It was a tight squeeze last Thursday, September 3, in the A building boardroom where the UFV Board of Governors gathered for their first meeting of the academic year.
The board invited several guests, including mayor Henry Braun and School District 34 superintendent Kevin Godden.
The in-camera items brought forward from the July planning session at Harrison Hot Springs included some revised policies, such as the addition of the SUB to the board policy on the Student Union Society (SUS); new programs awaiting UFV Senate approval, including the advanced medical office assistant certificate and the paralegal certificate; and updated committee memberships.
However, these items were not discussed at last week’s board meeting. Chair Barry Delaney said they were all known to the board, and dismissed the information points as a last mention before dinner. The majority of the meeting was a discussion around events, campaigns, and various UFV initiatives.
One of those initiatives is to indigenize UFV. Indigenization is the process of incorporating aboriginal history, traditions, and / or beliefs into course material in the hopes that students will grow to be more aware of the indigenous cultures of the region. Associate vice-president, academic Peter Geller and senior advisor of indigenous affairs Shirley Hardman presented a few ideas on how to begin this process at UFV — despite UFV being one out of 11 universities in BC to not have received a provincial grant for that initiative.
One of these ideas is to continue collaborating with the Indigenous Teaching Education Program (NITEP) — a program for aspiring aboriginal teachers to learn methodologies and teaching practices that align with First Nations cultures. UFV offers this program as a UBC cohort for students.
Hardman said that partnerships do exist between the Stó:lo Tribal Council and reconciliation circles such as Bright New Futures. UFV is currently drafting an indigenization policy, which has not yet been finalized.
Mayor Henry Braun gave a brief talk about the City of Abbotsford’s Official Community Plan (OCP); in regards to UFV, he mentioned transportation.
“One of the first things I want to do is revisit how we do transit in our city,” he said. He went on to say that that would work in conjunction with the U-District planning, as the goals of a liveable city align with the OCP.
Braun also mentioned that UFV is a sponsor of the 2016 BC Summer Games. The sporting event will be held in Abbotsford next year, and Braun thanked the board in advance for the use of UFV facilities for hosting competitions.
Superintendent Godden also spoke to potential partnerships with UFV. He noted that the provincial K-12 school system is in the midst of reform, similar to post-secondary institutions, to align with the BC Ministry of Education’s plan to focus on skills in trades and technology.
“The transition to post-secondary in the Fraser Valley is one of the lowest in the province,” he said, going on to mention that a goal of the Abbotsford School District is to improve this rate.
In his report, UFV president Mark Evered noted that there will be a new streetlight maintenance program in the Faculty of Applied and Technical Studies, and that the criminology department received a $220,000 research grant from the National Research Council of Canada.
The board adjourned their public session shortly after 6:30 p.m. The next UFV Board of Governors meeting is October 1, 2015 at the Heritage Park campus in Mission at 4:30 p.m.