Share your ideas to help shape the future of the UBC Vancouver campus

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UBC is embarking on a comprehensive land use planning process called Campus Vision 2050 that will shape how the Vancouver campus evolves over the next 30 years. Campus Vision 2050 will involve deep engagement with the campus community to understand how we can use the campus land to meet the diverse needs and aspirations of the university and its community, xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) and the region.

UBC Vancouver last updated its Land Use Plan over a decade ago. Since then, the core academic campus has grown, the daytime population has increased significantly and the number of residents living in our neighbourhoods has nearly doubled. At the same time, this growth has taken place in the context of broader systemic changes including anti-racism, Indigenous reconciliation, housing affordability, climate action and transportation connectivity.

We have also witnessed dramatic shifts in the technologies we use and how we work, learn and live, as experienced through the COVID-19 pandemic. It is now time to work together to update our long-term vision and plans for the campus.

In the context of a process that will span several months, today marks the beginning of a four-week public engagement period with the UBC Vancouver campus community — the first of several opportunities to gather community input as part of Campus Vision 2050. As we work together to map out a bold new vision for the UBC Vancouver campus, we want to hear from you. Your ideas and perspectives will help shape the campus of the future. You can get involved in a number of ways:

I urge you to participate in Campus Vision 2050 and play your part in shaping the future vision for the UBC Vancouver campus.

Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor


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COVID-19 — Update on Winter Session, Term 2

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To all our students, faculty and staff, we hope you had a restful holiday and a happy New Year.

As we enter 2022, we know the Omicron variant is a concern for many in our community. The UBC Broadcast, dated December 22, indicated that the university would delay the majority of in-person teaching and learning until January 24, with in-person learning continuing for some programs.

We understand that students, faculty and staff require timely information for planning, particularly those who may be travelling internationally. Today we are confirming that UBC has made the decision to continue to deliver the majority of programs online until February 7.

This decision was made in consultation with the Deans on both campuses, academic heads and directors, student leadership, union groups and associations. Faculties and academic units will provide further details on specific programs and courses. We will continue to assess the situation from the perspective of our students, faculty and staff, and during the week of 24 January we will provide a further update regarding our full return to in-person teaching and learning.

We recommend that all students plan to be on campus early in February, so they can be ready for the start of in-person teaching and learning. We are also in the process of continuity planning for the potential impact of the Omicron variant on our employees, and any associated demands on the university’s testing capacity.

As a reminder, both UBC campuses remain open including student housing, student services, and all libraries. Student services continue to be offered, both in-person and online, to support our students on campus as well as those who are learning remotely. Research and scholarship activities on UBC campuses also continue under current safety plans. Managers and supervisors are encouraged to be flexible and allow remote work, where academic or operational requirements permit. However, where in-person work remains necessary, remote work arrangements may not be possible.

If you are studying or working on campus, thank you for supporting the protocols and measures in place to safeguard yourself and others. For more information on UBC’s response to COVID-19, please visit https://covid19.ubc.ca/ or https://ok.ubc.ca/covid19/.

We remain committed to the full return to in-person teaching and learning, and will provide further updates as soon as we can. In the meantime, we would like to thank all our students, faculty and staff for responding quickly to facilitate this shift in educational delivery, in order to support UBC’s academic mission.

Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor

Lesley Cormack
Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Principal, UBC Okanagan


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COVID-19 — Planning for 2021/22 Winter Session, Term 2

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As we approach Winter Session Term 2 in January, we would like to update you on recent discussions around COVID-19 and the emergence of the Omicron variant.

Dr. Henry has written to the Presidents of BC post-secondary institutions providing information on where and how this virus is transmitted and recommending that on-campus instruction continue for the next term. You can read the letter here: http://covid19.ubc.ca/letter-to-psi-presidents-dec-21-2021.

Given the rapidly evolving challenges associated with the Omicron variant, in planning our approach for Winter Term 2, it is important to take into account pedagogical and operational considerations. We have learned throughout the pandemic our need to be nimble and prepared to change our course. In consultation with the Deans of Faculties across both campuses, UBC will approach the start of Term 2 with a brief, interim period where most classes will begin online. This decision will provide certainty for our students and allow time for faculty and staff to prepare course materials and student supports and services to ensure that excellent teaching and learning activities are maintained in all delivery modalities.

Classes will begin as scheduled on January 4 or 10 (depending on the program), with the majority of instruction provided online until January 24. During this period, some courses, including those with clinical or other experiential, performance or studio components will continue in-person with appropriate safety protocols in place. Faculties and academic units will provide further details on specific programs and courses in advance of their start date. Research and scholarship activities on UBC campuses continue under current safety plans.

Campuses will remain open, including student housing, student services, and all libraries. Managers and supervisors are encouraged to be flexible in allowing remote work, where academic or operational requirements permit; however, where in person work remains necessary, remote work arrangements may not be possible. Our intention is to enable a safe return to fully in-person learning and instruction on January 24.

We will continue to monitor the situation closely and will update the community in the first week of the new year. Thank you to those who have continued to provide important services on our campuses and to everyone for continuing to support a safe environment at UBC. We wish you and your loved ones a happy, healthy holiday season.

Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor

Lesley Cormack
Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Principal, UBC Okanagan


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UBC launches ambitious climate action plans

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Following UBC’s participation in the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow last month, I am pleased to announce that the Board of Governors has endorsed two ambitious Climate Action Plans (CAP 2030) for UBC Vancouver and UBC Okanagan.

Both plans chart a course for accelerated reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030. This will result in an 85% reduction at UBC Vancouver in campus operations emissions (from buildings, energy and fleet) and a 45% reduction in extended emissions (from commuting, waste, food, air travel and the construction, maintaining and demolishing of campus buildings). For UBC Okanagan, the targets are slightly different given the campus has newer buildings that emit fewer emissions. The targets for the Okanagan campus are a 65% reduction in campus operations emissions and 45% reduction in extended emissions. Together, these reductions will help UBC meet the Paris Agreement targets, with the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C.

Actions include using low-carbon energy sources to heat campus buildings, eliminating fossil fuel systems and equipment in buildings, transitioning to zero emission vehicles and equipment, implementing sustainable transportation initiatives through the UBC Vancouver and UBC Okanagan Transportation Plans, continuing to advocate for SkyTrain to UBC Vancouver, expanding climate-friendly food offerings and exploring opportunities to reduce air travel emissions between UBC campuses.

These ambitious plans are the result of extensive community engagement, with input from students, faculty and staff across both campuses and continued engagement with the Musqueam. UBC recognizes that the ability to take part in sustainable actions may be constrained by lack of privilege and inequality. Addressing climate justice has been an important aspect of developing climate actions related to food systems, commuting and business air travel to ensure an equitable approach towards reducing emissions.

Thank you to all those who took the time to share your thoughts and feedback.

You can learn more about CAP 2030 and our progress:

Endorsing these plans is just the start. I encourage you to learn more about UBC’s climate action programs and get involved:https://planning.ubc.ca/sustainability/sustainability-action-plans/climate-action-plan/take-climate-action-now.

As one of the world’s leading universities, UBC continues to play a crucial role in responding to society’s key issues and leading by example. Every step we take, no matter how big or small, will help us tackle climate change together.

Thank you in advance for your support towards this crucial initiative — for both UBC and also the global community.

Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor


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UBC’s COVID-19 Rapid Testing Program — update on progress

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In September, UBC launched its COVID-19 Rapid Testing Program and since that time, thousands of students, faculty and staff have declared their vaccination status.

As of December 5, we can report that 78,132 UBC students, faculty and staff have declared their vaccination status, of whom 97% report being fully vaccinated and 91% have uploaded proof of vaccination. We have also begun the auditing process in order to verify the declarations, and any associated proof of vaccination. These strong levels of vaccination declaration demonstrate how our community is actively doing its part to support our collective wellbeing.

In considering the rapid testing program, including options for enforcement, we have sought expert advice from within the university and externally on the current scientific evidence, public health direction and guidance, and the most recent data regarding vaccination rates and transmission levels. This has been the subject of detailed discussion at the Board of Governors, the UBC Vancouver Senate and the UBC Okanagan Senate.

Public health experts have indicated the fall term has demonstrated that, in the context of high immunization coverage, both UBC campuses operated with very low risk of COVID-19 transmission on campus. However, given the evolving nature of COVID-19 and its variants, the UBC Board of Governors has approved the decision to maintain the rapid testing program with a requirement for all students, faculty and staff to take part.

Both the UBC Vancouver and UBC Okanagan Senates have developed academic regulations to enforce consequences for students who fail to comply. The university is also enforcing consequences for faculty and staff who do not take part in the program. Any UBC students, faculty and staff who fall into this category can expect to receive direct communication in the coming weeks.

What does this mean for you?

If you have already declared and verified your vaccination status, no further action is required. If you have not declared your status, visit https://rapidtesting.covid19.ubc.ca/ to declare your status and upload proof of vaccination. UBC will continue to pursue consequences as appropriate for those who are not exempt from the mandatory testing requirement because they are not fully vaccinated or who have chosen not to declare their vaccine status, and who fail to comply with mandatory testing.

Members of our community under Public Health Orders

It is important to note that some members of our community are bound by Public Health Orders that require proof of vaccination — namely our students in residence and students and employees who are based within health care settings (“care locations”). You can learn more about these Public Health Orders at:

Finally, we would like to thank all those UBC students, faculty and staff who have declared and verified their status, or taken part in COVID-19 rapid testing. Public health partners continue to monitor the situation regarding COVID-19, its variants and distribution of COVID-19 booster doses across the province. Should there be any changes to vaccination rates or public health guidance, UBC is well positioned to further adjust its approach, as required.

This is a collective effort and plays a vital role in our return, as a community, to even more activity on our campuses. Thank you for supporting a safe environment at UBC.

Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor

Lesley Cormack
Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Principal, UBC Okanagan


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Consideration of the reappointment of the Vice-President, Research & Innovation

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Dr. Gail Murphy assumed the role of Vice-President, Research & Innovation in August 2017. As she approaches the end of her first term, she is now being considered for reappointment.

The Vice-President, Research & Innovation (VPRI), reports to the President and is a member of the university’s senior executive team. This role is pivotal in advancing the research and innovation agendas of the university across both campuses, and articulating and promoting the university’s research and scholarly strengths, goals, and achievements to UBC’s internal and external communities.

An advisory committee has been established to review Dr. Murphy’s performance and make a recommendation to the President concerning her reappointment. In accordance with Board Policy AP6, membership of the committee is as follows:

  • Santa J. Ono, Chair
  • Anna Kindler, Board of Governors
  • John Klironomos, Board of Governors
  • Guy Faulkner, UBC Vancouver Senate
  • Greg Garrard, UBC Okanagan Senate
  • Gina Ogilvie, professor, School of Population and Public Health, UBC Vancouver
  • Matthew Evenden, Associate Vice-President, Research and Innovation
  • Kimani Karangu, graduate student, UBC Vancouver
  • Jonathan Low, graduate student, UBC Okanagan
  • Julie Wagemakers, secretary (non-voting)

The committee is now seeking feedback regarding Dr. Murphy’s performance in relation to the duties and responsibilities, as outlined in the original job description, which can be found at https://president3.sites.olt.ubc.ca/files/2021/12/Position_Profile-UBC_VPRI.pdf.

All UBC students, faculty, and staff, are invited to share their views by December 30, 2021. Please email comments to president.staff@ubc.ca. All communications will be held in strict confidence.

Thank you for supporting this process.

Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor


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Planning for succession of the Provost and Vice-President, Academic, UBC Vancouver

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In July next year, Professor Andrew Szeri, Provost and Vice-President, Academic, UBC Vancouver, will be finishing his term. I am very grateful to Professor Szeri for his continued dedication and leadership in advancing the academic mission of the university.

In early 2022, we will initiate a full international search for UBC’s next Provost and Vice-President, Academic, UBC Vancouver, with the aim of appointing a new Provost in 2023. This process will involve the establishment of an inclusive, diverse search committee. I will also seek broad community input on the qualities you would wish to see reflected in this role.

In order to ensure a smooth transition, we are also preparing to appoint a Provost and Vice-President, Academic pro tem, for UBC Vancouver, to provide academic leadership in the interim. To assist me with this task, I have established an ad hoc advisory group with representation from the Board of Governors, our academic leadership, students, faculty and staff. I would also like to hear from you regarding the desired characteristics and qualities of the Provost pro tem.

The role of the Provost and Vice-President, Academic is broad and complex. It is responsible for:

  • Providing academic leadership to the Faculties on the UBC Vancouver campus.
  • Recruiting and retaining diverse world-class faculty members and the very best diverse undergraduate and graduate students.
  • Maintaining the highest standards of excellence in delivering undergraduate, graduate and professional education.
  • Leading institutional planning and ensuring the alignment of operating, capital, strategic and other operational resources to academic priorities.
  • Ensuring equity, diversity and inclusive excellence in the implementation of UBC’s strategic plans including: Shaping UBC’s Next Century; the Indigenous Strategic Plan; Inclusion Action Plan; and Climate and Sustainability.
  • Providing the systems, physical and organizational infrastructure necessary to support excellence in research and student learning.

In the context of the key responsibilities outlined above, I would like to hear from you about the characteristics and qualities that you think are important in identifying the Provost pro tem. If you wish to share your thoughts on these attributes, please send them to president.staff@ubc.ca.

I look forward to meeting with key stakeholder groups to continue these conversations.

Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor


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Share your experience of working at UBC in the 2021 Workplace Experiences Survey

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UBC invites all faculty and staff to participate in the 2021 Workplace Experiences Survey and share feedback on your experience of working at the university.

This week, you will receive a survey invitation directly from our survey consultant TalentMap (survey@talentmap.com). This email will include your unique survey link — please do not forward it to others. The deadline for responses is November 19, 2021.

I encourage you to share your experience of working at UBC. Your feedback plays a role in decision-making at the university and helps to shape our future priorities.

The survey includes questions about topics such as inclusion and respect, health and wellbeing, professional growth and work environment. It takes 15-20 minutes to complete, with an option to save your answers and complete the survey at a later time.

Your individual responses will remain confidential, and survey results will only be reported in aggregate. You will not be asked to provide personal information such as your CWL or password. Details on how your feedback is kept confidential are available at https://ubc.ca/wes.

I strongly encourage you to share your feedback, as it will help shape future workplace experiences and inform decisions at the university-wide and local levels. You can see examples of how the 2019 pulse survey influenced priorities and actions at https://focusonpeople.ubc.ca/reporting. You can also learn more about the Workplace Experiences Survey at https://ubc.ca/wes.

Thank you in advance for sharing your experience of working at UBC.

Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor


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UBC’s progress in support of Anti-Racism and Inclusive Excellence

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Over the last year, UBC has launched a series of initiatives addressing systemic racism within our community.

They include launching an Anti-Racism Initiatives Fund on both campuses, providing $200,000 for cultural programming; launching the Beyond Tomorrow Scholars Program to support recruitment and scholarships for Black Canadian students; hosting Canada’s first National Forum on Anti-Asian Racism; launching UBC’s Inclusion Action Plan and establishing a task force on Anti-Racism and Inclusive Excellence (ARIE).

The ARIE task force is led by Handel Wright, Senior Advisor to the President on Anti-Racism and Inclusive Excellence, and Shirley Chau, who is co-chair of the task force. Ainsley Carry, Vice-President, Students, and Ananya Mukherjee Reed, Provost and Vice-President, Academic, UBC Okanagan, were also assigned as executive co-leads to support implementation of the task force recommendations.

Since beginning its work in April 2021, the ARIE task force has made more than 50 recommendations which are currently under review by the relevant stakeholder groups. While the entire set of recommendations is still being considered, a select number received sufficient support to be implemented during the 2021/22 academic year. They include:

  • The need for sustained Anti-Racism training and education.
    Indigenous, Black, and People of Colour (IBPOC) members of the UBC community face race-based discrimination in the classroom and in work spaces. The task force recommends ongoing education and professional development to increase knowledge and skills necessary to reduce and prevent racial discrimination.
  • Increasing recruitment and retention of Indigenous, Black, and People of Colour (IBPOC) faculty.
    IBPOC faculty are underrepresented among UBC faculty. The task force recommends UBC make intentional efforts to recruit and retain faculty members from underrepresented groups, especially Indigenous and Black scholars.
  • Create pathways for IBPOC success within the talent pipeline: recruitment, hiring, performance, succession planning, retention.
    The lack of defined career pathways negatively impacts career advancement of IBPOC faculty and staff. Many IBPOC faculty and staff leave UBC due to systemic barriers impacting their career. The task force recommends UBC improve career pathways — recruitment through retirement — to increase chances to attract and retain IBPOC applicants and employees.
  • Develop and establish mechanisms of accountability through race-based data and reporting.
    UBC lacks disaggregated racial data. As a result, employment and pay equity is clouded, institutional knowledge of racial representation is minimal, and racial incidents remain unanalyzed. The task force recommends a systemic approach to institutional data collection and reporting on disaggregated race data for students, faculty, and staff.
  • Improve Black student mental health and wellness.
    Black students face an increasing amount of stress and anxiety. However, Black mental health services are limited. Therefore, the task force recommends increased Black representation in health and wellness services, education and training of service providers, increase resources to support understanding about race and racism, and bolster emergency health services.
  • Racial justice commitment for change.
    Many institutions have adopted racial justice statements to express their commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion. The task force recommends amplifying efforts to eliminate racism by introducing several anti-racist statements in a race-specific commitment.
  • Improvements in the system for handling complaints involving IBPOC.
    UBC’s systems for handling complaints are flawed. IBPOC members are left feeling vulnerable and unheard. The task force recommends revised policies and procedures to resolve complaints, including and especially cases involving IBPOC.

We would like to thank the members of the ARIE task force for their diligent effort and commitment to this important work. Our work, of course, is not done. Many more recommendations are being prepared for implementation in the coming months. We look forward to providing further updates as this important work progresses. Please visit https://antiracism.ubc.ca for more information about our commitments and actions.

Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor

Ainsley Carry
Vice-President, Students

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


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Changes to end-of-course student feedback surveys

Based on recommendations endorsed by the UBC Vancouver and UBC Okanagan Senates, UBC is implementing changes to the questions posed in the Student Experience of Instruction (SEI) surveys (i.e., end-of-course student  feedback  surveys, formerly named Student Evaluation of Teaching).

Starting this term, the SEI surveys will use the same six core questions for both UBC campuses — a reduction for UBC Okanagan from the previous 19 core questions — with revised wording based on feedback obtained from students and faculty through focus groups, student interviews, and pilot-testing.

The new survey questions were approved by the Vancouver Senate Teaching and Learning Committee and the Okanagan Senate Learning and Research Committee in the summer of 2021, and are in effect for courses offered during 2021/22 Winter Session, Term 1 and onward.

To view the updated questions, learn more about the metrics and analysis, and to review what these changes will mean for you, please visit the new Student Experience of Instruction website at https://seoi.ubc.ca.

Andrew Szeri
Provost and Vice-President, Academic, UBC Vancouver

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


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