Focus on People Updates

UBC leads as one of Canada’s Greenest Employers in 2021

For the tenth consecutive year, UBC is recognized as one of Canada’s Greenest Employers in 2021.

This special award recognizes Canadian employers that lead the nation in creating a culture of environmental awareness, developing exceptional sustainability initiatives, and – because of their environmental leadership – are attracting employees.

Some of the reasons why UBC is being recognized with this award include:

  • UBC adopted the LEED Gold certification standard for all new construction and major renovations of institutional buildings, with 26 registered and certified buildings (the most for any Canadian university) — and with over 400 buildings, UBC also manages an ongoing Building Tune-Up Program as well as a longstanding building retrofit program, ongoing since 1998.
  • UBC offers an impressive range of highly focused sustainability initiatives across campus that aim to foster a culture of sustainability among staff, students and the community — from Sustainability Tours to the Green Labs Program that promotes sustainable behaviours to the 24-hectare on-campus certified organic farm with over 200 varieties of crops.

UBC puts sustainability at the heart of teaching, learning and research and is integrated through our operations and infrastructure. We are committed to leadership in Climate Action, and our sustainability efforts are proudly delivered by students, faculty and staff — learn more about how you can get involved.

In addition to being recognized as one of Canada’s Greenest Employers this year, UBC was also recognized as one of BC’s Top Employers, one of Canada’s Top Employers for Young People, and one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers.

To see all of Canada’s Greenest Employers in 2021, visit

New pilot program maximizes the impact of junior faculty

In celebration of International Women’s Day, we are highlighting a new pilot program at the UBC Vancouver campus that aims to engage junior faculty, primarily cisgender and transgender women, in the early stages of their academic career.

Naznin Virji-Babul, Senior Advisor to the Provost on Women and Gender-Diverse Faculty, is piloting the initiative, Maximizing Impact: Navigating Uncertainty and Complexity in the time of COVID-19, to engage junior faculty in maximizing the impact of their academic endeavours – particularly during this challenging and uncertain time.

Understanding the impact of COVID-19 on faculty experiences

Last June, the UBCV Provost’s Office conducted a survey of Vancouver faculty to better understand their experiences since COVID-19. Many faculty reported an increase in teaching and service workloads with parallel decreases in research outputs, and an overall reduction in their ability to work since March 2020. These trends were particularly evident for women and junior faculty.

Some comments from faculty in survey include:

  • “I have really been struggling to balance everything during the pandemic, from work/life balance, to managing my lab remotely, to teaching, to mentoring my graduate students to staying productive…all of which is taking considerably more of my time than previously”
  • “I find myself so isolated and alone at a critical stage in my career where I need to make important strategic decisions under the extraordinary circumstances of the pandemic…”
  • “I welcome and look forward to connecting, sharing and learning from other faculty members and have the opportunity to network and for leadership coaching so that I can be a more effective leader and a better mentor for my graduate students…”
  • “It would be fantastic to engage with other faculty, get strategic advice from senior faculty and leadership coaching from someone who is at arms-length to provide much needed perspective…”

Exploring the beginnings of a new program

This year, the pilot focuses on providing support through networking opportunities, learning sessions and access to one-on-one coaching sessions. While the program is still new and in the beginning phases, some comments from faculty joining the pilot program include:

  • “This is wonderful news! I am so excited to take advantage of this opportunity…”
  • “There’s so much to attend to, I don’t even know where to start…”
  • “I’m delighted to be part of this program and very grateful for the opportunity…”
  • “I look forward to making a plan for going forward…”
  • “I’ve never worked with a coach before so will need some coaching on how to get coached…”

In partnership with Yael Blum, Director Organizational Development and Learning and Cindy Goundrey Program Lead for Coaching Services, the coaching program provides one-on-one coaching for 20 faculty members in the pilot.

Here’s what the coaches have to say:

  • “We are off to a great start – excellent matchmaking!”
  • “Thank you for all your work and the team’s efforts to move this pilot program forward – we are on our way to an amazing experience!”
  • “I love working with new female leaders to inspire and empower their leadership so that they can be at their best in their roles and in the community.”
  • “I believe we can create a strong proof of concept of the positive impact coaching has to maintain clarity of direction, confidence in pursuit of one’s goals and overall happiness & wellbeing despite the current challenges.”
  • “This is so up my ‘passion street’”

Faculty participants will be meeting with their coaches over the next few months, and the pilot will conclude in June.

For questions about the program, please contact Naznin Virji-Babul, Senior Advisor to the Provost on Women and Gender-Diverse Faculty.

If you are interested in learning more about UBC’s coaching services to help you grow in your career, visit the Coaching for staff and faculty page on the HR website.

UBC recognized as one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers in 2021

UBC is recognized as one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers in 2021. This designation recognizes employers across Canada that are stepping up to the challenge to address systemic inequities that have long existed in Canadian workplaces.

Some of the reasons that UBC is selected as one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers this year include:

  • UBC hosted its inaugural Black, Indigenous and Person of Colour (IBPOC) Connections lunch in fall 2019, a social gathering to build community and create a space of belonging for BIPOC faculty and staff — additionally, the university launched a Rule Out Racism campaign along with three community dialogues in collaboration with UBC’s alumni unit and other campus partners.
  • The Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre provides former students with access to the records of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada as well as facilitates understanding of the history and impact of residential schools for the UBC community, and provides context for contemporary relationships – at the time of the application, the university was finalizing a renewed Indigenous strategic plan which will further UBC’s commitments to enact meaningful and lasting reconciliation.
  • UBC maintains an Equity Enhancement Fund to support collaborative student, faculty and staff projects that advance equity and inclusion — the fund was recently used for several projects to enhance UBC’s curriculum through the inclusion of the Indigenous way of knowing, knowledge and perspectives.

Read more about Canada’s Best Diversity Employers awards at

Looking for resources or support to help you contribute to making UBC a respectful and inclusive place to work? The Equity & Inclusion Office offers resources and support to help us create a community in which human rights are respected, and equity and inclusion are embedded in all areas of life at UBC.

Learn more about how we’re making UBC an inspiring place to work through Focus on People 2025.

UBC named one of Canada’s Top Employers for Young People in 2021

UBC has been recognized as one of Canada’s Top Employers for Young People in 2021, for the ninth consecutive year. This special designation recognizes the employers that offer the nation’s best workplaces and programs for young people starting their careers.

Here are some of the reasons why UBC was selected this year include:

  • UBC manages a community leadership program to help aspiring leaders explore leadership concepts through a series of interactive workshops and experiential learning — participants can practice their skills by leading a group of undergraduate students through a three-day community service learning project during UBC’s Reading Week break in February, either at school or at a non-profit organization.
  • UBC’s new Red Seal culinary apprenticeship program enables chefs to earn their certification while immersed in a full range of culinary experiences at the university.
  • UBC’s Postdoctoral Fellows Office is a resource centre that provides support, advocacy, and professional development for postdocs — the Office’s flagship initiative is the “Foundations of Career Planning” program, a three-part workshop series supplemented with sessions in personal and professional effectiveness, academic growth, career building and leadership.

As we strive to make UBC a great place to learn and work, there are a number of services and supports available to faculty and staff. Many programs are tailored for young employees and employees who are new to the workplace to help welcome them to the community and grow in their careers, such as university-wide orientation and in-house apprenticeship and skilled trades training programs.

Faculty and staff also have access to coaching and career navigation services, workplace learning opportunities as well as tuition waivers and professional development funding.

As part of the university community, faculty and staff are encouraged to take part in workplace wellbeing initiatives as well as mental health training and workshops. Employees also have access the athletics and recreation facilities at our Vancouver and Okanagan campuses, in addition to UBC’s many attractions.

Read more about Canada’s Top Employers awards at


See also:

  • Looking to join UBC? View our careers and job postings.
  • Visit UBC Today for the latest news, events, and useful dates from across UBC, curated for faculty and staff by Internal Communications.
  • Visit Focus on People 2025 to learn how we’re striving to make UBC a first-choice place to learn and work.