Kristen Brooke



Dear colleagues,

In this transformative era of education, UBC Okanagan faculty and staff are leading the way, supported by the Aspire-2040 Learning Transformations (ALT-2040) Fund. For almost a decade, the ALT-2040 Fund has catalyzed innovative ideas and projects that have transformed the student experience on our campus and accelerated the academic vision of Shaping UBC’s Next Century and Outlook 2040.

This year, we are pleased to announce eight outstanding new projects that will directly impact teaching and learning at UBC Okanagan.

Open Educational Resources (OER) Focus Stream

(Awards up to $10,000)

Program and Learning Experience Enhancement Stream

(Awards up to $25,000)

Constellation Protostar Fellowship Stream

(Awards up to $10,000)


See Learning transformation in action

Join us for the first in-person UBC Okanagan ALT-2040 Showcase. This poster session event brings together project teams from throughout the Fund’s history, highlighting the exceptional learning transformation projects making a difference at UBC Okanagan.

Date: Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Time: 2 to 4 pm

Location: EME Richard S. Hallisey Atrium (Lower level)



I encourage you to visit the ALT-2040 website to learn more about some of the innovative projects and exceptional project teams advancing learning at UBC Okanagan.

Congratulations to the 2024 ALT-2040 Fund recipients and thank you to all project teams, past and present, supporting transformative learning at UBC Okanagan.


Rehan Sadiq
Provost and Vice-President, Academic
UBC Okanagan

Heather Berringer
Associate Provost, Academic Operations and Services
UBC Okanagan


We are pleased to welcome representatives from the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) to UBC Okanagan this May as we explore new and continuing opportunities for worldwide collaboration.  

The UBC Okanagan campus community is invited to connect with representatives from German funding agencies at an information session to learn more about the German research environment and funding opportunities to support research activities and collaboration with German partners, including details on grants supporting individual academic mobility and program funding. 

Information Session Details 

A reception event will also take place by invitation for additional opportunities for high-level discussion about partnership opportunities. If you are interested in attending this event please contact  

Dear colleagues,

Across all Faculties and disciplines at UBC Okanagan are educators dedicated to offering an exceptional student experience. The Outstanding Instructor Award recognizes those who have demonstrated a continued commitment to having positive impacts on students’ experiences in their classrooms.

John-Tyler Binfet, Okanagan School of Education Tim Paulson, Irving K. Barber Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Brian Dalton, Faculty of Health and Social Development Julien Picault, Irving K. Barber Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
John Greenough, Irving K. Barber Faculty of Science Jamie Piercy, Irving K. Barber Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Karen Hodges, Irving K. Barber Faculty of Science Richard Plunkett, Irving K. Barber Faculty of Science
Donna Jansons, Faculty of Health and Social Development Dean Richert, School of Engineering
Adam Jones, Irving K. Barber Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Deanna Perrin, School of Engineering
Lindsay Kennedy, Faculty of Health and Social Development Monic Pratch, Faculty of Management
Eva-Marie Kovacs-Kowalke, Irving K. Barber Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Alireza Sadeghifar, Irving K. Barber Faculty of Science
Heather Latimer, Irving K. Barber Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences John Sasso, Faculty of Health and Social Development
Loïc Markley, School of Engineering Christine Schreyer, Irving K. Barber Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Jana Martin, Faculty of Management Elizabeth Trudel, School of Engineering
Abdallah Mohamed, Irving K. Barber Faculty of Science Paul Tsopméné, Irving K. Barber Faculty of Science
Jeff More, Faculty of Health and Social Development Graeme Webb, School of Engineering
Emily Murphy, Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies Melanie Willson, Faculty of Health and Social Development

Please join us in congratulating the Outstanding Instructor Award recipients, nominated by their Faculties, for the 2023/24 academic year:


Brad Wuetherick
Associate Provost, Academic Programs, Teaching and Learning

Ramon Lawrence
Academic Director, UBC Okanagan Centre for Teaching and Learning

Dear colleagues, 

Educators hold a special and important role in our lives and communities. Through their dedication and expertise, they not only share valuable knowledge but also instill the values that support students to flourish and grow. In recognition of their crucial contributions, UBC Okanagan holds an annual celebration honouring exemplary role models who make significant impacts on the culture of teaching and learning on our campus with the Killam Teaching Prize and the Provost’s Award for Teaching Excellence and Innovation. 

This year, we’re pleased to recognize outstanding recipients of the 2024 Teaching Awards: 

Killam Teaching Prize 


Dr. Christine Schreyer is a renowned educator and researcher known for her constant collaboration that transcends traditional boundaries of academia to build bridges between scholarship and community. Working closely with Indigenous communities, Dr. Schreyer supports language revitalization efforts and integrates community projects into her curriculum to provide integrative opportunities for student learning. Through community-engaged learning and decolonial practices, Dr. Schreyer cultivates an environment of respect and appreciation for diverse perspectives. 

Provost’s Award for Teaching Excellence and Innovation 


Dr. Bill Cohen is an educator, artist, story-teller and author from the Okanagan Nation, with extensive kinship ties throughout British Columbia and Washington. Dr. Cohen’s teaching and research explores the transforming potential of Indigenous and Okanagan knowledge and pedagogy through organic language and cultural knowledge revitalization. Dr. Cohen creates an immersive learning environment where students are deeply engaged in decolonizing practices, providing a transformational experience that touches the lives and learning of both teacher candidates and the students who will learn from them in turn.   


Dr. Julien Picault is dedicated to fostering a deep passion for economics among his students, prioritizing innovative teaching approaches. He integrates theoretical knowledge and practical skills, providing real-world learning experiences that cultivate critical thinking and a comprehensive understanding of economics. Beyond his own classroom, Dr. Picault shares his expertise and pedagogical research both locally and globally through the development of his world-renowned Economics Instructors Toolbox, supporting the learning of countless students around the world through this collaborative approach. 


Dr. Gina Whitaker believes that taking every opportunity to show compassion and empathy will make the world a better place, and she lives this practice both inside and outside the classroom. She seeks to support every student to thrive and flourish, empowering learning through inclusivity and building strong communities within classrooms and the larger academic environment. Dr. Whitaker engages students in classrooms of all sizes in innovative and supportive ways, using technology, flexible assessments, gamification and other strategies to support learning. 


Teaching Excellence Celebration 

We are pleased to invite the campus community to join us to recognize these outstanding educators and celebrate teaching excellence at UBC Okanagan. 

Date: Tuesday, May 14, 2024
Time: 4 to 6 pm | Award presentation followed by a reception
Location: UBC Ballroom | UNC 200 

If you have not received an invitation and wish to attend, please contact to RSVP. 

We look forward to coming together to celebrate the achievements and contributions of our teaching community. Congratulations, once again, to each of the deserving recipients of this year’s awards.  


Rehan Sadiq
Provost and Vice-President, Academic
UBC Okanagan 

Brad Wuetherick
Associate Provost, Academic Programs, Teaching and Learning
UBC Okanagan 

Dear colleagues

Alongside our colleagues at UBC Vancouver, I am pleased to announce the launch of two funding opportunities supporting the Scholarship of Teaching & Learning (SoTL). SoTL is increasingly important within post-secondary education. By using systematic, deliberate and methodological inquiry into teaching, we can make a measurable improvement in student learning.

SoTL Seed Program

The SoTL Seed Program provides those interested in exploring the impact of their pedagogical choices with graduate research specialists, collegial collaborations, and limited funding.

All UBC faculty and staff are invited to apply. Priority is given to full-time faculty members, those who teach at the undergraduate level, and those who have not had an active SoTL Seed project in the last 12 months. The deadline for applications is May 27, 2024.


SoTL Linkage Grants

SoTL Linkage Grants were established to enable the synthesis, exploration and high-impact dissemination of interdisciplinary SoTL research. This program supports the formation of interdisciplinary teams of SoTL researchers inquiring into fundamental questions in higher education that benefit from investigation in multiple pedagogical and/or curricular contexts.

The SoTL Linkage Grants are open to interdisciplinary teams led by tenure-track faculty members (research or educational leadership) at UBC’s Vancouver campus, co-applicants can be tenure-track members from the Okanagan and/or Vancouver campus and/or other higher education institutions.


These funding opportunities expand on existing programs at UBC Okanagan to support SoTL, including ALT-2040 and teaching excellence awards. Thank you in advance for your support in encouraging colleagues to apply for these exciting opportunities to advance teaching and learning at UBC.


Brad Wuetherick
Associate Provost, Academic Programs, Teaching and Learning


Since the March 1 update, the university has worked successfully with the Province of BC to ensure UBC is allocated sufficient quantities of Provincial Attestation Letters (PALs) to meet enrolment goals. 

The following pages have been updated, and continue to provide the latest information: 

UBC Vancouver – International Student Development (ISD): 

UBC Okanagan – Global Engagement Office (International Student Advising): 

The teams who support prospective and current student communications are reaching out across a variety of channels to let impacted students know about the process for obtaining a PAL and applying for a study permit. 

This effort will persist over the coming weeks as we continue to connect with students obtaining admission offers ahead of the acceptance deadline.  

Rehan Sadiq
Provost and Vice-President, Academic, UBC Okanagan

Gage Averill
Provost and Vice-President, Academic, UBC Vancouver 

Dear colleagues,

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Kedrick James has been appointed Interim Director of the Okanagan School of Education for a two-year term commencing July 2, 2024. This appointment coincides with the ongoing search for the next Director, and we would like to thank Dr. Margaret Macintyre Latta for her many contributions and academic leadership that have shaped the Okanagan School of Education.

Dr. James is a Professor of Teaching in the Department of Language and Literacy Education in the Faculty of Education at UBC Vancouver. His diverse background, including roles in education, language consultancy, the arts and small business ownership, informs his interdisciplinary approach to scholarly research, teaching and service.

His leadership and multiple advisory roles within the UBC Faculty of Education underscore his dedication to academic excellence and mentorship. Dr. James was honoured with the Murray Elliott Service Award for Outstanding Contributions to Teacher Education in 2018 and has served as a University Sustainability Fellow.

Driven by a commitment to decolonize education, Dr. James’ research explores the intersections between language and various ecologies, aiming to promote ecological and social justice in educational settings. He also conducts digital arts-based research on the automation of literacy and its socio-cultural impacts.

A pioneer in educational software development, Dr. James founded PhoneMe, a social media app dedicated to user-curated place-based poetry, and Singling, a text-sonification qualitative data analysis software designed to aid individuals with visual impairments in skim reading text. Additionally, he is dedicated to environmental preservation, focusing on the wild grasslands of Boundary Country in southern British Columbia.

We look forward to working with Dr. James in his capacity as Interim Director of the Okanagan School of Education. Please join us in welcoming him to Kelowna as he assumes this role.


Rehan Sadiq
Provost and Vice-President, Academic
UBC Okanagan

Dr. Jan Hare
Dean pro tem, Faculty of Education
UBC Vancouver

We are very pleased to announce the recipients of the inaugural UBC Open Education Resources (OER) Excellence and Impact Awards.

The OER Excellence and Impact Awards recognize outstanding work by faculty who materially advance the use and impact of open educational resources in credit courses at UBC.

Recipients were selected based on their overall excellence in creating, revising or using OER in teaching and learning; the impact of their OER work on students, including addressing the affordability of educational materials; and their contribution to the greater open education community at UBC.


Bowen Hui, Associate Professor of Teaching, Computer Science

Dr. Bowen Hui is an exemplary role model and leader at the forefront of OER and accessibility, significantly impacting colleagues and students alike. Dr. Hui engages meaningfully with collaborators and students as partners in the development of her projects, providing enhanced learning opportunities and mentoring while supporting OER development. Dr. Hui’s early OER work began with projects focused on designing open-source introductory programming assessments and human-computer interaction materials that improved accessibility for students with diverse academic backgrounds. Building on her initial success, Dr. Hui has continued to prioritize OER development with numerous related projects that have significantly contributed to removing cost barriers and supporting students to learn at their own pace and through their own pathways, including an interactive reading platform, course gamification platform, and team formation tool.

In addition to her work in post-secondary education, Dr. Hui uses OER to foster the development of computational thinking abilities in young children. Her passionate advocacy has resulted in the creation of a variety of multimodal and gender-neutral resources, supporting STEM engagement in the public school systems. She was also the technical lead in the UBC Curriculum MAP project, which has been adopted by other institutions and is used around the world.


Tamara Freeman, Associate Professor of Teaching, Chemistry
W. Stephen McNeil, Associate Professor, Chemistry
Riley Petillion, Educational Consultant, TA and Student Development, Centre for Teaching & Learning

Drs. Freeman, McNeil and Petillion championed a multi-year effort to transform UBC Okanagan’s introductory chemistry courses, resulting in the development and integration of 17 different OER learning activities into the first-year chemistry curriculum. Using delivery methods that emphasize active learning, the learning activities encourage students to build knowledge together through frequent opportunities for small-group discussion that reveal the impacts of chemistry principles on their own lives.

Drs. Freeman, McNeil, and Petillion epitomize excellence in OER, leveraging and expanding upon the work of their predecessors in the OER community to create adaptable materials that will benefit students and instructors alike. Their dedication to OER has not only supported students in meeting learning outcomes more effectively but has also resulted in significant cost savings for countless students.


Suborna Ahmed, Assistant Professor of Teaching, Forest Resources Management Department

Dr. Ahmed has focused on developing multiple free and openly licensed educational resources, including creating new open textbooks, practice quizzes, and other OERs in areas such as computing in natural resources, forest biometrics, statistics and geospatial data analysis. She has worked with students on the creation of many of these resources, mentoring and fostering a collaborative environment for OER development.

In the development of OER materials, Dr. Ahmed diligently follows accessibility best practices, with a focus on creating resources with universal design principles in mind to ensure they are usable and inclusive for a diverse range of learners. For example, interactive tools and digital textbooks are designed with screen-reader compatibility and user-friendly interfaces. This commitment to accessibility, as well as her attention to incorporating inclusive language and diverse examples, underscores her dedication to creating equitable learning environments through OERs.


Trevor Campbell, Associate Professor, Statistics
Tiffany Timbers, Associate Professor of Teaching, Statistics
Melissa Lee, Assistant Professor of Teaching, Statistics
Joel Östblom, Assistant Professor of Teaching, Statistics
Lindsey Heagy, Assistant Professor, Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences

Drs. Campbell, Timbers, Lee, Östblom and Heagy are recognized for their work on two textbooks on data science—the original book for the R programming language and its recently completed translation to the Python programming language—as well as their accompanying Jupyter notebook autograded worksheets. These materials replace paid course materials for over 2,300 students annually at UBC, and are used extensively in UBC’s DSCI100: Introduction to Data Science course. They are also being used in courses at several other institutions in North America, and have been accessed by people from many other parts of the world as well. In addition, team members have successfully encouraged colleagues to share course materials openly on Github.

Accessibility was a key design criterion when producing the materials. Colour palettes are designed to be accessible to all, mathematical equations are typeset in a scalable format using MathJax, and fonts are sized appropriately. Accessibility is also incorporated into the textbook content itself; for example, in the chapter on visualizations, a subsection is devoted to designing visualizations with particular colour palettes and various forms of visual redundancy.

Meet Michelle Tinling

Role: Workday Student Business Analyst

Michelle Tinling joined the Office of the Provost in August 2024 on secondment from the UBC Okanagan Library to support the implementation of Workday Student at UBC Okanagan. Michelle has been a strong source of support and a familiar face to the UBC Okanagan community, supporting students, faculty and staff across a number of Faculties and units.


My role is part of the Workday Student Transition Support Network, which includes six positions that work closely with the Integrated Renewal Program (IRP) Student team to assist and help with the transition to Workday Student. We aim to support the UBC Okanagan community during the transition by providing Okanagan-specific help and resources.

I work with Cuc Nguyen to support the Faculties by learning their processes and helping the administrative staff and faculty through the transition. Each Faculty has unique needs and applications, and I enjoy working with faculty and staff to help them find solutions that support their work.


After years of planning, Workday Student is now live. June registration will be in the new system and UBC will be fully using Workday Student by September 2024. I’m excited to be part of this project when we’re beginning to explore the applications of Workday Student for learning and teaching.


I am from the Okanagan region and had the opportunity to start with the UBC Okanagan Library in 2012 as an auxiliary employee. I liked that there are a lot of job options, great colleagues and new and different projects to work with all the time.


I love to hike in the hills out around the south slopes and the Kettle Valley Trestle network with my dog, a husky cross named Suka.

See April 5, 2024 update to this post

On January 22, 2024, the Canadian federal government announced a two-year temporary cap on study permits for international students. This measure did not impact international students already in Canada, and it also excluded graduate students. It did cause concerns for new undergraduate international students thinking about enrolling in Canadian institutions, including UBC, in the Fall of 2024.

Over the past weeks, the university has worked closely with the Province and the federal government to obtain more information for those students while also reinforcing the important and diverse contributions international students bring to campus communities. UBC has long been a study destination for international students and for outstanding faculty from around the world, contributing to UBC’s global reputation for learning and research excellence.

Today’s announcement by the Province confirms the allocation of BC Provincial attestation letters that will be provided to institutions for qualified new undergraduate international students seeking a study permit. We are pleased that the allocation to UBC will enable the university to move forward with international enrollment planning for the coming year.

This is no doubt welcome information to all prospective international students.

Additional details may be provided in the coming weeks and we will update the university’s pages/resources to keep students informed as we receive that information.

Dr. Gage Averill 
Provost and Vice-President, Academic, UBC Vancouver

Dr. Rehan Sadiq 
Provost and Vice-President, Academic, UBC Okanagan