A year in review: Message from the Vice-President, People, Equity and Inclusion

April 28, 2023

A year ago, I joined SFU as the first Vice-President of People, Equity and Inclusion to bring together the functions of human resources, faculty experience, and the equity office. It was a commitment from the University to move forward with a focus on transforming the people experience at SFU. It represented a commitment, along with our institutional vision for advancing an inclusive and sustainable future, to work towards an SFU that is known for practicing inclusive excellence and achieving equitable outcomes for members of our community.  

To this end, I made a commitment to the university to build a leadership team and align a structure for the new People, Equity and Inclusion portfolio that now includes a Human Resources & Labour Relations Office, a People and Organization Development Office, and an Equity Office, all who work in close collaboration with Faculty Relations. 

I also committed to taking on some immediate priorities and to developing inaugural strategic plans for People and Equity to take us forward. I am pleased to report that we met these goals, as well as completed or have underway/ongoing all of the priorities we set for ourselves last year. See here.

I could not have tackled this year without the incredible support and leadership of the People, Equity and Inclusion team. As the first point of contact for many in the university, this group has managed the changes inside and out, from team transitions to new organizational expectations and constrained budgets, all while continuing to support our faculty and staff in a myriad of ways. We know we have a long way to go to meet the expectations of our community and the requests you have made of us. As we move into the new fiscal year, we will continue building on the momentum with which we have started, transforming how we work so that we can achieve the intentions and goals of  the People Plan and Equity Compass. I am grateful for our team’s dedication to promoting a safe, diverse, equitable, and inclusive teaching, learning, and working environment for all community members.

To wrap up the year, I wanted to share a few highlights from our portfolio: 

People Strategies

We launched the People Plan, an integrated blueprint for transforming the faculty and staff experience at SFU for the next 5 years (2023-2028), supporting our people to deliver on the academic mission.


Other highlights:

  • Human Resources and Labour Relations Office:
    • Throughout 2023, SFU will be in active negotiation with each of the university’s employee groups. A central web page and regular updates on the status of bargaining with all employee groups is part of a commitment to be more transparent and provide better communication about the collective bargaining process for everyone at SFU.
    • We are placing continued focus on renewing relationships with employee groups through an intentional employee group philosophy developed in 2022.
  • People and Organization Development Office
    • Launch of our hybrid work program that confirms SFU as a hybrid work environment. 
    • Continued work on a well-being strategy. 
    • Improvements to our job evaluation service model to be launched in summer 2023.
    • Conducting a staff employment lifecycle review and selected service delivery and operational excellence reviews, with some underway and some improvements already made (e.g. establishing a dedicated recruitment hub).

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

We launched the Equity Compass, a strategic framework outlining the focus for SFU’s institutional equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) work over the next five years (2023-2028) to help build an SFU where all can thrive. The Equity Compass actions will be worked on at the institutional level, led, supported or coordinated by SFU’s inaugural Equity Office.

Other highlights: 

  • Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Office:
    • Submitted the Special Programs Application to the BC Human Rights Commissioner for preferential hiring of Black faculty in accordance with our senate motion as well as applications for Black staff and Indigenous faculty and staff cluster hiring.
    • Established an accessibility steering committee for the implementation of B.C.’s Accessibility Act, an accessibility steering group.
    • Established an Equity data taskforce and developed a plan to launch and systematize equity demographic and experience data collection.
    • Launched in December 2022, a Community of Practice (EDI-CoPr) which hosts 75 SFU  Equity  Diversity and Inclusion Practitioners/Leads across faculties and administrative units led by Special Projects Advisor to my VPPEI office, Paola Ardiles Gamboa.

Faculty Experience

We are so pleased to welcome Catherine Stoddard as the new Executive Director, Faculty Relations, providing guidance and leadership to our amazing Faculty Relations team. Our People, Equity and Inclusion portfolio will continue to support Catherine and her team, providing support for shared operational services such as faculty benefits administration and immigration support.

Other highlights:

  • Faculty Experience and Equity:
    • Completed New Faculty Orientation
    • Reinstated and delivered the pre-retirement workshop for faculty (and staff)
    • Finalizing a faculty lifecycle review with an equity lens led by Mary Catherine Kropinski, who served as Special Advisor to VPPEI from June 2022 to March 2023 for this project.

It has been an incredible year and I look forward to the year ahead. Thank you to all who gave us feedback, attended roundtables, engaged with the People, Equity and Inclusion office and for all your overall support this year. 


Yabome Gilpin-Jackson
Vice-President, People, Equity and Inclusion