Welcome to Fall 2021

Sep 09, 2021

A message from SALA Director Ron Kellett

An aerial view of Main Mall

SALA faculty and staff and I are very eager to renew teaching and learning with all of you, and to meet in person the many new students who we have not yet had opportunity to welcome to the School.

As I write this welcome, campus is restarting, albeit tentatively. September 7 was Imagine Day for new undergraduate students. In the past, this has been, by every measure, the liveliest, most densely populated public realm day of the year. On this day and now, however, people indoors, on Main Mall, in the Nest, outdoor plazas, and University Boulevard are significantly less numerous than in prior years. As gratifying as it has been to see students, faculty, and staff in public and on campus again, it has also been a reminder that it will take some time to restore confidence with commuting, teaching, learning and socializing in close proximity. Indeed, the many uncertainties and anxieties of the past 18 fraught months since SALA faculty, staff, and students last engaged in person are prominent in our thinking. Faculty and staff have been working very hard to rebuild the safe, orderly, vibrant teaching and learning community for which our School is known, in the face of ongoing uncertainty and still evolving regulations, practices and guidelines. 

First, I’d like to highlights a few student-oriented changes that you will soon experience upon your return:

  • Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture Dr. Sara Jacobs joined the faculty in January 2021.
  • The Bachelor of Design in Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Urbanism program launched in 2020 and now includes 1st, 2nd, and 3rd year cohorts.
  • The former ENDS studios in MacMillan have been converted to BDes studios.
  • The Landscape Architecture Annex has been substantially refurbished with new ground floor studio spaces and pin up rooms, new finishes, power supply and lighting throughout.
  • Studio kitchen spaces have been refurbished.
  • The layout and light fabrication spaces of the Lasserre shop have expanded across the corridor to Room 5.

New student-facing staff members include:

  • Tamara Ross, Associate Director for Administration and Academic Operations
  • Brenda Chu, Finance Specialist (reimbursements and student employee timesheets)
  • Daljeet Meet, Human Resources Specialist (student employment positions)
  • David Alba, Digital Fabrication Technician
  • Robert Turriff, Workshop Technician

These improvements to our operations and infrastructure will improve your experience and productivity at SALA and we look forward to sharing them with you. We hope you will also find opportunity to meet and welcome our new faculty and staff members soon. We have much more to share about the many events, projects and initiatives we have planned for what promises to be a lively and engaging academic year.

In a previous note to students, I wrote: “Learning to live with COVID will continue to challenge us indefinitely. As has been the case over the past academic year, I have been humbled and impressed by the energy, generosity, goodwill, and resilience of the SALA community. We will need a bit more of all of that as we reopen the school in the face of the “new normal” that living with COVID is becoming..." With that in mind, and in preparation for the semester before us, I remind and encourage students to familiarize themselves with UBC’s recently adopted Return-to-Campus regulations and guidelines. A convenient portal to them is here: https://covid19.ubc.ca Thank you all and stay tuned.

Sincerely,
Ronald Kellett
Professor and Director,
School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture