Category Archives: Board of Governors

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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The business community to the rescue of the research community

Tuesday’s UBC Board of Governors meeting was the best I’ve witnessed in my last four years on the Board. A worthwhile agenda loaded with potentially transformational items, a great display of sound “governing” by the Governors, a magnificent presentation by … Continue reading

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We have a plan!

A UBC Housing Action Plan that is, which –I believe– will help improve housing choice and affordability for faculty, staff, postdocs, graduate and undergraduate students on the Vancouver campus. Actually, it is still only a discussion paper waiting for your … Continue reading

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When University Presidents send out “few public bouquets” to Government

“Even on the most exalted throne in the world we are only sitting on our own bottom”– Michel de Montaigne. “Sometimes Canada Gets it Right” is a recent joint op-ed by U. of Toronto President, David Naylor and UBC President, Stephen Toope. … Continue reading

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My opening remarks at the UBC housing forum

Various and somewhat distorted versions of my statements at yesterday’s UBC housing forum were published on several websites. I am therefore posting here the full text of my opening remarks.

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“Campus as a living lab”… for sound governance and common sense

Review committees for Deans and VPs should not comprise direct aides and immediate subordinates of the person under review. Besides fueling –often unwarranted yet prevalent– skepticism vis-a-vis the evaluation process, current practices have the potential to undermine it by shutting … Continue reading

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“A no-brainer, if you ask me”

That was in an email from a colleague at one of UBC’s better departments. “Gents, In your capacities as …, and BoG-dude (AKA faculty representative on the Board of Governors), have a look at these two links. A no-brainer, if you ask … Continue reading

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Lessons learned: Housing at NYU, Columbia, Harvard, UCLA and UC-Irvine

Last June, I and a few other UBC Governors and senior staff visited NYU, Columbia, Harvard, UCLA, and UC-Irvine. Just like UBC, these universities are located in areas where housing prices are prohibitive. And just like them, UBC is in … Continue reading

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The problem with developing a “Housing Action Plan” for UBC (II) – Cash Flow

The UBC administration is quite aware of how critical the issue of housing is to the future of the university and is committed to addressing it. The President said as much in his latest town hall meeting, and the Board … Continue reading

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The problem with developing a “Housing Action Plan” for UBC (I) – Attitudes

Many hurdles face the prospect of a sound “Housing Action Plan” for UBC, not the least of which being personal attitudes shaped by Vancouver’s real estate subculture, the variable academic standards within the university, the ethical issues of eligibility and … Continue reading

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Firing a President for all the wrong reasons

I kid you not! The president of the University of Oregon, Richard Lariviere, was recently fired because he wanted to use non-state funds to provide badly needed salary increases to retain and recruit faculty at his university. Robert Berdahl, a veteran of the … Continue reading

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The two main threats to good governance: “Yes people” and sound leadership

Institutions require strong governance the most whenever they are stuck with mediocre or abusive leadership. On the other hand, institutions that are going through an era of sound leadership have a tendency to drop their guard, ignore, and eventually weaken … Continue reading

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When the appointed can fire the elected

This is not another post on how the commissioners of the European Union proceeded to essentially “fire” the elected prime ministers of Greece and Italy. This is about the new state of affairs in British Columbia’s public institutions for advanced … Continue reading

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How to build yourself a facility on campus if you must

The process of getting “yourself” or your department a building at a university is an enigma to most. The projects can vary from being a complex to house a major academic unit, to an infrastructure that suits your own “pet … Continue reading

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The wake-up call from a crumbling ceiling

“Dear all, The east entrance, in front of the men’s washroom of Math Annex, a portion of the ceiling has come apart and fell to the ground. This area is now out of bounds and considered to be unsafe. We … Continue reading

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The real cost of non-affordable housing in and around UBC

One colleague wrote, “I think you will find many [such] stories among recent hires at UBC who left us due to the real estate woes, or candidates we wanted to attract who took a look at the housing prices and voted … Continue reading

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A tale of two subcultures: The UBC Bookstore vs. “UBC Central”

August is supposed to be a slow month for activism on campus. Not this year. Emails started popping up on my screen about a recently announced decision of the UBC administration to rebrand the Bookstore. It was to be named  … Continue reading

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The future of UBC could be determined by … Housing

Providing faculty housing is partly how Stanford grew from nowhere in 1960 to elite in 1980. Columbia’s renaissance in the 1980′s as one of the top Ivy league institutions has been credited to opportunistic housing purchases around campus which allowed the … Continue reading

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When credit is due

Last week, UBC inaugurated its new Law building. So what? You may say. What’s the big deal about yet another building in UBC’s amazing journey of development and renewal? Well, to me, the story behind the completion of this major … Continue reading

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