The Institute

Since its founding in 1996, the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies has created a community of scholars at UBC and beyond. The Institute seeks to encourage highly innovative, creative and unexpected scholarship through wide-ranging explorations between disciplines, including the creative and performing arts.

The activities of the Institute also contribute to the cultural enrichment of UBC and the wider community through regular lecture series and artistic events.

Wall Institute to meld best minds in research, 1996.


Board oversight of the Institute concluded in October 2022.

On October 24th, 2022 UBC announced the launch of the Wall Research Awards and Wall Fellowships supported by the Peter Wall Legacy Fund. With this new agreement, the future of PWIAS and the desirability of an institute for advanced studies at UBC will be considered by an academic committee, with any decisions requiring Senate approval. Read anouncement.

As of Oct. 2022, for administrative purposes, the Institute now falls under the portfolio of graduate and postdoctoral studies.

Board of Trustees (to Oct. 2022)

The role of the Board of Trustees is to “govern and manage the Peter Wall Endowment” (per Deed of Trust, 1991). The five Trustees are the UBC President (or designate), two UBC-appointed Trustees, and two donor-appointed Trustees.

  • Gage Averill, Dean, Faculty of Arts (Chair)
  • Jennifer Berdahl, Sociology, UBC
  • Sathish Gopalakrishnan, Electrical and Computer Engineering, UBC
  • Sonya Wall, Donor Family
  • Bruno Wall, Wall Financial Corporation

Finance Committee (to Oct. 2022)

The finance committee reviews financial statements and endowment reports, including investments, before the information is submitted to the Board of Trustees for approval or information.

  • Gage Averill, Chair, PWIAS Board
  • Karamjeet Heer, UBC Comptroller (pro tem)
  • Yale Loh, UBC Treasurer
  • Sonya Wall, Donor Family
  • Bruno Wall, Wall Financial Corporation
  • Director, Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies (ex officio)

Academic Advisory Committee to the Interim Director

  • Jessica Dempsey, Geography
  • Denise Ferreira da Silva, The Social Justice Institute (GRSJ)
  • Brett Finlay, Wall Distinguished Professor
  • Renisa Mawani, Sociology
  • Henry Yu, Principal, St. John’s College
  • Olav Slaymaker, Geography

Academic Leadership Team

  • Rafi Mohammed Arefin, Geography
  • Sharon Stein, Educational Studies
  • Will Valley, Land and Food Systems
  • Hannah Wittman, Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability
Adjudication Committees

If you would like to serve on a PWIAS adjudication committee, please contact us. 

Wall Scholars Catalyst Program Adjudication  2022

Vanessa Andreotti, Interim Director, PWIAS (Chair)
Cash Ahenakew, Education, CRC in Indigenous Peoples’ Wellbeing
Mohammed Rafi Arefin, Geography
Kevin Chong, Creative Studies, Creative Writing, UBCO
Khanh Dao Duc, Mathematics
Denise Ferreira da Silva, Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice
Manuel Piña, Art History, Visual Art & Theory


External Review

The Office of the Vice President Academic and Provost commissioned an external review of the Peter Wall Institute of Advanced Studies in late 2019. The report of the external review committee was submitted in January 2020. A joint response from the Interim Director of the Institute and the Board of Trustees outlining specific steps that have been taken, are planned or are in discussion to address the recommendations was completed in November 2020. 


Report of the External Review Committee

PWIAS Response to Report of the External Review Committee

CAUT Report (Oct 2021)

Academic Freedom & Collegial Governance at PWIAS, a Report of the Ad Hoc Investigatory Committee, Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT)

Response to the CAUT Report from UBC President

Response to the CAUT Report from UBC Faculty Association

Vancouver Senate Research and Scholarship Committee Report

November 2021

Committee Report to Senate on the Response to 2020 PWIAS External Review by the PWIAS Interim Director and the Board of Trustees (approved Nov 17, 2021)

Institute Timeline

COVID-19 response

As UBC continues to navigate the situation regarding COVID-19 and to take direction from the BC Provincial Government, we encourage you to visit for the latest updates regarding COVID-19 and UBC’s response.


Is PWIAS open?
The Institute’s programs are critical in bridging the activities of many faculties and departments across UBC. As the University plans for a resumption of on-campus activities, PWIAS is planning a gradual re-opening of the PWIAS facilities. We will also be evaluating and planning for the future.

PWIAS is currently open with restricted access to the Institute’s Wall Scholars, Staff and invited visitors. PWIAS staff and faculty are working a partly remote schedule.

The PWIAS office remains closed to the public at this time.

Are people required to wear masks at the Institute?

Masks must be worn in all shared indoor spaces.

What safety measures are in place?

UBC Campus Rules: PWIAS faculty, staff and invited visitors must adhere to the UBC Campus Rules.

Daily health self-assessments: A daily self-health assessment is required before attending PWIAS.

Stay home if you are sick: If you feel sick stay home use the Thrive Health self-assessment tool for guidance. Follow the advice from Public Health.

Signage: Please follow all signage in the building and adhere to staff directions.

International Travel: Anyone who has travelled internationally may only return to UBC Premises after complying with all Canadian border entry and quarantine and testing requirements, in force at the time of entry. Additional information is available here.

Does PWIAS have a Safety plan?

UBC COVID-19 Safety Plans are applicable UBC-wide. The following UBC Safety Plans apply to PWIAS at this time:

If you have questions about PWIAS Safety Plans please contact:

Updated March 1, 2022