An end-of-year update from the Vice-President, People, Equity and Inclusion

December 11, 2023

Reflecting back on this past year and all that’s taken place here at SFU as well as in our world, I’m extremely grateful for the people of SFU.

Despite challenges faced throughout 2023, we’ve worked together towards affirming a community of care where we can achieve equitable outcomes for all who work, live, teach and learn here at SFU.

These successes are possible thanks to the dedication of the People, Equity and Inclusion team (People and Organization Development; Human Resources and Labour Relations; and Equity Office) as well as our partners in Faculty Relations. Many of our team members are the first point of contact for the SFU community. We directly contribute to shaping and transforming the SFU experience through Inclusive Excellence and people-centered practices to achieve equitable outcomes for all. We work alongside all of you, faculty, staff partners, students and community members, to advance the academic mission of SFU, and meet the higher education needs that will support our province and the world into the future. I am grateful to you all.

I’m happy to share some highlights of the many (but not nearly all) initiatives achieved this past year:

People Plan: Over 450 individuals were consulted to create the comprehensive strategy to guide our work for the next three to five years. The strategy launched with an implementation plan for 14 first-year actions. All 14 actions have been completed or are underway. We look forward to updating the community on the progress of this plan overall at the end of fiscal year 2024.

Equity Compass: After extensive engagement with stakeholders across the university, SFU’s first Equity Compass was introduced with 26 actions identified along with areas we need to start working on this year. Some actions are in early research and concept development stages. while others are close to completion. We look forward to updating the community on progress on the Equity Compass overall at the end of fiscal year 2024.

Bargaining: It was a bargaining year for SFU. All collective agreement negotiations for our unions and the compensation and benefits negotiations for our professional staff are now complete and ratified.

Special Programs Approval and Implementation: Applications to the BC Office of the Human Rights Commission (BCOHRC) for hiring of Black staff and faculty and Indigenous staff were approved and put in place to build a more inclusive and diverse community. Toolkits to support recruitment under this Special Program, in adherence to best practices under employment equity and human rights regulations, are now in progress to support the hiring of Black and Indigenous scholars in 2024 and beyond, in addition to the hiring of Black staff into the future.

Cross Institutional Collaboration: The EDI Community of Practice and SFU Accessibility Committee were both launched this past year along with, most recently, a well-being strategy working group. These groups will lead, engage, gather feedback and incorporate the skills, knowledge and lived experience of our SFU people to uplift the well-being of our community.

Academic and Administrative Leaders Forum: The inaugural leaders forum was launched to support academic and administrative leaders across the university. Although we had to switch formats to a virtual meeting, it was a significant step forward and we look forward to having more opportunities to support academic and administrative leaders at SFU in the years ahead.

Thank you again for your support and efforts towards building a better community where faculty, staff and students can thrive. There is no doubt that there are more challenges ahead. However, as we prepare for a new year, I am encouraged by what we have accomplished together this year and by the knowledge that I am part of a leading research university committed to building an inclusive and sustainable future that includes addressing the challenges of these times, locally and globally. Thank you to each of every one of you for your work, leadership and partnership.

Wishing you all a restful holiday season and winter break. See you in 2024!   

Yabome Gilpin-Jackson, PhD
Pronouns: she/her/hers
Vice-President, People, Equity and Inclusion
Simon Fraser University