Equity and Diversity Recognition 2016—The University of British Columbia

The Tri-agency Institutional Programs Secretariat (TIPS) is pleased to recognize The University of British Columbia (UBC) for its exemplary equity and diversity practices in recruiting Canada Research Chairs, and for achieving its equity targets for the representation of women, Aboriginal Peoples and members of visible minorities among its chairholders.

TIPS also commends UBC for actively addressing ways to meet its target for the representation of persons with disabilities. This includes using the results of a university census to better support existing faculty and staff with disabilities, and develop better means of hiring and supporting new recruits with disabilities.

The Advisory Committee on Equity Policy considered all applications submitted to the 2016 Canada Research Chairs Equity and Diversity Recognition Process.

The University of British Columbia’s Equity and Diversity Practices

UBC has a strong commitment to employment equity and diversity, as reflected in a number of its policies, its strategic research plan and its chairs recruitment guidelines. TIPS also recognized UBC for its exemplary equity practices in 2013, further demonstrating its commitment.

“Equity and diversity are integral to the mission of The University of British Columbia, and UBC strives to be a community in which equity is embedded in all areas of academic, work and campus life. As one of Canada's top research universities, a commitment to equity allows us to attract the best teachers and researchers from across Canada and around the world.”

― Santa J. Ono, president and vice-chancellor, The University of British Columbia

UBC has implemented a number of strategies to ensure equity and diversity is considered in all facets of its hiring and planning practices and policy development. These include the strategies outlined below.  

Working together to ensure diversity

The Vice Presidential Strategic Implementation Committee for Equity and Diversity advises senior management on how to best implement solutions to address substantive equity issues on campus.

The senior advisor to the Provost on Women Faculty works closely with faculties on hiring processes and develops a set of best practices to ensure advancement of diversity. Through the work of this office, UBC has created many resources on equity and diversity in hiring, retention, career advancement, salary increases and mentoring.

Providing equity and diversity training for search committees

All search committees must take an orientation session that emphasizes:

  • running a search that supports proactive recruitment of diverse candidates;
  • performing a consistent, unbiased review; and
  • implementing internal processes that include diversity as a strategic part of the search.

The sessions are run by someone from the appropriate dean's office, or through the Equity and Inclusion Office, the Provost's Office or Faculty Relations. These efforts complement the oversight at the Faculty level, and have heightened awareness and expanded the applicant pools. This has resulted in increased diversity in chair and regular faculty positions.

Tactics to actively recruit an excellent and diverse pool of candidates

UBC provides tools in its Faculty Recruitment Guide and orientation sessions to encourage hiring committees to use proactive and individual efforts to advertise and contact diverse groups. Some of these efforts include:

  • contacting organizations and associations focused on diversity groups;
  • seeking candidates at international meetings;
  • enlisting networks through other centres or institutes to forward search ads to broad groups;
  • soliciting search committees and other faculty to identify members of diverse groups; and 
  • including equity and diversity in all search ads.

Forward planning for further improved equity and diversity

UBC’s Equity and Inclusion Office is undertaking a census of the university population, asking faculty and staff members to self-identify as a member of the four designated groups (women, visible minorities, Aboriginal Peoples and persons with disabilities). It is also collecting information on sexual orientation and gender diversity. The updated equity information will form the basis for a revised Employment Equity Plan, and will help UBC set its employment equity goals. This will further improve its hiring, promotion and retention practices. 

These equity strategies have resulted in chair occupancy rates that surpass the targets for visible minorities and Aboriginal Peoples, and meet the target for women. The following table outlines UBC’s equity and diversity targets and occupancy rates (as of January 2016):

Designated Group Target Occupancy*
Women 58 58
Visible minorities 28 30
Persons with disabilities 7 -
Aboriginal Peoples 2 -

*Occupancy rates lower than five are withheld to protect the privacy of chairholders.

If you have enquiries related to UBC’s equity and diversity practices, contact Eric Eich, vice-provost and associate vice-president, Academic Affairs.

Consult the program’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion: Best Practices for Recruitment, Hiring and Retention page for more information on best practices.