Intercultural Understanding

The University engages in reflection and action to build intercultural aptitudes, create a strong sense of inclusion, and enrich our intellectual and social life.

Stop. There beside you is another person. Meet [them]. This sort of encounter is the greatest event, the most vital experience of all.
Ryszard Kapuściński

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We are one humanity and each deeply different. We may find no better place in which to embrace this paradox than the university.

Differences in values, circumstance, and intellectual viewpoint have incited humankind’s worst conflicts. Considered with respect, they afford great learning. Wholly embraced, they promise to be our greatest strength.

UBC welcomes responsibility for promoting intercultural understanding on its campuses. Working to build community in diversity, the University strives to increase access for all and particularly for historically disadvantaged groups.

UBC is a safe place for significant conversations across profound cultural difference. Positioned to engage a full range of local, national, and international experiences and perspectives, UBC collaborates to reduce conflict and generate sustainable solutions to the complex questions of our time.

Our task is to re-imagine what UBC is and whom it serves, and to recognize that the University’s foundation is strengthened as the walls between us come down.

Goal Increase awareness and experience of the benefits of intercultural learning and developing intercultural fluency

Portfolio Action

Complete five-year progress report on the implementation of the Intercultural Strategic Plan

  • Review progress made in the implementation of the intercultural strategic plan and present report to University community, with recommendations for on-going implementation (EIO)
  • Review current practices for measuring intercultural fluency in students, staff and faculty (VPA, DVC, Provost Okanagan, VPHR)

Deepen resources for faculty and staff to provide intercultural learning and increased dialogue and debate in the classroom

  • Continue to identify and promote promising classroom practices that foster intercultural learning, dynamic interaction between students, greater levels of classroom inclusion, and increased dialogue and debate (VPA, Provost Okanagan, CTLT, EIO)
  • Maintain interconnectedness between academic bodies focused on diversity, equity and related intercultural studies (VPA, DVC, Provost Okanagan)

Establish intercultural understanding as a core leadership and teaching competency

  • Continue to make available and incentivise opportunities for faculty and staff to engage in the professional development of intercultural skills, knowledge and relationship building for the benefit of enhanced student learning (Faculties, VPA, CTLT, EIO)
  • Enhanced student leadership training has expanded with an emphasis on intercultural understanding.

Identify and reward thought-leadership in fostering intercultural understanding in the classroom and social sustainability throughout the campus

  • Continue to support innovations being made throughout UBC that enhance the intercultural learning of students, enhanced intercultural administrative practices, and foster greater inclusion for culturally different members of the entire University community (VPA, DVC, Provost Okanagan, VPHR, EIO)

Goal Remove barriers to greater diversity within the University, including those faced by historically disadvantaged groups

Portfolio Action

Renewal of Equity and Diversity Mid-Level Strategic Plan

  • Engage in the review, community consultation and development of a renewed equity and diversity mid-level strategic plan, Valuing Difference: A Strategy for Advancing Equity and Diversity at UBC (EIO)

Establish basic literacy around gender equity, racial equity, and issued pertaining to people with disability, Aboriginal Peoples, and members of LGBTQ communities as core leadership, administrative and teaching competencies.

  • Provide on-going, effective and consistent education and professional development, in various formats and levels of expertise, for faculty, staff, administration and leadership throughout the University (EIO, CTLT, VPHR)
  • Have 25% of UBC administrative units Safe Harbour Certified (or reasonable equivalent) by March 31, 2017 (EIO, VPHR)
  • As one of the largest employers in B.C., develop action plan to contribute to the Province of British Columbia’s goal to be the most accessible province in Canada, by 2024.
  • Continue to support strategic efforts to ensure pay equity and professional advancement of women faculty.
  • Continue to embed practices that improve inclusion and accessibility, intercultural understanding, and increase diversity of the faculty and staff into the University’s policies and procedures.

Enhance accessibility of the physical environment at UBC for people with disabilities

  • Ensure campus plans meet or exceed code requirements regarding accessibility for people with physical and developmental disabilities (VPF)

Expand opportunities for dialogue around issues of inequity experienced by historically disadvantaged groups.

  • Continue to support activities that increase awareness and provide opportunities for community dialogue around issues of inequity for historically disadvantaged groups (EIO, Faculties, VPS)
  • Conduct inventory and increase awareness of courses addressing diversity issues (VPA, DVC, VPHR)

Enhance Student Financial Aid to support historically disadvantaged groups

  • $16m in needs based bursaries provided under Policy 72 “Access to UBC” (VPS, VPA)
  • New housing supplement grant so support students from low and middle income backgrounds to access First Year residence (VPS)
  • New funding developed to support UBC’s commitment to diversity (VPS, VPA)
  • Planning for new scholarship programs to attract historically underrepresented groups (VPS, VPA)

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