UBC Okanagan announced this week the creation of a new Okanagan School of Education following the merger of the Okanagan and Vancouver Faculties of Education.
The merger was approved by the UBC Board of Governors on June 14 and will come into effect on July 1. It combines the Faculties of Education on both campuses into a single unified faculty to allow for better alignment of infrastructure, all the while preserving autonomy in the Okanagan through the creation of the Okanagan School of Education.
“After extensive consultation with our many partners, faculty, staff and students, there was overwhelming support for this merger in the Okanagan and in Vancouver,” says Dean of the UBC Faculty of Education Blye Frank
“This new arrangement will help optimize resources and create stronger connections between faculty members on both campuses in what is an especially multidisciplinary academic discipline.”
Frank says that the new structure will offer educators a wider range of professional development opportunities to increase their knowledge and skill sets with no negative impacts on student experience. He adds that the unique degree programs and requirements for each campus will remain unchanged and the Okanagan School of Education will maintain its autonomy to manage its own budget, programs and curricula.
“The merger of the two Faculties of Education and the creation of the Okanagan School of Education is a profoundly positive development,” says Susan Crichton, associate dean of the UBC Okanagan Faculty of Education. “It will better enable us to build on proven excellence in teaching and create improved research and academic opportunities for educators in our region and beyond.
The changes will help strengthen the ability of both campuses to serve the educational and professional development needs of its students and alumni, according to Crichton, which she says includes the potential for greater access for teacher candidates to practicum locations province-wide.
“We’re very excited for the future of education in the Okanagan,” she adds.
UBC’s new combined Faculty of Education will boast more than 800 teacher education candidates and many graduate-level students in numerous programs across the Okanagan and Vancouver campuses.
It is one of the leading and largest faculties of its kind in the world and is responsible for preparing 45 per cent of British Columbia’s elementary teachers, the majority of secondary teachers, and a significant proportion of the province’s special needs and First Nations teachers, counselors, school administrators, school psychologists and vocational rehabilitation counselors.