UBC functions under a single mission and vision. Should each campus focus on different research and teaching strengths?
Week 7 Results
Week 7 Comments
There are some things UBCO can do that UBCV can’t, and back again. It might be tricky to pull back on some UBCV programs in favour of UBCO, but healthier in the long run.
The strength of any University rests in its unity, whether it be on a single or multiple campuses. To separate the goals of the campuses to make UBC Vancouver emphasize more its Research program while UBC Okanagan emphasizes more its undergraduate program will take UBC Vancouver down a very slippery slope of neglecting its undergraduate strengths, and to not build further on these strengths. It is globally known that UBC Vancouver is a formidable Graduate Research institution, but what is also as crucially important is the Undergraduates which comprise the bulk of the population, and their education should always be maintained at the highest possible standard. It is, after all, these same Undergraduates which will be the future representatives of the University tomorrow, in any number of societal and academic ways.
If we are to be one campus we should share a vision. Each campus presents different opportunities and which will therefore guide how this vision is achieved.
A yes/no answer does not work here. Differentiation in research + teaching at the 2 campuses should not be arbitrarily imposed, but rather be implemented as a result of the differing context, culture, scale and strengths of the 2 campuses, all with a focus on offering students a broad range of possible learning experiences. For example UBC O has a great scale for students seeking a more intimate liberal arts education than the larger, factory environment that UBC V allows. However, for students seeking an education requiring the research-intensive infrastructure and services of UBC V, the larger campus is likely to be chosen. The full opportunities that video conferencing facilities between the 2 campuses will allow do not seem to have been exploited.
The programming should differ but strive for complementarity with respect pedagogical principle and criteria.
Collaboration is desirable. For example Indigenous Studies Okanagan and Forestry/ Land and Food and Fisheries UBC V have ecosystem-based interests in common.
UBC-O is closer to traditional knowledge holders in Aboriginal communities and UBC O is closer to science knowledge practitioners. This is but one example of potential bridge building between the Urban – Rural divide. We can make the diversity of urban rural perspective a strength – through harmonizing research.
Strength in complementarity. Don’t try to offer the same brand identity at each location– wasted resources– better to go with individual strengths.
Because of the differences in size, location, and history, the two main campuses have different opportunities to exploit, to the advantage of faculty and students. With separate academic governance structures (i.e., separate Senates), the mechanism is in place for the evolution of separate teaching (and research) programs. Overall adherence to the mission and vision can be ensured by the Council of Senates and other means of communication and collaboration, with shared administrative processes where appropriate. UBC has to acknowledge to all its members (and especially to its undergraduate students) that the two campuses are not interchangeable, that they have separate academic governance structures that result in different academic programs, and that to try to force them into compliance with each others teaching patterns only diminishes the potential for each to flourish.
The general mission and vision should be consistent in both schools but obviously each one will have their particular strengths and weaknesses. The vision statement should be general enough to encompass the motives of both schools but maybe each school can then have their own sub mission.
I am concerned by the implicit message in the comments from Doug and Dave that the different strengths will be boiled down to UBC-V = graduate and UBC-O = undergraduate. What exactly does this mean? A gradual shifting of programs from one location to another? Is it realistic or serving the community to move the largest student population to a (let’s face it) remote part of the province? I would prefer to see the university consider areas of teaching /research that are most relevant to a given locale and grow undergrad & graduate programming in that field/area in the region be it UBC V or 0.
Duplication of effort, equipment, resources, etc. increases costs, and these are tight financial times.
It is fine to focus on common values and a broad mission i.e. sustainability but the instantiation should be responsive to the local situation i.e. locale, history, curriculum, etc. Differentiation on the basis of graduate / undergraduate student body seems inevitably elitist as well as reductive for all. Nor should UBC imagine itself as being unique in having multiple distinct campuses. Perhaps it can learn from others as well as lead.