Collage of images showing students in different work places.

Equitable systems design for organizations

Where do you begin telling someone their world is not the only one?

Lee Maracle, Indigenous writer and academic of the Sto꞉lo nation

Inequities in our workplaces and communities, whether hidden or revealed, are a product of design. To address them, individuals and organizations must be willing to confront structural barriers with purpose and intention, and (re)design a system that centres inclusion and equity.

How can we make our workplaces more inclusive? How might we centre marginalized voices in the work we do? How do we stay attuned to the equity, diversity and inclusion challenges within our organizations? The road to (re)designing systems requires ongoing, deep commitment. Workshops alone cannot result in lasting change. Through this comprehensive program, organizations engage in meaningful dialogue and action on the topics of anti-racism, EDI and justice, specific to their own unique context.

The UBC Extended Learning Centre for Equitable Systems Design (CESD) offers a fully online, asynchronous and facilitated UBC Micro-certificate in Equitable Systems Design (ESD). The ESD program is a participatory experience where each ESD cohort works together to create effective solutions designed to facilitate improvements within their workplaces and communities.

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Program elements and timeline

The UBC Equitable System Design program provides a pathway to navigate current systems and move more purposefully towards change. By partnering with a cohort of EDI practitioners, examine current EDI efforts, tackle systemic issues in the workplace, and advance inclusive and equitable solutions.

This program has been created for leaders, managers, and staff across departments who are interested in implementing equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) strategies within their organization. Program participants will work as a small cohort of 7-10 participants from within the same organization. Multiple cohorts of participants from the same organization, both within and across departments, can be run simultaneously or in succession throughout the year.

Each cohort consists of 5 courses and a capstone activity over the course of 6 months online and asynchronously. Each course of the 5 courses is approx. 14 hours and can be completed within one month online and asynchronously. Courses consists of reading material, workbooks, videos, case studies, and opportunities to discuss application in the workplace. The capstone activity is a collaborative activity that can be prepared online and asynchronously in advance of a Zoom meeting.

Throughout the program, the participants will engage with each other and the program facilitators in an online discussion forum to reflect, dialogue, and explore practical solutions to systemic EDI challenges. Through the closing capstone activity, the cohort presents to the leadership and/or their EDI committee their learnings and findings.

Courses in the program

  1. Understanding Systemic Issues and Impact: Explore how systemic issues evolve and interact within (and around) your organizations, consider your role as a systems designer and how you can center equity in the process.
  2. Pathways to Equitable Systems Design: What does it means to have an Equitable Systems Design mindset? How do our identities influence systems design? Reflect on the values and voices informing your organizational approach (both from the centers and the margins).
  3. (Re)telling Stories and Centering Identities in the Workplace: Equitable systems design invites organizations to explore diverse narratives that impact organizational cultures and culture change. Gain tools to explore these issues in support of increasing understanding and connection within the workplace and in the community.
  4. Practice Equity & Belonging within Systems: What does workplace health and well-being have to do with equitable design? How can workplace environments be actively welcoming to all in their approaches? Learn strategies and frameworks to identify missing gaps, include diverse perspectives and increase belonging.
  5. Implementing Equitable Systems Design & Practical Solutions: This course explores how to integrate the ongoing practice of equitable design and the practical steps towards empowering, effective solutions within your organizational context. Develop a toolkit to assess and evaluate the equity-centeredness of your systems design.

Program cost

Program fees are $3,500 per person in the cohort, minimum 7 employees. Each cohort can start the program at any time in the year.

Technology used:

The program is hosted on Canvas learning management software. The capstone presentation is conducted using Zoom or similar technology.

How to register

Registration for each cohort is ongoing and can occur at any time throughout the year. If your organization is interested in registering or would like more information, we encourage you to contact us.

Contact us to register

How can we help?

We’re here to answer your questions, discuss learning options and provide insights, recommendations and referrals.  

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