StEAR Framework Frequently Asked Questions

The Strategic Equity and Anti-Racism (StEAR) Framework guides UBC’s implementation of equity and anti-racism plans and recommendations.

What is the StEAR Framework? How is it different from other EDI-related plans/ recommendations?

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 includes:

  • six guiding principles;
  • four broad aspirational thematic areas (structural, curricular, compositional, interactional change);
  • a “Roadmap for 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);
  • institutional-level indicators of change to track progress on the StEAR Roadmap and related outcomes ; 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 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.

What is the relationship between StEAR and the Indigenous Strategic Plan (ISP) and Indigenous issues, broadly?

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.

How was the StEAR Framework developed? Who was involved in its development?

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 allows the tracking of each goal, objective, action and recommendation from existing plans and reports to the StEAR Framework objectives.

A StEAR Implementation Coordination 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 Coordination 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 establishing processes for building relationships and regularly communicating and consulting with HPSM groups.

My unit/department has previously created an EDI plan or initiative. Do we need to change our approach?

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 to assess if there are objectives that you can or want to integrate into your work, informed by the unique challenges and opportunities 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.

What supports are available for units/departments who want to engage with the StEAR framework / EDI at UBC?

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
  • the StEAR Enhancement Fund for student, faculty, and/or staff-led initiatives that seek to advance UBC’s equity and anti-racism priorities 

Who is responsible for implementing the StEAR Framework?

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 is 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 is 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 are 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.

How will UBC track its progress on implementing the StEAR framework?

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;
  • administering 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;
  • preparing to publish annual reports to be made available to the UBC community regarding progress on the StEAR Roadmap, including an assessment of key challenges and opportunities, status of implementation, and next steps for advancing StEAR; 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 indicators, 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 indicators 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.

What resources are being dedicated to implementing the StEAR Framework?

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 StEAR Enhancement Fund has been 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 are 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 assess the feasibility of reporting an estimate of all investments made across the university.

How can I get more involved in EDI work at UBC?

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.

Who is included in the StEAR framework’s terminology of ‘historically, persistently, or systemically marginalized’?

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

Who should I contact if I have more questions about the StEAR framework?

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:

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.