Inside the Principal and Deputy Vice-Chancellor’s Fall Town Hall

Dear colleagues,

Thank you for your attendance at the Principal and Deputy Vice-Chancellor’s Fall Town Hall on August 31. It was an excellent event, and, although I wish we’d been able to gather in person, your participation was greatly appreciated. For those who were unable to join live, you can watch a recording of the event here.


During the event, it was mentioned that any questions left unaddressed would be answered at a later date. With the help of members of the leadership team, we have composed answers to those questions below.


Lesley Cormack
Principal and Deputy Vice-Chancellor
UBC Okanagan


Q. I would love to hear more about the student services that will be available at the Downtown Campus, if that is known at this time

Student Services will have a dedicated suite of offices on the second floor to support students. A dedicated front desk with various services and partners will populate the space throughout the week (e.g., counselling services, Indigenous advisors, accessibility advisors, etc.). For those requiring student service support virtually, dedicated private video conference booths have been considered in the design. UBCO Downtown will also include a new spiritual and multifaith space for students, staff and faculty.


Q. Currently, UBCO Security Staff are contractors, not employees. Is there any consideration about this team moving in-house at some point?

The majority of Campus Security personnel are BCGEU or M&P staff. This includes management, dispatchers, incident and event support, and keyless access and general admin. The department holds a contract with Paladin Security who provide additional services with respect to foot patrol, first aid, and event support as needed. This staffing model is reviewed periodically to ensure it meets the needs of the Okanagan campus, and is currently under review.


Q. Our pathways for students outside of ‘traditional’ ones are not easy and tend to work against the student who wishes to expand their education or continue life-long learning endeavors. For example, UBCO is the most restrictive institution in Canada for our second degree students. Is there any interest from leadership and faculties in lessening barriers for this group who has great potential for what they can contribute to our campus community?

A number of initiatives are underway to support goals related to lifelong learning, including identifying barriers and possible pathways into UBCO through credit articulation processes with several higher education partners and constructing a framework that can assist programs in assessing and recognizing prior learning obtained in a variety of ways (note that final determinations will remain with those programs).

UBCO is also actively expanding its non-credit professional learning opportunities for post-degree learners and exploring pathways to credit in those contexts.

The College of Graduate studies considers admissions holistically, and takes into consideration non-academic forms of training, and a variety of other experiences.


Q. This year in particular we were directly impacted by the effects of climate change on campus with the wildfire situation, can anyone speak to what work is being done on our campus to address the climate emergency?

There are a variety of research projects and academic initiatives underway on campus that relate to climate emergency response.

From an institutional operations perspective, UBCO is addressing the climate emergency through implementation of the new UBCO Climate Action Plan 2030 which aims to significantly reduce fossil fuel impacts while supporting the campus to adapt to the effects of climate change. Actions underway will reduce campus greenhouse gas emissions, decarbonize energy supply, and prepare the campus to protect its buildings, infrastructure and ecological assets against future climate risks. A key example is having climate-ready building requirements in place so buildings can better adapt to future climates, exemplified by the Skeena Residence Passive House Certified Project.

In addition, the construction of green infrastructure such as the Commons Building rain garden manages rainwater for the building to mitigate flood risk, guided by our Integrated Rainwater Management Plan.

The new UBCO Transportation Plan addresses greenhouse gas emissions from commuting by delivering transportation projects, programs and infrastructure to support sustainable modes of transportation.


Q. Recapping Shannon Dunn’s update on construction of the second Daycare facility (given sound issues during the webinar):

Construction tendering for the new Daycare facility occurred in the late spring, however construction inflation resulted in higher costs than funding permitted. As a result, the project was put on a brief hold while additional funding opportunities were sought. We are grateful that the Province of BC enhanced its contribution to the project and staff are working to confirm tenders are still valid. The overall project timeline will be confirmed before the end of September, with construction anticipated to begin by late October.

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