People and Places

People and Places

At the heart of the university’s identity are the mutually reinforcing groups of people and locations (physical and virtual) that endow UBC with its special qualities and define how our work is accomplished. ‘People’ naturally includes students, faculty, staff, alumni and residents, as well as our Indigenous partners. But also included are postdoctoral research fellows, medical trainees, lifelong learners, emeritus faculty members and retired staff — in addition to volunteers, philanthropic supporters, colleagues at other institutions, and those with whom we work in the local, provincial and federal governments. UBC seeks to promote and protect the fundamental balance between people and places through our deep commitments to Indigenous peoples, sustainability and wellbeing. These three aspects of our work, all interdependent, help to differentiate UBC. Universities are increasingly competing for the very best faculty, staff and student talent, and UBC is no exception. We must address significant challenges related to housing and transportation, improve the ways in which we work, enhance the student experience and advance quality of life for all members of the university community.


Strategy 1. Great people: Attract, engage and retain a diverse global community of outstanding students, faculty and staff

Strategy 2. Inspiring spaces: Create welcoming physical and virtual spaces to advance collaboration, innovation and community development

Strategy 3. Thriving communities: Support the ongoing development of sustainable, healthy and connected campuses and communities, consistent with the 20-Year Sustainability Strategy and the developing Wellbeing Strategy

Strategy 4. Inclusive excellence: Cultivate a diverse community that creates and sustains equitable and inclusive campuses

Strategy 5. Systems renewal: Transform university-level systems and processes to facilitate collaboration, innovation and agility

Snapshot: People and Places

The accomplishments achieved under our 20-Year Sustainability Strategy are numerous and impressive. Notably, emission reductions of 30 per cent were attained in less than five years through the Climate Action Plan 2010–2015, and concerted action is being taken towards the next target of 67 per cent through the recent Climate Action Plan 2020 Update. UBC (2017) has some 400 faculty members working on sustainability-related research. We offer about 50 sustainability-related degree programs and over 600 sustainability-oriented courses.

The ongoing vision of the 20-Year Sustainability Strategy features simultaneous improvements in human and environmental wellbeing with an expectation that, by 2035, sustainability will be embedded across the university throughout teaching and learning, research, operations and infrastructure, and community development. This strategy is being implemented across many areas and through a variety of collaborations between the academy and operational units. Our efforts are intentional, inclusive and innovative, as evidenced by our emerging Green Building Plan. Metrics and targets are described in all areas, alongside strategies to reach further to accomplish them. 

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