Meet Janet Kalesnikoff
Role: Director, Academic Strategic Initiatives
Janet Kalesnikoff joined the Office of the Provost in 2019 as Senior Manager, Strategic Projects. She completed her undergraduate (BSc) and graduate training (Ph.D. in Experimental Medicine) at UBC Vancouver, and postdoctoral training (Pathology/Immunology) at Stanford University. She held various administrative roles at Stanford University, where she worked for 16 years, serving as Executive Director of Strategic Initiatives at the Stanford University School of Medicine before returning to Canada to work at UBC Okanagan.
Please describe what you do in the Office of the Provost.
In my role, I work closely with Mike Burgess, Associate Provost, Strategy, to advance strategic objectives and projects at UBC Okanagan through engagement with faculty, staff, students and the community. I support a number of working groups and task forces that provide important recommendations and feedback that shape the future of UBC Okanagan. I love the range of projects I get to work on—from capital projects and strategic reviews to developing new initiatives and programs, exploring new partnerships, and everything in between!
My favourite thing about my job is that it allows me to work closely with faculty, students, and staff across multiple Faculties and units at UBC Okanagan and UBC Vancouver. I also work closely with our community partners, including the Syilx Okanagan Nation. We get immense value from the diversity of perspectives providing input into our projects, and important opportunities to learn from others as we work to advance strategic projects on our campus.
What upcoming projects or current initiatives are you most excited about?
Interdisciplinary Collaboration and Innovation (ICI) building
One of the first projects I began working on when I started at UBC Okanagan was the Interdisciplinary Collaboration and Innovation (ICI) building. It has been exciting to see this project take shape over the years. We are currently working with the VPRI office and representatives from all Faculties/Schools to develop a plan to fill the building, which is scheduled to open in 2025. I’m looking forward to launching this process and getting our campus community excited about this unique interdisciplinary opportunity.
Strategic Review of Health
We recently completed an external review of the campus’ health-related programming and activities. I am looking forward to broadening this conversation with our campus community, UBC Health and our external partners as we define the next steps over the coming months.
What made you choose to work AT UBC Okanagan?
I truly enjoyed every stage of my education and training and love working in academia! After 16 years in the states, I was looking to return to an academic institution in Canada. I had been watching the development of UBC Okanagan for years, and I was eager to join the team. I was most excited about the size of the campus—it is growing quickly, but has retained the values of a small campus—and tremendous opportunities for growth, impact and service both locally and globally. I completed my undergraduate and graduate training at UBC Vancouver, so I was delighted to be able to return to UBC!
What’s your favourite Okanagan activity or spot and why?
I love skiing! There is a LOT of excitement in our house when it snows. I missed the mountains and snow during my 16 years in California. My kids graduated to blue runs this year, so I look forward to exploring more of Big White and our other local mountains next season when I’m not in the ice rink watching my kids play hockey.