Principal’s Spring Town Hall Questions & Answers

Thank you for joining me at this year’s Spring Town Hall. Many important conversations were had and I thank you for sharing your thoughts with me and the other members of the campus executive leadership team. Below are the questions and answers that we were unable to get to during the event: 


We succeeded in the shift to online education during COVID-19 by investing and laying a foundation. As a top-ranked university, how will we create a strong base for the bigger, upcoming transition to futuristic, digitalized smart education? 

UBC’s Beyond COVID Report identified four thematic areas of focus for learning initiatives post-pandemic, including Technology and support for faculty and student success. Digital UBC, a process underway to help shape UBC’s first institution-wide digital strategy, aligns and supports these efforts in the domain of teaching and learning (as well as research, administration and community engagement). In addition, the Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills initiated B.C.’s Post-Secondary Digital Learning Strategy, which is highly complementary to UBC’s above-listed initiatives. UBC’s work was also a key contributor to the provincial strategy.    

Practically at UBC Okanagan, this translates into concrete initiatives, such as the Enterprise Video Platform Project; the launch of Constellation; emerging continuing and professional education offerings; and new initiatives from the Centre for Teaching and Learning including the migration to Kaltura Cloud. Many of these projects have continued support from the ALT-2040 Fund, which will undergo renewal before the next call for proposals in September 2023.   


As you continue to seek guidance from staff/faculty who identify in racially marginalized groups in moving forward with EDI work, how are you supporting and compensating them in the emotional labour it costs to engage in such topics? 

The emotional labour of supporting inclusive excellence work on campus—especially as it is done by members of historically and persistently marginalized groups, including racialized people—is very real and is often unseen. The Office of the Provost and Vice-President, Academic has committed to ensuring this labour is visible and valued, including through: forming an Inclusive Excellence Advisory Group, comprising faculty and staff across campus; engaging with and supporting UBC Okanagan affinity groups (in collaboration with the Equity and Inclusion Office); and clarifying how emotional labour and its differentiated impact must be considered as we work toward UBC’s articulated values and goals. For more information, or to share your thoughts, visit the Task Force on Anti-Racism and Inclusive Excellence webpage.  


What is leadership going to do to support the healthy work/life balance due to the flexible work-from home schedules? 

While not all roles on campus are suitable for hybrid work schedules, for those that are, UBC launched the hybrid work program that has been designed to preserve the student experience, advance the academic mission, support research excellence and impact, and maintain the high quality of our programs. Creating a flexible workplace environment supports a range of UBC’s institutional goals, including the attraction and retention of faculty and staff, as well as our commitments to inclusion, wellbeing, and climate action. Hybrid work at UBC | UBC Human Resources 


How is UBC keeping managers accountable to supporting change in their departments when they are resistant to do so. 

Starting with a conversation with the manager about your concerns is the best place to begin as there may be reasons for why a change is not moving as fast as is hoped.  If individuals are still unsatisfied, then escalating your concerns to the manager’s supervisor is appropriate. 


Can you speak to the current status/progress of Workday Student? 

The IRP Student team continues to work towards its phased implementation plan. As the team moves from its build phase into its testing phase, work is taking place to ensure Workday Student and all applications function as expected to support UBC processes. A Go-Decision, which involves a final stage of rigorous checks and a multi-step process to obtain UBC Executive approval, is planned for July 2023, with Launch 1 of Workday Student planned for October 2023. Launch 1 entails five key activities—community engagement, end-to-end testing, change bundles and change impact assessments, training and student readiness, toward a go-live for the part of the system that will first be used by Faculty and Staff to prepare for the 2024W sessions. This includes, for example, admissions, scheduling, and curriculum management.  

The IRP Student Blog is an excellent source of information with details on the process, feedback opportunities (such as a survey open until May 19), and a detailed list of checkpoints for the launch of Workday Student. 


My question is about the Mortgage Loan Assistance program. I engaged leadership about this and was told plans were underway to implement this in the current Fiscal year. We are yet to hear though. Could we get some concrete info about this? 

UBCO leadership understands that these programs can be important to recruitment and retention efforts for the campus.  We do not have a viable financial model that would allow for these programs to be launched in the current year, but it continues to be a priority to explore and work towards options. 


What are the top three budget priorities over the next fiscal year? 

Similar to most BC post-secondary institutions, UBCO did experience a leveling off of international enrolment, putting a degree of pressure on the overall campus budget.  As a result, the priorities for this fiscal year focus on funding for increases in salaries for faculty and staff (merit and progress); addressing inflationary pressures relative to maintaining service levels and staffing in core service delivery departments; and funding of our in-progress academic capital projects (i.e. ICI and UBCO Downtown) to relieve our academic space constraints. 

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