Andrew Parr, Associate Vice-President, Student Housing and Community Services

Andrew Parr, Associate Vice-President, Student Housing and Community Services

Those of you with UBC email addresses will have received the recent message from Dr. Ainsley Carry, Vice-President, Students regarding the merger of University Community Services (UCS) and Student Housing and Hospitality Services (SHHS). For those of you who have not yet seen this message, these two departments have now been merged into a single enterprise called Student Housing and Community Services (SHCS). If you have not yet read Dr. Carry’s message, please take a moment to read it online.

With the formation of SHCS, a new position – Associate Vice-President, Student Housing and Community Services – was also created. I am honoured to be taking on this new role at UBC.

I am excited by the opportunities this merger allows. Both UCS and SHHS are regarded throughout UBC as fundamentally important and well-performing units, which truly enhance the campus experience for the entire community – students, staff, faculty, and visitors. By bringing these units together, we are poised to make the whole greater than the sum of its parts. I am inspired by what we can collectively accomplish, through thoughtful integration of services, alignment of purpose, mission, and vision, effective utilization of support services, and a positive, respectful, and fun workplace culture. 

Organizationally, each of the business-unit directors (Student Housing, Food, Bookstore, Conferences and Accommodation, Parking and Access, Campus Mail, and Child Care) will report directly to me. For employees within these units, this structure largely means “business as usual.” Please see the SHCS organizational chart for the SHCS leadership structure.

Initial priorities for this new unit will focus on the following:

  1. Work with the talented SHCS Leadership Team, and collaboratively with others across the portfolio, to create a strong and well-articulated vision and mission for this new enterprise. This vision and mission will help ensure that everyone who works within SHCS can understand, see themselves within, and feel a sense of pride and connection to this new unit – along with communicating to our campus communities our purpose, unique identity, and important value.
  2. Consider opportunities and implement initiatives that allow for greater integration across the new portfolio, with a constant focus on enhancing our services, our products, our efficiency, and our effectiveness.
  3. A recent area of focus within SHHS has been the creation and ongoing improvement of our outstanding workplace culture for all staff. This work will not end; it will be broadened to encompass all of SHCS. 
  4. The provision of timely, thorough, and useful internal communications is important to me. We will be considering a wide range of communications opportunities for implementation in 2020.
  5. Finally, we have recently completed our 2019-20 fiscal budget process, through which a number of continuing and emerging initiatives have been created. Supporting SHCS units to accomplish these goals as effectively as possible is an ongoing priority.

For those of you who do not yet know me, I thought I’d share a little bit about myself. Prior to arriving at UBC 31 years ago (gulp!), my background was in the hospitality industry where I worked in a number of different positions at various Vancouver hotels. My career at UBC began in 1988 with UBC Food Services, where I held various management positions before becoming Director of UBC Food Services in 1998. After ten years in that position, I became the Managing Director of Student Housing and Hospitality Services.

I feel incredibly blessed to have a progressive career at UBC. Today, in this new role, I am excited to add Bookstore, Parking and Access, and Campus Mail to my Housing, Food, Conferences, and Child Care experience. As a leader, I believe the only way to realize success, particularly in the service industries we are responsible for, is to create a workplace culture where every employee experiences a positive environment and is equipped with the tools to do their very best. I also believe in transparency, strong internal communications, clarity of roles, principle-based decision making, and, importantly, having fun at work. It is my objective to bring these values and this workplace culture to life in SHCS.

In closing, the work we do at UBC is critically important to the experience of every single person who steps onto our Vancouver and Okanagan campuses, and each of us has an important role to play in making that experience excellent. I sincerely look forward to working with you all as we strive for continuous improvement and excellence in all that we do.

Whether you are working, enjoying time at home, or travelling to visit family and friends, I wish you all a safe and peaceful holiday season. See you in 2020!

Thank you,

Andrew Parr
Associate Vice-President
Student Housing and Community Services
The University of British Columbia