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Relationality & belonging

Transform university structures and practices to show value for diverse lived experiences and ways of knowing to build relationships across and beyond UVic.

Why?

During the plan’s creation, university community members noted that UVic's academic environment is based on rigid and colonial measures of success. As a result, efforts to build meaningful relationships with those outside the academic "tradition" are affected by strict ideas of what type of knowledge belongs at UVic. By expanding the meaning of success and valuing all forms of knowledge and lived experiences, we will broaden the UVic community.

Committed actions

  1. Review and update UVic’s Policy on University Policies and Procedures to include a requirement to evaluate policies through an equity lens and in accordance with the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (DRIPA). Lead: University Secretary

  2. Create an institutional anti-racism framework that provides clear direction for curriculum and course development, training and other strategies. Lead: Executive Council

  3. Reflect the historic and present-day Indigenous communities at UVic in campus signage and other naming practices. Lead: Executive Council

  4. Promote and support professional development opportunities and events that build an inclusive campus and culture. Lead: Executive Council

  5. Expand and enhance opportunities for scholarship rooted in different worldviews that advance equity, diversity and inclusion. Leads: VP Academic & Provost, VP Indigenous, VP Research & Innovation

  6. Create transparent processes that value, recognize and reward scholarship rooted in differences in worldviews that advances equity, diversity, and inclusion. Leads: VP Academic & Provost, VP Indigenous, VP Research & Innovation

  7. Encourage and support instructors and teaching assistants to implement inclusive course design, teaching practices and assessments. Lead: VP Academic & Provost

  8. Honour student perspectives on belonging and inclusion and engage with students to improve teaching and program development. Leads: VP Academic & Provost, Equity & Human Rights

  9. Develop an implementation plan that responds to the findings of the Rick Hansen Accessibility Audit and other feedback on creating affirming and physically accessible spaces. Leads: VP Academic & Provost, VP Finance & Operations

  10. Support mentorship, peer support and affinity group community-building initiatives for students, staff and faculty. Leads: VP Academic & Provost, VP Finance & Operations, Equity & Human Rights

  11. Require, within the limits of academic freedom, that research about communities that is based on identity or that is likely to affect specific communities, respects the principles of co-construction, including ongoing outreach to relevant communities on inputs, interpretation and use of research results.* Lead: VP Research & Innovation

  12. Build robust community partnerships with organizations to increase relationships with systemically and historically marginalized communities.* Lead: VP External Relations

Barriers & targeted actions

Barriers Targeted actions

Increasing tuition costs combined with the housing crisis excludes people with a lower socioeconomic status. The lack of commitment to building relationships with this community reinforces barriers to their inclusion on campus.

UVic lacks meaningful engagement and connection across and beyond the campus community. This means that students, staff, faculty and librarian recruitment efforts are narrow, repetitive and reinforce inequitable ideas about who is included within the campus environment. 

Action 12: Build robust community partnerships with organizations to increase relationships with systemically and historically marginalized communities.* Lead: VP External Relations
The siloed and divided nature of UVic – across students, staff, faculty, librarians, leadership as well as positions, units, offices and faculties – impacts individuals' ability to feel like a valued part of UVic's community. Action 10: Support mentorship, peer support and affinity group community-building initiatives for students, staff and faculty. Leads: VP Academic & Provost, VP Finance & Operations, Equity & Human Rights
Prioritizing colonial academic knowledge in assessments and evaluations of students and employees reproduces the dominant structures of power. This limits the meaningful involvement of systemically and historically marginalized groups in higher education. Action 5: Expand and enhance opportunities for scholarship rooted in different worldviews that advance equity, diversity and inclusion. Leads: VP Academic & Provost, VP Indigenous, VP Research & Innovation
Strict and narrow measures of academic knowledge and/or success silences creativity and non-colonial, diverse forms of knowledge and experience. As a result, traditional and narrow ideas of who belongs at UVic and who doesn’t, are reinforced. Action 6: Create transparent processes that value, recognize and reward scholarship rooted in differences in worldviews that advances equity, diversity, and inclusion. Leads: VP Academic & Provost, VP Indigenous, VP Research & Innovation

 * Adapted from the Scarborough Charter

What's next

Learn how you can be part of putting this goal into action in the reflection and action guides.

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