With increased university-wide engagement around equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI), the Equity & Inclusion Office (EIO) continued to respond to high levels of requests for advising and consultation and operate as a backbone for the implementation of the Inclusion Action Plan (IAP).
The EIO released its 2021-2022 annual report, highlighting the office’s contributions towards the advancement of university’s commitments to equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI), the implementation of the Inclusion Action Plan (IAP), and obligations under Policy SC7: Discrimination. The report presents an integrated overview of efforts across both UBC Vancouver and UBC Okanagan.
This year’s report tracks EIO’s efforts in advancing the goals of the IAP: 1) recruitment, retention and success, 2) systems change, 3) capacity building, 4) learning, research and engagement, and 5) accountability. The report also provides an overview of human rights advising services and a summary of issues and concerns raised. For context, the report includes an overview of the office, an environmental assessment of factors that shaped EIO’s work, and calls to action and next steps that outline future areas of focus, both for the EIO and the institution.
The following is a brief snapshot of key achievements reported for the March 2021 – April 2022 period. During this reporting period, the EIO:
- Continued to act as a mainstay organization for the implementation of the IAP, by coordinating communications and engagement of university partners, developing implementation structures and processes, roles and tools, and facilitating a Collective Impact [external link] approach to the work. The EIO engaged 24 Inclusion Action Leads across 13 faculties or portfolios, launching five Action Planning Teams, and growing a 150 member EDI Action Network. The EIO further supported over eight units with their efforts to begin unit-level implementation of the IAP.
- Contributed to institutional supports for the Anti-racism and Inclusive Excellence Task Force and resulting recommendations, and the coordinated the Trans, Two-Spirt and Gender Diversity Task Force and the Religious, Spiritual, and Cultural (RSC) Accommodation working group.
- Received over 338 consultation requests from over 50 units across over 21 portfolios or Faculties. Requests primarily related to educational engagements, but also included requests for strategic and implementation level support for EDI efforts. While many requests started as requests for workshops, they required a more complex and deeper engagement in order to adequately build capacity and/or facilitate systemic and cultural changes.
- Human Rights advising team responded to 1,104 concerns related to protected characteristics, in addition to reviewing all requests for support that did not meet the minimum threshold for consideration under Policy SC7: Discrimination.
- With partners, integrated the Employment Equity Survey into Workday to enhance data collection and analysis of employment equity data, and co-initiated a project that seeks to enhance the collection of student demographic data. The student data project aims to fill an identified gap in university-wide student data related to demographics.
Learning, Research, and Engagement
- Provided Faculty and unit-level educational and training sessions and general consultations around efforts to build inclusion, support conflict engagement, and develop anti- racism practices. Work involved the creation of online courses, curation and sharing of resources, and delivery of workshops for leadership and heads of units, teaching assistants, and generally to students, faculty and staff. A new Justice, Equity, Decolonization, Inclusion and Indigenization (JEDII) STEM Series engaged some 536 total unique registrants across 70 plus different units.
- Delivered communication and engagement activities designed to raise awareness and inspire involvement of UBC community members with significant days and timely themes and issues, including activations around International Women’s Day, Black History Month, Pride, Queer Orientation, and Positive Space, Trans Days of Remembrance and Visibility, and in support of Orange Shirt Day.
- Worked to advance EDI in research, with a focused engagement around the Canada Research Chairs (CRC) Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Action Plan, CRC hiring processes, research on CRC experiences, and UBC’s pilot participation in the federal EDI Dimensions program.
- Provided some $94,350 in funding for 25 faculty and staff led initiatives across both campuses through the Equity Enhancement Fund.
- Launched a pilot of a low-barrier fund to support student engagement, the Inclusive Initiatives Fund, and disbursed $45,000 for student-led projects. Contributed $50,000 to the UBC Community Engagement-led Partnership Recognition Fund, shifting the focus of the fund to support EDI- related collaborations with external partners and of wider community benefit.
Recruitment, Retention and Success
- Working with partners, administered and analyzed results of the CRC applicant pool equity survey to support the 2019 Restricted and Preferential Hiring Special Program [external link] from the Office of the BC Human Rights Commissioner. Linked to this, the EIO issued research reports aimed at addressing underrepresentation of persons with disabilities and creating more equitable experiences for current and future chairholders at UBC.
- Supported inclusive and equitable search and hiring processes in over eight units across six Faculties and portfolios, including through education and consultation related to job descriptions, recruitment practices, survey design and data collection, and human rights considerations related to the search process, and sharing of tools and resources.
- Continued efforts to support retention and wellbeing of students, faculty and staff from equity-deserving group including through engagements to support connection and sense of belonging through affinity spaces and other engagements, including: Indigenous, Black, and People of Color (IBPOC), 2SLGBTQIA+, and people with disabilities.
The 2021–2022 reporting year represented another year of increased level of engagement with EDI across the university, correlating with increased demand from Faculties and units for support from the EIO. As a result, the EIO continued to respond to high levels of requests for human rights and conflict engagement advising, education and training, and planning and evaluation.
Looking ahead, the EIO team identified the following recommendations and priorities:
- ensuring appropriate levels of resourcing at EIO and institutional levels to adequately support the implementation of inclusion, the IAP, and policies;
- enhancing EDI data with a primary focus on student data and Faculty and unit-level data sharing;
- building understanding of restorative and proactive approaches to human rights work, d) building more coordination amongst EDI/JEDII partners;
- expanding educational efforts;
- supporting EDI in research, and
- enhancing the operations and understanding of the EIO.
For further details and a comprehensive overview of this year’s operating context, activities, and calls to action and next steps, read the complete EIO 2021-2022 Annual Report.
About inclusion at UBC
Sustained excellence in research, education and engagement depends on the integration of diverse perspectives and approaches. Education is an enabler of social development and mobility, and UBC is intent on advancing the inclusion of all those who have been excluded based on gender, race, religion, sexuality, age, physical ability or economic circumstances.
At UBC, diversity is regarded as a key strength of the institution and is fundamental to achieving excellence in teaching and learning, research and service.
Inclusion is a commitment to access, success and representation of historically underserved, marginalized or excluded populations. As a public institution, UBC has the responsibility to ensure inclusion across students, faculty, staff and alumni, and through all external interactions.
The Inclusion Action Plan is the university’s guiding framework to operationalize this commitment. Inclusion is built by individual and institutional responsibility through continuous engagement with diversity to inspire people, ideas, and actions for a better world.