When the Faculty of Applied Science embarked on our comprehensive strategic planning process in 2019, we knew we were living at a time of rapid change. With advances in technology, shifting global economies, technical-social disruptions and planetary environmental crises, our future was far from certain.
While we certainly did not anticipate anything as urgent and difficult as COVID-19 when we began our process, we are confident this plan will position our Faculty to remain strong and resilient as we join the response to the global pandemic. From the start, our planning process has been outward looking. We held engagement sessions to explore the trends and drivers shaping our institution and the world, and to imagine a set of possible futures. Our goal was to expand creative and critical thinking and mitigate against uncertainty by bringing our community of students, staff, faculty, alumni and partners together around a common vision.
Together we identified priority areas where our Faculty excels, and where we can be stronger. We defined strategies that will advance our work so we can respond to the needs before us to benefit our future society. I was privileged to be able to participate in many of these sessions, and learned from the expertise of our community at each one.
This process led us to a vision of a prosperous, healthy, inclusive and equitable world where we meet the needs of individuals, communities, cities and planet — and address crises like COVID-19 head-on. Our aim is to elevate ourselves so we can make urgent contributions to society across six priority areas: university for the future, future of work, inclusive leadership and respectful engagement, solutions for people, thriving cities and communities, and planetary health.
Our commitments reflect a community of people biased toward action: to lead by example, to embrace ambiguity, to act with intention, to accelerate solutions, and to increase impact. These commitments coupled to our core values provide the framework needed to ask questions that lead to action-based strategies to effect change. It is no longer enough simply to study the problems; our Faculty must act now.
There has never been a more urgent time for our professions – as planners, architects, nurses and engineers – to come together to build upon our existing strengths and ambitions to ensure a thriving society, to make real impact locally and globally. This strategy provides a clear vision of who we are, what we must become, and what we must do to transform tomorrow.
James Olson, PhD, FCAE , P.Eng.
Dean, UBC Faculty of Applied Science