UBC is one of 17 Canadian post-secondary institutions participating in a pilot project of the federal Dimensions program, which seeks to identify and eliminate systemic obstacles and inequities for marginalized and under-represented people in research.
During the pilot period, UBC had the opportunity to assess how its institutional policies, practices, programs, and initiatives affect equity, diversity and inclusion in its research community. The self-assessment team then developed an action plan to address gaps in, and barriers and obstacles to EDI within the UBC research ecosystem identified through the self-assessment.
The self-assessment and action plan formed the foundation of an application for recognition from the federal Dimensions program that was submitted in October 2022. Program results are anticipated to be released in early 2023. Thank you to those who contributed their valuable insight and time to inform the self-assessment and action planning throughout the Dimensions pilot period.
We look forward to sharing UBC’s Dimensions Action Plan with the university community in spring 2023.
UBC endorses the Dimensions Charter, which outlines the principles that institutions commit to, to foster increased research excellence, innovation and creativity through greater equity, diversity and inclusion.
UBC's Dimensions pilot project sought to leverage existing UBC strategies and action plans in the area of EDI, and focus on the following objectives in service of the federal program goals:
1. DEVELOPMENT OF A DIVERSE AND INCLUSIVE SELF-ASSESSMENT TEAM (SAT)
The SAT is responsible for the conduct of the Dimensions pilot project and was strategically assembled to capture relevant experiences and institutional roles to ensure sufficient resourcing and strategic direction to complete the project. The SAT includes institutional champions for EDI efforts, and/or those who possess lived experience as a representative of a historically underrepresented or disadvantaged group(s). In addition, to represent the diversity of the university community, the SAT includes students, postdoctoral fellows, faculty, staff and institutional leadership.
2. CONDUCTiNG AN INSTITUTIONAL SELF-ASSESSMENT
With the goal of identifying systemic barriers and inequities within the UBC research ecosystem, the SAT conducted a scan of available EDI-related data in collaboration with numerous university offices. The SAT leveraged data sources and analyzed EDI-related policies, reports, initiatives and services currently available on both UBC campuses. The team also collected first-hand accounts from key informants with lived experiences related to EDI.
3. CREATING AN ACTION PLAN TO IMPROVE EQUITY, DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION IN UBC'S RESEARCH ECOSYSTEM
Drawing on the information revealed by the self-assessment, the SAT proposed an action plan to address identified barriers and inequities within UBC’s research ecosystem. The proposed action plan seeks to complement and build upon existing UBC strategies, such as the Inclusion Action Plan and Indigenous Strategic Plan.
We look forward to sharing the Dimensions action plan with the UBC community in early 2023.
SUBMITTING AN APPLICATION FOR DIMENSIONS RECOGNITION
The Dimensions action plan, as well as the completed self-assessment, form the basis of an application for recognition from the federal Dimensions program, which was submitted in October 2022. UBC’s application acknowledges the significant work that has already been undertaken at the institution as well as the significant work remaining to transform research culture to become more equitable, inclusive and diverse.
The federal Dimensions recognition program has four stages intended to reflect the journey of carrying out EDI work:
- Stage 1 — Foundation
- Stage 2 — Construction
- Stage 3 — Consolidation
- Stage 4 — Transformation
Recognition by the federal Dimensions program acknowledges that an institution’s action plan and efforts to address equity, diversity and inclusion in the research ecosystem are aligned with the federal program’s goals.
4. SUPPORTING A MORE DIVERSE, INCLUSIVE AND EQUITABLE RESEARCH ECOSYSTEM AT UBC
Informed by, and stemming from, UBC’s Dimensions Action Plan, the Inclusion Action Plan and the Indigenous Strategic Plan, and other key institutional initiatives, the university will build upon these existing efforts and/or enact new initiatives to address systemic barriers and inequities identified in the pilot that are experienced by members of underserved, marginalized or excluded groups within UBC’s research ecosystem.
The plans above set the foundation for long-term, continued efforts across the university’s departments, faculties, institutes and research support units. Furthermore, UBC’s Dimensions action plan will be evaluated regularly to gauge its effectiveness and impact on UBC’s research community. These efforts underscore the university’s commitment to ensuring equitable access to funding opportunities, increasing equitable and inclusive participation in research and embedding EDI-related considerations in research design and practices.