The following is the text of an e-mail message sent to all members of the UBC community from UBC President Martha C. Piper on 17-Mar-2004.
To: All Members of the UBC Community
From: President Martha Piper
Date: 17 March 2004
Subject: UBC - Okanagan Announcement
The B.C. government today announced a plan to address the pressing need for more university spaces in the province. It has asked UBC to establish a campus with undergraduate, graduate and research programs in Kelowna, to serve the Okanagan region and beyond.
UBC Okanagan will begin offering programs at what is now the North Kelowna campus of Okanagan University College (OUC) starting in September 2005. The first UBC degrees will be granted in May 2006. The provincial government will fund the growth of university spaces at our new campus from the current 3,000 to 7,500 by 2009.
To facilitate the transition, the government has appointed an administrator to operate OUC until August 2005. The administrator will help oversee the movement of OUC degree programs and assets to UBC, and assist in the transfer of diploma and certificate programs to a new college. This will be done in close consultation with our new colleagues in Kelowna, and with the utmost sensitivity to their concerns.
I know you will grasp the significance of today's announcement for our province and our university. The plan will substantially improve student access in B.C. by more than doubling the number of university spaces in the Okanagan. It will provide residents of this fast-growing region of B.C. immediate access to one of Canada's leading research-intensive universities.
UBC has always had a special role in serving the people of B.C. with a distinctive education and leading-edge research. The development of a new UBC campus in Kelowna validates and enhances our provincial mandate, offers compelling academic and research benefits, and provides the opportunity for UBC to create two distinct campus experiences for our communities.
This is an exciting development in UBC's history, and I hope you will agree that it will significantly advance our vision to be Canada's best university. By expanding access in the Interior, the plan will relieve current pressure on core UBC Arts and Sciences programs, while opening valuable program and study options in a new and distinctive campus setting. UBC Okanagan also holds the prospect of new research opportunities and partnerships that are important to B.C. and Canada.
There is much work to do in the next 18 months. The amalgamation of OUC programs with those of UBC, and the identification of Kelowna graduate and research programs, will be a complex process. In putting this plan into effect, we must have an approach that honours the excellent people and programs of OUC, and invites their input as well as input by UBC faculty and staff in order to maximize academic and research synergies. UBC will begin working immediately with the OUC administrator and Okanagan residents to map out the transition and to establish UBC Okanagan in a way that respects the achievements of OUC and the aspirationsof the communities it has served.
To provide initial information to the UBC campus community, a campus information session will be held today, 17 March 2004, at 4 pm at Hebb Theatre, 2045 East Mall. All are welcome.
Information is also available on the Web at http://www.ubc.ca/okanagan, which will carry video clips of today's formal announcement in Kelowna.
I hope you will share my sense of excitement and anticipation at the prospect of this dramatic opportunity to contribute to the growth, well-being and prosperity of a vitally-important region of British Columbia.