Conclusion of EIO pilot project leaves fewer options, but same amount of equity-related funding

The UBC Equity & Inclusion Office (EIO) did not provide funding for the Equity & Inclusion Scholars Program this year, as funding for the program was moved to the Equity Enhancement Fund.

Initially launched in 2019 as a pilot project, the program funded initiatives that integrated EDI in teaching-related scholarship. Possible projects included changing curriculum or teaching practices to centre EDI.

A 2019 project called “Enhancing equity across active-learning introductory science courses,” focused on building EDI measurement tools, identifying existing inequalities and determining the properties of learning activities that engage all students in introductory biology, chemistry and physics courses.

The EIO ran the program in collaboration with the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology (CTLT).

Dr. Maryam Nabavi, staff and faculty strategist for the EIO, wrote in an email to The Ubyssey that the program intended to assess a “new model for faculty engagement.”

The primary intention of the pilot was to assess whether a stand-alone program was more useful or whether the concepts within the program could be folded into existing initiatives, such as the Equity Enhancement Fund and similar opportunities led by academic units and other administrative units such as CTLT,” wrote Nabavi.

During the program, proposals for initiatives were evaluated against four criteria. A proposal’s level of engagement with EDI in teaching and learning, its potential to be applicable in formal teaching practices, engagement with marginalized students and how it encourages collaboration with other units at the university all went into consideration.

Nabavi said the project will develop and provide a template for adapting, embedding and evaluating existing Community Building Education (CBE) provided by the Equity and Inclusion Office within first year arts courses, will work with teaching assistants to adapt and facilitate CBE to sociology and anthropology contexts and will evaluate its impact on students’ sense of community.

As the pilot has now ended, the EIO is evaluating the program’s efficacy to decide on how to proceed.

In the meantime, Nabavi suggested scholars looking for funding could apply to the Equity Enhancement Fund as an alternative.

“The E&I Scholars was a pilot and while it may appear that funding has been cancelled for supporting inclusive teaching, it has actually been moved to the Equity Enhancement Fund (EEF),” Nabavi wrote.

“The EEF criteria includes projects that support equity and inclusion efforts as outlined in the Inclusion Action Plan; this is a broader and more inclusive category that captures diverse forms of faculty projects that support equity and inclusion across the teaching landscape, including inclusive curricular design, pedagogy, evaluation tools, etc. which all encompass inclusive teaching,” she added.