Assistant Professor in Planning – Policy and Community Engagement for Urban Transformation

University of British Columbia


Job Category
Faculty Bargaining

Job Title
Assistant Professor in Planning – Policy and Community Engagement for Urban Transformation

Faculty School of Community and Regional Planning Faculty of Applied Science (Heather Campbell)

Posting End Date
April 15, 2023

Note: Applications will be accepted until 11:59 PM on the day prior to the Posting End Date above.

The University of British Columbia and the School of Community and Regional Planning acknowledges the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓-speaking xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam people) on whose traditional, ancestral and unceded territory the University resides.

Faculty of Applied Science – President’s Academic Excellence Initiative: Healthy, Equitable and Adaptive Cities and Communities


The School of Community and Regional Planning (SCARP) at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver campus, invites applications for a tenure-track position at the rank of Assistant Professor with particular expertise in policy and community engagement for urban transformation. This position is part of the University of British Columbia’s President’s Academic Excellence Initiative (PAEI) within the Faculty of Applied Science. The successful applicant should demonstrate a record of research excellence or the promise of establishing a distinguished record of research and publications, as well as a commitment to high quality undergraduate and professional planning education.

Background to President’s Academic Excellence Initiative (PAEI)

The School of Community and Regional Planning is delighted to be part of the University of British Columbia’s President’s Academic Excellence Initiative within the Faculty of Applied Science. This Academic Excellence Initiative involves a substantial investment in new faculty positions and the associated infrastructure. In the Faculty of Applied Science the leadership of the constituent Schools and Departments has come together around a shared vision. The aim is to create a community of scholars ready to challenge and consider afresh existing ways of generating and applying knowledge and thereby contribute to the creation of more Healthy, Equitable and Adaptive Cities and Communities .

While inequality and the climate emergency have long been pressing concerns, their pertinence and implications have been amplified in the context of the global Covid-19 pandemic. As societies look towards creating new pathways to the future, it is more important than ever that the scholarly community seeks innovative approaches in the ways we study, learn and research. This includes how the questions we address are identified, how we do research and with whom, how we learn together across disciplinary boundaries and cultural traditions, and how we share and develop ideas and knowledge. If scholarly knowledge is to have impact, new methodological approaches are needed, creating new intellectual traditions which better contribute to the realisation of more healthy, safe, inclusive and thriving communities.

The Faculty of Applied Science at UBC is uniquely positioned to advance this creative and impactful vision given the constellation of units, which include focus on health, technology, design and communities. (The Faculty consists of three Schools: Nursing; Architecture and Landscape Architecture; and Community and Regional Planning; and six engineering departments: Chemical and Biological Engineering; Civil Engineering; Electrical and Computer Engineering; Mechanical Engineering; Materials Engineering; Mining Engineering; and the School of Biomedical Engineering.) The Faculty of Applied Science’s Strategic Plan Transforming Tomorrow prioritises transforming ourselves, so our scholarship and learning is better able to address the urgent challenges facing communities and cities, near and far.

This Position

In the context of this wider initiative the School of Community and Regional Planning (SCARP) is seeking to recruit an Assistant Professor in Planning with particular expertise in innovative approaches to policy and community engagement as the basis for transformative change. This might include a focus on methodological developments which support research impact in the context of policy change within governmental contexts and / or community-inspired and led institutional change. This might also include a focus on inclusive urban transitions and transformational governance.  Applications are welcomed from candidates from any substantive field of planning with interests and expertise in engagement for transformative change.

The successful candidate will lead an independent research program with potential to achieve international recognition in their field, participate in graduate and undergraduate teaching, and provide service within the University and the academy, as well as importantly the broader community.

This position will join and work in collaboration with eight other new appointees in the Faculty of Applied Science to form a significant cluster of innovative thinking, designed to catalyse the whole community.

School of Community and Regional Planning

SCARP is internationally recognized for the excellence of its research and teaching. The School undertakes teaching and research across the sub-fields of planning, in line with being a professionally accredited planning program.

The School is committed, through its research and teaching, to generating and transforming knowledge into action to improve the well-being of communities, as well as the quality of the built and natural environment. What makes SCARP distinctive is a particular emphasis on exploring the interface between knowledge and action. The School therefore aims to generate knowledge and deliver educational programs that foster both intellectual excellence and a commitment to practical, transformative change. Research and educational programs which explore the interface between methodologies, ways of knowing, disciplines and professions are especially encouraged

In line with the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, SCARP is working to further indigenize its curriculum and recruitment, as well as learning how to decolonize planning pedagogy and practices. The School is also committed to furthering the goals of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) by supporting Indigenous communities on their path to self-determination and sovereignty, and to working within the framework of BC’s recent UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act.

The School seeks new faculty members who can contribute to furthering SCARP’s vision and achievements. For further details see SCARP: Strategic Plan and Implementation Strategies .

The School’s high quality professionally oriented programs engage innovative and creative teaching practices and offer the chance to work with outstanding students. Our graduate planning program, the Masters of Community and Regional Planning, is accredited by both the Canadian Professional Standards Board and the United States Planning Accreditation Board. The School also has a Research Masters program, co-leads the Masters in Engineering Leadership (MEL) in Urban Systems (with Civil Engineering), provides seven undergraduate courses, and from September 2023 will launch a new undergraduate Major in Urban Studies jointly with the Department of Geography. The School has a well-established PhD program and is committed to a thriving and lively doctoral community. SCARP is unique in Canada for having a long-standing partnership with the Musqueam First Nation. Further information about SCARP can be found on our website .

The Faculty of Applied Science shares the School’s commitment to research and teaching which seeks to further knowledge in action. The synergies and opportunities offered by Applied Science provide a supportive context for the advancement of SCARP’s ambitions.

Qualities of Applicants

All applicants should have a record of research excellence and a commitment to the highest standards of teaching. In addition, applicants must be able to demonstrate how their research seeks firstly, to advance methodological innovation through their approach to collaborative working between academic disciplines and / or with non-academic partners, and secondly, to impact contemporary societal challenges. Strong applicants are likely to be comfortable working with and learning from non-specialists in their field.

The successful candidate for the position will have:

  • A PhD in planning or a related discipline
  • A record of independent scholarship
  • Evidence of a promising research trajectory, including the ability to produce high-quality publications and an evolving externally funded research program
  • Commitment to excellence in teaching, in their area of expertise
  • The ability to work in an interdisciplinary environment and to contribute to the wider work of the School
  • Research and teaching interests that complement or deepen SCARP’s vision and strengths, as described in the School’s Strategic Plan

In addition, evidence of innovation and new ideas in relation to the theory and practice of knowledge mobilisation would be particularly welcomed. Applications are also encouraged from candidates seeking to challenge conventional orthodoxies in planning scholarship.

Within this hiring process, the School will make efforts to create an inclusive and equitable process for all candidates (including but not limited to people with disabilities). Accommodations are available on request for all candidates taking part in the selection process.

Equity and diversity are essential to academic excellence. An open and diverse community fosters the inclusion of voices that have been underrepresented or discouraged. We encourage applications from members of groups that have been marginalized on any grounds enumerated under the B.C. Human Rights Code, including sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, racialization, disability, political belief, religion, marital or family status, age, and/or status as a First Nation, Metis, Inuit, or Indigenous person. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians and permanent residents of Canada will be given priority.


All applications must be submitted online. Applicants should submit a letter stating their suitability for the position, which will include:

Brief overviews of:

  • Relevant experience and achievements
  • Your research goals, including how your research would contribute to policy and community engagement for transformative change, in the context of an inter-disciplinary initiative such as Healthy, Equitable and Adaptive Cities and Communities
  • Your approach to teaching, including professional planning education
  • How your research and teaching would contribute to a diverse, equitable and inclusive academic environment, including information about your understanding of these topics, record of activities and plans for advancing equity and inclusion if hired
  • A 100-word summary, suitable for a non-specialist audience, outlining the nature and purpose of your research
  • Your current curriculum vitae
  • Names and contact information (including email addresses) of four referees

Applicants are encouraged to submit supplementary materials, including:

  • A teaching dossier (summarising experience and including, teaching accomplishments, a statement of teaching philosophy, teaching evaluations and any other relevant material)
  • No more than two samples of research publications (which may include professional reports, if appropriate)
  • Your website address, if you have one

The first stage of selection will be based on the letter of application, CVs, and supplementary materials. At the second stage, referees will be contacted for short-listed candidates only. The deadline for applications is Friday, April 14, 2023. The Search Committee will begin reviewing applications soon after the closing date. The anticipated start date for this position is July 1, 2023 or a date to be mutually agreed. Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience. The position is subject to final budgetary approval.


Informal inquiries about the nature of this position should be addressed to the Chair of the Search Committee, Professor Heather Campbell via email .

Institutional Context

The University of British Columbia consistently ranks among the 40 best universities globally, and among the top 20 public universities in the world. Vancouver has a dynamic planning environment and is frequently rated as one of the world’s most desirable places to live. Times Higher Education (THE) ranks UBC number one in the world for taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts, and is ranked first in Canada for making cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

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