Community input sought for UBC vision

by Gavin Wilson
Staff writer

UBC is asking the community to assist it in developing a new vision for the 21st century.

As part of visioning consultation, which seeks to redefine the nature of the university's research and learning environment, President Martha Piper has formed a 33-member Community Advisory Council. Representatives from business, labour, community and cultural groups and provincial and municipal levels of government will provide input as UBC develops a new vision.

Piper also recently visited Victoria, Prince George, Kelowna and Kamloops to consult with the community about the direction the university should take in the coming century.

During her visits Piper met with government representatives, the presidents of post-secondary institutions, business leaders, UBC alumni and high school students.

Students, faculty and staff at the university are already involved in the visioning process.

"We have a responsibility to plan for the future -- to be bold, to be visionary --and in this planning process we must be willing to reach out to the community we serve to invite advice and guidance from all quarters," Piper says. "UBC has much to offer the communities it serves, and as British Columbia's pre-eminent research university, it is uniquely positioned to meet the needs of our society."

UBC is redefining its mission in light of societal changes such as increasing globalization, the rapid expansion of information technology and the growing integration of academic fields of study.

As well, the university is seeking to re-examine the purpose of undergraduate education. It is especially looking for ways to combine its research activities with undergraduate education.

Other issues being examined include new models of research partnerships, new teaching methods, the expansion of continuing education and the changing nature of the student body.

The campus and external consultations will result in a short "green paper," which should be completed in March. This will serve as the basis of further discussion of the issues the university must address in its long-term pursuit of excellence in teaching and research.

The campus and community consultations will culminate in the creation of a vision statement for UBC which will go to the university Senate and Board of Governors for approval in September and October.

Additional information about UBC's vision process can be found on the Web at