President’s Welcome and Introduction


The President & Vice-Chancellor

Welcome to Shaping UBC’s Next Century — the strategic plan of the University of British Columbia (UBC), launched at a time of renewal as we embark on our next century as a leading public university.

Building on the success of UBC’s previous strategic plan, Place and Promise, our new plan focuses on three themes that we believe are critical to society today: inclusion, collaboration and innovation. This plan describes the strong connections between these themes and the core areas that define what we do as a public university: people and places, research excellence, transformative learning, local and global engagement.

As you explore the plan, you will see that it outlines our ambitions through a series of 20 strategies. Recognizing the scale of the task at hand, we have identified five areas that we feel have significant transformational potential:

  • Collaborative clusters — interdisciplinary research clusters focusing on problems of societal importance.
  • Great people — nurturing our global community of faculty, staff and students. Enhancing inclusion within the UBC community and deepening our engagement with Indigenous partners.
  • Indigenous engagement — supporting the objectives and actions of the renewed 2018 Indigenous Strategic Plan. This area also represents our shared commitment as a university community, articulating the commitments that form UBC’s response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. You can learn more here.
  • Innovative pedagogy — enriching experiential learning and research opportunities as ways to master valuable competencies.
  • Thriving campus communities — focusing on the wellbeing of our UBC community, including sustainability and connectivity to our campuses.

Shaping UBC’s Next Century will guide our decisions, actions and interactions into the future, and will create a framework for resource allocation across the university. As always, people are the cornerstone of UBC. We want to inspire the very best in our students, faculty, staff, alumni and partners, and we recognize the degree to which we continue to be inspired by the people and the communities with whom we work. This is our moment to harness the energies and strengths of an extraordinary institution to contribute to sustainable and positive change, both locally and globally. This is our moment to inspire.

I am proud of the way our community has come together to create the direction and spirit so evident in this plan. To the many thousands of individuals who contributed their perspectives and passion to this effort, I offer my deepest thanks.

Professor Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor


Shaping UBC’s Next Century sets out our collective vision, purpose, values, goals and strategies for the years ahead. We emphasize the people, ideas and actions that enable us to fulfil these aims and achieve inspirational impact.

We begin by acknowledging that UBC’s two main campuses are located on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) and Syilx (Okanagan) peoples. UBC’s activities take place on Indigenous lands throughout British Columbia and beyond. In recent years, the development of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, followed by the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and the publication of its Final Report and Calls to Action, have brought attention to the ways in which Canadian institutions have failed and oppressed Indigenous people. At this historic juncture, UBC renews its commitments, articulated in the 2009 Aboriginal Strategic Plan, to addressing this history and charting a path to productive co-existence and a more equitable future. Specific measures to accomplish this goal are identified throughout this plan, and these are being reviewed and revised in the context of the Indigenous Strategic Plan, under development in 2018.

As a public institution, UBC is proud to play a pivotal role in British Columbia, shaping and participating in the development of its people, evolution in society and economic growth. At the same time, UBC is a globally renowned university, contributing world-leading research, providing distinctive excellence in education, attracting outstanding people nationally and internationally, and collaborating with pre-eminent universities and organizations around the world. Our locations at the western edge of Canada enable fresh perspectives and exciting connections in a fast-changing global landscape, reinforced by the relative youth of UBC in the world of higher education.

Shaping UBC’s Next Century provides a roadmap to help UBC reach its potential and a mechanism through which we can be held accountable. Our strategic focus is articulated within the plan as themes and core areas. A ‘dashboard’ of metrics will help us track our progress against our vision and goals. Success is dependent on the continued engagement and contribution of all members of the UBC community. We recognize that implementation will require sustained leadership, activity and resources.

The founders of UBC understood the university’s potential as a place of engagement; a place where relevant, innovative and impactful research would be conducted; a place where pressing societal issues would be examined, deliberated and resolved; and a place where critical thinking would always be welcomed, and informed citizens shaped. As we begin UBC’s next century, we will continue to strive to fulfil this potential in all that we do, locally, regionally, nationally and across the world. Shaping UBC’s Next Century will help guide the way.

Snapshot: UBC by the numbers

With over 65,000 students, and 13,300 degrees granted, UBC is the largest university in British Columbia and the second largest in Canada. It accounts for about a quarter of funded domestic enrolments in the province, and over 70 per cent of new-to-UBC students are from British Columbia. 6.9 per cent of domestic students enrolled at UBC Okanagan identify as Aboriginal, as do 2.9 per cent of domestic students at UBC Vancouver. UBC has been ranked as North America’s most international university by Times Higher Education (THE) for the fourth consecutive year. UBC has grown to rank consistently as one of the world’s top research universities (ranked 31 by the 2017 Shanghai Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU); 36 by 2016 THE; 27 by US News Best Global Universities). Close to 3,000 faculty members attract approximately $600 million in research funding from government, industry and not-for-profit partners. UBC conducts 93 per cent of all university industry-sponsored research in British Columbia.

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(All data 2016/17)