June 28, 2019 - 2:15pm
In the last few weeks as President of Vancouver Island University, Suzie and I have had the privilege of looking back with all of you with pride and affection on the twelve and a half years we have been privileged to serve this wonderful evolving university.
Vancouver Island University has strong values based in a culture that is committed to building a region and country where respect, accessibility, social justice and diversity are reflected. Social innovation is clearly emerging as one of our community's collective strengths and this has been realized by all of us committing to taking risks and engaging in innovative learning opportunities that have social impact.
One of the things I have enjoyed most about serving in this role has been helping us collectively and clearly focus on what makes us distinct as an institution. We have a common understanding that the most important relationship on campus is between the learner and the faculty or staff they are learning from. Collectively articulating this fact continues to ensure we keep the learning experience for each student at the centre of all we do as an institution.
We have reached many milestones including transitioning from the legislation of a University-College to the legislation of a University and all that that transition entails. Through significant effort and determination the physical and digital infrastructure has been expanded and updated, multiple new programs developed and delivered, and the student population expanded including growth in graduate student numbers, indigenous students and international students. We are recognized on a global basis for our work listening to indigenous communities and providing access to opportunities for success for all students, for our focus on coastal communities and our attraction and support for international students. Our students compete nationally and excel, as do our faculty. Our teaching is recognized internationally as excellent. We can’t achieve all that we do without a rich array and depth of community partners who work with us to provide applied learning opportunities. Boundary spanning has been a key to our success as we all go out to engage in community and listen so we can remain relevant, responsive and innovative in our program content and delivery. Thank you for this incredible investment in community building from each of you.
One of the commitments we can be most proud of is the evidence that clearly defines our university's growing commitment to feeding the forces of inclusion and starving the forces of exclusion. As an institution we continue to provide “access to excellence” and this defining feature of our work is helping to build a province and a country where people recognize and act on their responsibility to contribute to the quality of life in their communities. We are recognized as an action-oriented university community that engages and delivers.
Vancouver Island University is well positioned to lead in future discussions where post-secondary education is recognized as the key determinant of social change and sustainable prosperity for individuals and communities. Through the dynamic leadership of Deb Saucier, VIU will be well situated to continue to foster dialogues on the importance of the engaged regional university on Canada’s public policy agenda.
I have been blessed to have the significant support of Suzie in all my work and we have both appreciated engaging across the university and all the communities we serve to enhance the reputation and recognition for the excellence in learning VIU delivers. Thank you from both of us for your support throughout the years.
Let me close by saying thank you for your commitments to and support of VIU. We have found great joy working with you to build a University whose regional, national and global impact is making a meaningful difference in people's lives now and long into the future.
Ralph Nilson, Ph.D.
President and Vice-Chancellor
Vancouver Island University