The Weeks Review

  • November 28, 2018

    Good morning,

    I have taken some time to reflect on Monday’s Town Hall regarding the Academic Restructuring initiative here at UNBC and have come to the conclusion that it was one of the best community meetings I have attended in my time with UNBC. I was enthused by the quality and nature of the questions I heard; the discussion reinforced in my eyes our ability to come together and have challenging conversations for the future of our University.

    Indeed, throughout the process the level of discourse has been productive, respectful, revealing and inspiring. We are challenging ourselves to do better as a community.

    One of the first things I wanted to begin work on when I arrived at UNBC, was to develop a budget that would be driven by our academic mission, and a strategic planning process that would inform and guide us along the way. The Academic Restructuring project is an embodiment of this approach. While the next steps in this process require decisions from the Senate and the Board, I am so pleased our community has led the way throughout the process. I value the feedback we have received from all corners of UNBC. We’ve heard extensively from our academic community, the student body and administrative staff regarding their thoughts, insights, enthusiasm for and concerns about the initiative.

    As with any project of such magnitude, having every detail ironed out in advance is not always practical, and would defeat the very spirit of consultation and engagement that has informed our processes and planning to date. I have endeavoured on the administrative side to find efficiencies in our operations so that we can fund academic restructuring. We are re-purposing positions, have secured external funding, have found cost savings, and are working to ensure our administrative structure adequately supports the academic mission.

    Some trepidation and uncertainty exist and that’s OK. We could endure months, or even years, of “paralysis by analysis,” or we can challenge the status quo, be creative in our thinking, co-operative in our actions, and take the first steps towards an invigorating future.

    Collaboration has long been a key tenet of our academic mission at UNBC and strengthens our capacity for collaboration, innovative thinking, and leading-edge course delivery and research opportunities across all program areas. Now is not the time to sit back and hope things turn out in our favour. In fact, we will rely on specific programs and units to help further define our structure and the support systems we will require in order to offer a destination post-secondary experience for our students.

    I thank the Senate and the many advisory committees for their vision in the development of this process to date. And I thank our Provost Dr. Dan Ryan for his exceptional commitment to moving this priority ahead, and also thank his support team who have demonstrated exceptional leadership in their own right towards advancing the initiative. And, of course, I thank the entire UNBC community for your ongoing participation and the work you do each and every day. I look forward to our Senate meeting this afternoon during which we will deliberate and make a final recommendation regarding this proposal.

    To learn more about the process to date, visit our Sharepoint site.

    Thank you,

    Professor Daniel Weeks
    President and Vice-Chancellor