Our Approach

A new Strategic Equity and Anti-Racism (StEAR) Framework will guide the implementation of UBC’s various equity and anti-racism plans and recommendations.

StEAR Framework overview

Please note that this online platform for the StEAR Framework is in development and further updates on the StEAR Framework content and progress tracking are forthcoming.

The StEAR Framework reflects the need for individual and systemic interventions across four nested organizational domains for change – structural, curricular, compositional, and interactional.

The framework grounds planning, implementation, and evaluation efforts to realize a specific goals in each of the domains. The framework also provides a template for developing specific, measurable, assignable, realistic, and time-bound (SMART) objectives and identifying inputs (resources) required to sustain efforts, as well as measures of progress (outputs and outcomes) across the four aspirational goal over two, three, and five-year horizons.

Review some of our Frequently Asked Questions.

Organizational domains for change

Systems-level change



To develop institutional principles, paradigms, and processes that build organizational capacity to enable, drive, and sustain systems change through equitable and anti-racist leadership, governance, and accountability.

STRATEGIC DRIVER: institutional principles, paradigms, and processes.

Recommendation: Develop and establish mechanisms of accountability through race-based data and reporting.

  • UBC's Employment Equity Survey enables employees to confidentially self-identify with federally and other designated groups, and helps deepen our understanding of the demographic composition of UBC employees. Last year, the survey was integrated into Workday with revised self-identification questions and response variables to enhance data collection and analysis of employment equity data. In October 2021, the EIO launched an Employment Equity Survey campaign, the first administered through Workday, with the aim to increase overall participation in the survey and streamline data collection. Responses to the 2021 survey were united with historical data stored on the University Data Platform for a more robust response rate and capture of UBC's faculty and staff, currently at 75 per cent institution wide. A number of institutional activities that aim to provide targeted programming were informed by employment equity data gathered through the survey. The goal for the fall 2022 campaign is to achieve an average response rate of 80 per cent or more.
  • The Equity & Inclusion Office, Enrolment Services, Planning and Institutional Research (PAIR), and Enterprise Data Governance are working with key stakeholders on a project to develop a centralized demographic data collection strategy for students, including clear definitions and standards for collecting student data for use with administrative records and institutional surveys. These definitions and standards will become part of the UBC Data Governance Program to be applied by the University consistently and comprehensively. The project will deliver recommendations to the Data Governance Steering Committee in the fall of 2022, with a goal of launching a student demographic survey pilot for the fall 2023.



Work in the curricular domain aims to promote locally and globally relevant and responsive ways of learning, knowing, and translating knowledge through equitable and anti-racist teaching, research, and community-engagement programs and pedagogies.

STRATEGIC DRIVER: academic programs and pedagogies.

Recommendation: Increase educational opportunities on anti-racism for all faculty members and administrators.

  • The Equity & Inclusion Office, Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology (CTLT) and the CTLT Indigenous Initiatives team facilitated five anti-racism workshops for instructors and interested community members, and delivered four anti-racism in teaching and leadership sessions to 25 faculty members in Faculty of Applied Science. At UBCO, the EIO continued to provide proactive and reactive anti-racism trainings for students and staff.



Work across the compositional domain seeks to expand the representational diversity of the student body, professoriate, staff complement, and senior leadership and enhance lifecycle experiences of historically and still contemporarily underrepresented groups through equitable and anti-racist recruitment, development, and retention.

STRATEGIC DRIVER: people, policies, and practices

Recommendation: Increasing recruitment and retention of Indigenous, Black, and People of Colour (IBPOC) faculty; Enhance sense of belonging for IBPOC through expanded community-building and networking opportunities at UBC Vancouver and UBC Okanagan.

  • In 2022, the JEDII Summer STEM Series brought together faculty and staff across the university in a series of participatory workshops to build their understanding of fair and equitable processes that support the intentional recruitment and inclusion of historically, persistently or systemically marginalized groups at UBC.
  • Following the 2021 Atlanta shootings that targeted women of Asian descent, the IBPOC STEM Network was created to provide a safe space for women and gender-diverse faculty, staff postdocs and graduate students who identified as Indigenous, Black and/or a Person of Color (IBPOC) to gather, build community, and find support. Network programming is focused on enhancing wellbeing, cultivating a greater sense of belonging, building greater self-efficacy, supporting retention and initiatives that mobilize justice, equity, decolonization, Indigenization and inclusion within units. In 2021-22, the IBPOC STEM Network hosted five in-person socials at UBCV to support networking and community-building and a series of four virtual speaker sessions and social gatherings.
  • At the Vancouver campus, the EIO programming included the delivery of a presentation highlighting the interests and concerns of IBPOC staff at UBC; development of a wellbeing survey for IBPOC-identified staff and faculty to gather feedback on programs, resources, and other supports that contribute to wellbeing at work and overall career success; support for a self-care workshop for IBPOC-identified participants, and launching of an IBPOC STEM Women’s network.

Individual-level change



Work across the interactional domain seeks to develop individual proficiencies that build campus community capacity to foster positive and effective intergroup relations and cultivate a climate that promotes human rights, dignity, equality, and belonging through equity and antiracism training, education, and dialogue.

STRATEGIC DRIVER: individual proficiencies

Recommendation: The need for sustained anti-racism training and education; Increase educational opportunities on anti-racism for all faculty members and administrators.

  • Through the winter 2023 term, the Associate Vice-President, Equity and Inclusion will host and lead, with key campus partners, a series of educational sessions on equitable and anti-racist leadership for all senior administrators.
  • Initiated in Summer 2021, the JEDII STEM Series builds the capacity and community of faculty, staff, postdoc scholars and grad students who lead and support justice, equity, decolonization, indigenization and inclusion initiatives in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math fields. This series was developed to more efficiently enhance capacity across departments and to reduce the silos across departments who are being tasked to engage in Justice, Equity, Decolonization, Indigenization and Inclusion initiatives across different units. Over three cycles (Summer 2021, Fall 2021, Summer 2022), 682 unique registrants across 18 Faculties participated in 22 sessions with 61 guest speakers.
  • Cultivated more inclusive spaces towards retention and wellbeing of equity-deserving groups (e.g., the EIO co-organized a speaker series titled "Where are all the Black People? Underrepresentation in the Academy", which foregrounded Black voices in fields where Blackness is particularly underrepresented and provided actionable and measurable strategies to UBC to increase Black representation and Black excellence in these fields).

Frequently Asked Questions

The StEAR framework is not another plan. It is a model for making sense of and guiding the implementation of UBC’s existing equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI)-related priorities, which are stated in the following plans and recommendations:

The Framework will include:

  • six guiding principles;
  • four broad aspirational thematic areas (structural, curricular, compositional, interactional change);
  • a “Roadmap to Change”, which includes a number of SMART (Strategic, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound) objectives we commit to actioning over a three-year time horizon (2023 – 2026);
  • recognition of inputs required for success (financial, human, material, capital resources);
  • key performance indicators (KPIs) to track progress among possible output and outcome measures; and
  • a pan-institutional governance model, with the Equity & Inclusion Office (EIO) leading a “‘coordinated decentralization”’ approach.

The Roadmap reflects the common and distinct priorities from across all plans and recommendations relating to EDI and anti-racism. For this reason, components of the Roadmap are reminiscent of the individual plans and reports that it is drawn from.

With its focus on implementation and accountability, the Framework purposefully reflects a set of high-level objectives that summarize the activities that will need to occur at the institutional level or university-wide system-level. A visual tool is currently under development that allows the tracking of each goal, objective, action and recommendation from existing plans and reports to the StEAR Framework objectives.

In this way, the Framework is a community-engaged, data-informed, action-oriented, and accountability-driven tool for the planning, implementation, and evaluation of EDI priorities at UBC.

Recognition of the rights of Indigenous Peoples and respect for self-determination is one of the guiding principles of the StEAR Framework. In promoting and advancing EDI and anti-racism at UBC, the StEAR framework is meant to complement, not compete with, the University’s work towards Indigenous rights, decolonization and reconciliation.

While the EIO will oversee UBC’s institutional commitments to equity and anti-racism broadly, the Indigenous Strategic Plan (ISP) Guiding Network is responsible for leading the implementation of the ISP (2020), which “provides thoughtful guidance for action and a framework for reconciliation”.

The EIO is in conversation with Indigenous partners, particularly ISP implementation leads, to consider mutually beneficial mechanisms for communication, consultation, collaboration, and coalition-building across the StEAR and ISP Frameworks, and to ensure that equity and anti-racism priorities relevant to Indigenous students, faculty, and staff are appropriately addressed and/or referred to in the StEAR Framework.

The StEAR Framework was developed by the Associate Vice-President, Equity and Inclusion (AVPEI) building on existing literature and leading practices for mobilizing EDI change in higher education. The Framework uses a “logic model” approach that identifies four change domains/goals towards which 18 strategic objectives are aimed. The 18 objectives and their associated strategic actions – together referred to as the Roadmap for Change – are drawn from existing UBC plans and reports that have identified the university’s EDI-related priorities (I.e., Inclusion Action Plan, Employment Equity Plan, CRC EDI Action Plan, ARIE Task Force Report, T2SGD Task Force Report, and Dimensions Action Plan). Work is underway to identify leads, timelines, and measures to track progress on Roadmap objectives. The Framework also includes six principles of practice and a proposed governance and oversight model. The EIO team, distributed Equity Leads, Indigenous Strategic Plan implementation leads, and affinity groups representing historically marginalized communities, executive sponsors, and senior leadership were consulted to provide feedback on the evolution of the Framework, including the Roadmap and Governance and Oversight Model. The AVPEI and EIO will continue to engage various rightsholders and stakeholders in consultation on the evolution of the Framework and approach to its implementation.

Since the StEAR Framework explicitly draws from, and brings together, the incredible work done by various historically, persistently, or systemically marginalized (HPSM) communities through the plans and reports they have produced, these perspectives were integral to its development. A visual tool is currently under development that allows the tracking of each goal, objective, action and recommendation from existing plans and reports to the StEAR Framework objectives.

A StEAR Implementation Advisory Committee will advise on and steward StEAR implementation efforts and mechanisms will be introduced to ensure intentional and regular communication, consultation, and engagement of historically persistently and systemically marginalized groups. The terms of reference for the Implementation Advisory Committee and mechanisms for community engagement is forthcoming.

The EIO is also establishing enhanced mechanisms to coordinate communities of practice and networks of distributed unit EDI leads (champions) - many of whom have extensive experience working to amplify the voices of HPSM constituents of students, faculty and staff.

The EIO is also taking an inventory of affinity and advocacy groups on campus and establishing processes for building relationships and regularly communicating and consulting with these groups.

If you’ve already created an EDI and anti-racism plan, initiative, or identified strategic priorities, you do not need to change your approach. However, units are encouraged to review the StEAR Framework to see where alignments exist, and if there are objectives or actions that you can or want to integrate into the work already underway, informed by the unique challenges and opportunities identified in your local contexts.

The StEAR framework recognizes the breadth of work already underway in various units, departments, Faculties and portfolios, critically contributing to broader institutional goals, and that these efforts are at various stages of planning or implementation.

The goal of the StEAR Framework is to provide institutional-level implementation guidance and allow UBC to track progress and change related to equity and anti-racism over time. The 18 objectives summarize the activities that need to occur to achieve meaningful change in each of the four thematic areas. The strategic actions identified under each objective are intended to guide the work of university-wide “central” offices, not prescribe what actions decentralized units and departments should take.

There is no expectation that every unit or department will address every objective listed in the StEAR framework, as each objective may not be relevant to their specific context. The EIO will strengthen mechanisms to enable units to consult, communicate and coordinate with the EIO (and vice versa) to ensure alignment with central standards/protocols and leveraging of mutual resources.

The EIO continues to offer supports to units who are working to advance EDI and anti-racism within their own context, whether through the StEAR framework specifically or in a broader sense. These supports include:

  • the Activating Inclusion Toolkit, with a suite of tools and guidance for units and departments working to plan an EDI initiative or identify EDI priorities. The toolkit will be updated in the coming months to better demonstrate its alignment with the StEAR Framework;
  • the EDI Action Network, a space for connection, shared learning, and development for staff, faculty, and students working to advance EDI initiatives at UBC;
  • consultation services and supports provided by the EIO to university partners to advance UBC’s strategic commitments around equity, diversity, and inclusion; and
  • renewed and forthcoming funding programs to support implementation at local levels.

Collective responsibility driven by UBC Executive accountability is one of the guiding principles of the StEAR Framework.

The Associate Vice-President, Equity & Inclusion (AVPEI) and the Equity & Inclusion Office (EIO) team will be responsible for centrally leading the planning and evaluation of the StEAR Roadmap for Change, including coordinating and enabling the implementation of the strategic objectives in consultation and collaboration with executive sponsors, key campus partners, distributed equity champions, and historically, persistently, and/or systemically marginalized (HPSM) groups.

The Executive will be responsible for clearly articulating commitments to deploying the StEAR Framework and Roadmap for Change, embedding principles and practices in executive portfolio strategies, and investing appropriate human and financial resources to support and sustain pan-institutional implementation.

Senior Academic and Administrative Leaders will be responsible for directing human and financial resources to support implementation, including appointing Faculty and Portfolio Equity Leads.

Implementation Teams, will be established as needed with leads, key partners, and EIO staff to mobilize complex objectives requiring project management.

Faculty and Portfolio Equity Leads will actively participate in EIO facilitated equity and anti-racism Communities of Practice and mobilize and support initiatives at the local level.

EIO Team Members will facilitate regular meetings of the departmental-level EDI Action Network to continue to build capacity broadly across the institution and to elevate local EDI and anti-racism initiatives.

In addition to consulting with sponsors, partners, and equity leads on the Roadmap for Change, the EIO is:

  • working with the Planning and Institutional Research (PAIR) Office on mechanisms to track progress at the institutional- or system- levels;
  • exploring approaches to a baseline inventory to help establish our current state and assess efforts for work already underway at the institutional, Faculty/VP portfolio and unit/department levels; and
  • developing a communication and consultation plan to ensure community members are regularly apprised of and can provide feedback on the work.

Tracking progress on the StEAR framework implementation requires a mixed method approach. Quantitative metrics, where appropriate, can serve as a baseline for understanding the current landscape at UBC, for making broad or high-level comparisons across contexts and over time, and provide a shared reference point. However, these data are insufficient for understanding how and why change is occurring and must be complemented by qualitative information to contextualize patterns and trends in quantitative data, and, more importantly, provide more fulsome understanding of what is driving and sustaining change or hindering progress.

The EIO is working with key partners to identify both quantitative and qualitative data that can be centrally tracked and reported. These institutional-level metrics are intended to characterize change that is occurring university-wide.

It will be important for EDI leads and champions at all levels of the university to continue to engage in efforts to understand what you are learning and what success looks like in your own contexts for your respective EDI programs and initiatives. The EIO has resources to support units in evaluation planning and implementation.

The university has approved an increase in base and an infusion of strategic funds to mobilize and sustain renewed efforts to deliver on institutional EDI and StEAR priorities. A new Equity & Anti-Racism Enhancement Fund will be launched – consolidating and augmenting strategic funds previously available from the EIO, the Office of the Vice President, Students, and President’s Office. These strategic funds will be s available for student, faculty, and staff-led initiatives that seek to advance equity and anti-racism at UBCO and UBCV.

The university is also investing in a number of other initiatives (scholarships, a post-doctoral fellowship bridging program, mentorship programs, Black faculty cohort hiring, etc.) which represent a significant financial investment to support actions that will advance StEAR priorities. Efforts are underway to list all of these central and distributed initiatives to be able to report an estimate of investments made across the university.

EDI work at UBC happens in many different forms, large and small. All efforts to bring an EDI and anti-racist lens to your everyday work and the work of your unit contributes to changing the culture of UBC.

The EIO’s website provides information and updates on opportunities to get involved with a variety of networks, clubs, and committees. You can also inquire with your supervisor about whether your unit has a local EDI committee and how you might get involved.

Finally, check out the EIO’s events page and sign up to the newsletter to stay informed of new educational offerings and events. The EIO website will be updated with more opportunities to get involved as the StEAR framework develops.

If you have any questions, feedback, or would like to learn more about the StEAR Framework, please reach out to the Equity & Inclusion Office at: info@equity.ubc.ca.

If you need support with your local EDI initiatives or would like to request a consultation related to training, education, and capacity building or planning, implementation and/or evaluation, please submit a request for a consultation.

For a definition of 'historically, persistently, or systemically marginalized' (HPSM) and other terms used in the StEAR Framework, please refer to our Glossary.


The StEAR Framework builds on the following scholarship:

  1. Creary, S.J. (2008). Leadership, governance, and accountability: A pathway to a diverse and inclusive organization. New York, NY: Conference Board of Canada.
  2. Hurtado, S., Milem, J.F., Clayton-Pedersen, A.R., and Allen, W.R. (1998). Enhancing campus climates for racial/ethnic diversity through educational policy and practice. Review of Higher Education 21 (3): 279-302.
  3. Hurtado, S., Milem, J.F., Clayton-Pedersen, A.R., and Allen, W.R. (1999). Enacting diverse learning environments: Improving the campus climate for racial/ethnic diversity in higher education. ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Reports Series 26 (8). San Francisco: Jossey Bass.
  4. Milem, J. F., Dey, E.L., and White, C.B. (2004). Diversity considerations in health professions education. In In the nation’s compelling interest: Ensuring diversity in the health care workforce, ed. B. D. Smedley, A. S. Butler, and L. R. Bristow, 345-90. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.
  5. Milem, J.F., Chang, M.J. and Antonio, A.L. (2005). Making diversity work on campus: A research-based perspective. Washington, DC: Association American Colleges and Universities
  6. Smith, D.G. (2015). Diversity’s promise for higher education: Making it work, 2nd ed. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.