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Kate Ross joined UBC as Associate Vice-President, Enrolment Services and Registrar in 2013. Dr. Ross has an extensive background in student services and has led major initiatives to enhance the student experience. She is an advocate for best practice in student issues and is passionate about supporting student aid and access to post-secondary education.
What quality do you most admire in a leader?
KR: The ability to listen. It’s such a hard skill to learn, yet such an important skill to practice so that people feel heard. It’s particularly important to know how to listen when things get tough.
What makes you laugh?
KR: For me, life makes me laugh. I’ve always had a bit of a philosophy that if you can’t laugh, you’ll cry, and I try to find humor in many things. Life’s too short not to laugh.
Who inspires you, and why?
KR: I think Martha Piper is inspiring. I’ve worked with a lot of really incredible people, but there’s just something about her that’s so inspiring. She lifts you up — you want to be better when you’re working with her. She’s not afraid to speak about difficult issues, but she does it in a compassionate and caring way.
What’s your biggest accomplishment so far at UBC?
KR: For me, the accomplishments I feel proudest of are those that involve students. When I first arrived at UBC, I was handed the Youth Aging Out of Care tuition waiver that the Board had approved but hadn’t yet been implemented. Implementing this was wonderful to see happen.
How do you like to recharge?
KR: I love to be outdoors, either hiking or biking. One of the other things I do to recharge is yoga, and I also love to cook! I find cooking relaxing.
For you, what makes UBC different?
KR: For me, it really has been the quality of the people. There’s just an excellence here that is exciting to be around, and both campuses are in beautiful places. That in and of itself is inspiring, and you can tell that the campuses are well-loved and cared for.
What is the best advice you were ever given?
KR: I’d say there are two things: bring your best every day, and surround yourself with people who, as a result, make you want to be a better person.
What do you enjoy most about working with students?
KR: I like their energy and their ideas. I also enjoy working through difficult situations with students, because it’s in these moments that we can often grow the most.
What do you value in your colleagues?
KR: For me, it’s collaboration. It’s only through collaboration that we’re able to do our work. We need to work together to make things better, and if we can find a way to do it with joy and purpose the results can be amazing.
What would you like to be remembered for?
KR: I want to be remembered as someone who is kind and caring, and someone who made a difference, even in small ways.
What are the priorities for Enrolment Services moving forward?
KR: The big one is SASI — replacing the current student information system. This is a massive project. We’re also replacing the Easy Recruit system for student recruitment. And, we’re now part of the provincial online application platform. We’re continuously trying to improve what we do and how we do it. Our aim is to provide service and support that students can access with confidence and ease.