Black Faculty Cohort Hiring Initiative


Inclusive excellence is a priority for UBC. In 2020, UBC pledged to advance the Scarborough Charteron Anti-Black Racism and Black Inclusion which is guided by four overarching principles: Black Flourishing, Inclusive Excellence, Mutuality, and Accountability. UBC’s Anti-Racism and Inclusive Excellence Task Force has also recommended the university develop a strategy to advance Black excellence (recommendation # 13). To meet these priorities, the university is taking an ecosystem approach to implementing a series of interrelated initiatives to promote and sustain Black Excellence.

The Black Faculty Cohort Hiring Initiative aims to increase representation of Black faculty across the spectrum of UBC’s teaching and scholarship activities. The program supports the recruitment of tenure-track and tenured professors at all ranks, including assistant, associate and full professors across both the research and educational leadership streams. This initiative is aligned with strategy #4 of our strategic plan, with recommendation #2 from the Anti-Racism and Inclusive Excellence Task Force Report (Increasing recruitment and retention of Indigenous, Black, and People of Colour faculty) and goal #1 of UBC’s Inclusion Action Plan, and is guided by UBC’s Strategic Equity and Anti-Racism (StEAR) Framework. The initiative is being advanced in consultation and collaboration with a network of Black faculty.

The program encourages cohort hires, recognizing the ways in which this promotes interdisciplinary collaborations and helps create communities of support for scholars from underrepresented groups.

With approval from UBC’s Board of Governors in April 2021, Academic Excellence Funding has been provided to match faculty contributions (50/50 split, up to $75k annually) for the hiring of a number of Black faculty members each year. Funding for each hire is available for up to seven years.

Summary of Proposals

Following the launch of the program in February 2023, the following Black Faculty Cohort Hiring Initiative proposals have been approved, with a total of 23 new Black scholars anticipated to be hired over the next 4 years:

  • Faculty of Applied Science: 3 hires across areas of strategic focus (details forthcoming)
  • Faculty of Arts: 3 hires across the Departments of Political Science, Geography, and Anthropology to support the development of a Black Studies Centre at UBC. This cluster in Black Studies: Mobility, Place-Making and Power focuses on how diverse Black people and communities navigate evolving physical, social and political environments that present significant racialized challenges while also finding and mobilising resources for Black resistance, empowerment and success.
  • Faculty of Arts: 3 hires in the Departments of Creative Writing, Art History, Visual Art and Theory, and the Information School supporting the creation of a research cluster in Black Informatics and Creative Arts.
  • Faculty of Education: 2 hires with one situated within the Teacher Education program.
  • Faculty of Forestry and Faculty of Land and Food Systems: There is an urgent global need to address questions about how to sustainably and equitably meet future demands for food, manufactured wood products, and energy, while maintaining biodiversity and ecological functions of forests and farmlands. This cluster of 3 new hires in Food, Forests and (Bio)Fuels would take an interdisciplinary approach to understanding these complex socio-ecological challenges and the future of bio-based systems.
  • School of Law: 3 hires in possible areas such as, disability law, health law, intellectual property law, and/or in artificial intelligence and data privacy.
  • Faculty of Medicine: A targeted hire in the School of Population and Public Health in the area of global population health, specifically an epidemiology-trained scientist with expertise in implementation science and new approaches to reduce health inequities for population global health.
  • Faculty of Science: In the face of mounting global environmental challenges, such as climate change and biodiversity loss, there is a need for robust scholarship to elucidate and manage complex socio-environmental systems. The Faculty proposes 5 new hires to support a cluster in Quantitative and Environmental Science.

The following overarching principles help guide this hiring initiative:

  1. The initiative aims to foster the breadth and diversity of scholarship undertaken by Black scholars, springing from the recognition that this is of far-reaching benefit.
  2. The initiative contributes to a just, equitable, diverse and inclusive academic and research environment at UBC for the benefit of all learners, university stakeholders, and fields of knowledge.
  3. The initiative will recognize excellence, as defined in UBC’s strategic plan, in diverse forms of scholarship and ways of knowing, and seek to support scholars across a wide range of academic disciplines and knowledge/inquiry traditions.
  4. It is expected that search processes will follow all equity, diversity and inclusion recruitment guidelines and search committees must include diverse representation.
  5. Nothing for us, without us: Search committees are expected to be Chaired or co-Chaired by a Black faculty member. Where Black faculty representation within the unit is limited, committees are encouraged to consider interdisciplinary representation.
  6. Career success of hired candidates is a key priority and all proposals must include plans to support career advancement.
  7. Hiring decisions should be based on a candidate’s record of achievement, the context of their work to date, and their future potential and must not discriminate against Black candidates who may face disproportionate barriers to early career development.
  8. In accordance with UBC’s Employment Equity Plan and pursuant to Section 42 of the BC Human Rights Code, this is a strategic hiring initiative limited to Black faculty.

The initiative is open to proposals from all Departments, Units, and Faculties on the UBC Vancouver campus. The Principal Applicant may be a Dean, Department Head, or Unit Head. While collaborative proposals from one or more departments, units or faculties are encouraged it is not a requirement. Proposals must be approved and signed off by the Principal Applicant’s Dean (if more than one Faculty is involved, all Deans must sign off).

The initiative encourages cohort hire proposals. For the purposes of this initiative, a cohort may be defined as either:

  • The hiring of three or more faculty members across multiple departments, units or faculties organized around an interdisciplinary topic.
  • The hiring of three or more faculty in a single department or unit.

Where appropriately justified, the initiative will consider the targeted hiring of a single Black scholar where it is demonstrated as an opportunity to recruit an excellent candidate.

Cohort hire proposals which include the hiring of faculty across ranks (e.g., Assistant, Associate, Full) and/or streams (educational and research) will be prioritized. This helps ensure the service burden placed on IBPOC faculty is not felt solely by Assistant-level scholars, and recognizes the importance of hires who could act in the important role of mentor. However, it is recognized that in some disciplines it may be difficult to recruit senior-level faculty and a cohort of several Assistant Professors may be more appropriate.

Please note, any potential partner hires will be funded through the regular funding mechanisms and not via the Black Faculty Cohort Hiring Initiative.

If you have any questions, please contact Moura Quayle (Vice-Provost and Associate Vice-President, Academic Affairs), Arig al Shaibah (Associate Vice-President, Equity and Inclusion) or Alison Stuart-Crump (Senior Projects Manager, Office of the Vice-President, Academic).

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