The following announcement is sent on behalf of Vice President Barry McBride.
UBC Okanagan may seem a world away to people at UBC Vancouver. To the extent you may feel that way, I’d like to try to bring the worlds a little closer together by updating you and offering ways to get further involved and informed.
The vision for UBC Okanagan that we’re currently working from is:
To offer a world-class teaching and research-intensive university site in Kelowna that is distinctive in its academic programs, is responsive to the needs and opportunities of the region, attracts outstanding faculty and students and is an economic driver in Southern Interior communities.
The transition to UBC Okanagan has two clear phases: what needs to be done to accommodate 3,900 students at the North Kelowna campus on September 2005; and what needs to happen to get us to 7,000 undergraduate and 500 graduate students by 2010, and in the years beyond. The initial phase, at least, requires close coordination with the new Okanagan College that is being simultaneously created so that the current level of regional post-secondary integration is preserved and enhanced.
Below are some of the important organizational and consultation elements to support these phases.
The vision for UBC Okanagan is for one Board of Governors, one President, and two Senates to foster distinctive learning and research programs for each campus.
A Transition Management Committee will make key decisions regarding distribution of programs and assets. This committee consists of the Public Administrator now leading OUC (Peter Meekison, former University of Alberta VP Academic, has just taken over the role from Jim Soles), myself as Deputy Vice Chancellor of UBC Okanagan, and Jim Hamilton, the Principal of OUC’s Vernon campus who has taken on responsibilities as my counterpart for the new Okanagan College.
Moura Quayle, as AVP Okanagan Programs, is charged with overseeing the integration of degree programs. Moura retains her responsibilities as Dean of Agricultural Sciences.
Task Forces with membership from UBC Vancouver and OUC are now working in a number of areas. The most critical working groups are in Learning (Jim Berger), Students (Byron Hender) and Research (Brent Sauder). They are under great pressure to determine program requirements for September 2005. Decisions on programs will drive other decisions within the other Task Forces (People, Corporate Services, IT, etc). This month we have asked the Task forces to set a priority on identifying what UBC Okanagan will look like academically in September 2005. Given our commitment to allow students to complete the programs in which they are enrolled, and the short planning period, we do not anticipate major curriculum changes in the near term.
It is important to note that UBC has guaranteed currently enrolled OUC students the ability to complete their programs. This somewhat restricts the ability to offer new programs at the outset, although there is much work being done to determine a limited but exciting number of new offerings that can mesh and build on the strengths of existing curricula.
The Task Forces have substantially concluded their work on identifying the current state of each institution, and are poised for the next phase, which is to determine the transition state for September 2005.
At a higher and more long-term level, there are bodies known as Vision Secretariats at UBC Vancouver and OUC. These groups of senior academic and administrative people are tasked with exploring the long-term learning and research linkages between UBC Vancouver and UBC Okanagan.
On the consultation front, we have committed to dialogue with the people of OUC and the Okanagan communities about the region’s learning and research needs.
Internally, we have started a University Circles Program. University Circles are groups of 8 to 12 OUC faculty, staff or students, who meet regularly and engage in generating ideas and opportunities to provide both vision and value to the transition process that will evolve UBC Okanagan in the short-term (target September 2005) and even more importantly in the long-term (target 2009-10). Thus far, 31 circles have spontaneously formed.
Externally, we’ve begun a series of regional Town Hall meetings. Arising from these meetings, and similar to the internal University Circles, will be Community Roundtables. This will give people in the region an opportunity to engage in the long-range planning process.
In addition we are working with the provincial government to establish a Presidents Okanagan Community Advisory Council. UBC Board of Governors member Mr. Brad Bennett will chair the Council. I will be putting together an Academic Advisory Council made up of faculty, students and community representatives from OUC to discuss academic programming for the new university.
So, what does this mean for how we do business at UBC Vancouver? For the moment, there will not be significant changes but it is vital that UBC Vancouver people begin to think about the tremendous potential for teaching and research opportunities that can play to the distinct strengths of each campus.
While the Vision Secretariats will be important tools to explore these potentials, it is critical that we engage the discussion more widely amongst students, faculty and staff on the UBC Vancouver campus. We will monitor the situation over the summer to assess interest in holding University Circles at UBC Vancouver.
Vice President and Provost