Professor Ananya Mukherjee Reed joined UBC in November 2018 as the Provost of the Okanagan campus. During her time at UBC Okanagan, Ananya helped the campus reach key academic milestones and championed initiatives focused on faculty and student success and building a culture of inclusive excellence.
As she departs UBC Okanagan to serve as Vice-Chancellor of Shiv Nadar University, we look back on Ananya’s time at Provost and Vice-President Academic with gratitude and a strong sense of responsibility to carry on the important initiatives which she championed.
“Ananya has consistently demonstrated thoughtful and sincere dedication to fostering an inclusive academic community, one which is grounded in compassion and committed to empowering underrepresented voices.”
– Lesley Cormack, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Principal
Leaving a Legacy
“I’m very inspired by our faculty, students and staff. Their work, their voices and their bold aspirations. That is the strength on which I draw.”
-Ananya Mukherjee Reed
- Community and collaboration
- Supporting student and faculty success
- Inclusive excellence and anti-racism
Throughout her time as UBC Okanagan Provost, Ananya has helped foster a deep sense of community, building on the shared vision and ideals that connect the Okanagan campus community. Shortly after Ananya’s arrival, Outlook 2040 – a future view of the Okanagan campus – was launched. Ananya has overseen many initiatives important to the success of Outlook 2040, influencing the long-term vision of the campus.
In celebration of UBC Okanagan’s 15th anniversary, Ananya led the Festival of Ideas, a year-long series of events designed to inspire ideas and catalyze conversation. Many of these events moved online and were an important form of connection and inspiration during a time of unprecedented challenges.
Building on this success, Ananya continued to hold important, bold conversations by supporting many webinars, student initiatives and online events recognizing important commemorative dates, including Black History Month, UBC Okanagan’s first-ever Asian Heritage Month celebrations, and Indigenous History Month.
Ananya led many changes and developments in the campus’ academic structures during her term. This included the creation of two new, autonomous faculties from the former Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences, providing new opportunities for innovation and excellence in the sciences, arts and social sciences.
Ananya and her team played a key role in the quick transition to online teaching and learning at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and have continued to provide leadership and support in navigating the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, exploring new teaching and learning environments and implementing innovative solutions.
Ananya is a keen supporter and advocate for experiential learning and has worked to create many new hands-on learning opportunities for students at UBC Okanagan. She has supported more than 20 initiatives funded through the ALT-2040 Fund (totaling over $1.1M) that will have lasting transformative impacts.
Taking steps toward building a more inclusive UBC has been a hallmark of Ananya’s time as Provost.
In partnership with the Sylix Okanagan Nation, Ananya has supported several initiatives to further the academic aspects of UBC Okanagan’s Truth and Reconciliation commitments. Regularly hosting webinars on topics like addressing systemic racism in the academy, Ananya has brought together students, academics and thought leaders from around the world and provided a space to hold much-needed conversations.
Taking a leadership role across the UBC system, Ananya served with Ainsley Carry as an inaugural Co-executive Lead for Anti-Racism, with whom she worked to support implementation of the recommendations of the Anti-Racism and Inclusive Excellence (ARIE) task force.
Ananya’s commitment to tackling systemic racism in the academy also included initiatives at the national and international level, including her work on the National Dialogues and Action for Inclusive Higher Education and Communities and as a member of the drafting sub-committee for the Scarborough Charter on Anti-Black Racism and Black Inclusion in Canadian Higher Education.
Words of Thanks
Dear Ananya —
I have enjoyed working with you over these past few years. Although I am sorry to see you go, I am happy for you on your appointment as vice-chancellor of Shiv Nadar University.
You have much to be proud of during your tenure at UBC. Your accomplishments as provost and vice-president academic at UBC Okanagan, and your work to address racism will long be remembered. And I am pleased that you brought that same commitment and drive to UBC as a whole in your role as co-executive lead for anti-racism. Thanks to your efforts, UBC is making significant progress towards addressing the pervasiveness of systemic racism.
On a personal level, I am honoured to call you a friend and I look forward to inviting you back to UBC to visit. I wish you all the best in the future.
President and Vice-Chancellor
Gratitude from the UBC Community
It has been an honor and great privilege to work with you. I have enjoyed our laughs and serious conversations. I never had a sister, but now I know what it feels like to have an older sister.
You regularly called me after meetings and reminded/scolded me about what I should and should not say out loud. Thank you! I will miss those sometimes gentle reminders. Our collaborations and rigorous conversations on seemingly impossible problems were great learning opportunities for me. I will hold on to those lessons. I will miss your forever optimist perspective on everything, even a global pandemic. You found a way to keep us all facing the right direction.
You will be missed by all of us at UBC, especially your younger brother.
Sending you off on your new adventure with wishes for exciting adventures ahead in your new position as Vice-Chancellor of Shiv Nadar University in New Delhi!
I’m grateful to have worked with you on ARIE TF, and the opportunity to learn from your leadership. I will remember you as the academic leader who listened well and worked hard to create opportunities for constituents to meet their potential and thrive in the UBCO community.
You and your signature approach to opening events at UBCO with the use of carefully selected poetry or quotes to set the tone will be missed.
Co-Chair, Anti-Racism and Inclusive Excellence Task Force
It takes a special individual to establish a culture and make a change within any system. I continue to be inspired by your commitment and enthusiasm for positive lasting change. Your efforts have made the Okanagan campus a more diverse and welcoming place; all while maintaining the institution’s continuing growth.
Your thoughtful approach to leadership has helped us navigate the ever-changing landscape of the pandemic. Your support has been invaluable to the School of Engineering’s students, faculty, and staff.
Thank you for everything we have accomplished together during your time at UBC, and I wish you the best in your future endeavours.
Executive Associate Dean, School of Engineering
I will sorely miss your knowledgeable and passionate engagement with issues of identity, representation and equity at UBC.
And I’ll miss your sage advice on getting things done. Most of all, I’ll miss that mischievous smile of yours that reassured me that we could have fun even as we addressed everything from the mundane to the most truculent and pressing problems; that in the end, all would be well.
The work will continue but it will not be the same without your unique blend of efficiency, care, commitment, generosity, grace and wit.
Safe travels and don’t be a stranger.
HANDEL KASHOPE WRIGHT
Senior Advisor to the President on Anti-Racism & Inclusive Excellence
Leadership is such an oft bandied around term that it may have been emptied of a genuine content. However, Ananya’s version of it breaks the conventional boundaries, gestures towards our timid imaginations, and urges us to have far more courage than we may think we possess.
I have worked with Ananya only one year. Yet in this short term I learned that leadership means to speak one’s convictions, with a strategy two steps ahead, knowing there is more around the corner; with empathy for those impacted by decisions, thinking about those at the margins who may not even have a voice, and do it with humour.
Dean, Irving K. Barber Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Being a Provost and Vice-President Academic can be a challenging job but Ananya made it look easy. She knew what was mission-critical and never wavered, even slightly, from her moral and principled stands.
Her devotion to the academic mission, her fierce advocacy for students, and her critical role in advancing equity and justice on our campuses will be remembered as her hallmarks. She is a smart and brave leader.
Perhaps less well-known, but especially meaningful to me, are her compassion and empathy, her wonderful sense of humour, and her friendship. I will miss her.
Vice-Principal, Research & Innovation
You’ve led UBCO Dean’s Council with humour, grace and strength. You welcomed me around that table and showed me how to listen and when to speak.
You’ve let the discussions unfold so that everyone feels heard and then taken it forward where you’ve stood strong to further the mission of UBCO as a leading research university. You have laughed with us through the challenges the last couple of years have thrown our way.
May you go forward into your next adventure knowing we are better for having had you here for this time.
Regional Associate Dean, Interior, Southern Medical Program
I greatly respect your willingness and ambition to take on University administrative roles that are so often thankless and difficult. I will always be thankful for airport debriefs, your insights and sense of humour were critical in my continuing education about how universities make decisions. Having an experienced academic colleague there to untangle things has been greatly appreciated.
I gladly add you to the long list of distinguished professionals I have had the chance to work closely with. I know you will bring a great deal to your new University and I hope it provides fulfilling challenges and rewards for you.
Associate Vice-President Finance & Operations
When day comes, we ask ourselves, where can we find light in this never-ending shade?
The loss we carry. A sea we must wade.
We braved the belly of the beast.
We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace, and the norms and notions of what “just” is isn’t always justice.
And yet the dawn is ours before we knew it.
Somehow we do it.
-Amanda Gorman, “The Hill We Climb”
Dean, Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies
I am so thankful that I got to meet you and work with you briefly before your departure. Your kindness, devotion to the mission and humanity shone through even in this brief period.
I wish you all the success in your next chapter.
Associate Vice-President, University Relations
You have been identified at one of Canada’s 100 top powerful women for a reason; you are a force for positive change in our community.
In my time at UBCO I’ve watched you advocate for equity, champion change, and empower others to make this campus and our university a more socially just, innovative and inspired place. I personally will miss working and learning with you.
Best of luck on your next adventure.
Associate Vice-President, Students
The campus has thrived under your inspired leadership and passion for success. You raised the sites of colleagues and supported bold thinking that made a positive impact on the campus.
You are leaving a legacy here. Although you and I did not have the chance to work closely together during your tenure the Development and Alumni Engagement team at UBC Okanagan thanks you and wishes you a world of success in your new role.
Interim Executive Director Development & Alumni Engagement
Congratulation on your appointment as vice-chancellor. Its an incredibly exciting opportunity to have real impact across people, place and planet.
I know that your energy, enthusiasm and innovative spirit benefit many in that role. UBC APSC has strong connections with Delhi and India and hope that we will have the opportunity work together on accelerating that impact.
Dean , Applied Science
It has been wonderful to work with you. While the time seems too short, our work has been plentiful, inspiring, interesting and meaningful. You have truly changed the way we think and work here– to ways that are much more inclusive and thoughtful. I am both thankful and honoured to have worked with you on initiatives that are making positive changes for our campus, our communities and beyond. Wishing you all the best for your new role at Shiv Nadar University, you will be greatly missed here.
Associate Director, Campus Internationalization
It has been wild ride. From being given a few weeks over the winter holiday to collaborate on a 20 year vision for the campus, to weathering a pandemic, there have been no shortage of challenges during your time with us.
Through it all, your passion for UBCO and vision for what it can be have been constant, and a real inspiration.
I will miss your acumen and sense of humor, and wish you every success in your new role.
Director, Strategic Initiatives
It has been a privilege to work with Dr. Mukherjee Reed and to witness her dedication and commitment to systemic social change for the campus and greater community.
She has carefully listened and has demonstrated her commitment to truth and reconciliation through respectful and reciprocal relationships in the implementation of Indigenous priorities.
Senior Advisor to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor on Indigenous Affairs
I am saddened by your leaving, but I’m happy to have had the opportunity to work with you, though all too briefly – and under difficult circumstances.
I’d like to express my gratitude for your leadership, inspiration, vision – and sense of humour! We who remain will aspire to maintain the legacy of your principled leadership.
You will take your strength of character with you wherever you go, and so I am confident that you will continue to inspire in your new role.
Dean, College of Graduate Studies
What I will always remember about Ananya is her way of calling one into impassioned service and inspiring loyalty.
In my first, apocryphal, meeting with Ananya, she said something like: “Oh, I know all about you, and I want you to extend your research approach to how we engage the campus and the wider community on shaping the future of the Okanagan campus.”
Even though I recognized my ignorance about how the role would evolve, I was inspired to do my part to support Ananya and her vision for our campus.
Associate Provost, Strategy
I am sad that you will be leaving UBCO as I was really looking forward to working with you in my new role. However, I am excited and thrilled for you and your new position and I know that you will be such as asset to Shiv Nadar University. You have made so many wonderful contributions to UBCO over the past few years and we have all benefitted tremendously from your wisdom and guidance. Thank you so much for your support and I look forward to staying in touch as you move into your new position.
Dean pro tem, Faculty of Health and Social Development
Thank you Dr. Mukherjee Reed for your leadership and contributions to UBC!
Your willingness to listen, act on what needed to be done and stay engaged in sometimes messy and complex topics will be deeply appreciated.
Wishing you all the best on your new appointment.
Associate Director, Strategic IBPOC Initiatives
Your insights and perspectives have greatly enhanced the academic environment at UBC. We will miss your contributions.
What a wonderful opportunity you are moving to and I am sure you will make a tremendous difference for India and the world.
All the best.
Vice-President, Research & Innovation
Wishing you all the best as you embark on your next academic and life adventure.
Thank you for all of your efforts at the UBCO campus, and also as the Co-chair of the ARIE Committee. Your contributions have been invaluable and I’m sure you’ll be missed by all at UBCO.
I hope you and your family have safe travels, and that you’ll keep in touch with us.
Vice-President, Human Resources
Dear Ananya – dear Madam Vice-Chancellor –
I am grateful for our years of collaboration on many projects of long-term strategic importance to the University of British Columbia.
I wish you all the best in your next adventure!
Provost and Vice-President Academic, UBC Vancouver
Wishing you all the very best Ananya as you embark on a new journey.
I have truly enjoyed the opportunity to work with you and to learn from your insights. On behalf of all of us in DAE, thank you for your ongoing support of our work over the years. We are truly grateful.
Vice-President, Development & Alumni Engagement
All the best, Ananya, as you begin another journey in leadership.
It is wonderful that you will continue to make significant contributions in your new role and inspire change and transformation.
Baa maa pii.
Dean pro tem, Faculty of Education
Thank you for everything! It has been so much fun working with you and your amazing team these past two years. I will miss your passionate leadership and the inspiring way you connect and interact with students. Wishing you all the best at Shiv Nadar!
Senior Manager, Strategic Projects
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
– Nelson Mandela