The Ring

Around the ring

Nominate an extraordinary colleague: 2016 PDSAs

Do you know an employee who makes UVic a great place to work and learn? Then why not nominate them for one of this year’s President’s Distinguished Service Awards? Any UVic employee or recognized student organization can nominate an individual, group or team for these awards. Winners will receive a certificate and $1,000 (to a $6,000 maximum limit in the case of team awards). 
The nomination deadline is November 20, 2015 and results will be announced at a celebration held in February 2016. Additional information on the awards and nomination forms are available at

Draft Campus Plan: preparing for the next decade, and beyond

The second phase of the process to update UVic’s official Campus Plan is nearing completion, with the preparation of a draft plan and public engagement sessions this month.

The 2003 Campus Plan is being updated to provide a refreshed vision, guidelines and direction for future campus development, in topics such as building placement and parameters, transportation, and open and natural spaces. It also plays a key role in supporting the university’s academic priorities and commitments to sustainability.

The first phase of the process, in January and February of this year, saw mobile information booths around campus, a speaker’s event and an ideas forum. These were followed by open house sessions for the campus community and the public, as well as a focused workshop with faculty, staff, students and community representatives who explored more specific themes and priorities.

All of the input collected from those sessions was compiled, organized and analyzed, and over the spring and summer months, a steering committee drafted the plan.

The draft plan presents the vision for the UVic campus over the next 10 years and beyond, by focusing on frameworks in three key areas: 

Open space framework: maintain and continue to evolve an open space system which protects and enhances environmentally significant natural areas, provides safe, pedestrian-friendly links throughout the campus, and encourages social interaction through outdoor meeting places, relaxation spaces, playing fields and other outdoor recreational venues.

Land use and built form framework: evolve a land-use and building pattern that supports the university’s academic mission, respects the physical environment, creates a welcoming campus, encourages social interaction and activity into the evenings and all week long, and promotes compact, pedestrian-friendly, and sustainable development.

Mobility framework: encourage increased walking or wheelchair use, cycling, and use of public transit, making these priority modes convenient, safe and enjoyable for all users; provide safe access (and reduced demand) for personal vehicles, to help manage pressures on surrounding neighbourhoods.

The frameworks represent the three pillars that will form the basis of the final plan, drawn from the extensive input received in the first phase of the process. The second phase will now look at fine-tuning these frameworks, with a second set of engagement events planned for this month:  

  • Oct. 19-20: a mobile booth will be touring several locations around campus, presenting information on the main elements of the draft plan.
  • Oct. 21: public open house sessions in the Michele Pujol room of the Student Union Building, from 11 a.m.- 2 p.m. and again from 6-8:00 p.m.

Feedback can be submitted in person at the Open House or by email at until November 4th 2015.

The third phase of the process—finalizing the plan—will take place from November to January, and will include a final campus and community open house session and community stakeholder meetings.

Visit the Campus Planning website.

UVic gives thanks Oct. 3-9

The lead-up to Thanksgiving is a perfect time to acknowledge what makes the UVic experience so great, as well as the many people behind that experience.

From Oct. 3-9, UVic’s Student Ambassadors and Donor Relations teams are asking the campus community to celebrate the impact of donors and volunteers through #UVicGivesThanks—a philanthropy awareness week.

Kick things off at Project Serve Day where alumni and students volunteer shoulder to shoulder for local organizations as a way of giving back to our community.

Then, join us Oct. 7-8 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Petch Fountain for the first ever UVic Thank-a-thon. This event is your chance to personally thank a donor for contributing to UVic, by funding student awards, filling shelves in the library, helping build a world-class sports facility and countless other ways.

Every student award recipient will have the opportunity to write or bring a letter of thanks for the donor of their award. In addition, our goal is to mail 700 postcards—filled with messages of thanks from staff, faculty and students—to other members of the UVic donor community. When you write or bring your thank you notes and snap a photo with the Canada Post replica mail box, you’ll get free goodies. It’s our way of thanking you for saying thank you.

Throughout the rest of the week the Student Ambassadors will be spreading thanks and recognition around campus and on social media using #UVicGivesThanks. Participate by telling us what you’re grateful for at UVic and sharing your messages of thanks.

President's submission to the BC finance committee

On Sept. 15, UVic President Jamie Cassels gave a presentation to the BC Legislature's Committee on Finance and Government Services as part of pre-budget consultations. In his presentation Cassels highlighted six key policy recommendations—including stable research funding, the reintroduction of a provincial graduate scholarship program and restoration of capital funding—as highly important to maintain quality post-secondary education across the province and at UVic.

Read the full report (pdf)

Beyond the ring

Cassels to moderate meeting on regional economic development

On Saturday, Nov. 7, UVic President Jamie Cassels will act as a moderator for a meeting convened by the Greater Victoria Development Agency and stakeholders to propose and discuss a new approach to regional economic development for Southern Vancouver Island. The meeting will bring together local mayors and business stakeholders, along with the presidents of Royal Roads and Camosun College, to establish consensus for participation and set goals for the region—including increases in jobs, average wages and outside investment—to be addressed by the new regional authority. Read the proposal for a new economic development approach (pdf).

This public event will be held at Camosun College Interurban Campus and will be webcast live on Saturday.

Academics object to Bill C-51

More than 100 Canadian academics, including five UVic law and political science professors, have signed an open letter to Members of Parliament objecting to the draft government anti-terrorism act known as Bill C-51. Key objections include the open-ended nature of proposed CSIS powers, lack of oversight to balance enhanced powers, and the potential criminalization of legitimate expressions of dissent. 

Strikes at York, University of Toronto

The Toronto Star is estimating that more than 100,000 students in Toronto have had classes disrupted by strikes at York University and the University of Toronto. York facilities will remain open but nearly all classes, exams and academic activities were cancelled after teaching assistants and contract professors rejected the most recent university offer on March 2. 

CUPE 3903 Chair Faiz Ahmed told the Star that contract faculty teach 64 per cent of York’s undergraduate courses, and called for his members to “be assigned to courses for up to three years at a time, not just be slotted in on short notice which can hurt the quality of education.”

Meanwhile, at UofT, contract faculty reached a tentative deal, but 6,000 striking teaching and lab assistants walked off the job on Feb. 27. Media reports suggest that the majority of undergraduate marking at UofT is now done by graduate students, and that the central impasse was a failure to raise a $15,000 income floor for the TAs.

Finals disrupted at UNBC?

Concern is mounting that final exams could be disrupted at Prince George and other UNBC campuses (including some courses at Langara College). UNBC’s Faculty Association issued a 72-hour strike notice on Monday, March 2. Negotiations have been ongoing since November, focusing on issues of tenure, promotion and salary.