Athletics & Recreation review

The Athletics review had two purposes. The first purpose was to review and evaluate the priorities, scope and quality of the Department’s physical activity and sport programs and its Intercollegiate and high performance sport activities. The second purpose was to review the effectiveness of the Department’s relationship with the University as an ancillary unit.

View the full report, published March – April 2012 (PDF)

Terms of reference

  1. The scope, quality and relevance of the Department’s activities and programming. Are activities appropriate to meet the desired participation for students, faculty and staff at the University of British Columbia? The extent to which programs within the Department address the student experience, student engagement, student leadership and work opportunities.
  2. The scope and nature of the Department’s relationships with the University residents and the broader community. What has been the impact of the Department’s programming in terms of outreach, demand and involvement?
  3. The scope and nature of the Department’s relationship with academic departments and units such as kinesiology, at the University of British Columbia. Has the program developed or sustained fruitful partnerships with other departments in order to foster greater student and faculty participation, academic research, and creative professional activities?
  4. The Department’s success in achieving its existing mandate, and the appropriateness of the current mandate.
  5. How is the Department’s mandate perceived by its stakeholders (students, staff, faculty, University residents and the broader community)?
  6. The appropriateness of the division of financial resources and personnel directed toward Intercollegiate and High Performance sports relative to supporting opportunities for students who are more recreationally inclined and students who do not currently participate in any athletic/recreational opportunities at UBC.
  7. Assessment of programs relative to the best of their kind offered in Canada and North America.
  8. The appropriateness of the methods used for the evaluation of student participation, satisfaction and engagement.
  9. The appropriateness and effectiveness of the Department’s financial structure. How well has the Department managed resource allocation, including infrastructure support, facilities development and maintenance? What is the best financial model for the Department? Are the current and any proposed plans for new initiatives appropriate to sustain and increase the financial stability of the Department?
  10. The appropriateness and effectiveness of the Department’s organizational structure, specifically its linkage and relationship with Finance, Resources and Operations (FRO), Communications, Human Resources, and Development and Alumni Engagement.


The review panel recommended:

  1. That the University administration define the Department’s mandate more clearly, and indicate what it believes should be the Department’s role and priorities in the context of university-wide visioning and strategic planning that addresses the impact and benefits of sport, physical activity, fitness and recreation on student life and the student experience as well as for the broader campus community including faculty and staff and the UNA. Further it was noted that the University is developing measurable objectives related to the nine core strategies in its strategic plan “Place & Promise.” The panel hopes that such objectives will be developed for sport, recreation, and fitness. (p. 7)
  2. That the Department seek to improve its methods of communicating and planning with all members of staff in the unit, part-time as well as fulltime members. (p. 7)
  3. That the VP Students and the Director of A&R discuss ways of building a new and stronger relationship, founded on a better understanding on both sides of what is needed to meet the University’s goals and expectations with respect to athletics and recreation. (p. 9)
  4. That the VP Students, the AVP HR and the Director of A&R meet to find new ways of addressing the health and well-being of faculty and staff, perhaps by identifying alternative budgetary resources that could be applied to the needs and interests of this group. (p. 9)
  5. That, in order to clarify its reasons for declining applications for varsity status, the Department develop and make known a process of application and appeal. (p.10)
  6. That the Department of A&R meet with the AMS to discuss how high-performance sports groups within the AMS might be given recognition in the form of special “club” status and access to facilities, services, and academic accommodation. (p. 10)
  7. That the Department and VP Students meet with the GSS to clarify what programs, services, and facility access are currently available to the graduate student community at UBC. (p.10)
  8. That the Department meet with Infrastructure Development and Campus & Community Planning to discuss the creation of a space audit and a long-term facilities plan based on a needs assessment of the student body, the greater university, and community stakeholders. (p.11)
  9. That the Department engage an alumni officer as soon as possible, to give the development officer more time to manage donor contact and develop strategic priorities, and to enable the Department to engage with the broader body of alumni who might potentially contribute to a variety of its projects and programs. (p. 11)
  10. That A&R and the School of Kinesiology continue to explore avenues of possible collaboration and cooperation in areas that fit within their respective mandates. (p.12)
  11. That a review of student awareness of and interest in varsity sports be conducted and a concerted effort be made to enhance access to and visibility of varsity events. The panel further recommends that the VP Students and A&R identify stakeholders who could potentially collaborate on the production of regular and widely-disseminated stories about sport and recreation at UBC, especially the achievements—academic as well as athletic—of UBC’s top athletes. (p. 14)
  12. That the VP Students take up the question of academic concession with the Provost and the University Registrar, to determine how best to educate the University on its application and importance in the case of student athletes representing UBC in national or international competition. (p. 14)
  13. That under the auspices of the VP Students, A&R engage in discussions with Student Development and Services, Student Health Services, and Counseling Services with a view to formulating a more coherent and unified approach to issues of student health and wellbeing as these relate to sport and recreational activity across the University. (p. 16)
  14. That consideration be given at senior administration levels to joint funding by the University and A&R of new and/or renovated recreational facilities, including space and equipment, in order to meet the heavy demands placed upon UBC REC and facilitate easier access by faculty and staff. (p.16)
  15. That the Department of Athletics & Recreation and the University Administration meet with the University Neighbourhoods Association as soon as possible to determine the best ways of meeting the Association’s current concerns about residents’ access to UBC recreational services. (p. 18)
  16. That the University and A&R look for ways of obtaining the kind of information about sports and recreational programming at other institutions in Canada and elsewhere that would enable them to establish appropriate norms and comparators for the purpose of benchmarking. (p. 18)
  17. That the Department enter into a regular and detailed survey of user opinion concerning varsity, intramural, and recreational programs, and that ongoing monitoring and evaluation strategies and processes be established. (p. 19)
  18. That UBC A&R maintain all its facilities at a level that meets or surpasses minimum health and safety requirements and satisfies the needs of all users. (p.19)
  19. That, following discussion about the Department’s mandate (see recommendation 1), the University work with the Department to examine the possible utilization of existing space around the campus for A&R programs, and plan the financing of renovation of existing facilities and the building of new facilities to meet future space and recreation needs. (p.21)
  20. That the senior administration of the University consider whether there should be an adjustment of the unit’s ancillary status and its funding base, to enable it to respond more flexibly to the many demands placed upon it. (p.22)