Dean’s Message

Dean of Arts Gage Averill

Welcome to the Faculty of Arts at the University of British Columbia.

Arts is an incredibly lively and diverse Faculty. It includes:

  • 15 departments in the Humanities, Social Sciences, the Creative and Performing Arts, plus many exciting interdisciplinary programs.
  • Five schools—the Vancouver School of Economics, the iSchool@UBC: School of Library, Archival and Information Studies, Journalism, Music, and Social Work
  • Four institutes – the Institute of Asian Research, Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies, Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice and the Liu Institute for Global Issues
  • Many arts and culture venues including one of the world’s great museums of world arts and cultures at the Museum of Anthropology; the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery; the AHVA Gallery at the Audain Art Centre; and five theatres and auditoriums that support our performing arts communities.

We’re located on traditional Musqueam territory, on the edge of the continent overlooking the Pacific Ocean, amidst forests and mountains, and in one of the world’s most livable and multicultural cities. We’re a Faculty of distinction and excellence, with many of our departments regarded as leaders in Canada and ranked in the top 20 or 30 in the world. We believe deeply in a commitment to both research and teaching.

Etched in concentric rings, in a ripple-like pattern, on the floor of the reflecting pool in one of our main outdoor student spaces—the Buchanan Courtyard—are great sayings from the history of humankind. We’ve taken that pattern and made it our logo, symbolizing the kind of effect that we hope all of our students will have on the world and the ways in which we believe they will make a difference in the world.

The Faculty of Arts engages in student-centred planning and has put in place a set of commitments that make the Faculty a unique home for study.

Key components include:

  • The Faculty of Arts aspires to be internationally recognized for innovative, student-focused pedagogical practices and transformative education. We will prepare creative, adaptable, research-informed, “life ready” students through flexible and personalized learning pathways. Each of our students will be exposed to enriched educational experiences.
  • To produce the best student experience, we will create a seamless advising and information system for students, help build small-scale student communities, foster a creative and healthy campus life, and provide support for student wellness and health.
  •  We are providing international experiences for all students who desire them, so that students understand the global dimensions to their areas of study.
  • We are expanding educational opportunities with and for Aboriginal peoples to increase understanding of Aboriginal cultures and histories and to supportively and respectfully engage with Aboriginal peoples.
  •  We are creating an aptitude for intercultural understanding amongst our students through study, reflection, debate, and action across cultural differences, and these aptitudes will serve our students well as they emerge as leaders in their chosen fields and their communities.
  • Our faculty and students research and debate the economic, social, and cultural footings for a sustainable society.

We are increasing the quality and impact of research and scholarship in Arts; building areas of research strength; and furthering the mobilization, transfer, exchange, and dissemination of our research to enhance the quality of life and human understanding.

An Arts education helps to foster critical thinking, communication, reasoning, and intellectual curiosity. We want our students to be aware individuals, capable of making sense of the world, and ready for a lifetime of learning.

We’re proud of our students, faculty, and staff—we believe that Arts is an inspiring community in which to live, work, and study.

-Gage Averill


ARTS AND MINDS – A blog by Dean Averill