Naznin Virji-Babul

Senior Advisor to the Provost, Women and Gender-Diverse Faculty


The Senior Advisor to the Provost, Women and Gender-Diverse Faculty works closely with members of the university community including deans, Human Resources, Faculty Relations and the Equity & Inclusion Office, regarding policies and practices which promote equity for women and gender-diverse faculty. Dr. Naznin Virji-Babul supports institutional efforts to enhance the scholarly and leadership environment and expand opportunities for women and gender-diverse faculty at UBC’s Vancouver campus.

Building on the university’s commitment to promoting gender parity across the professoriate, and to advancing gender-diversity in leadership, she develops data-driven recommendations for positive change, and advises the UBC Executive on matters of significance in these areas.

Recent profiles

Maximizing Impact: A program for women and gender-diverse early-career faculty at UBC

Following the success of last year's pilot which focussed on Navigating Uncertainty and Complexity in the time of COVID-19, the second cohort of the Maximizing Impact program has now launched (fall 2021) with at least 50% of the 30 spots reserved for women and gender-diverse faculty at the Assistant Professor level.

Led by Dr. Virji-Babul, this eight-month online program is open to all non-tenured faculty members, and provides networking opportunities, lunch-and-learn sessions with thoughtful and engaging speakers, and group and/or 1:1 leadership coaching. Full details of the program, including an event/workshop listing, and speaker bios can be found here

Please also read this brief report from the first cohort: Navigating Uncertainty and Complexity in the time of COVID-19. In this first cohort, and with support from the Provost’s office, Dr. Shaheena Janjuha-Jivraj presented a special two-hour workshop on “Navigating your leadership”. Dr. Janjuha-Jivraj focused on identifying leadership styles, building relationships, burnout, and spoke about building and maintaining visibility. View the LinkedIn profile, and watch the recording (recording password: 123LEAD!)

UBC guidelines to increase diversity in conference keynotes and panelists

Concerns have been raised about the lack of diverse representation among invited and keynote speakers and panelists at conferences and meetings. While in principle it is accepted by many that diversity enhances quality and innovation, contributions from historically, persistently, or systemically marginalized groups are often discounted or ignored. The result is that these groups are often underrepresented at conferences.

Dr. Virji-Babul partnered with Professor Greg Martin to put out a call to UBCV and UBCO faculty members, post-doctoral fellows and graduate students to join a small committee to develop guidelines and best practices related to conferences organized by UBC community members. The committee is responsible for drafting a set of guidelines that are due to be released in the coming months. An update can be found here

Impact of COVID-19 on UBC Faculty

The outbreak of the COVID-19 virus brought about unprecedented challenges for UBC faculty. Following the onset of the pandemic, in April 2020, based on a number of concerns and stories brought to light, Dr. Virji-Babul initiated and developed a rationale and plan for a faculty wide survey on the impact of the virus. Dr. Minelle Mahtani and Dr. Virji-Babul were appointed as Co-chairs and assembled a small team with expertise in survey design and intersectional analysis. Based on events that were occurring globally in relation to issues of racism, they expanded the survey to probe faculty on the impact of these issues and the general climate at UBC.

Professor Moura Quayle presented the initial results from the survey to the UBC Board of Governors in November 2020. As part of the survey, faculty were invited to attend focus groups to discuss possible solutions to the challenges that they were facing. In February/March 2021, a series of focus groups were organized by Dr. Sara-Jane Finlay and staff at the Equity & Inclusion Office. The final report, which highlights the intersectional analysis is available online: Pandemic Tiers: How the COVID-19 Pandemic Affected UBC Vancouver Tenured Faculty.

Envisioning Equality: Using UBC’s public realm as a canvas to celebrate women and gender-diverse faculty and staff at UBC

Women and gender-diverse faculty and staff members at UBC have been making significant contributions to the institution for over a century. To celebrate the contributions that women and gender-diverse faculty and staff have made locally, nationally, and internationally, the Envisioning Equality outdoor art project will harness the transformative power of art in outdoor spaces to highlight these incredible members of the UBC community and catalyze new perspectives about their roles and contributions.

Learn more at the Envisioning Equality page.

Meet the recipents here.

About Dr. Virji-Babul

Dr. Virji-Babul joined UBC in 2010 and is an Associate Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy, in the Faculty of Medicine. As principal investigator of the Perception-Action Lab based at the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health, Dr. Virji-Babul leads an active research program in adolescent concussion and infant perceptual-motor and social-emotional development. In addition, she is an associate member of the Institute of Computing, Information and Cognitive Systems and an affiliate team member of the Designing for People research cluster.

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