Self Study

The information on this page is the Okanagan School of Education Self-Study,  an overview of who we are, our successes, challenges and opportunities for growth.

Self Study Download [pdf]

1. Scholar-Practitioner Community-Making

Over the past five years, the Okanagan School of Education (OSE) has been collaboratively invested in achieving our vision of a thriving scholar-practitioner community. Together, the faculty, staff, and students in the Okanagan School of Education are investing in and envisioning together the future of education. Through this self-study, 2015-2021 (see Appendix A for Terms of Reference), we share our story of successes and achievements, shifts and changes, and opportunities for continued growth and change. In doing so, we are reflecting on who we are and who we continue to aim to become through our ongoing commitment to growing and supporting educators as scholar-practitioners — an educator identity understood as lifelong students of learners/learning.

The Okanagan School of Education is a new identity and name for our unit, adopted in 2018 as part of the re-orienting for our unit that happened leading up to us joining the larger UBC Faculty of Education (FoE). Through a series of difficult budget and governance decisions over several years, it was determined that we could no longer feasibly remain a faculty with a dean due to the size of our unit—23 tenure-line/tenured faculty in 2013 had shrunk to our current number of 15—being limited to strategic hiring in relation to needs and campus priorities. This was a challenging and stressful time for us as we waded through the collegial decision-making process of determining what it would mean for us to become a smaller unit within a larger faculty, where we might be housed (depending on which faculty we joined), and what it might look like for us to potentially join a FoE that was not on our campus. In the end, housing the unit within the FoE in Vancouver was our preferred and best option, and we have moved forward for the past three years as the Okanagan School of Education. We are now one of two schools and four departments comprising the FoE. This move has brought opportunities and a sense of identity for us as we have built a sense of being the OSE, and has also brought challenges of finding our way as the newest unit in the faculty and the only unit that is not in Vancouver.

In association with the 2018 UBC strategic plan, Shaping UBC’s Next Century, the 2019 UBC, Faculty of Education’s strategic plan, Learning Transformed, and the UBC Indigenous Strategic Plan, the core areas identified of People and Places, Research Excellence, Transformative Learning and Local & Global Engagement, serve as operative mediums for our goals and objectives, and enable the School to develop a distinctiveness while remaining cognizant of FoE and campus-wide commitments.

Leading up to and through this time of transition, we embarked on a renewal of our Bachelor of Education (BEd) program that provided an opportunity for faculty, students, staff, and stakeholders to work together toward creating a common goal that was important for us. The renewal process resulted in our envisioning of the scholar-practitioner identity that now resonates across and through many of our programs and offerings. Another common project that brought our community together to focus on our strengths, goals, and areas of growth was our recently completed strategic planning process, A Community of Scholar-Practitioners, 2020. This was a collaborative endeavour to map our current and future opportunities for building communities of scholar-practitioners, strengthening and sustaining our journeys of professional growth through intertwining philosophical, theoretical, content and pedagogical knowledge, and placing primary focus on ethical, experiential, relational, and wholistic educational traditions, approaches, and research.

Situated on the unceded territory of the Syilx Okanagan Nation, we seek ways that honour local Indigenous histories with pedagogies responsive to the relational connections to land, culture, and understanding of self in the world. We have made a commitment towards truth, reconciliation, and healing efforts, and these are becoming more central to the teaching, learning, research, and service that make up the work of teacher education that is at the heart of our community. We understand teacher education to go beyond the preparation of initial teacher education and embrace a scholar-practitioner lens that sees teacher education as a career-spanning opportunity. We bring prospective and practicing educators together, along with community partners and stakeholders, to critically analyze and significantly alter how we think, act, and envision our teaching/learning practices to co-create a future of education that promotes equity, diversity, inclusion, and decolonization toward the growing of healthy, vibrant, and sustainable democratic communities.

We are enhancing our commitment to supporting equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) within the OSE. We see emerging efforts and evidence of EDI both within coursework (e.g. EDI content evident in course syllabi and subsequent pedagogy) and in research (e.g. via the collecting of demographic data in participant surveys).

In terms of research and teaching, our commitment to intertwining teaching and research as an aim and value of scholar-practitionership has resulted in new program development, such as the renewed BEd program and the currently in-development Doctor of Education (EdD) degree that will be the first of its kind on this campus. We have had successful searches and hires in two needed areas of scholarship—Indigenous education and STEAM—and have a search underway for a new scholar in teacher education who will also lead the Undergraduate Program Committee. We have had recent achievements in our research funding activities with SSHRC Partnership and Engage grants, multiple SSHRC Insight and Insight Development grants, and several collaborator grants from UBC Okanagan Eminence fund, McConnell Foundation awards and Spender Foundation grants. In addition, our faculty have been recognized for their excellence in teaching through UBC Okanagan Honour Roll awards, Golden Apple awards, Honorary Lifetime and Killam Teaching prizes.

In 2020/2021, we offered programming for 345 students. In the BEd, there were 235 teacher candidates enrolled in the first and second years of this program in one of two streams (teaching children and teaching adolescents). We further enrolled 20 students in the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate (five) and Diploma program (15), as well as an additional 22 non-enrolling non-degree students in the Summer Institute in Education (SIE) courses. The Master of Education (MEd) program had 56 students (two international and 54 domestic), and the Master of Arts (MA) in Education program had nine students (two international and seven domestic). There were 10 PhD students housed in the Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies (IGS) program in the College of Graduate Studies, with supervisors who are OSE faculty.

Our research centre, Centre for Mindful Engagement, hosts events including invited speakers and houses several research projects, such as B.A.R.K. (Building Academic Retention Through K9’s), which offers social-emotional support services to university students.

The English Foundation Program (EFP) moved to the OSE on July 1, 2020. The EFP offers English language development courses for students who have been admitted to a wide range of undergraduate programs, but who have not yet met UBC’s English Language Admission Standard (ELAS). The program enrolls 50 to 100 students per year. The program is part of the English as an Additional Language (EAL) programs portfolio.

For all of these programs, a group of 15 faculty, three sessional instructors, three part-time and two full-time lecturers, four field advisors, 17 adjuncts, five administrative staff, and four graduate teaching assistants work collaboratively and independently with our students to degree completion and beyond (see our directory for details). As can be seen in the descriptions of each academic program later in this document, our completion rates and teaching norms (see Appendix B) are high, reflecting the strength of our students, faculty, and staff who serve as instructors, supervisors, and mentors across and within our programs.

As we reflect on our strengths and achievements in living out our shared purpose of cultivating educators’ deep professional knowledge as scholar-practitioners, researching and teaching for diversity, equity, inclusivity, and innovation, and drawing upon research-based perspectives and practices, we remain aware of challenges and areas for growth across all our programs, offerings, and activities.

2. Programs of Study and Student Learning

Programs of study and student learning are the primary mediums of our vision of creating a thriving scholar-practitioner community, investing in and envisioning education together. We offer programming at the undergraduate, graduate and post-baccalaureate (post-bac) levels. Instruction and supervision within these programs is carried out by our tenured and tenure-track faculty, adjuncts, sessional lecturers and lecturers. Graduate student supervision is provided by our tenured and tenure-track faculty with most supervising MEd students and several faculty also supervising MA students. Given the funding required to support PhD students, only a few faculty currently supervise our small group of doctoral students. Post-bac offerings are designed for ongoing professional development and often foster interest in our graduate degrees.

Teaching evaluation occurs as part of all programs, and faculty teaching norms in our School are relatively strong (Appendix B). Additionally, several faculty have received honours and awards for their teaching in the past five years. Through all our programs, we are attentive to teaching and learning through the development of our curricula, the variety of pedagogical approaches we take, and the various ways we pay attention to formative and summative assessment linked to the learning outcomes for our courses. In the BEd program, we incorporate learning through teaching via in-situ components of coursework where learning happens in the field with mentor teachers and K-12 students. This in-situ learning is in addition to extensive designated field experiences (practica) embedded throughout the BEd program of study.

We bring together students, instructors, school district partners, current graduate students, and alumni to share in the ongoing learning of our BEd candidates. Examples of this include:

  • Pedagogical Stance Conversations, where our candidates discuss their early learnings and reflections with a faculty member, graduate student or practicing educator.
  • Learning Conference, which brings together a panel with a focus on Indigenous knowledges and perspectives, a series of teacher candidate-led open education space seminars, and an invited keynote speaker from our group of PhD students and candidates.
  • Celebration of Learning, where our candidates share their learnings and reflections in small groups, facilitated by a faculty member, graduate student or practicing educator, and following that they “graduate” to intern status.

Our collaborative BEd design and teaching approach means that many faculty are engaged in productive, and sometimes challenging, conversations about teaching and learning as we adapt and tweak our plans each year to ensure a robust, critically engaging, innovative, inclusive, and responsive offering of our courses throughout the five interrelated Blocks of study (details of the Blocks can be found in section 3. Undergraduate Programs — Bachelor of Education) and the field experiences.

Over the past five years, we have worked closely with the Indigenous Education Council, the Indigenous education adjunct professor hired in our BEd program, and currently the Indigenous education scholar in our faculty to weave appropriate content throughout the curriculum, and to decolonize processes, practices, and ways of thinking. We see the BEd model and approach as one effort to decolonize education as we engage in respectful, collaborative, inclusive models of education that place primary focus on local knowledges and professional wisdom to orient students to the importance of relationship, places, practices, and traditions as we build learning that is responsive to our particular students, in this particular time, and in these particular places, and learning within and through relationship, context, place, and practices. We have more work to do to ensure an anti-racist, decolonized, equity-oriented approach to teaching and learning happens throughout all programs and offerings, and look forward to working with our community and school district partners, along with resources provided by the university, such as the Faculty of Educations’ Task Force on Race, Indigeneity, and Social Justice to guide and inform our collaborative efforts.

3. Undergraduate Programs — Bachelor of Education

The formative nature of professional knowledge grounds our Bachelor of Education program and is embodied within the identity of a scholar-practitioner at the heart of our program design.

Our 16-month post-degree BEd program facilitates and supports students to engage in an ongoing professional learning journey as scholar-practitioners. The current design of the program reflects a nearly two-year renewal process that engaged faculty, students, staff, school districts, and community partners in an extensive review and re-design of the program, aligned with the renewed BC Kindergarten to Grade 12 curriculum (first implemented for K to 9 in 2016/2017). The BEd program is interdisciplinary and reflects ongoing attention to collaboration, creative and critical thinking, and social emotional and cultural capacity development, mirroring the competencies outlined in the BC Curriculum. The program has a K-12 generalist focus with two streams: Teaching Children (K-5) and Teaching Adolescents (6–9+). The generalist focus highlights a teaching identity/stance in which K-12 students and the quality of their learning are the primary focus areas and curriculum, with teaching strategies, etc. as supportive areas of focus. Teacher candidates develop a deep care and heightened responsibility for creating learning contexts that are respectful of and responsive to all students. The program offers opportunities to personalize learning to support professional goals and aspirations through electives and field experiences, along with intensive support and involvement by field advisors and faculty throughout the program. The extensive field experiences include place-based learning experiences, three school-based practica, and a community field experience. All field experiences are designed to support the growth of professional knowledge and allow for time and space to navigate theory/practice relationships.
BEd students spend time in “Blocks” of coursework: a series of interrelated thematic experiences within the program that are taught collaboratively by teams of three to four instructors who co-plan, co-teach, and co-assess over extended time (four to six hours) daily. From the start of the program in Block 1, students are introduced to the foundational knowledge underpinning education from curricular, historical, socio-cultural and philosophical perspectives with a focus on developing a scholar-practitioner identity within a developing scholarly community. Each of the Blocks integrates theory and practice to develop the competencies of creative and critical thinking, communication, and personal and social responsibilities. For a further description of the content and interdisciplinary nature of each Block, see Appendix C.
The program deliberately encourages arising questions concerning education, creating room for prospective educators to iteratively unpack the complexities of learning and learners, gaining familiarity with the challenges and opportunities of classrooms, living at the intersections of theory and practice, and orienting towards developing the discernment educators need to be responsive to the strengths, needs, and challenges of their particular students and contexts. Interrelated thematic experiences are co-taught by instructor teams and woven throughout program. These themes begin with a focus on an educators’ identity in relation to self and others. This focus on identity is followed by curricular enactment with successive themes focusing on developing a personal pedagogical stance, and negotiating opportunities to integrate research into practice, oriented towards individual/collective growth and well-being, equity and inclusion, and a focus on honoring Indigenous knowledges, perspectives and principles of learning as integral to our ethical commitment to reconciliation (Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, 2015).

Strengths and Features of the Program

This program reflects an enactment of transformative practices of teaching and learning, reflection, inclusion, collaboration, and integration of Indigenous education throughout program, along with a balance of in-situ experiences and pedagogical inquiry (both individual and group), designed to foster theory/practice relationships embodying the scholar-practitioner identity that is extended through school and community partnerships.

To be eligible for admission to the Bachelor of Education program, students must have completed a four-year (minimum 120-credit) bachelor’s degree or equivalent at an accredited post-secondary institution. In addition, applicants must have a minimum of 75 hours of practical experience (volunteer or paid) working with young people.
Students are admitted to a generalist program wherein they engage in professional learning that focuses primary attention as prospective teachers on the particulars of students and their learning, drawing across multiple methods, strategies, techniques, and concerns, as the needed professional knowledge and adaptive expertise of a scholar-practitioner. In this way, our candidates and interns develop a deep care and heightened responsibility for creating learning contexts that are respectful of and responsive to all students. They come to understand that they are entering landscapes of education that are constantly and rapidly changing, and where new teachers need to be responsive to diverse learners in diverse contexts. The program is designed with innovative and transformative teaching and learning to promote, engage, and inspire students to think creatively and critically. Students move between the larger community of learning group, smaller groups of their chosen stream, Teaching Children (K-5) or Teaching Adolescents (6-9+), and their designated field advisory groups of 25-30 students.
Enrollment in the BEd program is targeted at 120 candidates with approximately 60 applicants accepted for Teaching Adolescents and 60 candidates for Teaching Children. Application numbers have risen since the start of the renewed program in 2017 and are comparable relatively to other Teacher Education Programs across BC. Our application numbers are generally two to three times the number of students that are accepted, reflecting a need and demand for this program. Viewed within our small faculty, the numbers represent our collaborative efforts to offer innovative and transformative learning experiences while paying attention to budget exigencies. Our interns are recommended for certification by the BC Teacher Certification Branch of the BC Ministry of Education. Our BEd completion rates are high as are the employment rates upon graduation. We know that a high percentage of our graduates receive timely employment either as Teachers on Call or more permanent positions. This employment demand is a sign of the times, and an indication of the success and reputation of our program.

Several supporting partners offer awards, scholarships, and bursaries for our incoming and our graduating BEd students.

Starting in the second month of the program, students are engaged in learning in the field in school and community-based practica. Altogether, our candidates and interns experience approximately 25 weeks of field experiences through the course of the program, which ranks our BEd at the top amount of field experience among all of the teacher education programs in BC. Throughout the program, students experience smaller cohorts of learning in advisory groups facilitated by a field advisor. Field advisors are scholar-practitioner educators who are hired for a two-year period in which their primary roles is to facilitate small learning communities referred to as advisory groups of approximately 25-30 students. Field advisors carry out their mentor and supervisory work with the teacher candidates and interns in conjunction with the field experiences. These advisory groups provide necessary touch points for learning that allow for students to unpack and make sense of their learning within community. The advisory groups serve as one of the primary “hyphen” moments where candidates and interns come to understand and embody what it means to live out a stance of scholar-practitionership. For example, in advisories, candidates explore aspects of teacher professionalism, teacher regulations, and planning for diverse students and diverse contexts. Additionally, advisories serve as opportunities for reflection, connection, learning, relearning, and unlearning in, through, and with field-based experiences and the university coursework.

Our program has a ”look and feel’” that is unique to our School, reflecting in a sincere and authentic way the acronym that underpins the foundations of our program: INSPIRE (IN-situ, Scholar-Practitioner, Inquiry-oriented, to Re-imagine Education). Students are invited into the program as “teacher candidates” modeling our commitment to language that upholds the professional nature of the lifelong work of learning to teach. The program is designed with a slow release model of teacher candidate mentorship. By the end of their first year, candidates are invited through a ceremony into their new role as “interns” after the “Celebration of Learning” event. This event includes several mentor teachers and administrators from our partner districts who engage regularly with us as critical friends and learning partners. As an example of our commitment to growing the scholar-practitioner concept with our partners, mentor teachers, for our teacher candidates and interns, are offered tuition credits that they can use in our post-graduate and graduate programs.

An important component of the BEd program is the Community Field Experience where all students engage in a three-week practicum intended to connect them to educative contexts beyond the traditional notion of a “classroom in a school building.” Students are placed in art galleries and museums, outdoor and community education centres, institutes of learning such as BrainTrust Canada, provincial and international schools and communities in Haida Gwaii, China, Ghana, and Australia. Community-based mentors are valued as scholar-practitioners with associated sites offering opportunities to enlarge and deepen understandings of learners/learning from and through varied educative contexts. The scholar-practitioner focus underpins and brings together all our programming including BEd, post-baccalaureate, graduate, and EAL programs.

Significantly, curricular Indigenization occurs across all program efforts, where a recursive program design and responsive pedagogies are modeled throughout. Working with the guidance of the Indigenous Education Council, formed as part of the renewed design of the BEd, program, instructors plan with Indigenous faculty and partners to offer experiential opportunities for students to learn an embodied approach to curriculum Indigenization that models respectful, responsive ways of honoring and valuing Indigenous knowledges, perspectives, First Peoples Principles of Learning (FPPL), local histories, cultures and traditions learned with and on the unceded territory of the Syilx Okanagan. Our students and faculty are positioned to study, design, and enact curricular experiences fostering embodiment of principles and practices that reconceptualise education in ways that honour local Indigenous histories with pedagogies responsive to the relational connections to land, culture, and understandings of self in the world.

Since 2020, Dr. Bill Cohen, a local Syilx Indigenous scholar and educator, has taught alongside faculty throughout the 16 months of the BEd program of study to decolonize and Indigenize the teacher education program (see Appendix D). Dr. Cohen recently drafted a statement of what it means to Indigenize education and we have incorporated that text in all our undergraduate course syllabi (see Appendix E). Increasingly, with Dr. Cohen’s permission, we are referring to and including this text in other program curriculum documents, such as the newly developed Doctor of Education program that is under review for approval at Senate.

The FFPL and Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Calls to Action, have been introduced and applied as pathways to local and regional Indigenous knowledge systems and pedagogies, particularly conceptualized practices of transformation, reciprocity and becoming whole. With the discovery of 215 unmarked graves at Kamloops Indian Residential School resonating, teacher candidates have experienced poetry readings and reflective dialogue by well known author and word-warrior, Dennis Saddleman. They have also participated in interactive IndigenEYEZ workshops led by Kelly Terbasket. In addition, Syilx Okanagan storyways conceptual frameworks and pedagogical applications have been introduced by Dr. Cohen. Teacher candidates have also experienced collaborative presentations about using traditional Syilx and Secwepemc stories in the classroom by Dr. Cohen and Kenthen Thomas.

The SIE is an offering that spans all of our programs, and has specific strengths and contributions for and with the undergraduate program. Students in the BEd take courses in the SIE as electives, providing an opportunity for students to delve in deeper into areas of interest. SIE courses also have graduate students, teachers from the field, and students from other faculties enrolled — providing a diverse, vibrant and challenging learning community.

Recognizing opportunities for growing awareness of Education as a post-degree option for students on our Okanagan campus, we have developed a series of undergraduate education courses that are very well-subscribed to and are creating interest and enthusiasm among students for future pursuit of an Education degree. We currently offer a series of related courses, EDUC 100 300 and 400, designed to enlarge and deepen understandings of education that focus on examining controversial issues in education, inquiry in education, and designing and facilitation of effective learning experiences. The Professional Development and Summer Institute Committee is currently working to bundle these courses into an undergraduate certificate.

We aim to continue to grow sections of our undergraduate courses and build courses that would be of interest to students across campus that also align with our SIE courses and to connect with partners in the field for potential adjunct teaching opportunities that grow connections, experiences, and enrichment of scholar-practitionership on campus and in the school districts.

Chaired by the Director of Undergraduate Programs, and supported by the Undergraduate Academic Programs Assistant, a committee of five faculty comprise the UPC and meet monthly to share out information and updates pertinent to the BEd program. Selected faculty serve as “Block Leaders” throughout the year, leading (with their fellow Block instructors) the collaborative design and offering of all Block activities and events. Monthly UPC meetings ensure all Blocks maintain ongoing communication about learning events and activities to ensure coherent design across the entire program, and serve as support and resources for insights and perspectives that may be useful for the field advisors and their work with the students.

Opportunities and Challenges for Growth and Development

Student enrollment remains stable, targeting 140 students for 2022 entry and beyond, including 20 French pathway students. A continued challenge is to maintain a balance of student enrollment for budgetary purposes with a program size that allows for the innovative approaches to teaching and learning that are signature to our efforts, such as land-based experiences with local Indigenous partners and flexible spaces fostering interactions and deliberations over extended time periods. Associated challenges with enrollment include ensuring sufficient field placements and hiring additional field advisors.

Indigenous student recruitment is a priority across the campus and within our unit. With the recent hire of an Indigenous scholar, we are better positioned to offer excellent program experiences and mentor Indigenous students.

We have worked to establish and maintain strong connections with local Indigenous partners, as well as maintain regular involvement of the Indigenous Education Council. We developed EDUC 104: Introduction to Academic Pedagogy: An Aboriginal Perspective, with this course we aim to create mentorship in admissions processes for Indigenous students, work closely with the Indigenous Teacher Education Program (NITEP) to create pathways for Indigenous students into our program, and continue to build on curricular Indigenization efforts that are foundational to the program offerings.

Over the past two years we have secured provincial funding that allows us to offer a French pathway (20 students) facilitated and taught by a field advisor with proficiency in the French language. The pathway is embedded within the BEd program of study. Continued offering of this program requires ongoing attention to additional funding beyond programmatic budget allowances. French education is embedded within the wholistic BEd design while being attentive to providing opportunities for French language development, and needed credit and practicum hours for students who aim to teach French immersion and French as an additional language in K-12. This added French delivery allows our French BEd candidates to obtain provincial bursaries. The demand for French immersion and French as an additional language teachers remains high across the province and the School has a commitment to offering French programming in response to this need.

Encouraging the ongoing development of scholar-practitionership requires attention to the whole in relation to the parts. One of the challenges to our program is a limited opportunity for campus space that allows classroom spaces for the larger community learning while also ensuring smaller classroom/breakout spaces to support innovative and intimate learning opportunities. These unique learning spaces are fundamental to sense-making, knowledge-building, and ongoing identity formation of self in relation to others, knowledges, spaces, places, routines, and traditions.

4. Graduate Programs

Our graduate programs are an integral component of our scholar-practitioner approach, with a stance of engaging as students of learning as a life-long endeavour.

Through our graduate program, we aim to foster and support graduate student academic, professional, and personal learning and development within a thriving community of scholar practitionership. With a focus on educating the whole person, and drawing across disciplinary fields of inquiry and interests, our graduate programs offer degree opportunities for students to explore important questions within diverse educative contexts.

Enrollment in our graduate programs has been steady within a range of 75 to 85 students per year on average, with the majority in our MEd degree program, and a small group of MA students and IGS PhD students. This smaller number of thesis-based students works well with the number of faculty who are able to support their scholarship and funding needs. As an example of our graduate student numbers, we admitted 55 new students to our graduate program over three admission periods (Jan, May, Sept 2020). We had 33 students graduate over three convocation periods (Feb, May, Sept, 2020) with a remaining 76 students in our MEd, MA, and the IGS PhD programs. As a way of increasing our MEd numbers and offering students a choice of pathway for completion, we recently started a course-work only option. We anticipate this new option will appeal to students who may want to complete their degree mostly or entirely online, those who have an interest in a breadth of knowledge development through their coursework, and those students who may struggle to complete the final Capstone Project in a timely way.
A Doctorate of Education(EdD) has been developed by a working group of faculty members, and informed by consultation from multiple community partners and cross-campus consultations. This advanced degree will increase and enrich our graduate student offerings and enrollment numbers, and build on our model of a scholar-practitioner approach. The EdD is different from the PhD as it offers a practice-based doctoral program for working professionals. The EdD is currently under review of the UBCO Provost, and still requires approval from Senate. Once approved it would then proceed to Ministry level approval. If approvals are granted, we anticipate starting a first cohort of 15-20 students in July 2023 (see Appendix F).

Strengths and Features of the Program

We offer a rich, intimate learning community within which students know instructors, supervisors, and course colleagues, and are part of and can contribute to the graduate community. As we work to live out our strategic priorities of advancing the profession through placing practitioner knowledge as primary within teacher education, we bring together practicing teachers and thesis-based students in common spaces and places to build shared community investment in the formative nature of professional knowledge. Students have shared that they appreciate the opportunities, such as the graduate student study space on the Education floor, the ability to work as a research and/or teaching assistant with multiple faculty, and to engage and connect across and with the various programs offered in the School, such as the BEd, SIE, Post-Baccalaureate and EAL programs.

Students are able to begin their degree programs starting in September, January or May. This offers flexibility that is often needed by our students who tend to be practicing educators or working in other connected fields and roles. We offer courses across a variety of thematic areas, ensuring that students have opportunities to design a program that meets their interests, and that they will also have a breadth of knowledge gained from taking a variety of thematic area courses. In this way, the MEd generalist design enables students to build academic and practice-based knowledge, insights, and capacities that serve as the ongoing development of their scholar-practitioner foundations and identities in their own professional and personal contexts.

We have historically offered courses in-person on Saturdays and weekday evenings, and at least one course per term online, reflecting the working professional status of our students. With the recent remote-learning requirements of the pandemic, we shifted all teaching, supervision, and research activities to online only, meaning that most faculty now have capabilities for online teaching and supervising. This experience with digital teaching and learning may end up being a benefit for us as we shift back to more in-person coursework, supervision, and research opportunities, with the ability now to offer more online options for students who may seek admission for completion of the MEd, and potentially for the MA, fully online.

Students in our MEd degree have the option, starting in September 2022, of completing their degree with coursework only or a Capstone Project pathway. The former requires completion of 10 courses, following requirements laid out in the Academic Calendar, while the latter offers students the option of one less course (completing nine) with the completion of a Capstone Project that typically allows for a deeper inquiry into a topic area of interest.

Students have multiple opportunities to apply for awards at both the School and university level with our students having success in many of these competitions. We continue to work with our students to build their capacities and CVs to be competitive for external awards and have a small number of students who have been awarded Canada Graduate Scholarships at the Masters level and Doctoral graduate student awards. Our awards celebrations have been held for the past two years as a virtual event and have been an opportunity to bring students and faculty together.

An additional benefit of being a thesis-based graduate student in our relatively small School is the opportunity for research and teaching assistantships that provide both monetary and educational benefits for our students. Although the university has instituted a mandatory minimum funding amount for PhD students, they have been well-funded for several years as our faculty continue to grow our external research funding. As a further opportunity for mentorship, our graduate students have been participating and sharing in experiences with BEd courses through a Kinship Pedagogical approach.

Our Communications Specialist works closely with the Director and the Graduate and Post-Baccalaureate Academic Programs Assistant to ensure we are spotlighting the timely, innovative, and important work our graduate students are doing while in the program and after graduation. We have developed a new online portal that allows MEd students to house their completed Capstone Projects on our website, providing additional opportunities to highlight our students both during their time with us and as alumni. This opportunity is similar to ciRcle, UBC’s digital repository, highlighting our MA and PhD students.

Opportunities and Challenges for Growth and Development

Increasingly, we recognize the need to support the mental health and wellbeing of our graduate students. This was a bigger challenge this past year due to Covid-19, and highlighted the need to understand how to make stronger connections to student services and supports for graduate students, how to ensure our graduate students feel connected enough to us and their graduate community to reach out when they require additional supports, and how to ensure we are supporting the mental health and wellbeing of our supervising faculty as they tend to be the primary connection for the students.

There is a lack of space for our graduate students to meet and work together.

Increasingly we want to ensure EDI is highlighted and woven throughout our course offerings. In addition, we would like to offer new courses and/or opportunities for our students to access graduate courses across the larger FoE. In the future, we hope to see opportunities for faculty to teach across the graduate programs on both campuses as a way to build interdisciplinary graduate courses within and across our different areas of scholarship.

Alongside Dr. Cohen, we have developed and offered a course, Coyote Stories, that is increasingly popular for our students and across campus. We aim to work with Dr. Cohen to grow coursework, supervision, and research areas in a respectful and resonant way. However, this cannot fall to only one person to do this work. We need to hire adjunct professors and sessional lecturers who can work with Dr. Cohen and other faculty to increase Indigenous education offerings. At the same time, faculty needs to continue to work with decolonizing efforts across all aspects of our programs to ensure equity, collaboration, inclusion, and respect are the guiding principles from which we continue to build our teaching, supervision, award offerings, events, and all activities within the program.

We are currently developing a 12-credit Transformative Learning Post-Bac Certificate which includes undergraduate and graduate coursework that could potentially ladder into the MEd and/or post-bac diploma. An area for potential growth is additional certificate and non-credit programs, fostering connections across campus and across all our programs. Future consideration could be given to creating Learner Passports, where post graduate students can create their own credentialed certificate/program

With the recent hires of Indigenous, literacy, and STEAM scholars, we anticipate that our Graduate Programs are well-oriented toward continued growth and enrichment of key strategic areas.

As a small School, we are challenged to grow our numbers of graduate students, especially international students. We have a small number of faculty, and the majority are at their reasonable capacity in terms of how many students they can fund and supervise. The recent hiring of three additional faculty will help grow the base of supervision, and will provide additional areas of expertise for supervising students. While we are developing pathways for degrees and degree completion that will be more online than we have typically offered, we do aim to maintain the integrity of our in-person graduate learning community that nourishes the learning and teaching spirits of our students, faculty and staff.

5. Professional Programs

Our professional programs include both the Post-Baccalaureate (post-bac) offerings and the Summer Institute in Education (SIE).

Students can pursue their Interdisciplinary Studies in Contemporary Education (IGSCE) Post-Baccalaureate Certificate or Diploma. The purpose of the IGSCE is expand current knowledge and understanding with practical implications within school environments to support teacher development and so that all students have equitable access to learning and achievement. In addition we recently relaunched our Teaching English and Additional Languages (TEAL) Post-Baccalaureate Certificate, and it now includes a practicum experience (see section 6: English as an Additional Language Programs).

The SIE provides innovative learning for practicing teachers interested in ongoing professional learning and development, and teachers pursuing additional credentialing beyond their BEd. The SIE also provides summer elective courses for BEd students and many of our graduate students. SIE was envisioned as a way to provide educational opportunities to summer visitors to the Okanagan, especially those who are practicing school teachers or instructors in higher education who have the summer months off. The SIE offerings were developed so that graduate students could take the courses as electives. The first SIE was rolled out in 2008 and included credit courses in a range of topics in special and inclusive education, arts education, outdoor education, and STEM areas. In the revised BEd program, the SIE is now part of the teacher candidates’ program of study.
SIE courses provide the unique opportunity of connecting certified teachers, graduate students, teacher candidates and non-education students in classes together. Courses are offered in a multitude of formats (indoors, outdoors, online, face-to-face, and hybrid) and are relevant to current trends and needs in education. For educators, courses in the SIE program can be used towards certificates, diplomas, graduate programs, professional development, and upgrading requirements.

Strengths and Features of the Program

Ongoing recruitment of practicing teachers who teach in our post-bac program and SIE provides a rich and vibrant connection with local school districts, promoting and enriching our scholar-practitioner model and vision. The programming offered in the Summer Institute provides a unique opportunity for practicing teachers, graduate students, and undergraduate students to co-learn within these three-credit courses.

Our certificates and diploma programs are designed to be flexible so they can be tailored to meet the students’ needs and interests. The program areas include inclusive education, language and literacy education, early learning, and educational studies.

Past course titles include Integrating First Peoples’ Principles of Learning with Teaching Practice, Science Inquiry in the Classroom, La Littératie en Immersion (primary/intermediate), Developing a Mathematical Growth Mindset Through Number Sense, American Sign Language, Outdoor Education, and Typical and Atypical Development in Infants and Children. In the summer of 2022, SIE will offer a cross-listed course with the Irving K. Barber Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences for education students and students majoring in Indigenous Studies. We see room in our SIE for campus-wide students to enroll in these courses as non-education majors.

Chaired by the Director of Professional Programs/SIE and supported by the Assistant to Graduate and Professional Academic Programs, a committee of five faculty support and carry out the work of the program through monthly meetings and the recruitment of instructors.

Opportunities and Challenges for Growth and Development

Development is underway for post-bac certificates that would allow for laddering and movement for graduates from the post-bac programs into the MEd program. There may be additional opportunity for offering certificates through the SIE that would resonate with educators’ and districts’ needs for additional learning and capacity in certain areas, such as social emotional learning for example, and would offer laddering that might be enticing for students to pursue a post-bac diploma and/or graduate degree. The challenge for offering certificates are negotiating existing fee and credit structures to ensure a seamless transition of credits and fees toward desired degrees.

Growing professional programs to include non-credit offerings is an opportunity for bringing in additional financial streams and to respond to the interests among education and other sectors for professional development courses. As a small faculty, this requires additional hiring of administrators and instructors to organize, promote, and teach the non-credit course offerings.

Offering courses on anti-racism and SOGI inclusion are a goal of the Professional Development Programs committee and can be attained through recruiting and hiring adjunct instructors. Similarly, the goal of offering further programming that meets the needs and demands for Indigenous education requires sustained hiring of adjunct instructors and/or further hiring of faculty with attention to EDI as research and teaching areas.

6. English as an Additional Language Programs

We offer English as an additional language (EAL) programs and experiences grounded in scholarly endeavour and teaching excellence to support multilingual learners reaching their potential and achieving the goals that matter to them.

Part of our EAL program offerings includes the English Foundation Program (EFP), an innovative and credit-bearing program providing a pathway to undergraduate studies for students who meet all the academic requirements for admission to a Bachelor degree in most faculties on UBC’s Okanagan campus, but who have not yet met the university’s English language proficiency requirements. The EFP offers English for academic purposes (EAP) courses and programming with a focus on fostering students’ communicative competence in English for use in a wide range of academic and community settings, with students who successfully complete the EFP meeting the university’s English language proficiency requirements. The EFP was relocated to the OSE in 2020 to provide an equitable and robust alternative to traditional standardized testing as a pathway to higher education. Since then, the EFP has provided meaningful study opportunities for 50 to 100 students each year as part of their undergraduate programs.
There are several priorities that guide the design and offering of programs and experiences within our EAL programs. The programs:
seek to advance EAL teaching and learning through scholarly endeavour, research excellence, and innovative pedagogical practice.
contribute to the wider EAL teaching and learning community on this campus and within the greater community surrounding the campus.
are further working towards meaningfully and authentically integrating Indigenous knowledges and perspectives into EAL teaching and learning.
prioritize a holistic understanding of well-being within the EAL teaching and learning community, and promote the value of EAL teaching and learning knowledge creation, dissemination, and implementation.

All those who lead, teach, and work within the programs have a shared commitment to engaging and recognizing student strengths and instructor expertise in creating and sustaining transformative, equitable, and inclusive EAL teaching and learning opportunities.
The EAL programs have maintained a positive revenue stream that benefits overall budget impacts for the School.

Strengths and Features of the Program

Designed to support EAL teaching, learning and inquiry in the OSE, the EAL Learning Lab offers a physical space that was established in the fall of 2021 to bring together theory, research, and practice to create meaningful experiences for students and scholarly insights for educators. As such, the EAL Learning Lab is a facilitated learning environment for the EFP and related courses, a pilot location for developing Open Educational Resources (OER), a research site for graduate students and faculty members, a creative area for professional development, a community field experience opportunity for teacher candidates, and a practicum location for post-bac students

The EFP hires both undergraduate and graduate teaching assistants every year. In the 2021/2022 year, the EFP supported a total four UTA positions and three GTA positions (each position equals 192 hours per term).

The EAL programs are envisioned as a lab school, with opportunities for graduate student research at both the Master’s and PhD level. The first MA student to complete his research with EFP students was Ronan Scott (MA 2021), and his thesis is available online through cIRcle. We currently have two students Karin Wiebe (MA) and Michael Landry (PhD) conducting research through the EAL learning lab.

Open Educational Resources (OER) are designed for students learning EAL in an English for academic purposes (EAP) program. There are opportunities for faculty, graduate students, and BEd teacher candidates to contribute. For example, BEd students can create materials for EAL learners as part of their community field experiences. Another example is a group of graduate and undergraduate students who recently received FofE Student EDID Grant to create materials focused on equity and diversity. These resources are made freely available on our website.

The EFP hires a number of sessional lecturers each with the qualifications and experiences to effectively teach EAP. In addition, we hired a new program coordinator who both teaches in the EFP and coordinates the EAL programs.

The program is well-positioned to build and sustain the wider EAL teaching and learning community through an active engagement with the OSE, UBC, and other complementary organizations. For example, we are a supporting institution in good standing for the British Columbia Association of Teachers of English as an Additional Language (BC TEAL) and a regular sponsor of BC TEAL’s annual conference..

Our EAL program is working on integrating Indigenous knowledges and perspectives into the EAP curriculum for EAP 103 and EAP 104, with both explicit and implicit references. For example, the EAP 103 and EAP 104 course outlines now include relevant and resonate principles from the First Peoples Principles of Learning. Another example is the ongoing commitment to professional development related to Indigenous knowledges and perspectives. Our programs are a supporting institution for BC TEAL, and BC TEAL recently offered a webinar on using Indigenous storytelling to re-story your classroom, facilitated by Desiree Marchall-Peer, lecturer. This event was attended by faculty and instructors from the EAL programs.

Working with Professional Programs, EAL programs offers a TEAL Post-Baccalaureate certificate. This 12 credit certificate includes a professional practicum course, and prepares pre- and in-service teachers for a wide range of educational contexts.

Opportunities and Challenges for Growth and Development

The EAL programs are faced with limited on and off-campus teaching and learning spaces.

Currently, most students in the EFP have been admitted to an undergraduate program at UBCO. Better facilitating enrollment for visiting, access, and unclassified students can support a wider range of students. There are also opportunities to create non-credit access EAL courses for study, work, and community engagement. Finally, graduate students with emerging EAL skills are underserved on the Okanagan campus in relation to general EAL development courses.

The programs have an opportunity for greater awareness within UBC’s Okanagan campus, and to engage and communicate with programs and units across the UBC system.

Our EAL programs see opportunity for building capacity to meaningfully integrate Indigenous knowledges and perspectives into EAL curriculum and materials. This goal will be accomplished over time with sustained focus and commitment on resources, time, and ongoing learning for all staff, instructors, and leaders within our EAL programs.

7. Indigenous Engagement

Indigenous engagement has been a priority for the School as we have made progress towards implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) Calls to Action, articles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and B.C.’s Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act.

We are committed to meeting the challenge issued to Canadians by the TRC to engage in an ongoing process of reconciliation. As part of the university’s response to the TRC’s Calls to Action, we commit to fostering principles and practices that re-conceptualize education in ways that honour both local and global Indigenous histories with pedagogies responsive to the relational connections to land, culture, and understandings of self in the world. More specifically, we will:

  • value ongoing professional learning and development, engaging thoughtfully with local and global Indigenous communities, enlarging understandings of histories and cultures alongside theories and research in the field.
  • build capacities to decolonize curricula in meaningful and sustainable ways.
  • cultivate conditions and supports to invest long-term in a local community of educators who will act as resources and catalysts for indigenizing curriculum
    mobilize opportunities for all stakeholders to disrupt colonial relations and pedagogies.
  • support and implement the recommendations received from the Aboriginal Advisory Committee to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Principal regarding meaningful support for reconciliation, and the UBC Indigenous Strategic Plan.

The TRC’s Call to Action 62 to 65 emphasize that Indigenous histories, perspectives, and approaches to learning must inform multi-disciplinary learning experiences, have shaped our programmatic efforts. The TRC requires educators across Canada to decolonize education. In particular, Calls to Action 62 to 65 concern the mobilization of First Nations ways of knowing and being within classroom instruction. How will K-12 classroom educators conduct and support this important work, decolonizing curricula in meaningful and sustainable ways? We respond to this weighty question by seeking ways for educators to strengthen relationships with Indigenous peoples and cultures in respectful and productive ways. We understand that the first step in this work is acknowledging that respectful relationships to the land are central to Indigenized curricular co-creation. To begin the work of co-building crucial supports for educators, we engage prospective educators, practicing educators, and community partners all situated on the unceded territory of the Syilx Okanagan Nation in ongoing conversations learning with and through Elders, Knowledge-Keepers, and the rich resources of our greater Okanagan region. Together, we work towards co-designing curricular experiences that foster educators’ Indigenous knowledge alongside curricular embodiment of First Nations principles and practices in classrooms (see Appendix E: Indigenous Pedagogy). In particular, we focus on knowledge of Syilx laws, customs, protocols, and principles that define and inform Syilx rights and responsibilities to the land and to culture. In doing so, the aim is to provide the needed concrete co-curricular-making practices for local educators and their students. This place-based approach holds potential for transforming the educational landscape not only locally, but also as an operative guiding model more broadly.

One of the important initiatives was to work with some of our Indigenous community partners to build an Indigenous Education Council that would serve as an advisory, guidance, and community-growing opportunity. In an effort to engage our instructors with the Council, Block Leaders were invited to meetings to share events and initiatives and hear from the Council members on how to improve and grow our Indigenous Education efforts. Research projects and community events that aligned with and connected to Indigenous education were brought to the Council for their guidance and feedback.

Indigenous education was a priority in our re-design of the BEd, mirroring the new BC K-12 Curriculum that had the First Peoples Principles of Learning woven through all aspects of the new curriculum. Similarly, as a teaching community we embarked on a learning journey about what it meant to weave Indigenous Education opportunities throughout our program. We have continued to build and grow our learning efforts and several faculty have developed research projects with an Indigenous education focus that inform and contribute to teaching efforts for our students, such as the incorporation of IndigenEYEZ, an Indigenous youth empowerment and leadership community program, in our BEd and connected to the Partnership Grant research. We have purchased pedagogical resources, such as Stories of our sqilxw ways curricular resource book and teachers’ guide, developed by the Okanagan community for BEd students, and are engaging them in land-based experiences as part of our undergraduate and SIE offerings. We recently hired Dr. Cohen, an Indigenous education scholar, who is guiding much of the work in our faculty concerning Indigenous engagement.

We are beginning to grow our research and scholarship (Insight, Connections, and Partnership Grants) with an Indigenous engagement focus and building communities of colleagues locally and nationally who co-engage with us in these scholarship and learning opportunities. One of the challenges is to ensure that we can hire additional instructors and staff to work with and support Dr. Cohen, to ensure a sustainable workload for him and others and not assume that one or a few people should or can carry the work. Additionally, we aim to increase opportunities for Indigenous students to study with us, through EDUC 104, Introduction to Academic Pedagogy: An Aboriginal Perspective, and, in the future, through the NITEP Okanagan Field Centre that will enable students completing the program to join our BEd program. Five undergraduate students, some self-identifying as Indigenous, have assumed roles as research assistants on the SSHRC Partnership Grant (Co-Curricular Making — Honouring Indigenous Connections to Land, Culture and the Relational Self). These roles will be available over five years and offer research project experience and mentorship.

While Indigenous student enrollment (grad and undergrad) has increased over the last five years has increased: 2016 (8), 2017 (9), 2018 (12), 2019 (20) and 2020 (23). Supporting and recruiting Indigenous students to both our BEd and graduate programs remains an important priority.


We currently have approximately five per cent of students who identify as Indigenous in our BEd program, and four per cent of students who identify as Indigenous in our graduate program.

A newly developed graduate course, Coyote Stories (EDUC 562B), fosters educators’ efforts towards decolonizing curricula in meaningful and sustainable ways and practicing modes of being that mobilize opportunities for all stakeholders to disrupt colonial relations and pedagogies.

We also recognize opportunities for continued growth and development in our recruitment of graduate students and our hiring of faculty, staff, adjuncts and sessionals to reflect our efforts to Indigenize and to ensure EDI across all programs and offerings.

8. Student Experience and Support

Offering and supporting meaningful and impactful student experiences through all programs and offerings continues to be an important focus, with care and attention to resources and supports from admission through to completion and alumni status.

Admission to our BEd is competitive and broad-based, meaning that beyond their academic qualifications of their grades in undergraduate degrees, the applicants must also provide two reference letters and a personal letter of intent that outlines past experiences of teaching, coaching, or other professional/volunteer experiences that support the applicant’s admission package. Generally, we receive two to three times the number of applicants than we have seats available.

Graduate students are admitted via the College of Graduate Studies after a supervisor has been identified for each student. MEd students are matched with a supervisor through the Graduate Programs Committee admissions work, ensuring fit of research and teaching area with students’ stated areas of interest. MA and IGS PhD students must arrange a supervisor ahead of admission. Typically, students who have not arranged a supervisor ahead of their MA or PhD application will not be admitted. For those MEd students who do not meet the GPA requirement, but who seem to have additional professional experiences that would make them good candidates for admission, they can be admitted with the responsibility of completing an interim progress report after their first term to ensure adequate success levels.

As part of our aim of building a community of scholar-practitioners, one of our shared goals is to bring together prospective and practicing educators forming and strengthening our undergraduate, professional development, and graduate programs through shared community investment in the formative nature of professional knowledge. As such, many of the learning experiences and supports intersect with opportunities for students to engage with our research, community, and school district partners through program offerings. Examples of resources and supports for student experiences include:

A research and community-outreach program, B.A.R.K. founded by the current Director of CME. The program provides community and social emotional learning supports and connections for students in our faculty and across the campus.

We are increasingly connecting our graduate students with our BEd students through research presentations and panel presentations organized as part of the learning experiences in various Blocks. In addition we connect our graduate students formally to the BEd program through two events: “Developing Your Pedagogical Stance” and “Celebration of Learning.” Graduate students, alumni and faculty are invited to serve as conversation facilitators for the BEd candidate presentations of their emerging pedagogical stance narratives formed through Blocks 1 and 2 and then in Block 5 as they transition from candidate to intern, celebrating their learning journey thus far. There are also graduate teaching assistant (GTA) opportunities in the EAL programs, such as the EFP, where the GTAs are able to work with multilingual undergraduate students.

This nature space outside the Engineering, Management, and Education (EME) building near the pond has been part of our formal learning spaces since 2007 and offers outdoor learning experiences to all of our programs. It serves as a site for students to work and apply their pedagogical knowledge as part of the Community Field Experience.

Workshops are offered as a regular component of our undergraduate programs and we are fortunate to connect with partner such as SOGI UBC and IndigenEYEZ to offer experiential learning opportunities for our students.

In 2020, we posted our anti-racism and EDI statement, indicating our commitment to fostering genuine dialogue around issues of racial injustice in education with educators, students, colleagues, and the greater community — bringing to bear policies and practices in our local and global institutions. The FoE’s Task Force on Race, Indigeneity and Social Justice (we were represented by Dr. Karen Ragoonaden) provided 12 clusters of recommendations highlighted in a final report. The report identifies barriers that prevent or discourage the realization of equity, diversity, inclusion, and decolonization for Indigenous and racialized people, as well as for people from other equity-deserving groups. We look to these recommendations in our aims to empower educators and their students to dismantle the patterns of racism and injustice in school and community settings, and invest in developing more democratic and more just societies.

An innovative part of our BEd structure serves as a resource for our undergraduate students—field advisors (FAs). We hire four FAs for two-year contracts to guide and mentor BEd students through all aspects of their program. Some years, we have been able to hire a fifth FA for the French pathway. These educators are often practicing teachers, or teachers who are recently retired or who take a leave from their district to work with us. FAs are a fundamental piece of the scholar-practitioner model, bridging the university to K-12 classrooms and providing support, guidance, and connection for small groups of students.

Over the past five years we have sustained and grown our connections with our five catchment school districts for student placements. Due to our size and our history with these school districts, we have outstanding relationships with the school district administration, the human resources office, the school administration and teachers. The teachers who host a candidate or intern are referred to as mentor teachers and are quite often graduates of our program. Besides the professional development inherent in working with a candidate or intern alongside the support of the field advisor, we offer mentor teachers tuition credits that can be used in our SIE, post-bac and graduate programs. Mentor teachers are an invaluable resource for our students and offer important links for faculty.

These are holistic and comprehensive, with designated admission assistants for all programs, ensuring students have access to individuals who can answer questions and provide needed guidance. We have an “Academic Advisor, Education Specialist” in the UBC Okanagan’s Advising & Involvement Centre who is an incredible resource for those undergraduate students from UBC and other provincial, national, and international institutions who are considering applying to our BEd program.

Our EAL programs includes the English Foundation Program (EFP), which is a robust educational alternative to standardized English language proficiency testing as a means for fulfilling UBC’s English language admissions standard. Many of our graduate students find teaching assistant, research, and mentoring opportunities within the EFP and potentially our other EAL programs in the future. Our EAL programs create a strong connection between OSE and the wider EAL teaching and learning community with events and engagements supported by our School, such as through sponsoring BC TEAL events.

In the past, this sense of community has been a strength as we have been able to promote a more intimate learning experience within our relatively small school where students often have several and iterative opportunities to work with faculty on various research, professional development, and teaching experiences. The last two years have been a challenge for maintaining a sense of community while having to carry out teaching, supervisory, and research experiences remotely. We created an online Graduate Community Space that helped create a virtual space and place for connecting and for resources. We are planning a virtual Graduate Student Symposium in late spring as a more formalized structure for connecting, learning, and presenting scholarship in a community space that builds and grows the relationships that are at the heart of all learning. The Symposium is student-organized with a committee of four students chaired by the Master’s Student Graduate Representative and advised by the Director of Graduate Programs and the Director of the CME.

RAs have many opportunities to gain valuable research experience. Whether it is research about mind-fulness and resilience, how to become a better citizen or how pets can help reduce stress, we are dedi-cated to finding new ways to improve learning outcomes. For example, the recent SSHRC Partnership Grant has allowed for the hiring of four undergraduate research assistants, from across campus, some self-identifying as Indigenous, each working with a community partner and having the opportunity to be a part of a larger research project with ongoing mentorship as well as three graduate research assistants (one at UBC Okanagan and two at partner universities). Other faculty have also been able to hire RAs through their externally funded research grants.

Our BEd students graduate in December after completing 16 months in the program, and convocate in June the following year. Over the past five years, our completion rates have been high.

Our completion rates in our post-bacc and graduate programs vary depending on degree. Students have a maximum of six years to complete the post-bacc certificate/diploma program, but could complete as quickly as a year. Students take courses as their schedule allows with great completion flexibility. Since revising the core post-bac programs to be more interdisciplinary, student completion rates have increased. Our MA and PhD students tend to have a slower completion rate, and this is something we are focused on improving. Our graduate students tend to be different than typical graduate students who pursue their degrees full-time and often pursue graduate degrees directly after completing their undergraduate or master’s degrees. Our students tend to be education professionals who combine their research and teaching within their work contexts. As such, they tend to be more mature in age and career stage than most graduate students on campus, and tend to work part-time while completing their degrees, often with family commitments and responsibilities. Given these complexities, we see our graduate students as extremely capable and disciplined in the balancing of their professional, academic, and personal lives. However, it can take them longer to complete. We have been actively encouraging applicants to consider taking a leave from their work for at least one year to ensure that they can complete within a reasonable time frame. Within the past five years, the average completion rate for MA students has been two years, MEd has been three years and PhD students has been five years.

Attrition rates for our graduate students is quite low, with 11 students withdrawing in the past five years. We attribute this low rate to the care and attention of supervisors and the administrative supports in the program. Given our small numbers, students are often known by name by instructors, by the Graduate & Post-Baccalaureate Academic Programs Assistant, and the members of the Graduate Programs Committee. Students who need to take a leave are supported to do so and students who are falling behind are actively encouraged by their supervisor, and often the Director of Graduate Programs, to complete. Students are currently able to seek advice regarding their degree progress and course planning through the Graduate & Post-Baccalaureate Academic Programs Assistant and their supervisors as well as through their course instructors. Students are encouraged to meet with the Director of Graduate Programs and then the School Director if they are not satisfied. Thesis-based students are supported with requested committee or supervisory changes as appropriate and in consultation with the Director of Graduate Programs and the School Director, if necessary.

9. Research, Scholarship and Professional Activity

The research, scholarship and professional activity of our faculty members is innovative, influential, and tends to be reflective of the scholar-practitioner values that underpin much of the work carried out in the OSE. Our research, scholarship and professional activities are responsive to the current educational landscape and, at the same time, reflect faculty members’ commitments to creating new opportunities for addressing issues and concerns in education and society. Our faculty members’ diverse research interests align with our commitment to researching and teaching for diversity, equity, inclusivity, and innovation.

The research, scholarship and professional activity of our faculty members is innovative, influential, and tends to be reflective of the scholar-practitioner values that underpin much of the work carried out in the OSE. Our research, scholarship and professional activities are responsive to the current educational landscape and, at the same time, reflect faculty members’ commitments to creating new opportunities for addressing issues and concerns in education and society. Our faculty members’ diverse research interests align with our commitment to researching and teaching for diversity, equity, inclusivity, and innovation.

Our faculty are locally, nationally and internationally recognized for their research and scholarship, with specialized expertise in curriculum, professional learning and development, teacher education reform, educational philosophy, social emotional learning, English as an additional language, leadership, policy, health and wellbeing, among other areas. With attention to our scholar-practitioner identity, much of our research, scholarship and teaching is inter-connected and co-informed, often with meaningful engagement with and from our doctoral and master’s students and including, where possible, our undergraduate students.

Research and scholarship takes many forms across faculty members and students including publications of scholarly texts, presentations in local, provincial, national and international contexts, along with professional development offerings. Several of our faculty engage regularly in service related to research and scholarship such as journal editorships and board member roles. They also provide leadership within organizations such as Canadian Society for the Study of Education (CSSE), American Educational Research Association (AERA) and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) International. Much of this research and scholarship is funded from external grants such as active Social Science and Humanities Research Council grants. Faculty also hold internal funding as well as funding from external agencies. The steady increase in our faculty’s funding abilities translates to creating larger and deeper communities of learning inclusive of graduate and undergraduate students, school district and community partners, and faculty colleagues across the university.

Since 2014/2015 our research funding by fiscal year has increased from $36,740 to $255,489 in 2020/2021. This significant increase is largely due to success with SSHRC Insight Development Grants, SSHRC Partnership Engage Grants and a SSHRC Partnership Grant. We also received external funding from the Vancouver Foundation, BC Ministry of Education, Spencer Foundation (US), Canadian Mental Health Association, McConnell Foundation, and Central Okanagan School District as well as internal grants and funding from the UBCO Deputy Vice Chancellor, UBCO International Programs and Services, the Office of the Vice-Principal, Research and Innovation (VPRI), UBC Hampton Research Endowment Fund and UBC Okanagan Office of the Provost. In 2017, the Eminence competition was established by the VPRI to support the development of clusters of research excellence at UBC Okanagan. Faculty are represented on the Culture, Creativity, Health and Well-being Research Cluster as lead and the Community Health Research Cluster as a team member. Our research projects have also been supported through the internally funded SSHRC Explore and Exchange Grants, and in 2020 the Social Sciences and Humanities Researcher of the Year was from the OSE. We also successfully secured Aspire Funding for new research faculty as a mechanism to support the development a sustainable research career.

Okanagan School of Education Funded Project Count by Fiscal Year

Award Category 2014/2015 2015/2016 2016/2017 2017/2018 2018/2019 2019/2020 2020/2021
Tri-Council SSHRC Funding 1 5 5 5 7 7 4

 

Okanagan School of Education Research Funding by Fiscal Year

Subcategory 2014/2015 2015/2016 2016/2017 2017/2018 2018/2019 2019/2020 2020/2021
Tri-Council (SSHRC) $36,740 $135,995 $165,443 $81,978 $91,782 $121,599 $255,489
Tri-Council Total $36,740 $135,995 $165,443 $81,978 $91,782 $121,599 $255,489
Government
Industry
Non-Profit
$26,667 $63,333 $41,600 $16,483
$5,000 $24,000 $14,000
($2,663) $39,800 $12,436 $10,000 $65,000 $10,000
Other External Total $29,004 $103,133 $36,436 $65,600 $65,000 $26,483
Internal Funding (UBC) $49,860 $48,933 $47,210 $10,985 $23,000 $36,000 $48,400
UBC Internal Funding Total $49,860 $48,933 $47,210 $10,985 $23,000 $36,000 $48,400
Total $115,604 $288,060 $249,089 $158,563 $179,782 $157,599 $330,372

The Centre for Mindful Engagement (CME) supports and showcases interdisciplinary research exploring human well-being. A particular focus of the Centre is to explore the role social and emotional learning plays in undergirding student and educator well-being. The Centre is currently affiliated with two SSHRC funding initiatives: 1) SSHRC Insight Grant to explore the role of virtual canine interventions to support student stress reduction; and 2) SSHRC Individual Partnership Engage Grant that supports research exploring the delivery of social and emotional instruction within and across the Central Okanagan School District. The CME aims to support the development of the following priority areas to support, foreground and mobilize research:

  • Collaborative clusters: Support social and emotional learning through mindful community engagement and innovation by bringing together scholars, researchers and practitioners.
  • Innovative pedagogy: Explore significances of mindful engagement by enriching experiential learning and research opportunities. Incorporate multiple voices and recognize diverse forms of knowledges and experiences.
  • Thriving campus communities: Explore the critical and creative conditions that foster sustainable well-being for ourselves and others across the life course.
  • Indigenous engagement: Guided by the principles of respect, relationality, relevance and reciprocity, projects promote intergenerational and cross-cultural engagement within and across diverse communities.

The Director of the CME serves in a three-year term providing leadership in the area of research to faculty members and graduate students and offers support to visiting scholars and postdoctoral fellows. Within the Centre, the Director provides leadership in research through establishing and maintaining communication with University Research Services as well as research councils and other funding bodies. The Director will also create conditions to support research collaborations and provide active support and promotion of the publication and dissemination endeavours such as speaker series, conferences and other forums. Along with working with other Committees to organize workshops/seminars on topics of interest to graduate students and faculty members, the Director provides leadership to the activities related to research, promotes and celebrates faculty members’ and graduate students’ publications and other forms of research, encourages scholarship and creativity, and prepares regular reports for the Leadership Team meetings and the OSE Unit meetings.

Currently, the CME houses several research projects and provides a home for B.A.R.K. B.A.R.K. is an internationally recognized research project on animal therapy that also is very active in providing social emotional learning services to students, faculty, and staff, among other community partner projects. B.A.R.K. brings together university students, trained therapy dogs, and handlers in an effort to reduce stress and combat homesickness, foster interpersonal connections, and promote the overall social-emotional wellbeing of students. The CME aims to be a community of inquiry that reflects diverse traditions, perspectives and methods to explore and understand teaching, learning and education across a variety of settings and contexts.

Opportunities and Challenges for Growth and Development

Our research and scholarship is often co-collaboratively developed, informed, and inspired by our work with school district and community partners, and is often funded externally through SSHRC awards. Recent examples include a SSHRC Partnership Grant ($1,076,813) intended to explore Co-Curricular Making: Honoring Indigenous Connections to Land, Culture and the Relational Self. This multi-year project includes partners from universities across Canada, school districts, community partners, and a notable inclusion of Indigenous partners throughout the entire process. As Canada seeks to respond to the TRC Calls to Action, faculty members and students in the OSE are brought together through this grant led by the current School Director with local and national partners to seek respectful ways for educators to align their teaching practices toward reconciliation. As with other research and teaching initiatives that promote, support, or include Indigenous education foci, we ensure advisorship is sought throughout the project from the Indigenous Education Council. An Individual Partnership Engage Grant ($24,994) is designed to advance and enrich social and emotional instruction in the Central Okanagan School District.

Examples of innovative research tools and projects include The School Kindness Scale (Binfet, Gadderman, & Schonert-Reichl, 2016), which is the first scale of its kind to measure perceptions of school kindness. The scale was normed on 1,753 student participants drawn from 73 different grade 4 to 7 classrooms from the Central Okanagan School District. The scale was first published in the journal Psychology in the Schools and, to date, has been cited 28 times and has been translated into multiple languages. It is freely available for researchers and practitioners to use, and can be found on our website.

Another example includes the Learning Garden which is a designated OSE teaching, learning, and research space that helps to promote the principles of sustainable environmental practices and responsible stewardship of nature. Furthermore an emerging area of research is underway with several faculty and graduate students examining teaching and learning from within the BEd model, offering additional opportunities for research from a scholar-practitioner lens.

One of the challenges in a small school is finding ways to collaborate in research when faculty are often the only scholar in their particular field. We have done well so far to create collaborative research endeavours, especially as we explore the benefits and potentials of teaching and learning through our BEd model. Finding ways to ensure that faculty keep up to date and aware of the research and scholarship work of their colleagues remains a communications challenge, and we are having success with the use of digital screens on our floor to highlight our achievements, for ourselves and for those working on and visiting our floor, as well as increased presences in various social media platforms. Merit and Performance Salary Adjustments (PSA) processes are another challenge in a small faculty. We have been working for the past five years to ensure transparent collegial processes and reporting and to work through the challenge of findings ways of honouring the worthwhile research and scholarship taking place across all the ranks. Space also remains be a challenge as new faculty hires seek space for research labs.

A number of our faculty are actively engaged in the service of research and scholarship as editors for national and international journals, and board members for national and international academic associations. They are also regularly invited to serve on national (e.g. SSHRC) and university-level grant review committees. These connections reflect the reputation we are making as recognized experts in diverse fields of study, and offer opportunities for ongoing connections with colleagues from a variety of contexts and locations that build and enrich our professional learning and growth and extend our research and scholarship influence as a School. Over the past five years, attendance and presentations at national (e.g. CSSE) and international (e.g. AERA) educational conferences has increased, bringing opportunities for faculty, graduate students, and some community partners to engage with research and scholarship communities to grow and deepen research and teaching initiatives as we promote the important research and scholarship carried out in our School. One of the challenges, however, with active engagement in service outside the School is ensuring that faculty have enough time and energy for service at the School and university level while carrying out their teaching, research, and service at these additional levels.

In terms of professional activity for improving and enriching career experiences toward tenure and promotion, we have developed structures and processes that mentor faculty through the various career processes in both the professor of teaching and the professoriate ranks. We have shown success in the numbers of faculty who have reached tenure and achieved promotion within the past five years (six assistant to associate and three associate to full). The School Director meets with all assistant professors formally each year in the spring and meets with associate professors as warranted and as individuals indicate they are pursuing promotion. All meetings are documented as to strengths and steps to take as each faculty member proceeds each year. These documents help to ensure continuity of process and ongoing transparent communications. Informally, the Director also meets each term with assistant professors to assist with teaching, research, and service navigations. In 2021, Dr. Lesley Andres, Associate Dean, Faculty Affairs, Vancouver campus, met with all assistant professors on an individual basis and walked through UBC related processes and practices. A primary challenge is that as we will remain relatively small for several years, this presents leadership role fatigue with multiple demands within the unit and representative membership on committees within the FoE and across campus.

10. Leadership and Administration

Leadership and administration in the Okanagan School of Education is carried out and managed by the School Director, Dr. Margaret Macintyre Latta, with several standing committees: Undergraduate Committee, Graduate Committee, Professional Programs Committee, EAL Programs, and the Centre for Mindful Engagement. The directors and coordinators of these program committees comprise the OSE Leadership Team and meet monthly.

Several ad-hoc committees (Reappointment, Promotion & Tenure Committee, Merit Committee, and hiring /search committees) carry out additional work with the Director of the School as part of our unit leadership structure and in relation to the FoE governance model. The School follows the policies and procedures set out by the UBC Board of Governors, Human Resources, and Faculty Association. Staff have been hired to work with the programs to provide administrative support. The Manager, Administration and Operations, oversees and manages the administrative team that is comprised of an Undergraduate Academic Programs Assistant, Graduate and Post-Baccalaureate Academic Programs Assistant, and an Administrative Assistant to the School Director. Additionally, we have a Communications Specialist, and we recently hired a Research Facilitator as a 0.1 position.

The Director was an internal search selected by voting of the OSE faculty, staff, and students as a recommendation to the Dean of the FoE who presented the recommendation to the UBCO Deputy Vice Chancellor and Principal. The Director serves in a five-year renewable term.

The Director has the following responsibilities:

  • Provide leadership to the School
  • Manage School governance
  • Manage School communications
  • Manage faculty teaching workloads
  • Coordinate mentoring of faculty members
  • Ensure work and study environment is free from discrimination and harassment
  • Chair Promotion and Tenure Committee and Faculty Search Committees
  • Make recommendations to the Dean concerning faculty appointments,
  • reappointments, promotion and/or tenure, and faculty salary increases based on merit
  • Attend Dean’s Executive Committee and Campus Executive Advisory Committee Meetings
  • Appoint members of School committees and recommend faculty for OSE and University-level committees

Members of the Leadership Team normally meet monthly from September to May to communicate about issues and topics related to leadership, administration, and program needs of the School. These meetings create a connection point to bring together teaching, research, and service roles and needs of all programs and staff. The full School meetings occur four times per academic year, typically in August, November, February and May. Voting members at our faculty meetings include full time lecturers and tenured and tenure-track faculty in the School. Motions are passed by a majority of those present at a meeting. The School Director proposes the agenda with input from the Leadership Team and chairs School meetings alongside the Dean of the Faculty of Education who attends the OSE meetings. Agenda items usually arise from matters of School committees but can also be brought forward by individual faculty. Meeting agenda with supporting documents will normally be available at least two days in advance of School meetings. Minutes are recorded by staff, approved by the Director, and made available to voting members following each meeting.

Standing Committees of the OSE

he Undergraduate Program Committee is a standing committee that reports to the Director of Undergraduate Programs, reporting to the School on matters pertaining to the administration and implementation of the undergraduate programs, which includes both the BEd and a number of undergraduate Education courses that are offered for all UBCO students.

Oversight of all undergraduate programs is assumed by the Director of Undergraduate Programs. The UPC Committee works in compliance with University rules and regulations as presented in the UBCO Academic Calendar. As well the BEd program is accountable to and externally governed by the rules and regulations required by the Teacher Certification Branch (TCB) of the BC Ministry of Education. More specifically, the BEd program is accountable to the BC Teachers’ Council, a sub-committee of the TCB.

The major foci of the UPC are:

  • Undergraduate course curricular development, coordination and implementation — both BEd and general undergraduate Education courses
  • General undergraduate program structure, policies, procedures and practices
  • Liaison with our catchment school districts and oversight of field placements
  • Undergraduate admissions
  • Undergraduate awards

Committee Membership and Meetings
The UPC is composed of five members who have been appointed as the Block Leaders in the undergraduate program, the Field Experience Coordinator, the French BEd Coordinator, the Indigenous Educator, and the Community Field Experience Coordinator. These members are appointed by the School Director for the duration of the academic year, and are intended to serve as the administrative and leadership role for collaborative design and delivery of the BEd Program. The members share out and discuss issues and topics relevant to the teaching, learning, and mentoring of undergraduate students. These meetings are chaired by the Director of Undergraduate Programs.

The committee meets monthly from September to June. Additional meetings may be held to address urgent matters. Committee members make decisions by way of majority vote. The minutes of this committee are taken by the administrative assistant and shared out through the Leadership Team meetings and reported formally at the OSE meetings.

The OSE Graduate Programs Committee is a standing committee that reports to the School Director and the Faculty on matters pertaining to the graduate program. The Director of Graduate Programs is appointed by the School Director for a five-year term. They chair the GPC Committee and work with the Graduate & Post-Baccalaureate Academic Programs Assistant to facilitate the administration of the graduate program in the School in compliance with College of Graduate Studies rules and regulations.

The purpose of the GPC is to support the graduate program in the following areas:

  • Admissions
  • Awards
  • Curricular development and coordination
  • General graduate program structure, policies, procedures and practices

Committee Membership and Meetings
The GPC is composed of three tenured or tenure-track faculty members appointed by the School Director for a three-year rotating term. The committee is chaired by the Director of Graduate Programs and includes at least three faculty members. Two graduate students (appointed to a one-year term) serve as non-voting members at GPC and OSE meetings.

The committee meets monthly from September to May. Additional meetings may be held to address urgent matters. Committee members make decisions by way of majority vote. The minutes of this committee are taken by the administrative assistant and shared out through the Leadership Team meetings and reported formally at the OSE meetings.

The Professional Development Programs Committee is a standing committee that reports to the School Director and the Faculty on matters pertaining to the professional development programs and the summer institute. The Director of Professional Development Programs is appointed by the School Director for a five-year term. They chair the PDC Committee and work with the Graduate & Post-Baccalaureate Academic Programs Assistant to facilitate the administration of the professional development programs in the School in compliance with university rules and regulations. These programs include the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate/Diploma and the Summer Institute in Education.

The purpose of the PDC is to support the professional development programs in the following areas:

  • Admissions
  • Curricular development and coordination
  • General professional development programs structure, policies, procedures and practices

Committee Membership and Meetings
The PDC is composed of three tenured or tenure-track faculty members appointed by the School Director for a three-year rotating term. The committee is chaired by the Coordinator of PDC.

The committee meets monthly from September to May. Additional meetings may be held to address urgent matters. Committee members make decisions by way of majority vote. The minutes of this committee are taken by the administrative assistant and shared out through monthly Leadership Team meetings and reported formally at OSE meetings.

Ad-Hoc Committees, Additional Programs, and Research Centre

The Committee on Reappointment, Promotion & Tenure reports to the School Director on matters pertaining to faculty reappointments, promotion, and/or tenure. This is an ad-hoc committee of the School. It is mandated to make recommendations to the School Director for faculty reappointments, promotion and/or tenure.

Committee Membership and Meetings
The Committee on Reappointment, Promotion & Tenure is composed of all eligible faculty members. Eligibility is outlined in Section 5.04 of the Faculty Association collective agreement and will vary depending on the candidates being considered. The committee is chaired by the School Director in a non-voting role. In addition to the eligible OSE faculty, for this current cycle two external members also sit on the committee.

The committee meets as required from September to May. The minutes of this committee are confidential and form the basis of the reports prepared by the chair. Committee members make decisions by way of majority vote. The chair provides both a synopsis of the committee deliberations and the outcome of the vote and their own assessment of the candidate’s merits in separate reports to the Dean.

The Committee on Merit reports to the School Director on matters pertaining to faculty merit increases. This committee is an ad-hoc committee of the School. It is mandated to make recommendations to the School Director on the annual ranking of faculty based on relative merit.

Committee Membership and Meetings
The Committee on Merit is composed of faculty members across the ranks (at the ranks of Professor, Associate Professor, Assistant Professors and Lecturer. These roles are voted for yearly on a volunteer basis but may be appointed if representation is needed in one or more of the ranks. The committee is chaired by the Director of the School. The committee meets as required following the completion of faculty annual reports in May. The minutes of this committee are confidential and form the basis of the reports prepared by the chair. Committee members reach recommendations by way of deliberation and majority vote. The chair provides both a synopsis of the committee deliberations and vote as the basis of the report and recommendations provided to the Dean.

The EAL programs report to the School Director and the Faculty on matters pertaining to EAL teaching and learning. The Director of the EAP is appointed by the School Director for a three year term. They hire sessional lecturers, teaching assistants, and work with the EAL programs coordinator and undergraduate programs assistant to carry out the mandate of the EAL programs in compliance with University rules and regulations. The EAL Programs Director shares a report of activities, events, issues, and concerns at monthly Leadership Team meetings and reports out formally at OSE meetings.

The work of the CME is under the direction of a Director who is appointed by the School Director for a three year term (2021-2024). The Director brings together an Advisory Board of international and national scholars to advise and guide the work of the Centre. The Director of the CME reports to the School Director and the OSE on matters pertaining to the Centre.

11. Staff and Support Experiences

We currently employ four full-time staff who work with the directors of academic programs and resources, one part-time staff member who works directly as the administrative assistant to the Director of the School and one part-time staff member as a research facilitator.

Kristin Schuppener is the Manager, Administration and Operations and provides direct and indirect supervision of all the support staff within the OSE. She liaises with Human Resources regarding faculty and staff contracts, works with Finance regarding School budgets, and interacts with Facilities to ensure the teaching, research, and office spaces within OSE are sufficient in both size and infrastructure.

Jordy Decker is the Undergraduate Academic Programs Assistant and provides administrative support to the Director of Undergraduate Programs from the point of students’ first contact to guidance from admissions through to graduation. She fields inquiries from students and serves as a support person on the floor for faculty, students, and visitors. She initiates and processes administrative paperwork associated with a wide range of School activities, but most specifically with those pertaining to the Undergraduate program. She also supports the EAL programs in a variety of administrative capacities.

Lindsay Cox is the Graduate and Post-Baccalaureate Academic Programs Assistant. In this role she works with the Graduate and Post-Baccalaureate Directors to assist in all administrative matters pertaining to admissions, program details, and completion of all students. She is often the first point of contact for our graduate and post-baccalaureate students and handles their program inquiries. She initiates and processes administrative paperwork associated with a wide range of OSE activities, but specifically with those pertaining to the Graduate and Post-Baccalaureate programs. She provides support to the Director for the Senate approval process for curricular changes. She liaises with admissions and awards officers in the College of Graduate Studies on matters relating to our students.

Amanda Lamberti is the Communications Specialist. She works with all programs, faculty and staff to create and sustain a social media presence for our School, and to promote and market programs, new courses, events, and faculty and student research and scholarship. Thanks to her efforts, research and community engagement spearheaded by our faculty has been featured in local, regional, national, and international media outlets (the most recent examples can be found in Appendix H: Media Samples).

Pauline Potocky is the part-time administrative assistant to the Director and supports matters pertaining to executive assistance to the Director, processing accounts payable, managing filing records, committee support, and assistance with faculty recruitment, reappointment, promotion, tenure and workload.

Dr. Danielle Lamb has been recently hired to support research facilitation across the unit. This is a 0.1 position that she is able to assume in combination with her Project Manager role as part of the SSHRC Partnership Grant research team.

Andrew Calhoun is an Academic Advisor in UBCO’s Advising & Involvement Centre. He is an education specialist who works closely with the admissions team in Enrolment Services to inform and advise potential BEd applicants, to pre-assess prospective applicants, determine academic fit for the program, liaise with the BC Teachers’ Council (BCTC), and connect with applicants during the evaluation process. In addition, he advises prospective and current BEd students on the employment market in BC, Canada and internationally to help students better position themselves to take advantage of employment opportunities. He provides support to the Undergraduate Director regarding BEd student advising. In addition, he acts as a point of contact for questions related to the EFP.

All staff attend our unit meetings and Kristin Schuppener provides regular reports on matters relevant to staff at the Leadership Team meetings and the Unit meetings.

Opportunities and Challenges for Growth and Development

These staff are integral to the administrative work of the School and have each shown a commitment to and investment in growing the culture of the School as a community of scholar-practitioners, showing attention to excellence and innovation in their work with faculty and students, and a level of care, understanding, and good humour in their interactions with students and faculty.

Staff were extremely effective in their pivot to remote working during the pandemic and have begun a return to campus work plan that provides support for faculty and staff, while maintaining a balance for those staff who still require some at-home working time due to the ongoing restrictions and/or repercussions of the pandemic. On-going remote work on a part-time basis (e.g. one day a week at home) is being evaluated.

Staff have had some opportunities for professional development through attending workshops and conferences such as IndigenEYEZ and the National Association of Graduate Admission Professionals Graduate Enrolment Management Summit. A potential growth area is increasing participation in these professional development opportunities, and ensuring that staff have the time and funding to pursue these.

As OSE is a small school and UBC Okanagan is still a relatively small campus there are limited opportunities for career growth beyond staff’s current positions.

Several staff participate in campus and university-level committees, providing leadership and service representing the School on committees, such as the Positive Space Committee, Health and Safety Community, Joint Job Evaluation Committee, the College of Graduate Studies Joint Program Coordinators & Program Assistant Committee, Graduate Education Working Group for IRP-Student and Marketing Recruitment Working Groups. Additionally, there have been staff representatives on our faculty search committees. Similar to professional development opportunities, campus involvement is an area where staff can become more engaged; however there are barriers with time constraints and competing priorities.

12. People, Environment, Culture and Future
Developments

Over the past five years, we have worked as a unit to develop our identity, instilling productive working contexts, embracing respect and accountability to each other, cultivating student, faculty, and staff individual and collective wellbeing, and fostering capacities for all to contribute to our purpose and ongoing development.

We have worked to establish transparency in communication and process through our committee procedures, such as merit and PSA, hiring processes, and tenure and promotion processes that are becoming structured processes that are reliably predictive and reported out to faculty, helping to ease some of the stress that is connected to these processes. We are working to build a supportive culture inviting research, teaching and service connections among students, faculty, and staff that is becoming evident in our many collaborative publications, presentations, and teaching events. We aim to communicate our commitments to equity, diversity, and inclusion including in our signage, in how we carry out our meetings and gatherings, and involving faculty, and staff in campus leadership opportunities through service on committees such as the Positive Space Committee where we have faculty and staff representation.

As part of our commitment to building a thriving scholar-practitioner community, we connect and engage with colleagues and partners to form local, national, and international scholarship opportunities for students, faculty, and staff. Some of these include the Community Field Experience (CFE) in the BEd that provides practicum opportunities beyond a school context, extending what it means to teach and learn in-situ, and offering students’ experiences that will broaden and build their understandings of education as a community endeavour. Students have had their CFE placements in museums and art galleries, community youth placements, outdoor education organizations, and have traveled to China, Africa, and Australia. Graduate students are engaged in opportunities such as the 3MT presentations that happen in March as part of research week and we have regularly had finalists in this competition, presenting their research and representing our School with students from across the campus.

Faculty are engaged in scholarship partnerships that include colleagues across the university and across the world, as well as partnerships with provincial associations and communities. We have a regular pattern of bringing scholars to our School to present their research and engage with our students, faculty, and staff, and many of these with an international reputation (e.g. Dr. David Hansen, Teachers College, New York; Dr. Monica Worline, Stanford University; Dr. Nel Noddings, Stanford University; Dr. Kimberly Schonert-Reichl, University of Chicago). Our faculty work with other groups on campus to advance scholarship and knowledge mobilization such as cross-faculty and interdisciplinary research with the UBC Okanagan Research Institutes and Eminence Clusters of Research Excellence. We have a strong record of presenting our research at local, national and international conferences and events.
Our continued aspiration is ongoing engagement at all these levels in ways that includes and combines ongoing professional learning and development for students, staff, and faculty, and increased awareness of the important work engaged in and by us to carry out our mission of growing and supporting educators as scholar-practitioners through building communities of learning that reflect our commitments to equity, inclusion, diversity, decolonization, and innovation to contribute to the university’s purpose of advancing a sustainable and just society across BC and beyond. To achieve these goals, we look to our hiring and recruiting of students, ensuring a more diverse faculty and student group. We also look to space initiatives and donor opportunities that could combine to offer opportunity for teaching and learning space that would reflect and resonate with our scholar-practitioner approaches.

We also look to enrich and deepen our collaborative commitment to building together a community that supports and encourages our individual and collective thriving toward living out our visions and goals. We look to the communities we serve to find ways of engaging more meaningfully in our scholarship with them to build collaborative projects and opportunities for deepening relationships and collective outcomes. We continue to work with other faculties to move forward a budget model that would enable more productive forecasting beyond carryover amounts that will inevitably run out and do not encourage a hopeful financial future.

Over the last few years, we have invested in our communications efforts to inform potential and current students, faculty, staff, and interested others about our programs, personnel, and events. We have built more systems for communicating the activities of students, faculty and staff such as the use of our own digital screens on our floor and in the entryway of EME that promote and celebrate faculty, student, and alumni research and teaching achievements. The hiring of a Communications Specialist in 2019 resulted in substantive development of our website, online presence and social media platforms.

Website: education.ok.ubc.ca was launched in 2019 and bark.ok.ubc.ca was launched in 2021.

Online Presence: In addition to features on the education news page, faculty, staff, students and alumni that have been featured in news releases, profiles, Q&As, in the fields and O in UBCO stories on news.ok.ubc.ca.

Social Media Platforms: Facebook: UBCedO, Twitter: UBCedO and Instagram: ubcedo.

These mediums provide current information regarding communications access from varied perspectives. This information contributes to leadership and programmatic understandings as student target numbers are ascertained and communications planning ensues for future years.

The Communications Specialist creates a Communications Report for each OSE meeting that provides the faculty and staff updates on website analytics, social media, stories, news releases, upcoming events and ideas for faculty to help increase awareness and reputation of themselves and the School (see Appendix I: Communications Report 2021 contains excerpts from the February 2022 report).

13. Infrastructure and Resources

Space is a constant challenge for most units on this campus. In 2020, the Okanagan campus welcomed 11,599 students, up by 5.7% from the previous year.

We are on the third floor of the Engineering, Management and Education building (EME) with additional classroom space on the first floor (EME 1123). Each faculty member and full-time staff has an allocated office. Field advisors have an allocated office and several of our sessional instructors share offices on the third floor. We have a boardroom for large meetings, a kitchen and some flex space at the end of the hallway. In addition, we have a dedicated office for the Centre for Mindful Engagement. A recently converted space on our third floor is now the EAL Learning Lab, a vibrant research, classroom and meeting area with study space for 20 students. There is an EAL programs central office, with office space for the EAL programs coordinator, and work and meeting space for EAL instructors and students. We are fortunate to be able to offer a shared Graduate Student working space on our third floor for student use.

The most pressing challenge for our School is the need for a large enough classroom space that we can use for several hours during the day, every day, throughout most of the year. Our undergraduate program is different from many academic programs in that the students are on campus and in classes for longer hours than are typical for most students, given that this is a post-graduate professional program. Beyond the need for space that accommodates the larger number of undergraduate students, we have a shared hope among instructors for a space that we could reliably book that reflects and resonates with the scholar-practitioner aims that underpin our teaching and learning. Space is an important aspect of teaching and learning, and we know that the spaces we have at the university are not necessarily ones that evoke, encourage and inspire innovation, collaboration, inclusion, play, and imagination—all key features of the teaching and learning in our programs. Large classroom and lab space are at a premium. With a number of faculties hoping to be able to regularly use the same space for their large classes, we are among the groups who are constantly putting our name forward for daily use of large group space over the course of the term. We have experimented with using off-campus spaces for our undergraduate students and, while the spaces can sometimes be more amenable to innovative, collaborative and imaginative teaching and learning, there are limits and drawbacks to off-campus spaces that sometimes require a fee for use, or are not always available for the long stretches of time that we require, and that may be a hindrance to students and faculty that may use daycare services on campus or require sites with ready access to public transportation.

A budget model that supports our vision and potential is an ongoing challenge. It is potential that holds productive significances for the FoE, campus, and beyond. But, with no significant international student body, the incremental tuition revenue over the next five years will not be able to keep pace with the rising cost from contractual salary increases.

As with some other faculties and units on this campus, the budget model that is used for allocating resources does not necessarily align with expenditures; meaning that these units have been operating in a deficit budget for several years. We anticipate that the carryover for budgeting processes will be sufficient to fund operations until at least the end of 2026/27. Our current expenditures are $4,390,156 (Fiscal 2021/22) and our operating resources are $4,327, 280 (Fiscal 2021/22). The largest of our expenditures are dedicated to faculty, staff, and additional instructor salaries. While we do not have a large faculty, we are not able to grow tuition significantly enough to cover the 3.5% gap that remains due to contractual salary increases that are not funded centrally (Appendix G: Faculty Five Year Plan). Mitigating efforts have been taken to address budget concerns such as freeze on faculty hiring (2014-18), creation of general education courses, relocating EFP to OSE, and a new EdD graduate degree, currently in the review stage. But, tuition funding is and will continue to be a significant constraint on the School’s operations over the next five years. We can grow our MEd and post-bac student bodies, and our general education opportunities, but such growth will be approximately 15-20 students in each of these initiatives, so in total, the number is not significant. The BEd is currently at capacity in terms of enrolment (140 each year), so there will not be any significant new revenue.

New funding models being explored by the UBC Okanagan Deans may offer new opportunities for small units such as ours. One of the resource challenges in our School is the need for graduate student teaching (TA) and research assistantships (RA). While we have been able to provide good financial support for our PhD students, this support is almost entirely from research grant budgets, which is not a sustainable approach and means that only a small number of thesis-based students will be admitted each year to faculty who have substantial enough grants to allow for that support. While we were able to offer some Teaching Assistantships for graduate students during the pandemic to help with the need for more technology support as we transitioned our entire slate of programs and supervision online, this funding will not likely remain part of the operating budget. Finding opportunities for ongoing TA and RA experiences for graduate students is a challenge for our unit.