Category Archives: Board of Governors

UBC appoints a doer as its 13th President

Once again, UBC has steered clear of appointing a career university administrator for its top position. Unlike UofT and UVic, who opted for the ultimate insiders, and McGill, who went for a consummate bureaucrat, UBC has chosen to appoint a … Continue reading

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Bye Bye Board

Yesterday was my last day on the UBC Board of Governors, the end of an extremely rewarding six-year stint. To the faculty who elected me decisively twice for the Board and another time for the Presidential search committee, I say … Continue reading

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UBC Board approves improved faculty housing assistance program

It is hiring season at UBC and my inbox was feeling it. “Housing is proving a major factor in our current recruitment round. What is the status of the housing action plan,” wrote a department head. Similar queries were coming … Continue reading

Posted in Board of Governors, UBC Housing Action Plan, Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Cost-cutting in post-secondary institutions: Rank and Yank, Lift and Shift

All the bulletins open with the same rhetoric: Universities are undergoing historic change due to the sharp downward shift in government funding, hence there is an urgent need to remove redundancy and cost while being able to preserve and improve … Continue reading

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From “shared governance” to “shared services”: Lessons from the University of Michigan

A revolt is brewing at the University of Michigan. More than a thousand faculty members have signed an open letter to President Coleman and Provost Pollack: “Restore sanity to the University of Michigan.” A recent article in InsideHigherEd tells the story: “Corporatization” schemes, … Continue reading

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The UBC Faculty Housing Action Plan revisited

Thirteen months ago, a message to the faculty was sent on my behalf as Chair of the UBC Community Planning Task Group, announcing the UBC Housing Action Plan as approved by the Board of Governors. The plan addressed –among other things– the problem of housing affordability for tenured and … Continue reading

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Beyond “the homely West-side heritage home” that shelters UBC-Mathematics

I have just received the annual newsletter of the mathematics department (my department) at the University of British Columbia. And I learned a few new facts that are worth sharing. Thanks to an interesting interview with Andrew Weaver, the very … Continue reading

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UBC Presidential Search Committee: Large yet not representative enough

“I understand you have been elected to serve on the Presidential Search Committee. Thank you so much for taking this important task on,” wrote the Chancellor. It is of course always nice to hear that you have once again gained … Continue reading

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Salary arbitration: Is the UBC Administration putting its respectable legacy on the line?

Thousands of UBC faculty members are without a contract since July 1, 2012 even though negotiations between the Administration and the Faculty Association (FA) started back in February 2012. After several failed attempts at direct bargaining, the parties have now decided to … Continue reading

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The faculty at UBC-Vancouver also want in!

It can get quite lonely for faculty representatives on the Board of Governors. I have written before about the latent disparity in status between the elected and the appointed. But there is also the occasional dreadful feeling: what if no … Continue reading

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Nota Bene

I was not surprised to receive some push back on my last blog. I have also had a chance to revisit some of the issues I raised and the way they sounded. They are important, and it is certainly my … Continue reading

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How far and how much could a university administration commit its successor?

Ever since Stephen Toope announced the date of his resignation from the presidency of UBC, I and a few other members of the Board of Governors have been struggling with some tough questions. Should this administration stop, or at least … Continue reading

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UBC’s search for a president: Two down but many to go

The Chancellor has just announced the official launch of the search for a new president of UBC to succeed Stephen Toope. “A Search Committee of 22 members broadly representative of the University community – faculty, staff, students and alumni – will be … Continue reading

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The people who let you “matter” and those who don’t

Being singled out by the Ubyssey as one of “The people who mattered at UBC in 2012-13” brought much honour and satisfaction, but also introspection. For someone who fusses regularly about whether his latest actions mattered, the mention by the venerable … Continue reading

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A “piece of mind” on university governance revisited

“Your post was so highly elliptical that individuals involved will be pissed and onlookers will be puzzled,” wrote one friend. The latter part of his statement got my attention. A few other personal emails, Menzies’ comment below, and Wakefield’s column … Continue reading

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When the faculty needs to step up for their universities

Stephen Toope announced yesterday that he would be stepping down as President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of British Columbia at the end of June 2014. This is a very unfortunate turn of events for UBC, and not only because the guy … Continue reading

Posted in Board of Governors, UBC Presidential Search | 2 Comments

University Governance, Gender Equity and the 2% Solution

It has been the talk of the town. Not that UBC is addressing past gender inequity in professors’ pay, but by the way it is doing it. Other Canadian universities have distributed salary adjustments to female faculty, but UBC was … Continue reading

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The 2013 BC government budget and what it means for UBC

The BC 2013 budget document is out. It doesn’t even use the words: productivity, innovation, research, university, or college. By taking a leaf out of the feds’ work manual, the provincial government is expecting us to rejoice upon hearing that … Continue reading

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A historic institutional housing action plan at UBC

Cambridge and Oxford Universities have one. The Weizmann Institute has one, and so does Harvard, Princeton, NYU, Columbia, Stanford, UCLA and UC-Irvine. And in a Canadian first, in a move that will differentiate UBC from any other university in Canada, UBC has now … Continue reading

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University governance: From UBC to the University of Virginia and back

 “What’s happening at the University of Virginia is surreal, a real estate developer is now running the place,” wrote Jay Rosen, a professor of journalism at NYU. At the same time, UBC, normally at the receiving end of this kind of statement, was being commended … Continue reading

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