Recognized as one of BC's Top Employers (2017)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Mar 8, 2017)
Here are some of the reasons why University of the Fraser Valley / UFV was selected as one of BC's Top Employers (2017):
- University of the Fraser Valley starts new employees with 3 weeks of paid vacation (some employees start with 4 weeks and faculty starts with 8 weeks) and varying by employee group, employees can apply to take an unpaid leave or even a self-funded leave of absence (up to 1 year in duration)
- University of the Fraser Valley employees are encouraged to adopt healthy lifestyles with all the amenities a campus workplace has to offer, including two full gymnasiums with instructor-led classes (with everything from yoga to pick-up basketball) and a selection of healthy onsite and nearby eating options -- the campus is also an integral part of Abbotsford's ongoing "University District" pedestrian-focused redevelopment
- University of the Fraser Valley helps employees plan for the longer term with retirement planning assistance, generous contributions to a defined benefit pension plan, and phased-in retirement work options for employees transitioning into life after work
UFV thrives on its collaborative culture
When Prof. Lenore Newman was working on her new book, Speaking in Cod Tongues: Exploring Canada's Cuisine, she recruited some talented, if perhaps unconventional research assistants: her undergrad students at the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV). They surveyed the literature on Canadian food culture, including historical cookbooks, modern blogs and the scant academic writing on the topic, to supplement Newman's five-year, coast-to-coast fieldwork.
"It's almost unprecedented that undergrads do hands-on research," explains Newman, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Food Security and the Environment, one of three research chairs at UFV.
"Here, they get the kinds of opportunities that would go to graduate students at other institutions."
The opportunity to work closely with students at a university that places a premium on teaching excellence is part of what attracted Newman to UFV in 2011. With maximum class size of 36, UFV offered a welcome alternative to her previous experiences at large institutions with overflowing lecture halls.
"It's our goal to provide the best undergraduate education in Canada," says Ken Brealey, Associate Vice Provost, Faculty Relations. "To achieve this, we are committed to identifying and using best teaching practices, and to being innovative, entrepreneurial and accountable." Brealey, who shares responsibility for HR with Dianne Hicks, Director, Human Resources and Staff Relations, notes that UFV recently ear-marked $1.2 million for innovative teaching strategies.
Research also plays a significant role at UFV. Newman's investigative work includes aspects of food security, including the tensions between agriculture and suburban growth in areas such as the Fraser Valley. That scholarly pursuit meshes with another of the university's core values - serving the needs of the surrounding communities.
Community engagement has been a fundamental principle since the school was founded in 1974 as Fraser Valley College. UFV is a fully accredited public university offering more than 100 programs, leading to master's and bachelor's degrees, as well as diplomas and certificates. With locations serving Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Mission, Hope and Agassiz, UFV has an annual enrolment of about 15,000 students and more than 1,100 employees, including more than 320 permanent teaching faculty.
UFV's progressive, collegial and supportive culture has contributed to a collaborative community of faculty and staff, says Brealey. "That feeling of being part of a family has been there since our old college days," he adds. Newman agrees: "There's a real sense that we're all working together to achieve the university's goals."