University of British Columbia Okanagan

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University of British Columbia's Okanagan Campus
Coat of Arms
of University of British Columbia
Motto Tuum est (Latin)
Motto in English
"It Is Yours" / "It is up to you"
Established 1963 B.C. Vocational School (1963–1965); Okanagan College (1965–1990); Okanagan University College (1990–2005), absorbed into UBC Okanagan (30 June 2005–present)
Type Campus of University of British Columbia
(Public University)
Chancellor Lindsay Gordon
President Martha Piper (Interm)
Provost Cynthia Mathieson
Vice-Chancellor Deborah Buszard (deputy)
Students 8,212
Undergraduates 7,530[1]
Postgraduates 682
Location Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada
Campus Suburban
Nickname Heat
Affiliations AUCC, CIS, CWUAA
Website University of British Columbia Okanagan Campus

The University of British Columbia's Okanagan Campus (commonly referred to as UBCO) is a campus of the University of British Columbia, located in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. Home to approximately 8,410 undergraduate and graduate students, the 209 hectares (516-acre) campus is located in British Columbia's scenic Okanagan Valley.[1] It is the second-largest campus of the university.

Faculties and Schools[edit]

  • The Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences
  • School of Engineering (under the UBC Faculty of Applied Science)
  • School of Nursing
  • School of Health and Exercise Sciences
  • College of Graduate Studies
  • Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies
  • Faculty of Education
  • Faculty of Health and Social Development
  • Faculty of Medicine, MD Undergraduate Program (Southern Medical Program)
  • Faculty of Management


Okanagan University College[edit]

The current campus for UBC Okanagan was originally used by Okanagan University College. The university college was founded in 1989 as a part of a plan by the government to improve access to post-secondary education in the Southern Interior British Columbia. Originally degrees were awarded in partnership with other universities, but by 1995, the university college began granting degrees in its own name. Starting in the late 1990s, Okanagan University College began lobbying efforts to gain full university status.

University of British Columbia[edit]

Adding a 3rd Floor to the Science building

In December 2002 the British Columbia Progress Board submitted a report to the provincial government, recognising the need to expand post-secondary education in the Okanagan.[2] The board, chaired by then University of British Columbia president Martha Piper, recommended that the province extend “the mandate of an existing provincial University to Kelowna…”.

In March 2004, BC Premier Gordon Campbell and the UBC President Martha Piper held a press conference, announcing that OUC would be dissolved. Okanagan University College’s university operations would be consolidated at its North Kelowna Campus and would come under the control of the University of British Columbia. The other programs and campuses of Okanagan University College would form a new community college, which would later take on the name Okanagan College. The OUC Board was reportedly not invited to the press conference and had not been told in advance of the imminent demise of OUC Board and removal or the termination or the majority of the OUC board members.[3]

According the Ministry backgrounder released at the time, the affiliation between UBC Vancouver and UBC Okanagan would be “based on the highly successful University of California model” and that “UBC Okanagan and UBC Vancouver will each have an independent senate to set academic priorities for their respective institutions, based regional needs and priorities. At the same time, they will share a common board of governors, with strong representation from each region.”[citation needed]

As of April 2015, UBC's Okanagan campus is represented on the UBC Board of Governors by Jeffrey Krupa, Dr. Michael Treschow, and Shannon Dunn.[4]

Campus expansion[edit]

Engineering, Management and Education (EME) Complex
Student residences

As of 2011 UBC's Okanagan campus is undergoing a rapid CA$450 million expansion. The Charles E. Fipke Centre for Innovative Research, University Centre, and Arts and Sciences buildings were completed. Later in September 2011, Engineering and management building was completed. The most recently completed building is the medical school building which was completed by end of the year 2011. The second Arts and Science building will include a new live animal testing facility. In addition, there are various student residences in various stages of construction. All construction was originally set to be complete by September 2010, later projected to be completed about a year and a half past that date.

The expansion of UBC Faculty of Medicine created a new distributed medical site, the Southern Medical Program, at UBC Okanagan. The SMP opened 32 seats for its first cohort of medical students at UBC Okanagan on August 29, 2011.

Charles E. Fipke Centre for Innovative Research at University of British Columbia's Okanagan campus.
A view looking down through the residences.

Along with the physical expansion of the campus, the campus' Collegia program has gained national attention as a home-away-from-home for its large commuter population.[5]


Purpose-built for the 21st century, the University of British Columbia's Okanagan campus opened in Kelowna in 2005. UBC is one of North America’s largest public research and teaching institutions, and one of only two Canadian institutions consistently ranked among the world’s 40 best universities.

The Okanagan campus is an intimate learning community embracing bold new ways of thinking that attract exceptional students and faculty. More than 8,300 students from throughout the Okanagan region, across Canada and 80 other countries are enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs in eight faculties and schools. Here, students interact with one another and their professors on a daily basis, while becoming global citizens through interaction with their community and the world.

With $18.5 million in annual research funding,[6] and more than 630 research projects underway, the Okanagan campus is earning a reputation as an important, respected centre of learning and research, enhancing knowledge creation and innovation in our region and internationally.

UBC Okanagan is located in the heart of British Columbia’s beautiful Okanagan Valley, regarded as one of the most scenic regions in Canada. People are drawn to the great four-season weather, stunning landscapes and boundless opportunities for outdoor recreation – water sports, cycling, golfing, skiing, hiking and so much more. Rich in culture, the Okanagan hosts brilliant wine festivals, extraordinary art, music and theatre events, and offers all the dining and entertainment you would expect from one of the most vibrant regions in the B.C. Interior. UBC's Okanagan campus invites you to live in one of Canada’s most desirable communities and work at one of the world’s top universities. You can have it all, right here in the Okanagan.[7]


The Whole Systems Infrastructure Plan will establish a long-term sustainability roadmap, targets and a 5 year implementation plan for improving overall campus sustainability performance and ensuring resiliency to future changes in campus growth, utility rates, climate impacts and other unanticipated changes. Climate change presents global and regional sustainability challenges that face communities and organizations. These threats are of particular relevance to UBC’s Okanagan campus given our regional context. Planning of future infrastructure systems that can respond to these challenges is critical to a resilient campus that can adapt to changes in climate, water security, utility supply and rate changes, ecosystem services and future growth.[8]

2014 represented a year of review for UBC’s Okanagan campus. Having more than doubled student enrolment and nearly tripled campus floor space since 2005, it was a year where our commitment to sustainable development and continuous improvement in performance was demonstrated by an absolute reduction in emissions. Combined project funding of over $300,000 secured by the campus through the BC Provincial Government’s Carbon Neutral Capital Program and partnership with FortisBC, formed the basis of our carbon emission reduction activities in 2014 as detailed in this report.[9]


UBC's Okanagan campus offers a large variety of graduate programs including: Biology, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Chemistry, Education, Engineering, English, Environmental Sciences, Fine Arts, Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies (IGS), Management, Mathematics, Nursing, Psychology, and Social Work.[10]


UBC is a research-intensive university. Over a span of just 10 years, UBC Okanagan has established the foundations of a tremendous research program.[11] Established in 2005, UBC’sOkanagan campus in Kelowna, BC, has more than 8,200 undergraduate and graduate students in eight faculties and schools. An intensive and growing program of research currently includes more than 600 research projects supported by $18 million in annual funding.[6]

Research Institutes and Centres[12][edit]

Research Institutes and Centres at UBC's Okanagan campus promote research interaction and collaboration among faculty, between faculty and students, and with potential collaborators in the community and in other institutions.

  • Inter-Faculty Research Institutes and Centres
    • Centre for Optimization, Convex Analysis and Nonsmooth Analysis (COCANA)
    • Centre for Social, Spatial and Economic Justice (CSSEJ)
    • Okanagan Institute for Biodiversity, Resilience, and Ecosystems Services (BRAES)
    • Fragment Analysis DNA Sequencing Services (FADSS)
    • Institute for Healthy Living and Chronic Disease Prevention
    • Okanagan Sustainability Institute (OSI)
  • Faculty-based Research Institutes and Centres
    • Centre for the Advancement of Psychological Science and the Law (CAPSL)
    • Centre for Culture and Technology
    • Centre for Heart, Lung and Vascular Health
    • Centre for Indigenous Media Arts
    • Centre for the Study for Services to Children and Families

Student life[edit]

The university maintains a "Campus Life" centre and other offices.

Graduate Collegium[edit]

The Graduate Collegium offers all current registered graduate students the opportunity to have that special “gathering place”, where they can hang out, eat lunch, spend time with their peers in intellectual discussion(s) and/or use it for a planned event. The Graduate Collegium is set up in a relaxing lounge-style atmosphere, outfitted with comfortable furniture, individual and group work spaces and kitchen facilities.[13]

Greek life[edit]

The Okanagan campus currently has two sororities and one fraternity. The sororities are Theta Phi and Alpha Omega Epsilon. The Fraternity is Sigma Phi Delta. Alpha Omega Epsilon and Sigma Phi Delta are both International Organizations and have membership restrictions based upon faculty (Engineering students for Sigma Phi Delta,[14] Engineering and Technical Science[15] students for Alpha Omega Epsilon). Theta Phi is a local sorority open to all faculties.[16] The Okanagan campus does not allow Greek housing, so none of these organisations have an official house or room on campus.


UBC Okanagan campus hosts a variety of athletic and fitness facilities. The Hangar Fitness and Wellness Centre is the first and only built-to-purpose fitness centre on campus – was opened in the summer of 2013. The upper-level main fitness centre houses 4000 square feet of innovative cardio equipment, an array of weight machines, open space, and plenty of free weight options. The lower level of the Hangar houses two fitness studios. Studio One, with sprung hardwood floor, is home to most group fitness classes but is also rented by student dance and combative clubs. Studio Two has 20 Keiser spin bikes and features multiple spin classes each week. The Hangar’s lower lobby space is also an open activity space where members are welcome to stretch or do personal exercises.

UBC Okanagan Gymnasium is the home of Heat Varsity Athletics, venue for many provincial, national and international sporting events, and home for campus intramural leagues. It also features an indoor walking/running track. Nonis Sports Field is an artificial turf field, home to Heat Athletics’ soccer teams and UBC’s outdoor intramural leagues, and hosts many regional and provincial sport practices and tournaments. Two beach volleyball courts are located northwest of The Hangar Fitness Center, next to the Creative and Critical Studies building. Courts are bookable but also available for drop-in use.

Campus trails network is a series of walking, hiking, and running trails that take users along scenic pathways around the main and west campuses. The trails are an important component of the UBCO campus. They provide opportunities for members of the campus community to engage in exercise, learn about the history of the Okanagan, discover unique plants and animals, and create an escape from the stresses of university life. An assessment of campus health (VOICE 2012) has found that the campus population sees the trails as one of their top 10 priorities . This network has been an important deciding factor for students to attend UBC Okanagan, as well as a tourist attraction for those staying at the campus during the summer months. Currently, there are three main trails on campus with a fourth under development.[17]

Campus media[edit]

The Phoenix[edit]

The Phoenix (website), is the bi-weekly student newspaper at the University of British Columbia's Okanagan campus. It was established in 1989 at former Okanagan College.[18]


The UBCO.TV creates videos about teaching, research, current events and campus life at the Okanagan campus. Videos are available on the UBCO.TV website.


Full time faculty[edit]

Faculty 2005 2006 2007 2008 2014
Applied Science (School of Eng.) 3 10 17 26 42
Barber School of Arts & Sciences 108 113 124 129 160
Creative & Critical Studies 47 48 50 53
Education 15 15 14 18
Health & Social Development 40 35 39 38
Management 1 1 5 11
TOTAL 214 222 249 275 445

Full-time equivalent students[edit]

2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2013 2014
Undergraduate 2,811 3,278 4,073 5,325 6,015 7,075 7,901 7,748 7,530
Graduate 19 77 155 220 337 531 710 640 682
Medical Students N/A 32 29
Totals 2,829 3,451 4,228 5,545 7,352 8,606 8,643 8,388 8,241

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Facts and Figures University of British Columbia
  2. ^ British Columbia Progress Board report (pdf) December 2002
  3. ^ Kelly Hayes, "UBC Taking Over OUC,"
  4. ^
  5. ^ Applying knowledge – Macleans OnCampus
  6. ^ a b
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ "About Sigma Phi Delta". About Us. Retrieved June 3, 2011. 
  15. ^ "Alpha Omega Epsilon History". History. Retrieved June 3, 2011. 
  16. ^ "Theta Phi Sorority General Information". Theta Phi Sorority General Information. Retrieved June 6, 2011. 
  17. ^
  18. ^ The Phoenix – About us
  • Capital News (1990–2005). Kelowna, British Columbia.
  • Daily Courier (1990–2005). Kelowna, British Columbia.
  • Freake, R. (2005). OUC Memoirs. Okanagan University College, Kelowna.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 49°56′23″N 119°23′47″W / 49.9396°N 119.3963°W / 49.9396; -119.3963