The Association welcomes an announcement made earlier this week by the BC government to invest $2.5 million into graduate scholarships at UVic. This comes as part of an overall funding boost of $12 million to students in graduate degree programs throughout the province. The new funding provides for the first merit-based provincial graduate scholarships in BC’s history.
BC has been falling behind for years in terms of providing support for graduate training, and we hope this investment will go a long way towards bringing UVic in line with other universities across the country. It’s an excellent first step towards helping us compete with other Canadian universities in recruiting top graduate students.
The government has made a two-year commitment to providing entrance scholarships for students entering STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) programs, along with targeted scholarships for Indigenous students, women studying in tech-related programs, and students in regional programs.
While this funding is a welcome addition to UVic’s financial support for new students, there is still considerable uncertainty around how it will impact the Faculty of Graduate Studies’ distribution of funds across departments. We will continue to advocate for more transparency in general, and specifically to press the Dean of Graduate Studies to hold an open forum for our members.
Creating a sustainable graduate student funding model also means addressing the low wages paid to graduate teaching and research assistants. According to a review of data available for 13 of Maclean’s top 15 comprehensive schools in Canada, UVic teaching assistants are sitting in 9th place, at approximately $25.50 per hour (the lowest is Regina at $20.84, with the highest being Ryerson at $42.97). As this issue falls outside the mandate of FGS, we are working with CUFA-BC to include it as a priority for lobbying the provincial government.
- Through CUFA-BC, we are continuing to lobby the government to increase funding for existing graduate students, and for graduate students across all disciplines.
- We are following up with the Dean of Graduate Studies to provide an open forum for a transparent exchange with Members on how graduate student funding decisions are made, and how these decisions impact departments across campus.
Please contact me directly with any questions, comments or feedback.
Helga Kristín Hallgrímsdóttir
University of Victoria Faculty Association
Unceded Lekwungen & WSÁNEĆ Territories. We acknowledge with respect the Lkwungen-speaking peoples on whose traditional territory the university stands and the Songhees, Esquimalt and WSÁNEĆ peoples whose historical relationships with the land continue to this day.