Dear members of the UBC community.
I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and that you had a chance to relax with your loved ones, whether in person or virtually.
I’d like to thank you again for observing UBC’s COVID-19 protocols. Thanks to you, we are keeping healthy and safe and bending the curve.
J’espère que vous avez tous passé une merveilleuse fête de Thanksgiving et que vous avez eu la chance de vous détendre avec vos proches, que ce soit en personne ou virtuellement.
J’aimerais vous remercier encore une fois d’avoir observé les protocoles COVID-19 de l’UBC. Grâce à vous, nous restons en bonne santé et en sécurité, et nous plions la courbe.
In particular, I’d like to thank UBC’s faculty members. Over the past few months, you’ve endured a heavy load as you transitioned to a mostly online teaching environment and adjusted your research priorities to adhere to COVID-19 restrictions. Thank you.
Today, I’d like to share some good news with you. I am proud to say that UBC has placed second in the country in the annual Maclean’s Magazine university reputation rankings. The rankings are based on a survey of university faculty and senior administrators across the country as well as business leaders.
We also ranked high in individual programs, including first place rankings in seven out of nine categories – biology, business, computer science, education, environmental science, mathematics, and psychology. And we placed among the top three universities in the country in the other two categories – Engineering and Nursing. We’ve achieved these outstanding results because of you – the students, faculty and staff who make this university what it is. I’m proud of you, and I’m proud of UBC.
Here’s one example of the innovative and outstanding work being done here at UBC. In partnership with Foundations for Social Change, researchers in the department of psychology, gave 50 homeless people $7,500 and then studied how their lives changed over the next 12 to 18 months. They discovered that on average the recipients were able to find stable housing and spent more on food, clothing and in general turn their lives around. The results have profound implications for how we treat the problems of poverty and homelessness. I’m proud of Canada Research Chair Professor Jiaying Zhao and her team.
As I said earlier, I’m proud of UBC’s faculty, staff and students. Starting next week, I’ll be featuring some of the UBC people who make this university great.
In closing I’d like to say a few words about UBC’s Indigenous Strategic Plan and our commitment to Truth and Reconciliation.
Last month we celebrated the unveiling of the Indigenous Strategic Plan. This has been a priority for me since I came to UBC in 2016, and I am pleased to see the plan come to fruition.
It is especially significant in the current fight against racism as it is a concrete action plan to advance Indigenous human rights in all spheres of society.
The plan’s goals include ‘Leading at all levels’ and ‘Advocating for the truth’ to ‘Moving research forward’, ‘Indigenizing our curriculum’ and ‘Creating a holistic system of support’.
This plan looks to change UBC at a structural level, to bring us into the 21st Century and to leave its colonial roots behind.
We need to keep ourselves accountable and ensure this plan is enacted and embedded into the structures, processes and daily life of the university.
We must now collectively take this action plan and implement it – together – for a better and more just future for Indigenous people on our campuses, in BC, nationally and around the world.
I encourage you to learn more about the Indigenous Strategic Plan and UBC’s commitment to Truth and Reconciliation at indigenous.ubc.ca.
As usual, it’s my pleasure to leave you with a #songsofcomfort selection. This week, I’m pleased to present UBC alumnus and renowned jazz pianist John Stetch, who will perform The Hunted, a re-arrangement of Beethoven. I hope you enjoy it.
Best wishes and stay safe.
Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor