I am pleased to share the first edition of my newsletter, which I hope to publish every two months. This is a platform to share and celebrate the milestones and achievements of our campus community, and to inform you of opportunities, ongoing discussions for which we need your voice, and other related matters. It will also be an opportunity for me to hear questions you may have for me and answer them. It is an inspiring time indeed, as we explore the future of our campus through Outlook 2040, founded on UBC’s strategic plan Shaping UBC’s Next Century.
I am excited about the opportunities for our campus. UBC’s long-standing reputation as a top-tier, world-renowned University, paired with our remarkable growth and achievements over our short history in the Okanagan, provides a unique foundation from which to continue to grow and positively impact the communities with whom we work.
The success and well-being of our students is our top priority. The new Commons Building is helping us find the much needed academic space for our students. Along with study space, the large classroom in the Commons is going to be used by 11,000 students this Fall, which indicates a significant expansion of our classroom capacity. In addition, Heather Berringer, Associate Provost Learning Services, is working with Campus Planning and Student Services to co-locate many academic services for students, including supports for writing, languages, math, and science and the Supplemental Learning program, in a new Student Learning Hub located on the second floor of the Okanagan Library.
Professor Joan Bottoroff, one of our most celebrated Professors in the School of Nursing, is chairing a task force on food security on campus. With a broad membership including professors, students, and staff, the task force will explore how we can become a food secure campus.
Drs. Jannik Eikenaar (School of Engineering) and Sally Willis Stewart (School of Health and Exercise Sciences) are working on strategies to address student wellbeing through classroom teaching practices. I look forward to working with them on this critically important topic.
I have also heard that students are in need of more paid work opportunities on campus. To this end, we funded 14 additional work-study projects this year from the Excellence Fund. In collaboration with AVP Students, I am actively exploring new opportunities for students.
Let me now turn to faculty successes. You will find a lot of exciting information on new faculty appointments and awards as you read through the newsletter. But there is more going on.
We had an inspiring leadership retreat in June. The retreat brought together over 50 people, with the Heads and Directors attending for the first time. Several important ideas emerged from the retreat, such as facilitating cross-campus collaborations, developing a framework for non-degree initiatives, strategic international partnerships and more. We are actively following up on these opportunities.
Starting in the Fall, Dean Blye Frank (Dean of Education) will be chairing a task force on cross-campus collaboration to see how we can better harness the synergies between UBC’s two campuses. The Board of Governors has initiated a UBC-wide taskforce on academic renewal. Its purpose is to examine how we can recruit, retain and support faculty, graduate students and post-doctoral scholars to advance our academic mission.
Planning for a proposed Interdisciplinary Academic Building (~165,000 gross sq. feet) is proceeding. The building will host four interdisciplinary themes ranging from Health, Digital Media and Creative Industries; High Value Agriculture; and Cannabis research. Deans are working with colleagues in their respective Faculties to provide input to the planning process. The building is listed as one of UBC’s top 5 capital priorities.
On July 18, I was honored to attend the Annual General Assembly of the Okanagan Nation Alliance in Vernon, along with Adrienne Vedan and Ian Cull. I am looking forward to September 24 when UBC Okanagan will be launching its plan for responding to Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Calls to Action. Collectively, we have a lot of work to do to successfully implement these commitments.
In May, I had an inspiring meeting with the Vice-Chancellor of Exeter University, UK Professor Sir Steve Smith and Mark Goodwin, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (External Engagement). As you will see below, an excellent partnership is developing with Exeter, with the involvement of a number of faculty members.
As you may know, the September meeting of UBC’s Board of Governors will take place on our campus. We are preparing for some exciting initiatives and announcements following the meeting.
Do peruse the newsletter at your leisure and send me your questions and your feedback at email@example.com. I look forward to hearing from you. I will try to answer your questions – please let me know if you want me to state your name with the question or not. For this edition of the newsletter, I have answered two questions I am often asked.
Before I sign off I want to express my gratitude to my team without whom none of this work would be possible.
Ananya Mukherjee Reed
Professor, Department of Economics, Philosophy and Political Science
Provost and Vice-President Academic
I respectfully acknowledge that UBC’s Okanagan campus is situated on the territory of the Syilx Okanagan Nation