Senate Summed Up//

Senate Summed Up: Senators discuss enrolment report, impact of international student changes

The UBC Senate met Wednesday night to discuss enrolment and a framework to guide future academic planning.

Enrolment report and targets

Rella Ng, associate vice-president of enrolment services and registrar, reviewed the 2023/24 enrolment report.

UBC Vancouver had 60,863 students enrolled for the 2023/24 year, of which 48,149 were undergraduate students and 11,139 were graduate students. Of the 43,844 domestic students studying at the Vancouver campus, 1,611 self-identified as Indigenous.

Several senators raised questions about the demographics that were not tracked in the enrolment report, including the lack of data on students with disabilities, first-generation students and Indigenous students from outside of Canada.

Ng said that many of these concerns will be addressed with the student census, a new project launched last year to understand the make-up of UBC’s student body.

Senator Anubhav Pratap also questioned the long time some PhD students are taking to matriculate, noting increasing cost-of-living pressures. Extending degrees is a trend that has been seen across both undergraduate and graduate degrees.

“Some of the students who are prolonging their matriculation are doing so for good reasons,” Provost and Vice-President Academic Gage Averill said, citing co-op placements and work responsibilities.

Ng also presented the 2024/25 enrolment targets.

Undergraduate enrolment is projected to decrease by 299 domestic students and increase by 91 international students compared to 2023/24 enrolments.

Averill was asked whether the recently announced international student cap, which is projected to reduce international student visa approvals by 35 per cent, will affect the enrolment plan.

“We keep the targets where they were set in the fall by our faculties,” Averill said, “However … we may have challenges getting there.”

“We are budgeting with a cautious shortfall from those targets,” he said.

Academic futures report

Moura Quale, vice-provost and associate vice-president of academic affairs, presented the academic futures report.

Launched alongside UBC Campus Vision 2050, the report was created to guide the university’s institutional planning going forward.

The high-level framework will guide the physical infrastructure priorities of campus, as well as explore the potential challenges and opportunities in the higher education field for the next several decades.

The report identified three areas of commitment for UBC: Indigenous reconciliation, inclusivity and equity and environmental sustainability.

The report also proposed several experiments to explore innovative approaches to higher education, such as increasing Indigenous presence on campus through the creation of non-traditional learning spaces in partnership with Musqueam. Other proposed experiments include investigating alternative ways of assessing course learning and finding ways to integrate more experiential and work-based learning in programs.