Today, Thursday August 15, 2019, the University of British Columbia was announced as one of the 17 institutions selected to participate in the Dimensions: equity, diversity and inclusion Canada pilot program (Dimensions). The announcement was made by the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport and the Honourable Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance at Ryerson University.
The Dimensions pilot program and accompanying charter, which UBC signed in May 2019, are a collaborative initiative of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). The progam is designed to foster increased research excellence, innovation and creativity within the post-secondary sector across all disciplines through increased equity, diversity and inclusion. Dimensions addresses obstacles faced by, but not limited to, women, Indigenous Peoples, persons with disabilities, members of visible minority/racialized groups, and members of LGBTQ2+ communities.
Inclusion is a major focus and one of three key themes of UBC’s strategic plan, Shaping UBC’S Next Century, which recognizes that sustained excellence in research, education and engagement depends on the integration of diverse perspectives and approaches. A system-wide approach to diversity, equity and inclusion, Inclusive Excellence, is a key commitment of the plan and several initiatives to support this commitment are already underway. This includes the university developing its first Inclusion Action Plan, the establishment of several senior advisory positions that guide university leadership on dimensions of equity and inclusion, and the finalizing of a renewed Indigenous strategic plan which will further UBC’s commitment to enact meaningful and lasting reconciliation.
The 17 institutions that will participate in the Dimensions pilot program were selected through a letter of intent application process. UBC’s selection recognizes the institution’s existing commitment to the inclusion of underrepresented groups, and represents an opportunity to expand and deepen this commitment with the support of tri-agency staff during the pilot.