Building and embedding equity, diversity and inclusion

UBC Pride Installation

Photo: UBC Pride Installation. Credit: Daniela Orbegoso Campbell

Achieving true equity, diversity and inclusion requires transparency and accountability to drive meaningful change.

The psychology department’s EDI Committee and Working Groups are collaborating to build a diverse and inclusive future for the department. This commitment to a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive psychology community is embedded into each working group’s goals and actions for equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) consultation, dialogue and learning, funding, hiring, mediation, mentorship, progress monitoring, resources, and well-being

To sustain change, the EDI Progress Monitoring Working Group has established accountability methods, including a goal and action framework, to monitor EDI efforts and understand the EDI climate in the department. On March 13, the working group launched the Psychology EDI Climate Survey to understand the psychology community’s feelings and experiences of inclusivity and sense of belongingness—and to measure progress over time.

“We want to know about people’s feelings and experiences in our department this year. To what extent do people feel included and valued? Have they experienced exclusion or discrimination this year?”
Professor, UBC Psychology

In a Q&A, Dr. Sheila Woody, a professor in the department of psychology and working group lead, and Holly Engstrom, a psychology graduate student and working group member, share their working group’s goals, why people should take part in the survey, and what they hope to learn.

Who is the EDI Progress Monitoring Working Group?

We are a group of Psychology Department faculty and students who are working to create systems of accountability for the various EDI efforts happening in our department. Our goal is to measure the department’s progress towards its EDI goals and to be transparent about where we are making progress and where we are falling short. Specifically, we are monitoring the department’s progress towards achieving the recommendations from the 2021 Psychology Department EDI Task Force. To do this, we created goal monitoring methods for the working groups that are addressing those recommendations. The Progress Monitoring Working Group will use these to write an annual report sharing this year’s achievements and challenges with our department community. We have also recently launched our first annual EDI climate survey to assess experiences with EDI in our department, and we will share those results with the department community.

What is the motivation for launching the Psychology EDI Climate Survey?

We want to know about people’s feelings and experiences in our department this year. To what extent do people feel included and valued? Have they experienced exclusion or discrimination this year? Do these feelings and experiences differ depending on personal identities? This survey will help us assess how well our department is progressing towards one of the major recommendations from the 2021 EDI Task Force: Increasing the climate of inclusivity and sense of belonging for all members of our department. The Task Force recommended measuring this climate every year in a survey.

Why should members of the psychology community participate in this survey?

If we get good participation from all sectors of the department (including both graduate and undergraduate students, staff, faculty, postdocs), then we can feel confident we have a sense of how people are feeling. It is really important to have input from everyone – from people who feel very included and wonderfully at-ease to those who have had lots of uncomfortable experiences this year. Plus, people who participate can elect to be entered into a prize draw. We will be giving away a $50 gift card and a couple of UBC Psychology Department swag bags.

How will we know when the Psychology Department has made progress on its goals?

Developing an environment where everyone feels like they belong is a journey rather than a destination. Our Working Group aims to maximize transparency about how the department is taking steps in many different areas to promote equity, value diversity, and create an inclusive community. The Climate Survey is one tool that can help our community understand areas where we are accomplishing our goals and areas where we need to direct our attention and resources to improve everyone’s experiences.

Is there anything we haven’t asked that you’d like to mention or add?

We want to reiterate how important it is that we get as much input from as many people in the department as possible. The Psychology EDI Climate Survey is a great way to make your voice heard, and takes less than 10 minutes to complete. We want to make the department a comfortable, inclusive, and positive place for everyone in our community, but we can’t do that without your help!