Oct. 26, 2022

2022 Institutional Sustainability Report highlights collaborative approach to systemic problems

UCalgary continues toward a sustainable future with innovative work to reduce inequalities and poverty
Photo collage for 2022 UCalgary Sustainability Annual Report

Innovation and sustainability go hand in hand at The University of Calgary, as demonstrated by the 2022 Institutional Sustainability Report released Oct. 26.

The report recaps another year of sustainable progress supported by the collaborative efforts of faculties and departments across the university. UCalgary’s sustainability goals are outlined in the Institutional Sustainability Strategy (ISS), which serves as a guide for current proposals and projects, as well as future endeavours. According to the report, UCalgary is committed to generating meaningful change on and off campus through new projects and initiatives which merge community and industry.

“Top research-intensive universities don’t just focus on the present, but on far-reaching possibilities for the future,” says Dr. Ed McCauley, president and vice-chancellor. “At the University of Calgary, we are re-shaping the future of sustainability across a wide range of initiatives addressing health, poverty, inequity, clean energy and the environment.”

McCauley says the university’s field of focus is in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, which outline 17 areas for growth and improvement. “Collectively, we have embedded the principles of the UN Sustainable Development Goals into UCalgary’s teaching and learning, operations, campus facilities and community engagement,” he says.

“These campus-wide efforts are already making a positive impact on how we do our part as global citizens. As a powerful force for good, the University of Calgary is just getting started.”

The 2022 report delves into the university’s accomplishments over the last year, summarized in six different theme areas: 

Spotlight on reducing inequalities and poverty 

Standing with Black scholars and students

In November 2021, UCalgary became one of the 40 universities, colleges and partner institutions across Canada to sign the Scarborough Charter on anti-Black racism and Black inclusion in Canadian higher education. The charter recognizes the realities of anti-Black racism in Canada and includes concrete steps post-secondary institutions can take to achieve full institutional and cross-sector accountability. The four main principles outlined by the charter are Black flourishing, inclusive excellence, mutuality, and accountability.  

Since signing the charter, UCalgary — along with the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University — have hosted two separate events to discuss Black inclusion in scholarly spaces.

The Inter-Institutional Forum Business Meeting focused on tackling anti-Black racism and uplifting Black academics through a clear framework to fulfil the promise outlined by the Scarborough Charter. The Community Making and Black Flourishing Through the Scarborough Charter Symposium brought together four panels of students, faculty, advisers, and administrators to discuss the role of the community in enacting substantial change.

The charter and its signing respond to the United Nations International Decade for People of African Descent, which recognizes equality not as something to be earned, but as an innate human right.

Women leading the way

The women’s rights movement has continued to pick up speed worldwide, breaking barriers for women from all walks of life. UCalgary is proud to support women in Canada by providing equitable pathways for women academics and professionals. Currently over 36 per cent of UCalgary research papers are authored by women — a greater than 15 per cent increase from previous years. Women also make up over 62 per cent of non-academic leadership roles and over half of all academic roles in the university.

The university believes that providing platforms for open discussion can help incite change. In September, the campus hosted Indigenous women as leaders of change: Creating safe and inclusive space in sport. This panel of strong, Indigenous athletes shared stories of barriers they overcame and the hope they have for the future of sport in Canada and around the world.

A Place to Gather

During the height of the Coronavirus pandemic, when many people felt isolated and desperate for connection, those in the Faculty of Social Work were proactive in their decision to embark on a modified vision quest. The exercise intended to connect participants as they shared their vision for the future of the faculty, and what obstacles they must overcome to achieve a collective goal.

From that spirit of collaboration emerged A Place to Gather: Faculty of Social Work Strategic Plan 2022-2027. A Place to Gather centres community, teaching, learning and research with the faculty’s goal of becoming a local and global partner in transformative social work.

The strategic plan aims to support change within communities through authentic connection, collaboration, and advocacy to facilitate social change. The strategy also outlines potential curriculum changes which will address intersectional racism, colonization, sustainability and social injustice. It emphasizes the necessity of experiential learning — which allows students to experience hands-on projects and classes — as a necessary step to ensure success for neurodivergent students.

The written strategic plan is also supported by eight artworks created by Dr. Jennifer Leason (Kessis Sagay-Yas Egett Kwé: First Shining Rays of Sunlight Woman), PhD, an assistant professor at UCalgary and CIHR Canada Research Chair (Tier II) in Indigenous Maternal Child Wellness, as well as an artist. Leason’s paintings represent interconnectedness and community while celebrating different perspectives and cultures.

Read the 2022 Institutional Sustainability Report

To learn more about how UCalgary is leading change and sustainability, visit the 2022 Sustainability Report web page or the Reducing Inequalities and Poverty page.

About the Institutional Sustainability Strategy  

The University of Calgary’s Institutional Sustainability Strategy provides a road map for continuous improvement in our pursuit of excellence and leadership in sustainability. We aim to be a Canadian post-secondary education leader in sustainability in our academic and engagement programs, administrative and operational practices, and through supporting community and industry in their aims for leadership in sustainability. Learn more about UCalgary’s leadership in sustainability.