Dear UBC Community Members,
As the fall term begins, it is an opportune time for me to update the community about UBC’s progress on its commitments to equity and inclusion.
Since my term as Associate Vice-President, Equity and Inclusion began on July 1, 2022, I have been meeting with key campus partners and affinity groups to learn about what has been accomplished and where there are opportunities for further achievement. While I will continue these meetings through September, it is abundantly clear to me that a remarkable amount of effort and expertise has been committed by students, faculty, and staff to develop a comprehensive set of distinct yet complementary plans and recommendations for institutional transformation and systems change. These include the following:
- The 2019 Inclusion Action Plan (IAP) and the 2020 Indigenous Strategic Plan (ISP) remain foundational strategic documents, developed to meet inclusive excellence and Indigenous reconciliation commitments articulated in the University’s 2018 – 2028 Strategic Plan: Shaping the Next Century.
- The 2019 Employment Equity Plan and 2019 CRC EDI Action Plan also remain particularly relevant strategic documents to help achieve UBC’s obligations and aspirations to advance equity in employment systems and in the processes for nominating and selecting research chairs.
- The 2022 Task Force on Antiracism and Inclusive Excellence (ARIE) Final Report provides a nuanced set of recommendations to guide efforts to address systemic racism while maintaining a commitment to intersectionality in the pursuit of equity and inclusive excellence – these recommendations not only support UBC’s pledge to the Scarborough Charter [external link] to address anti-Black racism and promote Black flourishing, but they also invite transformative thinking and action towards the university’s broader racial equity and social justice goals.
Additionally, the following plans and recommendations are nearing completion:
- The EDI Dimensions Pilot Action Plan focused on advancing equity in the research ecosystem.
- Recommendations from the Trans, Two-Spirit and Gender Diversity Task Force to surface trans inclusion priorities and ensure that UBC fosters work and learning environments that allow gender diversity to thrive.
- Recommendations identified to address accessibility aspirations and obligations under the BC Accessibility Act [external link].
Now, to guide the UBC community through a more comprehensive, cohesive, and coordinated phase of implementation, I am pleased to announce that a Strategic Equity and Anti-Racism (StEAR) Framework has been developed. In the coming weeks, the EIO will launch a new online platform to host information about the emerging StEAR Framework and regular implementation progress reports.
In the meantime, you can read about ongoing equity initiatives in various annual reports prepared by the EIO, and you can preview a sampling of some activities the EIO has contributed to in support of UBC’s antiracism commitments and that have been underway since the 2021 update on institutional anti-racism actions was shared with the community. Many more initiatives are currently underway across UBC. An inventory of cross campus initiatives will soon be conducted to enable reporting on the more robust list of initiatives being undertaken.
While the EIO will oversee UBC’s institutional commitments to equity and anti-racism broadly, the Indigenous Guiding Network will continue to oversee UBC’s specific commitments to Indigenous rights and reconciliation. I look forward to continued consultation and coalition-building with the Network to support and elevate Indigenous priorities.
As I have a pan-institutional mandate, I will be working collaboratively with student, faculty, and staff partners and champions across campuses, and especially closely with the Associate Provost appointed as the UBCO champion for inclusion, diversity, equity, and anti-racism (IDEA) to best meet the local needs of the Okanagan campus community.
I am immensely grateful to all community members who have contributed to our progress to date. I look forward to renewing our commitments and continuing our journey to actioning these over the next several years.
All members interested in contributing to these renewed efforts are most welcome to contact me.
Arig al Shaibah, Ph.D.
Associate Vice-President, Equity & Inclusion