VP Students office consults students on development of new Student Strategic Plan

The VP Students office is developing a Student Strategic Plan, a set of commitments that intend to shape the UBC student experience for the next five years.

While a timeline for the plan is not yet clear, the VP Students office solicited student feedback through virtual town hall meetings in the third week of January and said it consulted different student groups and leaders in the development of the plan. The plan is intended to be implemented across both the Vancouver and Okanagan campuses.

The specific student groups contacted by the university for this plan were not detailed. However, AMS President Cole Evans confirmed that the AMS had been pushing for the development of a plan like this for the last two years.

“We really want to see something actionable, that’s very based in the community, that students can look at and feel that this plan represents what their priorities are,” said Evans.

A survey sent out by the VP Students office to collect student feedback outlined the three key goals the university intends to achieve with the strategic plan: to create integrated experiences, commitment and accountability; to prepare students for life after graduation through personal development, career preparation and societal contribution; and to improve existing initiatives and create new ones across the university.

Three further general commitments indicated in the survey included creating “transformative learning, reinforced through local and global engagement,” to assist in “wellbeing for all people, places and our planet” and to foster “connections within and across university campuses and communities.”

The VP Students office was not available for comment to further elaborate on what the goals and commitments might mean in reality. Specific details on implementation will be available later in 2021.

As for key issues the plan might address, Evans identified a few.

“A lot of the key issues that we identified with the VP Students Office are a lot of the key categories that we place a focus on here at the AMS, so things like affordability, Indigenous engagement, racial justice, student mental health and wellbeing, student engagement, student life investments,” said Evans.

The survey highlighted action in areas such as academic delivery and program renewal, decolonization and anti-racism, climate action and the development of physical and virtual student spaces among others.

Evans said students should care about this plan because of the role within the university that the VP Students Office plays when taking crucial student-focused actions — the majority of the university’s student-related actions either originate or are conducted in partnership with the VP Students Office.

“This plan will definitely be setting the philosophical direction for how administrators in that portfolio make decisions, at least over the next few years,” he said.