Monday, November 28, 2016

Commitment to Transparency and Engagement

Over the last decade or so one UBC faculty Governor has set the gold standard of faculty engagement and transparency in governance.  Nassif Ghoussoub, writing in his blog Piece of Mind, made his views known, encouraged discussion and engaged with us as peers in the governance of UBC.  I find much to emulate in Nassif's example.

Our Governors have a responsibility to act in the best interests of our public university.  One important way to do this is to make oneself available to our colleagues, to listen to diverse and divergent voices, and to be as inclusive in our processes as possible.  I already maintain several social media platforms that will allow me to share information (within the legal bounds permitted to me). If elected I will use these platforms to share information and to receive feedback.

As a Governor one has an opportunity to put questions to the senior administrators who are making the operational decisions regarding UBC. This gives one an opportunity to bring a range of concerns, ideas, and thoughts into the center of UBC's decision making process.  If elected I will bring your questions and ideas forward.

I pledge to act with openness. I pledge to place the voice of faculty firmly, clearly, and without apology, at the center of my service as a member of the board of governors at UBC.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Speaking notes: UBCFA-BoG Faculty Candidates Forum, Nov. 24, 2016

I acknowledge that we are on the traditional, ancestral, unceded territory of the Musqueam Nation.
            Over my years at UBC I have been actively involved in our community.  I have served several terms on the UBC Faculty Association Executive. From 2012 to 2016 I served as an elected resident director on the University Neighbourhoods Association Board, the erstwhile municipal council for non-student residents on campus.
            My academic research is focussed on resource dependent communities here in British Columbia and in Western Europe (Brittany and Ireland).  In British Columbia my work has been predominantly concerned with First Nations engagement in government to government negotiations.  For ten years I have been involved on negotiation teams and technical working groups with some of the most significant energy development projects on coastal BC. I bring a level of expertise and experience that spans academic and community issues that is not currently in evidence on our board of governors.
            I firmly believe, and consider there is evidence to support this belief, that our governing bodies require a diversity of perspectives to function fully, effectively, and democratically.  Currently our governors come from a narrow legal and/or business background.  Our faculty needs strong and diverse voices that will not be content to simply go with the flow.

            I honoured to have been able to have committed a significant portion of my adult working life to UBC. This university is an important part of BC. As a native BCer I know how important this place is to our province.  At the heart of what makes UBC strong is our faculty.  We, and our students who come to learn from us and work with us, are what makes UBC UBC. As your board representative it is my goal to ensure that faculty are not again silenced and sidelined by a narrow corporate vision.  We have much to offer and a responsibility to step forward and act.
The forum was video taped and archived by the UBC Faculty Association. My spoken comments are not identical to my prepared speaking notes, but the above covers the general sense of what I said.