Fonds F-177 - Technical University of British Columbia fonds

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Technical University of British Columbia fonds

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  • Moving images
  • Artefacts
  • Photographic materials
  • Textual records

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  • Source of title proper: Title of the fonds is based on the name of its creator.

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  • 1988 - 2002 (Creation)
    Technical University of British Columbia

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Physical description

11.15 m of textual records and other material

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Archival description area

Name of creator

(1997 - 2002)

Administrative history

The Technical University of British Columbia had its roots in the Fraser Valley University Society, a group of concerned citizens founded in February 1991 to lobby government for the creation of a university in the Fraser Valley. On February 2, 1995, the Society's efforts were rewarded when Premier Mike Harcourt announced that $100 million would be provided for the establishment of a technical university in Cloverdale. According to the "Statement of Government Purpose" that was issued for the university, there was to be an emphasis on access, applied research, innovative programs, and the use of new learning technologies. Partnerships were to be developed with private industry to decrease operating costs, and there would be a unique governance structure.

On May 1st 1995, thirteen people were appointed by the Minister of Skills, Training and Labour to an Interim Planning Council (IPC), which was to provide advice to the government regarding the mandate and characteristics of the "Technical University of British Columbia" (TechBC); the first meeting of the IPC took place on June 10th. The original terms of reference for the University were delivered by the Ministry on May 8th, and on August 10th the original constitution and bylaws were registered, under the name "Technical University Society of British Columbia." The first President of TechBC, Dr. Bernard Sheehan, an original IPC member, was appointed on January 1, 1996. On September 27, 1996 the IPC presented its final report to the Provincial Government, and on October 19th the twenty member Council was replaced by a five member Interim Governing Board.

The establishing legislation for the Technical University of British Columbia, Bill 30, was introduced on June 9, 1997, and the Government announced a $2.8 million operating grant for the University. On July 28th, Bill 30 received its third reading; however, the lack of a union, tenure, and a senate in the proposed governance structure prompted the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) to protest the bill. When the "Technical University of British Columbia Act" was eventually proclaimed on December 5, 1997, CAUT boycotted the new University. The first meeting of the Board of Governors was one week later, on December 12th. An Academic Planning Board was created in place of a senate and on May 8, 1998, the CAUT boycott was lifted.

During this entire period, the University's location was a source of controversy and dispute. The Cloverdale site was deemed unsuitable and, eventually, on July 20, 1998 it was announced that the University campus would be constructed at Surrey City Centre. On October 14th, TechBC's Education and Information Centre at Surrey Place Mall was officially opened, although some students had been attending classes offered through other universities at that location since September 10th. The first ninety students for TechOne, the required first year program for TechBC students, did not begin classes until the following September, and the official opening ceremony for the University was held at Surrey Place Mall on October 14, 1999. A few weeks earlier, on September 23rd, a second announcement had been made confirming plans to construct a 450,000 square foot campus at Surrey City Centre; the development project, scheduled for completion in 2003, would be a joint venture with ICBC, the City of Surrey, and the Provincial Government. In July 2000, the amount of space allocated to TechBC at Surrey Place Mall was increased to 110,000 square feet.

When it opened, TechBC offered Bachelor of Science and Master of Applied Science degrees in three program areas: Information Technology, Interactive Arts, and Management and Technology. In May 2000 the University received government approval for a PhD. program in Applied Science to begin in February 2001.

TechBC Corporation, a wholly-owned, for revenue subsidiary of TechBC, was created in October 1999 in order to establish partnerships with private industry, conduct applied research, and develop and support new businesses.

In September 2000 Sheehan resigned, and the search for a new President began; Dr. Jean Watters was selected, and he began his term in August 2001. His term, however, would be a short one. In May 2001 a Liberal government had been elected in British Columbia. After months of investigation into the TechBC situation, the Government withdrew its support of the University. On February 7, 2002 it was announced that TechBC would be closed at the end of the academic year, and its students and modified programs transferred to Simon Fraser University, although the Surrey campus would remain in use. Watters' last day as President was March 20, 2002.

Custodial history

Scope and content

Fonds consists of records relating to the activities of the Office of the President and the Board of Governors. Activities, events and topics documented include the establishment and development of TechBC and its programs; early governance, including the activities of the Interim Planning Council and the Interim Governing Board for TechBC; meetings of the Board of Governors and various other university committees and boards; campus development; budgeting, fundraising, and other financial management activities; human resources management; public relations activities; and external co-operation and liaison activities, including TechBC's relationship with the Provincial Government.

Records include terms of reference, minutes, agendas, and supporting papers; correspondence; reports, papers, proposals, academic plans, and working papers; subject files; audit reports, budgets, grant applications, and financial statements; reference manuals and policy statements; contracts and agreements; personnel files and job descriptions; course outlines, program outlines, and academic calendars; presentations and speeches; booklets, brochures, and promotional material; press releases, newspaper articles, journal articles, and newsletters; photographs; videocassettes; audio cassettes; architectural drawings; and artifacts.

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Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

The records were donated to the Simon Fraser University Archives by the Technical University of British Columbia in 2002.


The material was arranged into series according to provenance.

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Restrictions on access

Some files may contain personal or confidential information. Access to these files may be restricted as required by law. Files marked 'pending review' must be reviewed by an archivist prior to release, and as a result of the review access restrictions may apply. Please see the file lists and consult the archivist for more details.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Finding aids

File and item lists are available.

Finding aid

Associated materials

For other material relating to the Technical University of British Columbia, see the finding aid to the Fraser Valley University Society, F-171.

Related materials


Additional material has been accessioned but not yet processed (as of October 2004: 9.67 m., 1995-2002). Please consult the archivist for information about using these materials; restrictions may apply. No further accruals are expected.

General note


Fonds includes 72 photographs, 88 negatives, 4 contact sheets, 14 videocassettes, 3 audio cassettes, 1 compact disc, and 2 artifacts.

Physical description: 1 photograph located in F-177-1-12-0-3
Physical description: 28 photographs located in F-177-1-16-0-43
Physical description: 1 photograph located in F-177-1-16-0-80
Physical description: 13 photographs located in F-177-1-16-0-107
Physical description: 1 photograph located in F-177-1-18-0-21
Physical description: 1 photograph located in F-177-1-18-0-25
Physical description: 1 photograph located in F-177-1-18-0-28

Physical description: 1 photograph located in F-177-2-1-0-11
Physical description: 2 photographs located in F-177-2-1-0-12
Physical description: 21 photographs located in F-177-2-1-0-13
Physical description: 2 photographs located in F-177-2-1-0-14

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Finding aid prepared by Melanie Hardbattle, October 2004; updated by Richard Dancy (March 2006); update in September 2012 (items re-numbered).

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