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Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

Foundations of SEM at TRU

Foundations of SEM at TRU

Institutional background

Thompson Rivers University’s history extends back to 1970 when the provincial government created Cariboo College to better serve the post-secondary needs of our region within the BC interior. Cariboo College enrolled almost 600 students that year.

In 1978, while not connected to Cariboo College at the time, the provincial government created the Open Learning Institute, later to become the Open Learning Agency, which operated out of BC’s lower mainland and served students throughout the province with postsecondary options delivered at a distance.

In 1991, Cariboo College officially became University College of the Cariboo. UCC offered degree programs under the oversight of the province’s three universities at that time. By 1995, UCC was given its own independent degree-granting authority, and by 2002 had begun offering graduate programs, too.

In 2005, the paths of UCC and the OLA merged. UCC and the BC Open University, a branch of OLA, became Thompson Rivers University. In 2018, TRU achieved accreditation with the Northwest Commission on College and Universities (NWCCU).

Today, Thompson Rivers University serves more than 30,000 students a year from over 100 countries around the world, operates across two campuses, five regional centres, and at a distance through Open Learning, and offers continuing and developmental education, trades, undergraduate, graduate and professional programs.

TRU's mandate — the Thompson Rivers University Act

In 2005, the province of British Columbia granted full university status to Thompson Rivers University and drafted the TRU Act, outlining specific purposes for TRU. The TRU Act reads as follows:

  1. The purposes of the university are
    1. to offer baccalaureate and masters degree programs,
    2. to offer post-secondary and adult basic education and training,
    3. to undertake and maintain research and scholarly activities for the purposes of paragraphs (a) and (b), and
    4. to provide an open learning educational credit bank for students.
  2. The university must promote teaching excellence and the use of open learning methods.
  3. In carrying out its purposes, the university must serve
    1. the educational and training needs in the region specified by the Lieutenant Governor in Council, and
    2. the open learning needs of British Columbia

Vision statement

In the spring of 2020, Thompson Rivers University’s new Vision Statement — including Vision, Mission, Values and Strategic Change Goals — was endorsed and approved by the university’s three governance bodies: the Planning Council of Open Learning, Senate and Board of Governors.

The Vision Statement was the result of almost 12 months of extensive consultation with students, faculty, staff and community supporters of TRU. It belongs to everyone. It will be the star we steer by. It will inform how we interact with each other and those we serve, and how we plan to make significant and meaningful change over the next 10 years.

Read our Vision Statement

Our mission

TRU is a comprehensive, learner-centred, sustainable university that serves its regional, national, and international learners and their communities through high quality and flexible education, training, research and scholarship.

Our Vision

Community-minded with a global conscience, we boldly redefine the university as a place of belonging — Kw’seltktnéws (we are all related and interconnected with nature, each other, and all things) — where all people are empowered to transform themselves, their communities, and the world.

Our values

Respectful relations define our behaviour. We respect each other (Xyemstwécw), the land, knowledge, the peoples of our region and beyond.

  • Inclusion and Diversity. Access is open: we welcome students, faculty, staff and communities from our region and around the world to learn from and with one another. We embrace diversity of thought and people. We commit to equity. We continually see the world and its inhabitants in new ways by re-examining our practices and their impacts.
  • Community-Mindedness. We come together to help one another (Pelkwaílc-kt es knucwentwécw-kt). Mutual benefit guides us to connect meaningfully with people in the communities we serve, contributing to an interconnected world where we all share a common future and humanity.
  • Curiosity. We seek out new ideas and embrace change, understanding they may involve risks. We break paths with creative, critical, yet thoughtful purpose. We push boundaries as a university and encourage students, faculty, staff, and the community to do the same.
  • Sustainability. The natural world inspires us with wonder and reverence. We recognize how the health of our societies, cultures and ecosystems rests upon wellness of people, biodiversity, and wise stewardship of precious and finite resources. As a world leader in sustainability we know that the well-being of generations to come is shaped by what we do today.

Our 10-year strategic change goals

  • Eliminate achievement gaps. We will support students of all backgrounds to access and succeed in higher education. All groups in our region — including Indigenous learners and rural learners — will achieve in higher education on par with others. We will recruit and retain students to create a balanced community of learners and leaders reflective of Canada and the world.
  • Honour truth, reconciliation and rights. We will nurture a flourishing relationship with the Secwépemc people on whose lands we reside. Members of our community will give exceptional consideration to Secwépemc world view and belief system. We will support thriving Secwépemc culture through respectful actions in research, teaching and service. Our campuses will honour our First House: Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc, respect our Second House: T'exelc, acknowledge the many Nations who live and work on and near these lands, and support provincial, national and global movements for the fulfillment and recognition of Indigenous rights.
  • Lead in community research and scholarship. We will support all faculty members in knowledge-seeking, knowledge creation, and creative inquiry. We will earn recognition as the most committed and innovative university in Canada for research and scholarship based on community partnerships; for involving graduate students in community-centred research; and for undergraduate research training.
  • Design lifelong learning. We will adapt and combine modes of learning, teaching, and practical experience to create a seamless and integrated set of educational encounters that meet the changing needs of learners from early childhood to elderly years. We will design the map on which individual learners can chart their personal journeys to develop relevant knowledge when they need it, in the forms they can best access, while starting, stopping and returning as often as they need.

We acknowledge and give honour to the Secwépemc, the ancestral peoples who have lived here for thousands of years. We honour our First House, on whose unceded land our Kamloops campus is located: Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc, and respect our Second House: T'exelc, on whose unceded land our Williams Lake campus is located. In addition we recognize and respect neighbouring Indigenous nations whom we serve — the St’át’imc, Nlaka’pamux, Nuxalk, Tŝilhqot'in and Dakelh. Our understanding of TRU’s obligations to our hosts is informed by the guidance of interior BC Indigenous leaders to Sir Wilfrid Laurier in 1910.

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