Committee asks for academic plan input

Opinions and recommendations are being sought from faculty, staff, students and the public for a draft academic plan to meet UBC's needs in the 21st century.

"The plan is extremely important," says UBC Vice-president, Academic and Provost, Barry McBride. "It is the means by which the goals of the Trek 2000 vision statement will become a reality. The plan will set out the criteria for decisions on direction and resource allocation."

The core areas to be addressed in the plan include the university in society, student-centred learning and teaching, faculty-centred learning and research, and running the academic enterprise.

"Now is the time for people in the UBC community to make their views known," says Prof. Michael Goldberg, chair of the Academic Plan Advisory committee. "We need lots of ideas so we can develop the first draft of the academic plan by the new year."

The committee faces a very tight deadline with a first draft due in early January.

The 35-member committee represents a broad cross-section of UBC staff, students and faculty. Split into four working teams, the committee is guided by terms of reference and core questions which are available at the committee's Web site at

The need for an academic plan was identified at the outset of the Trek 2000 vision statement, which lays out principles, goals and strategies for a new UBC that will respond to the changes taking place in society.

These include a renewed emphasis on teaching, creating more dynamic learning environments, and responding to the challenges and opportunities created by information technology.

Other changes to be faced include increased competition from both public and private post-secondary education providers and the transition to knowledge-based global economies.

"It's not business as usual," says Goldberg. "New ideas need to come forward and these will be developed and discussed in an open and accessible environment."

The committee will look at such critical issues as faculty and staff renewal, ways of improving research and teaching infrastructure, and developing incentives to recognize contributions to building the university.

Forty-five per cent of faculty and 35 per cent of staff will retire over the next eight years.

In the future, staff may assume a larger role in education Goldberg says. For example, staff could organize events such as study-abroad programs, enabling faculty to focus more on students and their learning experiences.

He says since the early 1990s, the pace of change has picked up with globalization. Facilities designed for teaching lectures need to be augmented with innovative learning settings that make use of technological advances.

Between January and March next year, Goldberg and McBride will be seeking input from the campus community and the public. A number of town hall meetings on campus are planned.

All members of the university community are encouraged to participate in forming the academic plan. Comments can be faxed to Jeananne Robertson at 822-8118, or by e-mail to