Vice-President External Relations Carmen Charette began the meeting by announcing that UVic’s divestment forum will occur at the end of January (a UVic spokesperson later clarified that a final date will be set by mid-December).
According to Charette, this forum aims to encourage an open dialogue and provide further information around the divestment issue in the context of broader climate change. She stressed that this forum will not be a debate, but rather an exchange of views around divestment.
UNIVERSITY RANKINGS UPDATES
Under the President’s Report, Director of Institutional Analysis Tony Eder presented comprehensive information on the University of Victoria’s rankings nationally and internationally and how ranking systems, such as those presented by the Globe and Mail, the New York Times, and Maclean’s, conduct their research and determine their results.
According to UVic President Jamie Cassels, university rankings are a form of commodity that affects a school’s recognition, funding, and student and faculty enrolment. Eder reinforced this view, stating that any public attention provides UVic with an opportunity to engage in public relations, but cautions that these ranking outlets are in the business of advertising.
UVic has strong rankings nationally, but has not gained enough recognition to come out as strong on an international scale. Regardless, UVic is ranked in the top 200 universities worldwide.
STRATEGIC RESEARCH PLAN
According to Vice-President Research David Castle, the Strategic Research Plan’s website has been updated to provide more information about the objectives and motivations that drive the Plan. These updates are the first step in an engagement process by which internal and external partners can give their input about the direction that UVic should take in the next five years. In fact, the website is set up with the intention of providing a forum for those outside of structured groups to share their ideas about research at UVic.
The final round of input will be processed before the Senate and Board meetings next fall, at which point Castle hopes that the Plan will be polished enough for UVic to proceed.
PRIORITIES FOR 2015
In mid-October, Cassels and other university representatives engaged in a trade mission to India with B.C. premier Christy Clark. The mission focused on two main sectors: LNG use and post-secondary education. This visit helped UVic start a relationship with universities in India. Cassels also discussed university exchanges and international research opportunities with a number of presidents from Indian universities.
Cassels acknowledged that while Canada has been a real receptor for international students, Canada has a very poor record of providing its students with national and international experiences. This is something that the Board intends to prioritize in the next year, along with providing more funding for indigenous students.