After a year in their roles, the School’s Associate Directors (Undergraduate Studies) discuss their successes to date.
Since the School of Engineering at UBC’s Okanagan campus opened its doors in 2005, the engineering program has been in state of rapid growth. Over the years, a lot has changed including the school’s policies and best practices.
For the past year, Claire Yan and Sabine Weyand have led the Associate Director, Undergraduate Studies portfolio. Yan oversees student affairs while Weyand leads faculty affairs within the dual-role.
“We work as a strong team and lean on each other to ensure we support our students and colleagues the best way we can,” says Yan, who is an associate professor of Teaching and the recipient of a 2023 Provost’s Award for Teaching Excellence and Innovation. “This includes working alongside academic services and support staff to improve our systems and supports for students.”
Both review metrics from student and faculty surveys to resource usage modelling to get a clearer sense of how the school’s processes are working.
Yan and Weyand are also focusing on building and fostering a strong relationship with others across the Okanagan campus, the Faculty of Applied Science, and UBC as a whole. “Collaborating with other faculties and groups across the institution ensures our students have the support and resources to accomplish their goals,” explains Weyand, an associate professor of Teaching. “We are working on enhancing and streamlining support systems for student success and program quality assurance in terms of academic advising, equitable teaching assignments, TA support, building structure to connect and expand instructors’ capacity for supporting students.”
While both have been with UBC for nearly a decade, taking on a leadership role has expanded their appreciation of how the School of Engineering operates. According to Yan, the School is comprised of an incredible community, one that includes a variety of viewpoints and outlooks. “We have definitely gotten a new perspective on the degrees of freedom, constraints, and challenges that exist within the AD undergrad portfolio and the School.”
Instead of seeing the challenges as a barrier, the School Associate Directors of Undergraduate Studies are seeing them as opportunities. Both are working towards improving student experience and overall well-being while building and maintaining a resilient, thriving community of faculty and students with a shared vision of inclusive excellence.
“We’re really at a new beginning for the school, and while the journey ahead won’t always be smooth, we’re excited for what’s next,” says Weyand. “As we continue to redefine how and why we do things with plenty of input from our students and faculty, the changes we’re already seeing will undoubtedly have a lasting impact.”
Based on their first year working together, it is clear that the best has yet to come for the School of Engineering at UBC Okanagan.