Student Demographic Data Project

The UBC Student Demographic Project aims to enhance the collection of student demographic data and enable the university to better understand student experiences, support student inclusion and success, and assess progress of equity, diversity and inclusion priorities.

Overview

The project aims to provide the university and its community with more inclusive, demographically representative data on the student body. These data will better inform UBC’s planning, reporting, and policy making with considerations of the distinct contexts and lived experiences of all students. This will contribute to creating a more inclusive and robust campus experience for all members of the UBC community.

UBC’s Student Demographic Data Project aligns with the provincial mandate to tackle systemic discrimination. The project will contribute to the anti-racism data legislation objective of better identifying the gaps and barriers to achieve more equitable and inclusive communities.

This project is a joint initiative of the Equity and Inclusion Office (EIO), Enrolment Services, Planning and Institutional Research (PAIR), and Enterprise Data Governance.

Frequently Asked Questions

The purpose of the demographic data project is to develop clear definitions and standards for collecting student data. These definitions and standards will become part of the UBC Data Governance Program to be applied by the University consistently and comprehensively.

Equity, diversity and inclusion are high priorities for UBC, yet we currently have a shortage of demographic data collected about students to be able to measure and understand our progress toward these priorities.

In alignment with UBC’s commitments to inclusive excellence and anti-racism and in support of numerous strategic initiatives aiming to advance equity, diversity, and inclusion at UBC, the Equity and Inclusion Office (EIO), Enrolment Services, Planning and Institutional Research (PAIR), and Enterprise Data Governance are working with key stakeholders on a centralized demographic data collection strategy for students.

The Student Demographic Data Project supports the priorities of UBC’s Inclusion Action Plan:

  • Recruitment, retention and success
  • Systems Change
  • Capacity Building
  • Learning, research and engagement
  • Accountability

The rationale for this project stems from the recommendations in the call made by BC’s Office of the Human Rights Commissioner for new legislation governing disaggregated demographic data collection to address systemic discrimination in BC. (The Anti-Discrimination Data Act). The lead recommendation in the Disaggregated Demographic data collection in British Columbia: The Grandmother Perspective report published in September of 2020 was to collect data in service of systemic equity, with the meaningful involvement of equity-deserving and underrepresented communities.

Disaggregated data are data that have been broken down by detailed sub-categories, for example by marginalised group, gender, region or level of education. Disaggregated data can reveal deprivations and inequalities that may not be fully reflected in aggregated data (Right to Education, 2022). (Right to Education, 2022).

UBC recognizes the significant value of cultural, religious, and other kinds of diversity. As a university, we are continually working towards building a more inclusive and equitable environment. Our active respect for diversity is reflected in our efforts to capture demographic data to better inform equity and inclusion initiatives, but more can be done to ensure the academic and administrative systems of UBC are inclusive.

Self-identifying provides more inclusive and demographically representative information, which is essential to move the above priorities forward. These levels of disaggregated data will better inform UBC’s planning, reporting, and policy making with considerations of the distinct contexts and lived experiences of all students. This will contribute to creating a more inclusive and robust campus experience for all members of the UBC community.

The quality of disaggregated data – and of the initiatives that might be informed by said data - is in part related to the availability of self-reported data. Thus, self-identifying provides a clearer picture of where to focus equity, diversity, and inclusion efforts and provides evidence and rationale needed to address any disadvantages or discriminations faced by members of equity-deserving groups.

For example, to provide adequate accommodation and to offer services and facilities in an inclusive and non-discriminatory way (as per Policy No.: LR7: Disability Accommodation Policy), UBC needs adequate information about the needs of students with disabilities.

UBC’s Student Demographic Data Project aligns with the provincial mandate to tackle systemic discrimination. The project will contribute to the anti-racism data legislation objective of better identifying the gaps and barriers to achieve more equitable and inclusive communities.

Do you currently collect student data?

Equity, diversity, and inclusion are high priorities for UBC, yet, we have a shortage of demographic data (e.g., racial identity, gender identity, sexual orientation, etc.) about students to be able to measure and understand our progress toward these EDI priorities. Similarly, and more broadly, there are gaps in our understanding of UBC’s data ecosystem (e.g., data collected about teaching and learning experiences, data collected on application or program evaluation forms, etc.).

To better understand what data are being collected, how, when, from whom and for what purpose, as well as to understand how data are currently managed, stored and accessed at UBC, we are asking all those engaged in these efforts to complete a short survey.

Learn more and complete the survey

Contact

If you have questions or would like to provide feedback about this project, please email the Student Demographic Data Project team at student.demographic@ubc.ca.