News Archive

Michael Burgess named Associate Provost, Strategy

Dear colleagues,

I am delighted to announce that Professor Michael Burgess, Chair in Biomedical Ethics at UBC’s W. Maurice Young Centre for Applied Ethics is joining us as Associate Provost, Strategy from September 1, 2019.

In this role Professor Burgess will provide leadership for developing and implementing a comprehensive strategy for advancing academic innovation in accordance with UBC’s Strategic Plan Shaping the Next Century and Outlook 2040; help foster an institution-wide climate of academic innovation, in particular interdisciplinarity; oversee the development, evaluation, and review of relevant programs; and help develop  processes of shared governance to ensure the timely implementation of new academic initiatives.

Professor Burgess joined UBC in 1996 when he was hired as the Biomedical Ethics Research Chair with a joint appointment to Medical Genetics (the Centre is now within the School of Population and Public Health). In 2000 he was awarded the Killam Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching. He was Principal of the College for Interdisciplinary Studies from 2008-2011.

In 2013, Professor Burgess relocated to the Okanagan campus to promote intercampus activities and to provide senior academic support and faculty mentoring. The Southern Medical Program has hosted him and during that time he has provided faculty development support in the Faculty of Management, the Faculty of Health and Social Development, and the School of Education. He was also involved in the restructuring of the interdisciplinary graduate studies program, is a member of two themes, and on the supervisory committee of several Okanagan graduate students.

Professor Burgess obtained his PhD from the University of Tennessee in Philosophy with a concentration in medical ethics. Professor Burgess’ research is collaborative and interdisciplinary. In 2006, with large scale funding from Genome Canada and Genome BC, he began collaboration to develop and implement an approach to deliberative public engagement, combining ethics, political science, qualitative methods, and economics on issues in science and health policy.

Professor Burgess’ currently funded research includes deliberation on the use of big data in health, cancer care funding decisions, animal welfare and food policy in Norway, and the release of gene-edited organisms into the environment. He is also working on projects involving the governance of remote and Indigenous biobanks, and on an SSHRC funded project on concepts of diversity and inclusiveness.

Ananya Mukherjee Reed
Provost and Vice-President, Academic
UBC Okanagan

One-on-One with Ananya Mukherjee Reed

Dr. Ananya Mukherjee Reed is Provost and Vice-President, Academic, at UBC Okanagan and Professor in the Department of Economics, Philosophy and Political Science at the Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences.

An interdisciplinary scholar in the field of Development Studies, Dr. Mukherjee Reed’s work over the past decade has mostly concentrated on inclusive and people-centered development. Her current research project, in collaboration with the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), Geneva, focuses on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and the role of universities in social change.

Prior to joining UBC in November 2018, Dr. Mukherjee Reed was Dean of the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies at York University. During her time at York University, she also served as Associate Vice-President of Research, Chair of the Department of Political Science, and Founding Director of the International Secretariat for Human Development. In 2016, she was named as one of five brilliant women in academia by Canadian Immigrant magazine in their third annual tribute to ‘Immigrant Women of Inspiration’.


What quality do you most admire in a leader?

AMR: Boldness of vision and an ability to create a sense of possibility. This is particularly important when hope is elusive, and despair seems to get the upper hand. A leader should be able to create a sense of possibility, whatever the perceived constraints are.


What makes you laugh?

AMR: Very sharp, spontaneous wit.


Who inspires you, and why?

AMR: I am inspired by everyday people and their struggles. That is where you see how indomitable the human spirit is. I see this especially in our Indigenous youth, and in all of the ways they are providing leadership for the reconciliation that Canada needs. I admire how their vision and efforts are helping us forge a new future.


For you, what makes UBC different?

AMR: I have watched UBC from afar for many years, and was delighted to take on the role of Provost at UBC Okanagan. There are not many universities which can boast 100 years of eminence as well as a 15-year-old campus with such a strong trajectory of achievement. Its wide range of partnerships begin with Indigenous nations and community partners in Vancouver and the Okanagan and extend to so many different parts of the globe. This sets the context for UBC to co-create knowledge and have a tangible impact in so many fields. In the Okanagan, I have seen how much a research university is cherished by the community. If we are successful in mobilizing that support, it will make UBC even more distinctive.


What is the most important lesson you’ve learned, in your career to date?

AMR: That one cannot afford to give up. As a university, we are a critically important partner to society in its search for answers to big challenges. We must continue to enrich that partnership.


How do you like to recharge?

AMR: Good conversations. Especially when my spirits are low, one good conversation is all I need. I am also recharged by simple things — such as a moment to savour the brilliance of the sun or the vastness of the sky. And yes — music and poetry — they are integral to my life.


What is the best advice you were ever given?

AMR: The best advice I have ever been given is that one can achieve many things, but they do not necessarily bring a sense of fulfilment. Fulfilment is found in pursuing things that are greater than oneself. This is a theme that has been present in my life since childhood, through my parents, grandparents, my teachers and my husband.


What do you value in your colleagues?

AMR: Their commitment to students and to the mission of the university. I also value a sense of humour. There will always be challenges but one must laugh!


What do you hope will be your lasting impact at UBC?

AMR: In my work as a critical social scientist, I am motivated by the question of justice. When I reflect on the university through that lens, I ask: “How can justice be instilled in the core of all the activities of a university?”Sometimes an argument is made that universities should pursue ‘excellence’ and ‘excellence’ alone. But when I look at UBC, I see a public institution that is extremely well-positioned to pursue both excellence and justice and demonstrate to the world how these two qualities enhance one another. I would love to contribute in any way I can to advance UBC in its quest for excellence and justice. Of course, there is no single definition or interpretation of the term ‘justice’. Universities can play an important role in creating inclusive conversations about the very meaning of justice. I would be honoured to participate in such a process at UBC.


If you could have a super power, what would it be?

AMR: To completely take away the destructive power in human beings.


What are your priorities for the Office of the Provost and Vice-President, Academic, at UBC Okanagan?

AMR: An overarching priority is to consolidate the institutional connections between UBC’s two campuses, and harness every possible synergy we can. Only then can we fulfil our public mandate, especially in key areas such as the response to the TRC Calls for Action. UBC Okanagan has been very successful in attracting talent. Now we need the resources to harness that talent, to foster the kind of inclusion we are so deeply committed to, and to offer students an academic experience that is second-to-none. The Okanagan campus is brimming with brilliant ideas. My top priority is to find the resources to bring these ideas to fruition. This is what keeps me awake at night.


UBC Okanagan is currently in the midst of a planning exercise to map out future needs, and opportunities, for this campus. What role do you see UBC Okanagan playing within higher education, in the next 10 to 20 years?

AMR: This is a very exciting time for UBC Okanagan — I feel so honoured to be here. Our Outlook 2040 was recently endorsed enthusiastically by the Board of Governors, following a similar endorsement by the Okanagan Senate.

This process has reinforced the collective commitment of the campus to work closely with and in support of Indigenous peoples and communities to address the legacy of colonialism. This is key to the future of higher education. ‘Outlook 2040’ also imagines UBC Okanagan as a place where new relationships between disciplines emerge. We are imagining the humanities, the social sciences, the creative fields, the sciences and the professional fields to come together to co-create new thinking on key questions of social importance.

The Outlook also envisions the university as an institution that never closes its doors to anyone who wants to learn — at any stage of one’s life. This is critical at a time when knowledge is evolving so rapidly. Universities must ensure that people are served by the advances in knowledge and not excluded or displaced by them. This means not only that we must rethink our pedagogy, our degree structures, our research practices (etc.), but also engage the public in this process of rethinking.

‘Outlook 2040’ expresses the bold aspirations of a young campus of a globally influential university, entering its next century. If we are successful, the impact on higher education will be significant.

These are big dreams, indeed… but you can’t dream small, can you?

Gino DiLabio named Dean pro tem for the Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences

Dear colleagues,

I am delighted to announce that Dr. Gino DiLabio has accepted the position of Dean pro tem of the Barber School, beginning July 1, 2019. DiLabio joined UBC Okanagan Campus in 2014 and is currently a professor and head of the department of chemistry.

Dr. DiLabio came to UBC from the National Institute of Nanotechnology (NINT), a joint institute of the National Research Council of Canada and the University of Alberta. At NINT/UofA, DiLabio worked as a senior scientist and as an associate director and held an adjunct professor appointment in the department of physics.

Dr. DiLabio is an active and accomplished researcher. To date, he has published 138 peer-reviewed scientific papers, three book chapters, one edited book and has given more than 150 invited and contributed presentations. Over the course of his career, he has been involved in the development of major research projects which have attracted significant amounts of funding from NSERC, CFI, BKDF, and the Department of National Defence. His technology development work has led to five patents, several of which are licensed.

I want to take this opportunity to thank Dr. Barbara Rutherford, the current Dean pro tem of the Barber School, who will complete her term on June 29, 2019. She has provided strong leadership to the School over the last year and, as acknowledged by her colleagues, has provided support for the faculty and staff at a time of transition.

Ananya Mukherjee Reed
Provost and Vice-President, Academic
UBC Okanagan

Jennifer Jakobi named Dean pro tem for College of Graduate Studies

Dear colleagues,

I am delighted to announce that Dr. Jennifer (Jenn) Jakobi has accepted the position of Dean pro tem, College of Graduate Studies, beginning July 1, 2019. Dr. Jakobi is a professor in the Faculty of Health and Social Development's School of Health and Exercise Sciences.

Professor Jakobi, a member of UBC Okanagan since 2008 has been integral in the growth and development of the undergraduate and graduate programs in the School of Health and Exercise Sciences.

In her role as Associate Dean, Academic Programs, in the Faculty of Health and Social Development, she has initiated the development of cross-campus master-level programs. She is a research scientist in the field of exercise neuroscience who holds active grants from NSERC, CIHR and SSHRC. Most recently, as Associate Chair of Westcoast Women in Engineering Science and Technology (WWEST), she has contributed to generating a collaborative network of programs and individuals actively undertaking science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) community engagement.

Through the integrative STEM Team Advancing networks of Diversity (iSTAND) Program she is committed to increasing diversity across science, technology, engineering and math through providing mentorship, and opportunity to encourage, explore, understand and empower change through collaborative initiatives across the sciences, arts and humanities.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Professor Dwayne Tannant who completes his term on June 29, 2019. During his tenure UBC Okanagan saw a significant growth in graduate applications and acceptances, and I am extremely grateful to Professor Tannant for leading the CoGS team to work through this expansion.

Ananya Mukherjee Reed
Provost and Vice-President, Academic
UBC Okanagan

Rehan Sadiq named Executive Associate Dean

Dear colleagues,

We are pleased to inform you that Rehan Sadiq’s role as Associate Dean of the School of Engineering has been changed to Executive Associate Dean, School of Engineering.

This change in title is reflective of Dr. Sadiq’s role as Acting Dean in the absence of the Dean of Applied Science and his broader role and responsibility within the UBC Okanagan environment.

Dr. Sadiq is a Professor in the School of Engineering at UBC Okanagan and was appointed Associate Dean of the School of Engineering on September 1, 2015. During the past three and a half years, Dr. Sadiq has contributed significantly as a member of the Okanagan Leadership Team, attending the Deans’ Council and Strategic Enrolment Management Committee as well as other committees on the UBC Okanagan campus.

His strong commitment to the School of Engineering and the university and his exceptional leadership has made a positive impact both within the School of Engineering and across UBC Okanagan. We are excited to continue working with Dr. Sadiq as the Executive Associate Dean, School of Engineering.

Best regards,

Ananya Mukherjee-Reed,
Provost and Vice-President, Academic, UBC Okanagan

James Olson,
Dean, Faculty of Applied Science

Killam Teaching Prize Awarded

Teaching Excellence Recognized

Heather Berringer named Associate Provost, Learning Services

Dear colleagues,

It gives us great pleasure to announce that Heather Berringer, Chief Librarian at the University of British Columbia (UBC) Okanagan Campus has been appointed Associate Provost, Learning Services for the campus.

Heather Berringer, UBC Okanagan Chief Librarian and Associate Provost, Learning Services

Heather Berringer, UBC Okanagan Chief Librarian and Associate Provost, Learning Services

In this new role, Heather will provide leadership in the planning, development, and coordination of an integrated vision for learning services for UBC Okanagan. This will involve harnessing synergies between different campus entities such as the Library, the Centre for Teaching and Learning, makerspace UBCO, and other student learning supports.

Heather has been Chief Librarian at the University of British Columbia (UBC) Okanagan Campus since 2014. Throughout this time, Heather has led the development of new programs, spaces, and innovative partnerships that have significantly enhanced the learning experience at UBC Okanagan and established the Library as a thriving nexus of scholarly engagement for faculty and researchers.

Heather’s collaborative and inclusive approach to librarianship has led to unique initiatives that reach beyond campus to the broader community. The UBC Innovation Library, which is embedded in the Kelowna branch of the Okanagan Regional Library, provides access to millions of UBC’s electronic resources for the general public, as well as local and visiting entrepreneurs, and community researchers. Building on this successful partnership, Heather brought the Okanagan Regional Library to campus and opened the UBCO public branch of ORL in 2018. Through her leadership and support, the Library’s reach now extends across the southern interior of the province, through the work of the Digitized Okanagan History project, to local museums and archives.

During her tenure as Chief Librarian, Heather’s commitment to the student experience and outstanding leadership are perhaps best exemplified in the development of the new Commons building, a much-anticipated multi-million-dollar expansion to the Library which opened at the beginning of 2019. A state-of-the-art space for teaching and learning, the Commons is the flagship building on the UBC Okanagan campus and signals an exciting new era for all those who study, teach and visit the UBCO campus.

Please join us in congratulating Heather on her new role here at UBC Okanagan.

Prof. Ananya Mukherjee-Reed 
Provost and Vice-Principal Academic
UBC Okanagan

External Review of the UBC Okanagan Library

We will soon be embarking on an External Review of the UBC Okanagan Library.

The purpose of the review is to evaluate the operation and management of the UBC Okanagan Library and the role it plays in the academic life of our campus. The review will identify its achievements, the scope and balance of its various functions, the effectiveness of its leadership and administration, and the opportunities and challenges it faces in the future.

To view the Terms of Reference (PDF), visit:

The Review Team will submit a report to the Provost whose findings should be of value to the Library and its leadership, as well as to the Provost and other relevant stakeholders.

The members of the Review Team are:

  • Donna Bourne-Tyson
    University Librarian
    Dalhousie University
  • Dr. Mary Ann Mavrinac
    Vice Provost, and Andrew H. and Janet Dayton Neilly Dean of Libraries
    University of Rochester
  • Dr. Mary-Jo Romaniuk
    Vice-Provost, Libraries and Cultural Resources
    University of Calgary

The Review Team will visit UBC Okanagan from February 13 to 15, 2019. Interviews will be held with Okanagan faculty members, staff, students, senior administrators, and other individuals and groups that may interact with the Library. Before the arrival of the reviewers, they will receive documentation in the form of a self-study on all aspects of the Library’s operations, including its facilities and resources, internal and external relationships, and services.

I invite and encourage written comments relevant to the matters under review from faculty, students and staff. Please forward your comments to Sharel Verigin at

Your comments will be held in strict confidence, and Sharel will arrange for them to be forwarded to the members of the Review Team. Please indicate if you wish your comments to be anonymous so they can be redacted to eliminate your name and any identifying information before providing them to the Review Team.

The deadline for receipt of comments is Friday, January 25, 2019.

Please ensure your comments are identified by name and affiliation.

Dr. Ananya Mukherjee-Reed
Provost and Vice-Principal Academic