Your opinion on the future of PWIAS

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January 6, 2020 - Update

Dear colleagues,

In the fall of 2019, we held a series of consultations in preparation for the upcoming external review of the Peter Wall Institute. During this process, all UBC faculty members were invited to contribute their ideas and thoughts regarding the future of PWIAS. 

I want to thank everyone who took the time to participate and to contribute their thoughts. Consultation meetings were attended by 87 participants from 47 different UBC departments. We have also heard from other members of the UBC community through email and letters, and held several smaller group conversations including with UBC Heads of departments and Deans. Throughout these conversations what stood out was the enormous interest and support for the Institute and its activities.

Key themes that emerged during the consultations were summarized in our interim summary that was distributed on October 31, 2019, following the first four public sessions. During the last two sessions, held in November 2019, the conversation focused on the vision and mission for the Institute. We discussed the vision and mission formulated in the 2018 PWIAS Draft Strategic Plan. The discussion revealed inherent difficulties in arriving at a vision and mission statement that is supported by everyone, as well as a tension between two contrasting views for the Institute: a view that holds inclusivity and diversity of experience as guiding principles of overriding importance in determining selection criteria for awardees; and a view that holds research excellence as the guiding principle and selection criterion, which entails an inherent exclusivity. Although historically the Institute has endorsed research excellence as its guiding principle, the consultations suggested a desire for the Institute to disrupt problematic ideas of excellence and elitism.

While we have now completed the formal process of external review community consultations, we will continue the conversations about the future of the Institute through monthly lunch forums beginning in January 2020. Please register for these upcoming events to be held at the Institute from 12-2 pm on:

Tuesday, January 28
Thursday, February 27
Tuesday, March 31
Tuesday, April 28

Lastly, we have now completed the preparation of the PWIAS self-study materials for the 2020 UBC Senate mandated PWIAS External Review. The self-study materials have been submitted to the external review team, and the team will visit UBC from January 22 to 24. An electronic copy of the self-study materials will be made publicly available upon completion of the external review. We also have a limited number of printed copies that are available upon request.

Thank you again for your interest and active participation in the Peter Wall Institute’s consultations. I look forward to further conversations throughout the new year.

Prof. Kalina Christoff
Interim Director


August 7, 2019

In preparation for an external review of the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies (PWIAS), the institute is undertaking an extensive process of consultations with the UBC academic community. The consultations will lead up to the external review site visit, currently scheduled for 22-24 January 2020. You can read the external review announcement, and see the members of the review committee here.

Through these consultations we hope to arrive at a renewed vision for the academic mandate and strategic direction for the Institute. All UBC faculty members are invited to contribute their ideas and thoughts regarding the future of PWIAS. 

If you would like to participate in the sessions, and/or receive regular updates about their progress, please subscribe to the Consultation Mailing List.  An interim summary of the consultations has been included below.

Consultation meetings will be held at the Peter Wall Institute from noon to 2 p.m. on the following dates:

  • September 24, Tuesday
  • October 4, Friday
  • October 8, Tuesday
  • October 11, Friday
  • November 5, Tuesday 
  • November 8, Friday 

Please register to attend in person as lunch will be provided. Themes for discussion will include the academic mandate for the institute and its academic activities. If you can't attend a session in person, please email us at info@pwias.ubc.ca for instructions on how to participate remotely.

In addition, two initial information sessions will be held for faculty members who wish to learn more about the Institute. These will be held from noon to 2 p.m. on the following dates:

  • September 10, Tuesday
  • September 13, Friday

If you have additional thoughts that you would like to share with us, please contact Kalina Christoff, PWIAS Interim Director, at director@pwias.ubc.ca.