Appointment of Senior Advisor to the Provosts on Academic Freedom

To: Faculty and staff in Vancouver and the Okanagan

If you are a manager of staff whose work is not computer-based, please print this email and display it in a common work area for them to review.

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Neil Guppy has accepted the position of Senior Advisor to the Provosts on Academic Freedom. He is charged with leading a system-wide conversation concerning the centrality of academic freedom to our various missions, and to developing educational materials for the university community in the support and protection of academic freedom. 

Dr. Guppy is a professor in the Department of Sociology where he served as Head for seven years. As a researcher his focus has been largely around issues of social inequality. This year he was awarded the 2016 Canadian Sociological Association’s Outstanding Contribution Award for his longtime commitment to Canadian sociology and the continued growth of the discipline, as well as the wide breadth of areas of research in the number of publications he has authored. Dr. Guppy was the recipient of the Killam Research Prize in 1989, and he was awarded a Killam Teaching Prize in 1992-1993. Further details about his teaching and research may be found at:

Dr. Guppy’s administrative experience includes positions as Associate Dean in the Faculty of Arts for four years, and Vice-President, Academic Programs in the Office of the Provost between 2000 and 2004.  He is currently assisting the Office of the Vice-President, Students in an interim role as the Acting Managing Director of Student Development and Services.

Dr. Guppy understands academic freedom as a value that is essential to the proper functioning of universities, foundational to the integrity of universities, and especially imperative in advancing rigorous standards of free and unfettered enquiry and education. As a sociologist, he sees it as a convention that is supported by a set of training, hiring, and promotion practices that are cemented in the academic units that comprise a modern university – departments, divisions and schools.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank the advisory committee for their time, commitment, and good counsel during this search. The advisory committee members are:

Paul Bartha, Professor and Head, Department of Philosophy
Lara Boyd, Professor, Department of Physical Therapy
James Brander, Professor, Sauder School of Business
Kevin Leyton-Brown, Professor, Department of Computer Science
Anthony Paré, Professor and Head, Department of Language and Literacy
Cynthia Mathieson, Provost and Vice-Principal, Academic – UBC Okanagan,
and Professor of Psychology (co-chair)
Angela Redish, Provost and Vice-President, Academic pro tem, and Professor, Economics Department (co-chair)

We are looking forward to working with Dr. Guppy in this new role commencing July 1, and hope you will enjoy the opportunity of interacting with him. Dr. Guppy has asked that we extend an invitation encouraging people to reach out to him to discuss issues of academic freedom.

Angela Redish
Provost and Vice-President, Academic pro tem

Cynthia Mathieson
Provost and Vice-Principal, Academic, UBC Okanagan