre for Community-Engaged Learning (CCEL)

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Call to Action #92 focuses on the business sector, calling for training in intercultural competency, human rights, and anti-racism. Ch’nook at Sauder wants to take this call seriously. We propose the creation of an Indigenous Cultural Awareness and Sensitivity Training (ICAST) program that will be delivered to all new Ch’nook (largely student) employees. This will be a one week program covering topics related to the history of Indigenous peoples and colonialism in Canada, cultural sensitivity and cross-cultural dialogue, communication principles, as well as better understanding trauma. Furthermore, Ch’nook – in collaboration with the School of Law and Faculty of Forestry – will also host a book club in which participants will read works by indigenous authors and discuss the issues raised in a safe space. The workshop & book club will promote, through education and dialogue, greater competencies & understanding of the importance of equity and inclusion within the UBC community

Primary contact: Kristin Smart, Program Manager, Ch'Nook Indigenous Business Education at the Sauder School of Business
Additional contacts and/or parties involved: Heiltsuk Tribal Council; Peter A. Allard School of Law

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Call to Action #92 focuses on the business sector, calling for training in intercultural competency, human rights, and anti-racism. Ch’nook at Sauder wants to take this call seriously. We propose the creation of an Indigenous Cultural Awareness and Sensitivity Training (ICAST) program that will be delivered to all new Ch’nook (largely student) employees. This will be a one week program covering topics related to the history of Indigenous peoples and colonialism in Canada, cultural sensitivity and cross-cultural dialogue, communication principles, as well as better understanding trauma. Furthermore, Ch’nook – in collaboration with the School of Law and Faculty of Forestry – will also host a book club in which participants will read works by indigenous authors and discuss the issues raised in a safe space. The workshop & book club will promote, through education and dialogue, greater competencies & understanding of the importance of equity and inclusion within the UBC community.

Primary contact: Professor Daisy Rosenblum, Faculty of Arts
Additional contacts and/or parties involved: Indigenous Initiatives, Centre for Teaching and Learning Technology (CTLT)

The Africa Business Club is a student initiated club which was created in 2015. The main aim of our club is to shed light on the African continent through the process of unlearning and relearning the notion of Africa being solely a hub for humanitarian aid. In order to do so, our club focuses on business in Africa which is growing at one of the fastest rates in the world and to encourage others to invest in businesses in Africa. Each year, we organize one of the largest African centered conferences in Western Canada where delegates engage in a useful dialogue. The plan for next year’s Africa Business Forum is to expand on this success, maintaining the high quality of speakers and presenters whilst further expanding brand awareness, multi-faculty campus participation and encourage diversity in the pool of participants. The project will support UBCs equity and inclusion efforts in three ways. Firstly, it will increase the intercultural understanding of UBC students have on business business in Africa. Secondly, increase international engagement for students staff and faculty. Lastly, Increase the dialogue on the importance of Business in Africa.

Primary contact: Fatou Kine Ndiaye, Sauder School of Business
Additional contacts and/or parties involved: Faculty of Applied Science; Sauder School of Business; MasterCard Foundation

This project seeks to create and implement a series of professional learning related events and activities that help transform the teaching and learning of Indigenous knowledges, perspectives, and pedagogies within the Faculty of Education. Specifically, we will introduce faculty, staff, instructors, and teaching assistants to Indigenous understandings of health and wellbeing providing comprehensive insight into the complex social, cultural, historical, and economic factors that shape health, wellbeing and healthy living within Indigenous communities with the goal of transforming curriculum and teaching approaches. Our project builds upon the natural synergies of departments within the Faculty of Education intersecting with the diverse course offerings and differently positioned faculty.

Primary contact: Dr. Darren Warburton, School of Kinesiology, Faculty of Education
Additional contacts and/or parties involved: School of Kinesiology, Faculty of Education; Native Indigenous Teacher Education Program; Lytton First Nation; Musqueam Indian Band

The Powwow is currently in its fourth year of running, and has been a great event that has attracted 1000’s of people every year. The Powwow attracts participants in the Powwow from UBC, the local community, other parts of British Columbia, and even Washington State. Currently our budget predicts a cost of 14000 dollars in order to cover the costs of the facility rental, which this year the Alma Mater Society has donated 3500 to cover partial costs, as well as the fees of the performers and costs of the prizes that are given to the dancers and participants, and the Musqueam welcome. The Powwow is a community gathering that attracts both Indigenous people as well as non-indigenous peoples, being on the unceded territory of the Musqueam nation and where UBC is located, this allows students to experience an event like a Powwow which is something that many students here would not have experienced previously.

Primary contact: Tiffany Storry, President, Indigenous Students Association
Additional contacts and/or parties involved: First Nations Studies Students’ Association; UBC Alma Mater Society

UBC Okanagan

This project seeks to use storytelling to engage the campus community in a discussion on the validity of non-western ideas as epistemologically valid. The projects is positioned as essential to the internationalization and indigenization of the curriculum in a global society.

Primary contact: Mundia Kabunda, Student, Bachelor of Arts
Additional contacts and/or parties involved: UBC Students' Union Okanagan

UBC Creative Studies faculty work with various non-profit LGBT groups to present queer cultural events significant to that community, and which promote positive health benefits for the community. These events are: a World AIDS Day memorial event/literary reading in support of the Living Positive Resource Centre, a performance cabaret featuring student performers alongside local and lower mainland talent, run in conjunction with the Guythering, organized by the Men’s Health Initiative, an LGBT film series, and a queer comedy night fundraiser (combining grad student talent with pro comedians) to keep the series sustainable. This creative research programming designed in partnership with LPRC, the Men’s Health Initiative and UBCO Creative Studies Faculty will create new access points to LGBTQI2 resources for UBCO students and the greater Kelowna community.

Primary contact: Associate Prof Michael V. Smith, Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies
Additional contacts and/or parties involved: Positive Space

The Indigenous Educational Pathways project intends to examine ways in which Indigenous UBC students access PSE, move between UBC and other institutions, and persist through to gaining PSE credentials. Our team shall conduct focus groups with Indigenous students at both campuses, and we will hold interviews with Indigenous community members and academic experts from each institution. The results of this project will give voice to this historically marginalized population on campus, inform the UBC community and broader public of contemporary issues surrounding Indigenous students in PSE, and finally work to influence positive institutional and provincial policy changes concerning Indigenous students in PSE. We have recently received research ethics approval for this project, and we are happy to provide the approval notice if necessary.

Primary contact: Dr. Stephanie McKeown, Okanagan Planning and Institutional Research
Additional contacts and/or parties involved: UBC Okanagan Aboriginal Programs and Services

With an understanding that there is a Memorandum of Understanding with the University and the Okanagan Nation Alliance to improve the relationship with Okanagan First Nations and to have more Indigenous women’s voices to be heard, this project seeks to bring in Dr. Michelle Jack for a one day speaking event on campus that is open to all students and the community. Dr. Michelle Jack is a professor at the En’owkin Centre teaching cultural arts and history of and about her community. Engaging Dr. Michelle Jack's seeks to support the value of local oral history and all that it has to teach us in connecting with the land. The Okanagan campus also has a Memorandum of Agreement with the En’owkin Centre.

Primary contact:Barb Dawson, Student, Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies
Additional contacts and/or parties involved: UBC Okanagan Aboriginal Programs and Services