With the recent appointment of UBC’s new President, Professor Arvind Gupta, I and many others will be keen to observe the difference he may make to the University. From the indian state of Punjab to North America as a 5 year old in the late 1960’s, the now computing – science Professor is the incoming President having been at UBC since 2009. In a recent interview he speaks of “the role of the University in creating great Canadian citizens….and great Canadian citizens need to be engaged with the world. They have to want to give. They have to want to volunteer They have to want to raise great kids. they have to want to get great jobs and pay taxes. They celebrate democracy and the participate in democracy. They engage in debates on the social issues of the day”…….all of this sounds positive to me…it speaks of the importance of WHO you are and not WHAT you are! What is the use to our society of having people who may well be good at their professions…..lawyers, doctors, teachers, researchers….if they are not hardworking people with honest values or people who lack purpose and passion in making their contribution to our society! The incoming President will view the charter of the University and it will be his values and his mode and method of living out the values which will ultimately influence the course of the University! Leaders of organisations, though a single person, through their daily interactions will have an enormous impact of all those who serve with him! His immediate leadership team will need to share those same values if the University is to thrive – the leadership team should all be different in skills and expertise but their values need to be the same as it is this synergy which will further strengthen this University.
As a strong advocate for international connections and collaborations I note the incoming President’s affirmation of intercultural connections and the two way benefits which are a result of mutual respect and understandings – for a University which draws its students from so many cultural backgrounds this is an essential component of a UBC education! Again an aspect which Universities all over the world need to embrace………………and it is certainly an area which today’s students are being exposed to! How fortunate they are!