Initiatives, Plans & Reports

Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (G+PS) offers a breadth of support to graduate students and postdoctoral fellows – from education and professional development to health and wellbeing. These are just some of the projects and initiatives G+PS has developed in support of this work.

Commitments and updates

Strategic Plan 2019-2024

Graduate and postdoctoral education and research are core to the university’s mission as an exceptional research-intensive educational institution, and to its vision to “inspire people, ideas and actions for a better world.” Learn more about our strategic plan and key priorities in the section Strategic Plan & Priorities.

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies (G+PS) is engaged in discussion and actively working on initiatives related to UBC graduate students identifying as belonging to marginalized and/or underrepresented groups, such as Indigenous, Black, Persons of Colour (IBPOC), LGBTQ2S+ and persons with disabilities.

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Initiatives and projects

 

Graduate Life Centre

The Graduate Life Centre is a collaborative project between the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (G+PS), the Graduate Student Society (GSS) and the Vice-President Students, which seeks to revitalize Thea Koerner House (TKH) to holistically serve the needs of today's graduate student community. The project is currently underway, with renovations of the main floor starting in December 2022. Once completed, the centre will provide graduate students with much needed social space, self-dining options, and a child-friendly space. Future phases will add bookable rooms, oriented to academic, social, and cultural needs.

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Public Scholars Initiative

Inaugurated in 2015, the UBC Public Scholars Initiative (PSI) is designed to support UBC doctoral students as they strive for purposeful social contribution, produce new and creative forms of scholarship and dissertations, and explore diverse career pathways. With the PSI, UBC seeks to assist PhD students as they rise to address complex challenges in new, collaborative, and engaged ways.

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Three minute thesis

The Three Minute Thesis (3MT) is an academic competition that assists current graduate students with fostering effective presentation and communication skills. Participants have just three minutes to explain the breadth and significance of their research project to a non-specialist audience. Founded by the University of Queensland in 2008, the popularity of the competition has steadily increased and 3MT competitions are now held in over 350 universities across 59 countries worldwide. UBC, one of the first universities in North America to host a 3MT competition, has been presenting 3MT since 2011.

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Effective Mentorship of Racialized Graduate Students

Inspired by a blog by graduate student Dwayne Tucker, this initiative focuses on the complexities and gaps in the mentorship of racialized students at UBC by calling on a constellation of graduate students, mentors and experts. This initiative allows racialized graduate students at UBC to have their voices heard, and their experiences acknowledged and shared with UBC administration, faculty and beyond in an attempt to enhance racialized graduate experiences at UBC. 

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PHD Connections

PhD Connections is a series of by-invitation events for first year PhD students hosted by G+PS. Also invited are senior PhD students from across campus and the Graduate Student Society as well as staff from the Centre for Student Involvement & Careers, Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology, Health Promotion and Education, the Research Commons, the Centre for Writing and Scholarly Communication, and International Student Development. This informal gathering happens two to four times per year and provides an opportunity for first-year PhD students to connect with each other and with senior graduate students and key staff with the goal of helping them to thrive in their program at UBC. Each session is themed and begins with brief presentations/words of wisdom from the Dean and Vice-Provost and an Associate Dean from Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, followed by advice from staff attending, then networking and conversation. Topics include getting off to a good start, finding and building community, involvement with opportunities on campus, strategizing for success in graduate school, and building effective relationships with supervisors.

G+PS wellbeing initiatives

Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies has committed to taking a holistic, integrated, and student-centered approach to wellbeing—creating a cultural shift that makes the University a better place to live, work and learn by embedding it across the institution. Graduate programs have a particularly important role to play in championing wellbeing and exploring its impact on academic excellence. With this in mind, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies partnered with the Office of the Vice-President Students and graduate student representatives to identify graduate-specific mental health and wellbeing needs, resulting in the Graduate Student Wellbeing Status Report (2017). Since then, G+PS has continued to collaborate with Health Promotion and Education and Counselling Services on a number of wellbeing focused pilots and initiatives to engage specifically with graduate students, faculty and staff and find better ways promote and support graduate student mental health and wellbeing across campus.

Graduate Student Wellbeing Ambassadors 

Graduate school can be an exciting and challenging time. Some students may experience wellbeing challenges, including managing stress, navigating support, finding time for self-care (sleep, exercise, nutrition) and balancing personal and academic responsibilities.  Research shows that peer support can be an important tool in helping students thrive academically, socially and emotionally—that’s where the Graduate Student Wellbeing Ambassador program comes in! 

The Graduate Student Wellbeing Ambassador (GSWA) program aims to build individuals’ capacity and knowledge for UBC Vancouver graduate students in peer roles to enable them to share information on wellness services and resources with their peers.  The GSWA program plays a key strategic role at UBC in supporting the Health Promotion & Education Unit (Student Health & Wellbeing) in their effort to build capacity of the campus community to support and promote student wellbeing.

Wellbeing Liaisons Program 

The Wellbeing Liaison program plays a key strategic role at UBC in supporting the Health Promotion & Education Unit (Student Health & Wellbeing) in their effort to build capacity of the campus community to support and promote student wellbeing.

The Wellbeing Liaisons Program aims to establish a resource person within Faculties and units, who will share information on student wellness services and resources with colleagues. 

Learn more.

Support Group Series for Graduate Student Mental Health and Wellbeing

In 2019, G+PS partnered with Health Promotion and Education and Counselling Services to pilot a new initiative designed to offer additional mental health and wellbeing support geared specifically towards graduate students and centered on known stressors many graduate students are faced with. This pilot was created out of the identified need for more strategic mental health support for graduate students as highlighted in the Graduate Student Wellbeing Status Report (2017).

Bringing together additional key campus partners to help support these facilitated support group sessions, the goals of each was to identify and address key mental health concerns, foster resiliency, develop proactive coping strategies, identify resources, and create social connections through discussions. 

For the first year, each support session focused on a different theme known to be an area of heightened stress for graduate students, including:

  • Work Life Balance
  • Careers and Graduate Student Wellbeing
  • Graduate Supervisory Relationships
  • Procrastination and Perfectionism
  • Financial Pressures
  • Imposter Syndrome

Going forward, the sessions are being run through Graduate Pathways to Success as the “Graduate Wellness Discussion Series.”

 

 

Previous Initiatives

Intercultural fluency project

In 2018, approximately 65 UBC faculty, staff and graduate students came together for a half-day symposium to explore the role of intercultural difference on an increasingly global and diverse campus. This symposium explored the role of intercultural understanding in the graduate student-supervisor relationship.

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Forum on mentoring indigenous graduate students

In 2017, approximately 75 UBC faculty, staff and students came together for a forum on Mentoring Indigenous Graduate Students at the First Nations House of Learning.

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Great Supervisor Week

Between 2017 and 2019, G+PS organized an annual Great Supervisor Week during which graduate students were encouraged to give kudos to their supervisors through social media and the website. UBC Great Supervisor Week was first held in 2017 to celebrate outstanding mentors.

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