UBC joins federal Dimensions pilot program for equity in research

The UBC Equity & Inclusion Office has announced a pilot self-assessment program as part of Dimensions, a project by the federal government aimed to improve equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) at Canadian research universities.

As one of the 17 post-secondary institutions in the pilot, UBC is conducting a self-assessment to examine its EDI policies. The assessment will review the university’s culture and research practices to determine systemic barriers that community members face.

UBC’s website lists “access, admissions, recruitment, career development, job security, pay, working and learning conditions, resources, retention, and the career progression of members of the UBC research community,” as focuses of the process.

Following the assessment, UBC will create an action plan and submit an application to three federal research councils to be recognized as a Dimensions institution. The title comes with no funding but shows that a university is inclusive of marginalized groups.

“The main deliverable of the UBC pilot is to build an action plan to address identified systemic barriers faced by members of historically underserved, marginalized or excluded groups in the university’s research ecosystem,” wrote Dr. Leslie Grad, manager of strategic initiatives for the Office of the Vice-President Research & Innovation, in an email to The Ubyssey.

Grad said that the action plan will aim to work in tandem with UBC’s other plans like the Indigenous Strategic Plan and the Inclusion Action Plan.

“The action plan will complement and leverage existing strategies ... and will drive how UBC proceeds following completion of the pilot project,” Grad wrote.

The self-assessment team consists of various community members such as VP Research and Innovation Dr. Gail Murphy, Associate VP Equity & Inclusion Dr. Sara-Jane Finlay and students.

While some members like Murphy and Finlay were required to be on the team due to their roles in the university, other members and student groups like the AMS and GSS were invited.

Although there is the chance of extending the timeline due to the pandemic, the strategic plan is set to come out this fall.