Statement on behalf of PWIAS Board of Trustees

December 10, 2018

The Board of Trustees of the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies (PWIAS) is pleased to provide this update to the University community.  It is obvious that there is a great deal of interest in the future success of the Institute. This is promising and underscores the Institute’s key role in positioning UBC as a leading academic institution.  

The Board extends its sincere thanks to the community for the feedback we have received so far.  We are encouraged by the constructive dialogue that has been initiated by scholars associated with the Institute. We hope that these and other conversations will continue and we look forward to opportunities to participate when we are invited to do so. We are open to the continuation of these dialogues both to inform the PWIAS 2019/20 budget which we will be developing through mid-February 2019 and to guide the Institute as it evolves over the longer term.

The Board clearly heard the enthusiasm for the Wall Scholars program and we continue to fully support it, especially in its expanded form that will now enable up to full teaching buy-out. There is no requirement that Wall Scholars be involved with Research Excellence Clusters. We expect the community dialogues will inform how best to allocate the funds we have set aside for research.  

The Board acknowledges concerns about governance that have been expressed in recent weeks. In response, we will commission an external review of the governance structure both as it is set out in the Deed of Trust as well as operationally within the Institute. The Board is committed to the terms of the Deed, but it is also open to improving its governance within that framework.  

In this spirit, the Board will re-establish a prestigious Advisory Panel, which has been active at different points in the past. We see an excellent opportunity now to appoint members of the UBC Community and outside it to help ensure the focus and impact of the Institute as it decides on programs and projects. The process for re-establishing this Panel, and nominating local and international members, is one of the areas in which the Board would like input from the community dialogues.  

Finally, to ensure the seamless operations of the Institute, the Board will ensure that staffing and administrative needs at the Institute are addressed in the near term.  

The Board is very thankful to all community members who have shared their concerns, hopes, and ideas about the future of the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies. We welcome your active and constructive engagement, and we are excited to imagine the future of the Institute together.