UBC Institutional Highlights 2019/20 Academic Year

The 2019/20 academic year was defined by significant accomplishments amid the challenge of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The resilience and adaptability of our students, faculty and staff has helped UBC progress on many fronts and continue to deliver excellence in teaching, learning and research.

Here are some highlights from the past academic year.

Three students have a discussion around a table


UBC recognized in global rankings

In September 2019, the Times Higher Education World University Rankings recognized UBC on the world stage. UBC placed 34th globally, putting the institution among the top 2.5 per cent of universities ranked globally.

The Times Higher Education Impact Rankings, which measure universities’ overall impact through their work in meeting the United Nations’ 17 sustainable development goals, also recognized UBC for excellence in April 2020. The rankings placed UBC first in Canada and seventh globally out of more than 850 participating institutions from 89 countries.

Find out more about UBC’s rankings and learn some facts about UBC.

Aerial shot of UBC's Vancouver campus at sunrise

Indigenous Strategic Plan

Spring and summer of 2020 marked the final stages of consultation for UBC’s Indigenous Strategic Plan, which was launched on September 14, 2020. UBC is the first university in North America to commit to implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and to take a human rights-based approach to our Indigenous strategic framework.

Cast-bronze Indigenous carving by Musqueam artist Brent Sparrow on the UBC Vancouver campus

Teaching and learning shifts online

In March 2020, teaching and learning at UBC underwent a rapid transition to a primarily online format. The Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology and the Learning Technology Hub responded quickly with workshops, consultations and resources for adapting courses online. UBC developed the Keep Teaching and Keep Learning websites to support both faculty and students in navigating this challenging transition.

Student alone in a classroom typing on a laptop

Further Highlights

Researchers respond to COVID-19

Gloved hand holds a test tube in a laboratory

During a time of profound societal challenge, many UBC researchers and scholars refocused their expertise on COVID-19. In addition to working to understand disease transmission and develop vaccines and treatments, they are addressing issues such as health-care delivery, mental health and well-being, economic recovery and the pandemic’s social and cultural impacts.

Faculty honoured for creativity, innovation

Ian Williams, UBC assistant professor in Creative Writing

During the 2019/20 academic year, many faculty members who made outstanding contributions to research, scholarship and creative activity were honoured for their work. Among them, Ian Williams, assistant professor in Creative Writing, won the 2019 Scotiabank Giller Prize for his novel, Reproduction, while Forestry professor Nicholas Coops received the Marcus Wallenberg Prize for research that sheds light on how forests respond to climate change.

IBPOC Connections builds community

Two students smile at each other across a table

IBPOC Connections was created in December 2019 to enhance connection, belonging and engagement for UBC faculty and staff who identify as Indigenous, Black and/or people of colour (IBPOC). The initiative provides space for IBPOC faculty and staff to build community, have candid conversations and develop opportunities for collaboration and growth. Faculty and staff on both Vancouver and Okanagan campuses may access the program’s virtual events and resources.

Life Science students get new laboratories

Three students interact in an animated fashion

In January 2020, a renovated and expanded Undergraduate Life Sciences Teaching Laboratories opened on UBC’s Vancouver campus. The new building consolidates all life and biological sciences at the Vancouver campus into one complex.

Students can now study botany, zoology, microbiology, immunology, physiological sciences, biochemistry and molecular biology all under one roof. They can also be inspired by leading life-sciences researchers at the labs, who are exploring ways to combat disease, create innovative medicine, protect agriculture and more.

Looking for UBC’s institutional reports?

UBC’s strategic plan website, Shaping UBC’s Next Century, replaces UBC’s annual reports with a wealth of stories, updates and metrics tracking our progress and achievements. The latest reporting drives dynamic content about both campuses; check back frequently.

UBC’s Strategic Plan

Shaping UBC’s Next Century sets out our collective vision, purpose, goals and priorities for the years ahead. Learn more about UBC’s strategic plan in action.

UBC’s Annual Reports and Review

View and download archived annual reports.

2020/21 Annual Review
2018/19 Annual Report (PDF)
2017/18 Annual Report (PDF)
2016/17 Annual Report (PDF)

Learn more about UBC’s institutional strategies and frameworks

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Climate Emergency

Learn more about UBC’s Declaration on the Climate Emergency and resulting climate emergency engagement process.

Climate Emergency Engagement

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Diversity and Inclusion

Find out how we’re building a more inclusive UBC.

Inclusion Action Plan

Clock tower over UBC Vancouver


Download UBC’s report to the Ministry of Advanced Education.

2018/19 Institutional Accountability Plan & Report

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Financial reports

Look over UBC’s annual audited financial statements.

Financial Reports

Find further institutional plans and frameworks from across UBC.