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Ten with Ken (Video)

Ken Steele is Canada's most trusted higher ed monitor and futurist, and in this webcast he rounds up emerging trends, research data, best practices and innovative new ideas for higher education. (For HD version see YouTube, DailyMotion, Vimeo or Facebook. Audio only podcast version available separately.)
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Now displaying: Category: Higher Education

For more information about Ken Steele's speaking and facilitation services, an archive of articles and white papers, and a database of bright ideas, please visit www.eduvation.ca

This podcast is also available on iTunes or on YouTube. For exclusive early access to future episodes, please subscribe to our free email newsletter, the Eduvation Loop

Jun 11, 2019

This week, Ken gets a “taste” of social innovation at Simon Fraser University’s RADIUS incubator, speaking with co-director Shawn Smith and social entrepreneur Dylan Jones about their work. We learn how innovation requires bureaucratic flexibility, and Ken winds up at a loss for words with his mouth full of crickets!

 

For decades now, higher education has embraced the entrepreneurial incubator to promote the commercialization of software developers and research breakthroughs in engineering, chemistry and medicine. (10K covered the movement broadly in this episode on “Campus Incubators and Accelerators” https://youtu.be/kwMooswS_C8, and visited the University of Waterloo’s “Velocity Garage” https://youtu.be/lj1AnCfYRMk). But in recent years, a wave of incubators has begun appearing to support social enterprises, launched by a new generation of altruistic entrepreneurs and “changemakers,” focused on the so-called “triple bottom line.” 

 

SFU’s Beedie School of Business established the RADIUS social innovation hub in 2013. (The name is an acronym for “Radical Ideas Useful to Society.”) Every year, RADIUS Fellows hosts emerging leaders in the social economy, and RADIUS ChangeLabs deliver extracurricular activities to SFU students. RADIUS’s Local Economic Development Lab (LEDlab) is working in Vancouver’s downtown eastside to build a more dynamic and inclusive economy (www.LEDLab.ca). They helped turn an informal group of wastepickers and recyclers into The Binners Project, with its own brand, marketing, and business model for R&D, cartsharing, and event services. (Learn more at www.binnersproject.org).

 

RADIUS Ventures delivers incubation support to startups at the business model validation stage, and acceleration support to growth-ready companies ready to attract venture capital. These social-purpose companies have potentially profitable business models, but also aim to improve society by addressing environmental sustainability, homelessness, and other social challenges. RADIUS “co-entrepreneurs” with the ventures, going deep and ensuring they provide a meaningful change in trajectory for the entrepreneur and the company.

 

One RADIUS venture was Zero Waste Market, Canada’s first package-free, zero-waste grocery store. (They changed their name literally days after this episode was completed, to Nada Grocery. Learn more at www.nadagrocery.com).

 

Another great example of a social enterprise incubated at RADIUS is Coast Protein, a sustainable energy bar and protein powder company (see www.coastprotein.com). Their products are all-natural, with no artificial sweeteners or preservatives, and very few ingredients – primarily Canadian-farmed cricket flour.  Cricket protein is far more sustainable and nutritious than beef or chicken, explains CEO Ryan Jones: per pound of protein, cows take 13x more land, produce 100x more greenhouse gases, and require 2,000x more water. And instead of 30% protein by volume, crickets are 65% protein, while also being high in iron, calcium, and B12 – an essential vitamin often missing in vegetarian diets. It’s still “the wild west of crickets right now,” Ryan explains, and most of Coast Protein’s marketing budget goes to consumer education. People don’t realize that the insect protein market is already about $200 million annually in North America, and expected to grow to about $1.5 billion by 2023. Or that crickets taste like “burnt roasted almonds with a hint of roasted mushroom.”

 

Shawn observes that innovation can sometimes be challenging within a bureaucratic environment like a major public university. Entrepreneurs need to respect boundaries and structures, while remaining adaptive and responsive in an emergent space. RADIUS functions like a “skunkworks” at SFU, where risks can be taken, failures go quietly, and lessons can be learned. Academic innovators need their “pockets of innovation” to be protected from needless bureaucracy, and depend on “bridging innovators” in a wide range of departments, particularly in finance, to make their innovation work possible. Shawn emphasizes that SFU has a lot of these people, but that “they don’t always get the recognition they deserve.”

 

On the upside, though, a university setting provides a wealth of expertise and cutting-edge researchers in a wide range of disciplines, and an endless supply of enthusiastic students who deeply care about social issues and want to make the world a better place. Social incubators like RADIUS need to bring people together from disparate perspectives, to “bite off problems that people haven’t quite figured out yet,” and universities are an ideal setting in which to do that.

 

Shawn Smith is Director of Social Innovation at Simon Fraser University, co-founder and co-director of RADIUS, and an adjunct professor in the Beedie School of Business. He earned an MBA in social entrepreneurship from the University of Oxford in 2010, and has spent 12 years working in social impact organizations, including Impacto Quito, Global Agents for Change, and Education Generation.

 

Special thanks to Shawn Smith, Dylan Jones, and the SFU videographers who made this episode possible.

For more information about SFU’s RADIUS, please visit www.RadiusSFU.com.

 

Next week, Ken sits down with Bonnie Schmidt, founder of Let’s Talk Science, about how we can improve science education at the primary, secondary, and tertiary levels. To be sure you don’t miss it, take a moment to subscribe at http://eduvation.ca/subscribe/ 

 

And if you would like to host 10K at your campus, more information is available at http://eduvation.ca/twk/site-visits/

May 29, 2019

Despite its significant sticker price, higher education doesn’t often come with a guarantee.  After all, what a student learns, and how they put their skills to work in the world, has more to do with their own effort than anything the institution can do. But in a world of labour market uncertainty and rising career anxiety, students and their parents are often looking for a “sure thing” -- high employment placement rates, impressive starting salaries, or a guaranteed return on investment.

For the past 10 years, one university in Canada has been offering students a literal guarantee that they will find career-related employment within six months of graduation: the University of Regina, in Saskatchewan. This week, Ken Steele sits down with president Vianne Timmons to discuss the “UR Guarantee,” a recruitment marketing tool that also drives student retention and career success.

Unlike many extended warranties, the UR Guarantee had to be offered free to all undergraduate students, to enhance accessibility rather than being an elite program for a select few who could afford it.  From the moment a student signs up, they are assigned a mentor who helps them design a program to get engaged on campus, in clubs, sports, student government, etc., depending on their interests. To stay eligible for the Guarantee, students must access academic counselling and support services, take resume-writing and employment interview workshops, and attend networking events. They also have to volunteer, on campus and in the community – providing significant energy and enthusiasm to the University’s campus ambassador program.  They must maintain a 70% GPA, and keep a daily log of their networking and job search activities. After all that, the University’s career services staff will work with new graduates for 6 months, to find them a job related to their field of study. If they are unsuccessful, they are welcome to return to campus and take up to 10 additional courses, tuition-free.

Obviously, the UR Guarantee is effective as a recruitment differentiator: students come from across North America, attracted by the prospect of guaranteed employment upon graduation. But the program is actually much more than a marketing gimmick: it ensures that students are aware of the support services and advising that they ought to be accessing on campus, and it even reduces any perceived stigma around using them, by effectively requiring it in order not to “void their warranty.” 

The UR Guarantee was developed to address a key driver of student attrition: lack of engagement with extracurriculars and the support services that prepare students for transition to the world of work.  The initiative was intended to increase student retention, success and satisfaction, and it works: students enrolled in the program are 8% more likely to persist, and they graduate more employable and career-ready.

The offer of free tuition doesn’t actually cost the University of Regina much at all: in 10 years offering the Guarantee, just 2 students have had to return to campus to take additional classes. But the University has had to invest significantly in additional support staff to meet the demand – paid for thanks to the increased persistence of more than 1,800 students enrolled in the Guarantee program.

In Canada, at least 2 other universities have launched similar programs in the wake of the UR Guarantee: Concordia University of Edmonton has a “Concordia Commitment” program, and Nipissing University offers “the Nipissing Promise.”  Vianne would certainly encourage other institutional leaders to consider the approach as a powerful driver of student engagement.

 

You can read more about the UR Guarantee at https://www.uregina.ca/urguarantee/about/index.html 

 

Vianne Timmons began her teaching career on the Babine First Nations Reserve in BC, and was appointed President & Vice-Chancellor of the University of Regina in 2008. She has helped advance Indigenization through dozens of initiatives, and two successive strategic plans. Vianne is one of 12 recipients of the national 2019 Indspire Award.

 

Shot on location at First Nations University, on the University of Regina campus, in October 2018, by campus videography staff – thank you again!

 

Next week, we visit RadIUS, the social innovation incubator at Simon Fraser University, and learn why we should all start eating bugs, for the good of our health and the planet. To be sure you don’t miss it, take a moment to subscribe at http://eduvation.ca/subscribe/

And if you would like to host 10K at your campus, more information is available at http://eduvation.ca/twk/site-visits/

 

 

Apr 30, 2019

This week, Ken Steele chats with Maureen Adamson, president of Fleming College, about how higher ed leaders can sustain a culture of innovation on campus, particularly by investing in our people.

 

“The most important thing” Maureen says, is to “give the gift of time” to front-line faculty and staff to reflect and innovate.  “It can’t be someone in a back room trying to think something up.” We also need to invest in our people. “We want our faculty to be best in class; that requires investment and professional development.” It’s also important to bring in external perspectives for lectures and workshops, to help campus personnel “think outside the box” and “beyond our navel,” to be exposed to the many innovative ideas out there in higher ed around the world. “There’s a lot of fabulous stuff out there that is mind-blowing,” she observes.

 

Maureen has publicly committed that, even in times of serious budgetary pressure, “there will be no cuts to professional development at Fleming College.” Ken observes that it seems particularly appropriate for institutions committed to education, to also be committed to the continuing education of their people. “There is no evidence to say that cutting PD is helpful,” Maureen observes wryly.

 

From her career experience in the healthcare sector, Maureen has learned that research, whether pure or applied, requires some tolerance for mistakes. “We have to give people the opportunity to take a risk, and to make mistakes… That’s the only way we’re going to get to that point of innovation.” Between academic rigour and public-sector accountability, Ken points out, public colleges and universities experience a compound, cultural “double whammy” that discourages innovation and risk-taking, particularly at the levels of middle management and front-line staff and faculty.  Maureen emphasizes that “it’s all about accountability,” and accountability frameworks need to allow front-line personnel to take some calculated risks. “These kinds of approaches are all hands on deck, and they’re very iterative.”

 

From her experience in government, Maureen knows first-hand that bureaucracy “is very risk averse.” Colleges are fortunate to be a few steps removed from that bureaucracy, and to have some latitude “to change things up.”  Maureen believes we have to shift the centre of power to faculty in the classroom, and to the student experience itself.  Finally, she observes, in a bureaucratic environment, even if people don’t want to hear it, “you always must speak truth to power… It allows you to sleep at night.”

 

Maureen Adamson is president of Sir Sandford Fleming College, in the region of Peterborough Ontario.  She has 25 years of leadership experience in PSE, healthcare, government and the not-for-profit sector. She has previously served as President & CEO of the Michener Institute for Applied Health Sciences and of Cystic Fibrosis Canada, as VP Corporate Services at Mohawk College, and as Deputy Minister of both Tourism, Culture and Sport and of the Status of Women for the government of Ontario.

 

A sincere thank-you to Fleming College for arranging the onsite videography for this episode.

 

Next week, Ken’s conversation with Maureen Adamson concludes with her thoughts on how to nurture a culture of innovation on campus by investing in our people. To be sure you don’t miss it, take a moment to subscribe at http://eduvation.ca/subscribe/

 

And if you would like to host 10K at your campus, more information is available at http://eduvation.ca/twk/site-visits/

Apr 22, 2019

This week, Ken Steele’s conversation continues with Maureen Adamson, president of Fleming College in Peterborough Ontario. Maureen was formerly Ontario’s Deputy Minister responsible for the Status of Women, so this week Ken asks her thoughts on gender equity and increasing diversity in higher education.

 

When it comes to equity of access and success of women in higher ed, “we’ve got a lot of work to do,” Maureen admits bluntly. We know that high-performing organizations require balanced boards of governors, and yet we still don’t see that in many industries. We need to start teaching young people about being leaders and volunteers in the community, and that leadership needs to start at PSE campuses. In particular, she says, “we need to debunk the theory that women don’t want to go into trades and technology because it’s dirty work. It’s not!” Fleming College will be focusing on cultivating interest in these critical areas for our future economy, at a very young age.

 

Maureen also emphasizes that the pay gap between women and men to this day remains “alarming.” (In Canada, it is often cited that women earn 87¢ for every dollar earned by men.  In the US, women’s earning ratio has risen slowly from 61% in the 1960s to about 78% in 2013.) Maureen also observes that even at the highest levels, women serving on boards and as CEOs still don’t earn the same as men. “There’s a gap in the labour market, and this is one that colleges have a responsibility to fill.”

 

In higher education, although the number of female college and university presidents has been increasing, leadership in the sector remains male-dominated, but “we’re making strides,” Maureen observes.  (A quick survey of Ontario college presidents finds 11 females and 14 males, or about 44% female.)

 

Campus student populations are becoming more and more diverse, as institutions recruit increasing numbers of international students, and encourage participation by under-represented groups like visible minorities, students with disabilities, and indigenous students. As colleges recruit more international students in particular, Maureen observes, we need to ensure those students are socially and academically integrated so that all students benefit from the richness of student diversity on campus.  (A recent CBIE survey found that 74% of international students in Canada report some difficulty getting involved in campus life.)

 

“We have to make it front and centre to be an inclusive and diverse college and culture,” Maureen asserts.  Especially in smaller communities, without widespread diversity in the population, colleges have to pursue international exchanges and partnerships to create a diverse experience for students. The global student today is “super-global,” Maureen explains, and colleges have to respond to that. Global perspectives are crucial to prepare our students to be global citizens, and employees or entrepreneurs who can be successful in a global economy. It has to be “front and centre” as a priority, Maureen insists. “It has to be accomplished through active participation. We can’t just sit around and say we’re going to be inclusive and diverse, but without action.”

 

Maureen Adamson is president of Sir Sandford Fleming College, in the region of Peterborough Ontario.  She has 25 years of leadership experience in PSE, healthcare, government and the not-for-profit sector. She has previously served as President & CEO of the Michener Institute for Applied Health Sciences and of Cystic Fibrosis Canada, as VP Corporate Services at Mohawk College, and as Deputy Minister of both Tourism, Culture and Sport and of the Status of Women for the government of Ontario.

 

A sincere thank-you to Fleming College for arranging the onsite videography for this episode.

 

Next week, Ken’s conversation with Maureen Adamson concludes with her thoughts on how to nurture a culture of innovation on campus by investing in our people. To be sure you don’t miss it, take a moment to subscribe at http://eduvation.ca/subscribe/

 

And if you would like to host 10K at your campus, more information is available at http://eduvation.ca/twk/site-visits/

Apr 12, 2019

This week, Ten with Ken visits Fleming College, in Peterborough Ontario, where Ken Steele and president Maureen Adamson discuss the labour market needs of the fourth industrial revolution, and the need to prepare college students with interdisciplinary programs and the so-called “soft skills” in demand by employers.

Some of the biggest challenges facing higher education institutions, aside from budget pressure and demographic shifts, are the rapidly-evolving labour market. Most elementary students today will work in jobs that don’t yet exist. Artificial intelligence and automation are widely projected to impact at least half of all human jobs over the next few decades, and already prototypes have been unveiled of semi-autonomous vehicles, bricklayers, drywallers, news anchors, and even master chefs.  In the past few decades, the jobs that have increased most worldwide are not those that require STEM skills, but those that require people skills, communication and emotional intelligence.

Fleming College is helping prepare students for a changing world, Maureen explains, through interdisciplinary experiential programs at its Kawartha Trades & Technology Centre. In this new 87,000-square-foot facility, plumbers, carpenters, and electricians work together to build an entire house. Students gain “hard”, technical skills, but also those critical social and teamwork skills.

Multidisciplinary, transdisciplinary, and interprofessional training will become even more vital as “narrow” AI gets more and more capable of automating work within individual specialties. Ken shares Kai Fu Lee’s schema of AI’s impact on the labour market, which divides employment into 4 quadrants based on the level of creativity and strategic thinking required, and the level of “compassion” or social skills required. Lee predicts that routine, impersonal jobs will be fully automated within 5-10 years, while routine interpersonal tasks will require a partnership between an AI performing “back-end” tasks (like interpreting medical scans) and a human explaining those results to a patient. More creative, transdisciplinary work will require humans working in conjunction with AI tools for the foreseeable future. (Check out Kai Fu Lee’s TEDx talk, “How AI can save our humanity,” at https://youtu.be/ajGgd9Ld-Wc).

The fourth industrial revolution, caused by the impact of AI and automation on the labour market, means that today’s college graduates will desperately need the so-called “soft skills” like creative, strategic and transdisciplinary thinking, as well as interpersonal communication and empathy. “Not everything is technical,” Maureen emphasizes, which is why Fleming tries to integrate arts and humanities skills into many of its courses. Ken cites Scott Hartley’s argument (in the Fuzzy and the Techie) that “the antidote to technological irrelevance is to become MORE human, not less.”

Experiential, team-based collaborative learning models will help young people in particular become workforce-ready, and develop the interpersonal and workplace skills that many students no longer gain through part-time jobs.  Maureen observes that “students need to learn how to learn,” and emphasizes the importance of the employer perspective on skills and competencies. (A 2015 Canadian survey by McKinsey found that 83% of educators, 44% of students, and just 34% of employers felt that today’s youth are being adequately prepared for the world of work.) “The more we can listen to our industry partners” about their needs, Maureen believes, the more colleges can “create programs in more of a design-thinking fashion.” For Fleming, and most colleges, “it’s going to be a culture shift” that will take significant time, as well as “investment in our people.”

A sincere thank-you to Fleming College for arranging the onsite videography for this episode.

Next week, Ken’s conversation with Maureen Adamson turns to diversity and equity in higher education, both in terms of gender parity and the integration of international students and perspectives.  To be sure you don’t miss it, take a moment to subscribe at http://eduvation.ca/subscribe/

And if you would like to host 10K at your campus, more information is available at http://eduvation.ca/twk/site-visits/

 

Mar 27, 2019

The distinction between 2-year colleges and 4-year universities is becoming increasingly blurred, with the rise of polytechnics, collaborative and dual enrolment programs, postgrad certificates at university and applied degrees at colleges.  (Sheridan College has not been coy about its ambitions to eventually become a university itself.)  This week, Ken Steele’s conversation with Janet Morrison, president and vice-chancellor of Sheridan, concludes with an exploration of the differences and synergies between university and college.

 

Janet feels strongly that “this bifurcated lens on PSE in Ontario… really isn’t meeting the needs of learners today,” much less the needs of learners or the workforce of the future. “The system has to evolve” to ensure we are preparing students to be “agile, change-adept, resilient, independent, creative thinkers comfortable in a morphing space.” 

 

Sheridan offers 26 four-year honours baccalaureate degree programs, with exceptional quality and university-equivalent rigor.  All incorporate work-integrated learning, through co-op, placements, internships, capstone projects, and applied research – what a student called “the secret sauce” of a Sheridan education.  Faculty members are actively engaged with industry, community, and NGOs to stay current.  “What we’re doing is at the nexus of both a theoretical and a practical preparatory program, that positions students for work and life.” 

 

Students already realize that they will be faced with an average of 11 career changes between ages 20 and 45; they will need skills and competencies to position them “as lifelong learners and adept, agile change-agents.”  Higher ed will need to consider new approaches to credentialing and microcredentialing, to ease pathways for credit transfer between programs and institutions.  At Sheridan, much attention is paid to pathways in, through, and out of the institution: fully one-quarter of Sheridan students arrive already having earned a university degree; there are 70 different pathways from Sheridan trades and certificate programs through degrees; and the Provost and Registrar often work with Sheridan grads to gain entry into graduate study.  For 40 years, Sheridan has developed pathway agreements with universities in Canada and the US, but  even graduates of Sheridan’s #1-ranked animation program still “don’t have unfettered access to graduate programming,” which suggests to Janet that the whole system needs “a rethink.” “If we expect students to navigate gray space… we have to do it too.” Janet also emphasizes the growing need to better develop global competency, and recognize the prior learning and life experience of international students.

 

Conversations about credit transfer, and a rethink of the PSE system, will be difficult and will demand courage and creativity.  But Janet asserts, “if you position learning and learners at the centre, there’s far more alignment than you’d sometimes think.”

 

Dr Janet Morrison championed student success at York University for 17 years, ultimately as VP Students, before joining Sheridan College in 2016 as VP Academic, and 2 years later becoming Sheridan’s President. She holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in History and Education. (If you missed the previous parts of our conversation, see “Cultivating Creativity” at https://youtu.be/awH4WVFV-hcand “Mental Health & Student Success” at https://youtu.be/u3fHpn2Pt4A).

 

Every week, Ten with Ken shares innovations and bright ideas affecting higher education. To be sure you don’t miss it, be sure to subscribe!  http://eduvation.ca/subscribe/

 

Special thanks to Sheridan College for the onsite videography.  (If you would like to host an onsite episode of Ten with Ken, please see http://eduvation.ca/twk/site-visits/for more information.)

 

Mar 20, 2019

Colleges and universities are investing more and more resources into student retention and success initiatives, and student mental health has become an escalating crisis on many campuses.  This week, Ken Steele sits down with Janet Morrison, president and vice-chancellor of Sheridan College, to discuss some lessons she has learned over 25 years as a champion of student success, in the university and college sectors.

There is a wealth of research into student success, and Janet believes in programming that is “evidence-based and theoretically informed.” Institutions now need to understand their own specific demographics, and pilot-test interventions. Janet emphasizes that “on many levels student success is a commentary on privilege,” and many students at commuter institutions (like York or Sheridan) have very different experiences than the faculty or administrators responsible for their education. Many students are working in excess of 26 hours a week, and commuting an average of 2 hours daily, while attending school full time, and potentially also juggling responsibilities for dependents and significant debt. We need to “co-define success” with learners, in ways much more holistic than mere grade-point averages. Janet emphasizes the crucial importance of “purpose”, because when things inevitably become challenging, “that sense of purpose is the pull, the energy, the fuel, the accelerant to help students make it to the next gatepost.” She is truly inspired by the perseverance and dedication of many students who have overcome incredible obstacles.

Institutions can help support student success by conducting research to identify the top ten obstacles to student learning, which will differ by campus and by student demographic. Students need a sense of academic culture, and particularly for first-generation students, a lot of that falls to academic advising staff. Students need a sense of connection with faculty, staff and peers, and student affairs staff can organize co-curricular records, and promote wellness. “This really is a team effort” with staff and faculty fostering a sense of purpose, connectivity, and resourcefulness in our students.

Negative mental health in particular has been a rising issue on campus in recent years, with a significant increase in demand for counselling services on campus. Janet observes “a multitude of causal contributors” to the trend, but sums it up as, basically “life is more complicated.” Socioeconomic demands and anxieties, among incoming and graduating students, drives considerable stress. “There are limits to what post-secondary institutions can do to support students, and those are difficult conversations to be having.” Sheridan is trying to cultivate a healthy campus for students, staff, faculty and guests, but it’s a “really big” challenge.  Students pursuing creative vocations can be particularly vulnerable, perhaps because they are more sensitive and introspective, and certainly need to face ongoing critique of their work.

Janet emphasizes the importance of psychological resilience, and shares one student’s metaphor of the “Bobo doll”: the ability to bounce back from setbacks and difficulties.  “Being mentally health is a foundational requisite to student success,” and institutions need to continually improve. The crisis, however, is visible everywhere in broader society, in secondary and even primary schools: “it truly is the challenge of our time.”

Dr Janet Morrison championed student success at York University for 17 years, ultimately as VP Students, before joining Sheridan College in 2016 as VP Academic, and 2 years later becoming Sheridan’s President. She holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in History and Education. (If you missed part 1 of our conversation on “Cultivating Creativity”, check it out here: https://youtu.be/awH4WVFV-hc).

Next week, this 3-part series with Janet concludes with a look at the converging solitudes of colleges and universities (or 2-year and 4-year colleges). So you don’t miss it, be sure to subscribe!  http://eduvation.ca/subscribe/

Special thanks to Sheridan College for the onsite videography.  (If you would like to host an onsite episode of Ten with Ken, please see http://eduvation.ca/twk/site-visits/for more information.)

 

Mar 13, 2019

Sheridan College, in the suburbs of Toronto, is world renowned for its creative programs, such as top-ranked illustration and animation degrees – and it has built its entire institutional brand on the slogan “Get Creative.”  This week, Ken Steele sits down with Janet Morrison, Sheridan’s president and vice-chancellor, to discuss how higher ed can cultivate creativity, equipping students with crucial skills for the future, and preparing staff and faculty across campus to embrace innovation and change.

 

Janet begins by explaining that Sheridan’s commitment to creativity goes far beyond the obvious creative programs.  Creativity relates to people, process, product and space. CEOs and thinktanks agree that creative thinking will be an essential skill for graduates in the new economy, and AI experts anticipate that more creative functions will be the last to be automated.  Creativity can a valuable “inoculator” against constant change and disruption, and provides tools to deal with ambiguity and complex problems. “The only certainty is that things are changing.”

 

Post-secondary education is a transformative experience, both personally and socially, beyond the undeniable economic impact on graduate earnings.  Higher education cultivates a sense of happiness, leading to more social engagement, political activity, and volunteerism.  “PSE is a public service. It does good things for the public,” Janet asserts. “How we foster engagement, teach and mentor them to be active citizens in a democracy really matters, maybe moreso today than ever.”

 

At Sheridan, they believe that creativity can indeed be taught: “it is totally possible.” More than 3,000 students, 300 staff, and 100 external community members have taken courses or workshops in innovation and creative thinking at Sheridan. Janet says the workshops “have fuelled creative thinking and innovation in not just our programs but our service delivery.” Sheridan’s mission is being “fuelled and accelerated” through training and development in creativity.

 

Sheridan is proud of its three “creative campuses,” which Janet explains authentically reflect the institution’s values. “Space matters… We want people to experience creativity from the minute they’re on our properties.” Sheridan has installations at its Creative Campus Galleries that challenge students, faculty and staff to reflect and rethink.  An annual “creative speakers” series has brought Ken Dryden, Roberta Jamieson and others to campus, to cultivate curiosity and allow people to see the world through a different lens.

 

Janet emphasizes the importance of listening, consultation and collaboration, and “capitalizing on the contributions that students, faculty and staff can make to move the institution forward.” She has led an Academic Planning and now also a Strategic Planning process at Sheridan that aim to be “the most open and engaged in Sheridan’s history.”  If you hire the right people, she observes, “they’re opinionated, well-educated, with great experiences” and inevitably disagree at times about the direction of their learning community. “When people care about the place, they’re going to express those opinions with a level of enthusiasm.” The task of the campus leader is to sift and sort, triangulate the input from across campus, and find “not consensus but a level of alignment and mutual agreement.”

 

Dr Janet Morrison championed student success at York University for 17 years, ultimately as VP Students, before joining Sheridan College in 2016 as VP Academic, and 2 years later becoming Sheridan’s President. She holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in History and Education.

 

Next week, Ken’s conversation with Janet continues, with a look at Mental Health and Student Success. So you don’t miss it, be sure to subscribe!  http://eduvation.ca/subscribe/

 

Special thanks to Sheridan College for the onsite videography.  (If you would like to host an onsite episode of Ten with Ken, please see http://eduvation.ca/twk/site-visits/for more information.)

 

Mar 6, 2019

This week, Ken Steele continues his conversation with Larry Rosia, the president and CEO of Saskatchewan Polytechnic, about the fourth industrial revolution, workforce changes, rising interdisciplinarity, and the strengths of polytechnic education – particularly, their close connections to industry. “We like to say we have industry in our DNA,” Larry says.

 

The fourth industrial revolution, as the World Economic Forum calls it, is being driven by the rapid development and adoption of artificial intelligence, robotics and automation in the workforce. “The topic fascinates me… but it’s one of the topics that keeps me awake at night as well,” Larry observes wryly. “The economy is changing, and the jobs of tomorrow are going to be significantly different than the jobs of today. The trouble is that tomorrow is coming sooner than we think.” Sectors are being disrupted, skill requirements are changing, and as the world of work evolves, higher education has to keep pace. Moreover, education itself is going to be disrupted by emerging technologies: “it’s hard to believe that we’re immune.” Larry challenges people at Saskatchewan Polytechnic to “disrupt or be disrupted.”

 

For 15 years now, the category of polytechnic institution has been gaining visibility in Canada, and many innovative college and university programs are hybrids of the two traditional approaches. Polytechnics are “the third way,” Larry observes, with applied learning, applied research, and strong partnerships with business and industry. But all three types of PSE play a role in the higher ed ecosystem.

 

Work-integrated learning is crucial, and 75% of SaskPolytech programs have a WIL component. Students take classroom learning to the jobsite, but they also learn skills on the jobsite, including the soft skills that employers are looking for.  Polytechnics offer degrees that universities don’t offer, where industry is demanding advanced skills. Every program area has advisory committees of industry leaders, who review the curriculum for currency, skills and competencies.  A growing number of college and university graduates are pursuing postgraduate education at SaskPolytech, to get the applied experience they need to get a job.

 

Saskatchewan Polytechnic recently reorganized its programs around industry sectors, to send the message that they are “open for business” and provide a clear point of contact for employers, and potential applied research partners. “If you want to be good in business, you have to make it easy for customers to do business with you.”  The restructuring aligned SaskPolytech’s programs with industry, and as a result gave new momentum to interdisciplinary programs.

 

Some students are already pursuing polytechnic education, not to gain a traditional credential, but to gain the skills and competencies they need in their current job, for a new career, or to start a new business themselves.  Larry uses the analogy of a music playlist to describe the sort of personalized education that will be coming soon: students are bundling courses together to prepare for careers that we’re not even thinking about.  Companies like Google and Amazon have stated openly that they are no longer hiring based on credentials, but are seeking skills and competencies. Higher ed institutions need to become more nimble, and unbundle traditional programs so that students can assemble their own career pathway.  Larry doesn’t believe that credentials will entirely cease to matter anytime soon, but unbundled learning will be critical for lifelong upskilling and reskilling.

 

Dr Larry Rosia (@LarryRosia on Twitter) has a background in telecommunications engineering, and holds a PhD in academic leadership from the University of Calgary. For more than 35 years, he has worked in higher education as an instructor, program chair, marketing manager, and senior administrator.  Larry served as Dean of the School of Construction at SAIT from 1999-2012, and has been President and CEO of Saskatchewan Polytechnic (formerly SIAST) since 2012.  He authored a 2009 book, “The Successful College President: Strategies for Leading in a Complex Environment.”  Larry also sits on the boards of many organizations including Polytechnics Canada, Skills Canada Saskatchewan, the Chair Academy International Leadership Board, the International Mineral Innovation Institute, and the Saskatchewan Post Secondary International Education Council.

 

We have plenty more to come this year, so be sure to subscribe!  http://eduvation.ca/subscribe/

 

Special thanks to Saskatchewan Polytechnic for arranging the onsite videography.  If you would like to host an onsite episode of Ten with Ken, please see http://eduvation.ca/twk/site-visits/for more information.

 

Feb 28, 2019

This week, Ken Steele “takes off” to Saskatoon to speak with Larry Rosia, the president and CEO of Saskatchewan Polytechnic, about his institution’s four pillars of internationalization. They sit down in SP’s pilot training flight simulator for a conversation.

 

Internationalization has been a top priority for many institutions in Canada.  Reports from the World Economic Forum and the Conference Board of Canada emphasize the importance of cultural competency as a workforce skill for the future, and it’s especially important in a globally exporting province like Saskatchewan.  In order to internationalize the whole institution, SP has a four-pillar strategy:

 

1)  Faculty & Student Exchanges, sending representatives abroad to study, teach and engage in applied research and project work. Not everyone wants to travel abroad, and the institution can’t afford to send everyone abroad, though.

 

2)  Incoming International Students, recruiting students from priority countries to diversify classrooms in Canada. “Having a different lens, a different perspective, a different culture lend their ideas to a problem is really interesting,” and helps to spark innovative thinking on campus.  “The solutions to today’s problems and tomorrow’s problems are interdisciplinary and intercultural.”

 

3)  International Applied Research Projects engage SP with partners abroad, and students from various locations can collaborate and innovate via technology on a shared project.

 

4)  International Project Work, such as providing pilot training to meet a country’s needs.

 

Ultimately, internationalization is critical because Canada needs immigration to sustain its population, and our students need to learn how to work with diverse cultures. They will graduate and work with companies that do business internationally, and if they have global competencies they will be more attractive to future employers. Larry emphasizes that “Saskatchewan runs on Saskatchewan Polytechnic,” and that cultural diversity is one of its differentiators and strengths.

 

Dr Larry Rosia (@LarryRosia on Twitter) has a background in telecommunications engineering, and holds a PhD in academic leadership from the University of Calgary. For more than 35 years, he has worked in higher education as an instructor, program chair, marketing manager, and senior administrator.  Larry served as Dean of the School of Construction at SAIT from 1999-2012, and has been President and CEO of Saskatchewan Polytechnic (formerly SIAST) since 2012.  He authored a 2009 book, “The Successful College President: Strategies for Leading in a Complex Environment.”  Larry also sits on the boards of many organizations including Polytechnics Canada, Skills Canada Saskatchewan, the Chair Academy International Leadership Board, the International Mineral Innovation Institute, and the Saskatchewan Post Secondary International Education Council.

 

Next week, Ken’s conversation with Larry Rosia continues. So you don’t miss it, be sure to subscribe!  http://eduvation.ca/subscribe/

 

Special thanks to Saskatchewan Polytechnic for arranging the onsite videography.  If you would like to host an onsite episode of Ten with Ken, please see http://eduvation.ca/twk/site-visits/for more information.

 

Feb 20, 2019

Ken’s conversation with Mark Frison, president of Assiniboine Community College in Brandon Manitoba, continues this week as they explore ways that higher ed leaders can empower and inspire their people to take ownership and take initiative, to propel innovation on campus.  (If you missed the first part of this interview, about encouraging PSE participation on the prairies, see https://youtu.be/-vksdjuMt2k).

 

Mark suggests 3 concrete ways to nurture a culture of innovation on campus:

 

1)  Make Initiative an Explicit Value

 

ACC has adopted organizational values that encourage all staff and faculty to “Be Passionate. Take Initiative. Deliver Results.” Specifically, the college values urge people to “challenge the status quo and take calculated risks without fear of failure.” Mark believes it is critical to state explicitly to the campus community that risk is inevitable when you innovate.

 

2)  Invest in Talent through PD

 

ACC’s talent management action plan, instituted in 2011, has worked to increase its investment in professional development from 1.25% of payroll to almost 3%.  Given the fiscal environment, colleges need to maximize the capabilities and training of all staff.

 

Ken observes that on most higher ed campuses, there is a disconnect between senior administrators who embrace innovation and seek transformative change, and front-line staff who are anxious about making mistakes, and focused on meeting the short-term objectives of their immediate supervisors.  The further down the organizational hierarchy you go, Ken argues, “the more doing nothing is the safest course of action,” and he wonders how best to transmit the entrepreneurial mindset throughout the organization.  But Mark also observes that front-line staff and faculty are actually the ones most likely to have innovative ideas about serving the student, and thinks the more immediate issue is how to translate ideas UP through the organization. 

 

3) Formalize the Idea Generation Process

 

That's why ACC implemented a system of written “decision notes” for middle managers, encouraging them to describe new ideas in detail, and make their business case. Training middle managers to write these briefing notes has been “incredibly helpful at dislodging these ideas,” getting ideas onto the table and either moving them forward, or setting them aside.

 

Mark and Ken agree that there is a “double whammy” of risk aversion in a public-sector, academic institution.  Committees tend to preserve the status quo, and often aren’t even empowered to make decisions. Ultimately, Mark emphasizes, “you do need individuals to feel that they can take risks.”  In many colleges, Ken argues, there is a “learned helplessness” that discourages a sense of personal ownership of decisions or processes. Mark recalls a board member once asking him, “if you owned this thing, what would we be doing differently?” Thinking about your institution with a sense of ownership, and a willingness to take informed risk, engages everyone’s ideas and passions, and encourages an entrepreneurial campus culture.

 

Mark Frison was appointed President of Assiniboine Community College in August 2010, after serving 5 years as president of Great Plains College and Cypress Hills College in Swift Current, Saskatchewan.  He holds a Masters of Industrial Relations from Queen’s University, and undergraduate degrees in Psychology and Business from Cape Breton University (UCCB at the time).  He has served as Executive Director of the Association of Saskatchewan Regional Colleges, and on the board of Colleges & Institutes Canada.

 

Every week, 10K explores a world of higher ed innovation and bright ideas. So you don’t miss a thing, please be sure to subscribe!  http://eduvation.ca/subscribe/

 

Special thanks to Shaun Cameron for coordinating the onsite recording at ACC. If you would like to host an onsite episode of Ten with Ken, please see http://eduvation.ca/twk/site-visits/for more information.

Feb 14, 2019

Ken Steele visits Assiniboine Community College, in Brandon Manitoba, to talk with president Mark Frison about their beautiful new North Hill Campus, encouraging enrolment in a region with the lowest PSE participation rate in the country, serving Indigenous populations, aligning programs with provincial immigration policy, and growing international enrolment 1,500%!

 

ACC’s North Hill Campus is taking shape on the pastoral grounds of the former Brandon Mental Health Centre, and is already home to the Manitoba Institute of Culinary Arts, the Len Evans Centre for Trades & Technology, and sustainable greenhouses. Over the next few decades, ACC will preserve historic buildings, construct new academic and athletic facilities, and perhaps even build student residences.  It will make ACC unique among Canadian colleges.

 

Many of the innovations in marketing, programs and services at ACC have been driven by the recognition that much of rural Manitoba is underserved by higher ed institutions, and the province has the lowest PSE participation rate in the country.  The province is highly centralized, with 85% of public spending on PSE concentrated in the city of Winnipeg.  ACC’s 2013 plan set an ambitious target to double the number of graduates by 2025.

 

Another key constituency ACC serves are Indigenous peoples, and bridging the “prosperity gap” may be the biggest public policy challenge in Manitoba.  About 15-22% of the students ACC enrols are Indigenous, and in a typical year the College runs programs on or near 20 First Nations communities.

 

The largest single change at ACC is the growth of international student enrolment: from 37 in 2013 to more than 500 in 2018!  Early on, extremely low vacancy rates in Brandon meant that most international students wound up attending ACC’s small Winnipeg campus – but thankfully that has eased, and eventually campus residences may be the best solution. ACC’s international strategy is highly tied to provincial targets for immigration, and labour market needs – in fact, the need for immigration drives the strategy, not the desire for international tuition revenue (although moving to 5x domestic tuition has helped to make the programs sustainable). ACC also takes an integrated view of international enrolment, education of newcomers to Canada, and international development work.

 

Mark emphasizes that colleges and universities need to be “unapologetic” about doing all that they can to foster economic development, and coordinate their efforts at internationalization with their regional government’s immigration strategies.

 

Mark Frison was appointed President of Assiniboine Community College in August 2010, after serving 5 years as president of Great Plains College and Cypress Hills College in Swift Current, Saskatchewan.  He holds a Masters of Industrial Relations from Queen’s University, and undergraduate degrees in Psychology and Business from Cape Breton University (UCCB at the time).  He has served as Executive Director of the Association of Saskatchewan Regional Colleges, and on the board of Colleges & Institutes Canada.

 

Next week, Mark Frison shares several ways campus leaders can inspire their people to take ownership and take initiative.  So you don’t miss it, be sure to subscribe!  http://eduvation.ca/subscribe/

 

Special thanks to Shaun Cameron for coordinating the onsite recording at ACC. If you would like to host an onsite episode of Ten with Ken, please see http://eduvation.ca/twk/site-visits/for more information.

 

Jan 29, 2019

From the high tech sector to higher education, one leadership challenge is similar: how do you nurture a culture of innovation in a hierarchical environment? It’s probably tougher in the public sector, and especially in centuries-old academic institutions with bicameral, colleagial decision-making processes. But even entrepreneurial firms like Google or Adobe had to wrestle with similar challenges as they grew into tech giants. This week, Ken Steele continues his conversation with Jason Dewling, the president of LaSalle College Vancouver, who offers 5 ways that campus leaders can help encourage a culture of innovation.

1) Increase Risk Tolerance

To have the best ideas, you have to have a lot of ideas, which means some of them won’t work. More innovative higher ed institutions will increase their tolerance for risk, allow people to pioneer ideas, experiment, and accept that some future tweaking will be required.

2) Let the Best Ideas Win

Cultivate your people according to their talents and strengths, and allow open debate and experiment to let the best ideas win.

3) Get Beyond Silos

Develop cross-functional teams so people can learn from diverse perspectives and fresh ideas.

4) Seek Talent Beyond PSE

Leaders need to be deliberate in talent acquisition and development. Instead of rewarding seniority and promoting from within, Jason believes higher ed will be increasingly hiring from other sectors (other sectors of higher ed, but also the private sector) in academic and non-academic areas. (Janet Morrison is a good example, a former VP at York University who was recently hired as president of Sheridan College. We’ll share our interview with her in an upcoming episode. So you don’t miss it, be sure to subscribe! http://eduvation.ca/subscribe/ )

Jason’s own background includes almost 2 decades of experience at public colleges in Alberta. He observes that the LCI Education Network includes 23 private for-profit institutions around the world, but it grew from the foundation of LaSalle College Montreal, part of the public PSE system in Quebec.

5) Structure for Flexibility

LaSalle’s unique advantage frees it from historical structures that traditionally slow down progress in higher ed, so they can be much more responsive and market-driven. Like industry in all sectors, higher ed institutions need to be change-ready and adaptable.

Dr. Jason Dewling was appointed President of LaSalle College Vancouver in August 2017. Prior to that, he had 17 years of experience at public colleges in Alberta, as VP Academic and Research at Olds College, Associate Dean and Instructor at Olds College. Jason holds an M.Div from Acadia University, and a PhD in Education from the University of Alberta.

Special thanks to the LaSalle College Vancouver Media Arts students and staff, who stayed late to help make us look and sound professional!

If you would like to host an onsite episode of Ten with Ken, see http://eduvation.ca/twk/site-visits/ for more information.

Jan 23, 2019

In the face of mounting budgetary pressure, colleges and universities are finding new collaborative approaches to achieve efficiency and economies of scale. Public institutions are sharing campuses and facilities, forming regional marketing groups, and even signing agreements to share course sections between different institutions using distance delivery.  Some smaller colleges, particularly in the US, are merging with larger competitors, or finding financial strength in numbers through collaborative purchasing agencies.  Some are joining global networks to provide corporate training to multinational clients, or share administrative infrastructure.

One such global network is the LCI Education Network, a global group of 24 institutions from Toronto to Melbourne, Barcelona, Morocco and Instanbul. It grew out of LaSalle College in Montreal, part of the public system in Quebec, and now includes some of the world’s leading fashion and design institutes.

This week, Ken Steele chats with the president of LaSalle College Vancouver, Jason Dewling, about the benefits of shared Finance and IT services, amortized across a global network. Global networks give small colleges access to world-class talent and systems, like Ellicom, an online learning team with 80+ experts in augmented and virtual reality. Ellicom produces online training programs for corporate clients including simulations and assessments, and LCI institutions can access its team to support online program delivery too.  Looking ahead to the future of education, Jason emphasizes that we will need to find meaningful ways to integrate technology while retaining the fundamentally social nature of learning.

Dr. Jason Dewling was appointed President of LaSalle College Vancouver in August 2017.  Prior to that, he had 17 years of experience at public colleges in Alberta, as VP Academic and Research at Olds College, Associate Dean and Instructor at Olds College. Jason holds an M.Div from Acadia University, and a PhD in Education from the University of Alberta.

Next week, our conversation with Jason continues as he shares 5 ways higher ed leaders can help nurture a culture of innovation, and ensure that “the best ideas win.”  So you don’t miss it, be sure to subscribe! http://eduvation.ca/subscribe/

Special thanks to the LaSalle College Vancouver Media Arts students and staff, who stayed late to help make us look and sound professional!

If you would like to host an onsite episode of Ten with Ken, see http://eduvation.ca/twk/site-visits/for more information.

Jan 17, 2019

Faced with tuition caps and declining government grants, public colleges and universities are becoming more entrepreneurial and seeking alternative revenue streams, often by selling off surplus campus lands to developers, or leasing campus space for retail or residential development. Simon Fraser University, built in a conservation area atop Burnaby Mountain just a 30-minute drive from downtown Vancouver, took its unique geographic opportunity and turned it into an exercise in city-building, literally “moving mountains” to establish a complete, walkable and almost self-sufficient town adjacent to its campus.

In previous visits to campus, we learned about SFU’s community engagement strategy (https://youtu.be/EGWvfBqJEGs ) and the many ways in which the University uses its campuses in Vancouver, Surrey and Burnaby to build communities (https://youtu.be/dujezn6_afg ). This week, Ken Steele talks with SFU president Andrew Petter, and SFU Community Trust CEO Gordon Harris, about “UniverCity,” a development that is creating affordable housing for 10,000 people, adding two dozen shops and services for the campus community, generating a $90-million endowment for the institution, and exploring new frontiers in environmental and economic sustainability.

Built “in splendid isolation” atop Burnaby Mountain in 1965, SFU wanted to engage with community – but in this case, had to build its own community from scratch. The University negotiated with the municipality to transfer its zoning density from the entire mountain to a much smaller 65-acre parcel adjacent to campus, and built a suburban community with urban density, largely on lands formerly occupied by student parking lots.  When fully complete, UniverCity will be home to almost 10,000 people, in apartment-style condos and stacked townhomes that meet the most ambitious environmental sustainability goals on the continent. UniverCity has won more than 30 national and international sustainability awards, including for its comprehensive stormwater management system. All developers aim to be 45% more energy efficient and 68% more water efficient than a typical code building, in order to quality for additional density. Many buildings have rainwater harvesting systems, solar arrays or geothermal heating. A new district energy system will use biomass to provide heat and hot water to two dozen buildings, in UniverCity and on the SFU campus. UniverCity’s $3 million Childcare Centre is the “greenest childcare on the planet,” and will soon have earned Living Building Challenge certification as a building that generates more energy than it uses, harvests more water than it uses, and is built from recycled and local materials. (It will be the first in Western Canada.)

UniverCity also strives for economic sustainability, creating affordable housing to help SFU attract faculty, staff, students and their families. (About half of the residents are affiliated with the University, and almost half have young children.) SFU leased some of the land to developers like VanCity at a 30% discount, so that residential units could be sold at a 20% discount in perpetuity (such as the "Verdant" townhomes). Standalone “green mortgages” amortize the cost of environmental upgrades separately from the purchase price of units. As urban planner Harris explains, “if it isn’t economic, it isn’t sustainable.”

UniverCity had to provide more than just housing to its residents: it needed to establish all the infrastructure of a small town, including restaurants, a grocery story, pharmacy, childcare centre, an elementary school, and soon a medical centre.  Residents also have access to campus facilities next door, including fitness and aquatic centres, art gallery, library and bookstore – and in return, the campus community can access shops and services in UniverCity. Someday it may also have an active seniors facility, where alumni and others could move in retirement.

The community has added life and vitality to the SFU campus, as well as $15 million worth of new infrastructure, from a town square to the new heating facility and underground pipelines. Ultimately, the UniverCity endowment will support teaching and research at SFU “for the rest of time.”

Thanks again to Andrew Petter, Gordon Harris, and the SFU videographers who made this episode possible.

To learn more about UniverCity, visit http://univercity.ca, watch this beautiful documentary by France’s EchoLogis https://youtu.be/jDdSaGcQvQw, or read Gordon Harris’ new book, Building Community: Defining, Designing, Developing UniverCityhttps://living-future.org/product/building-community-book/ 

You can subscribe free to 10K by email or on any of a dozen channels: see http://eduvation.ca/subscribe/ for links.

And if you would like to host a 10K Site Visit at your campus, see http://eduvation.ca/twk/site-visits/ for further information!

Dec 12, 2018

Ken Steele is back with his 4th annual Holiday Special, and this time he’s counting down the top ten higher ed holiday videos from last December, based on a rubric including production quality, acting, music, creativity and emotional impact.

 

The Holiday Top 10:

 

#10 – Elon University “Holiday Video”  – A great sing-along video featuring 27 staff and student vocalists. https://youtu.be/0-pIVbnNxVM

 

#9 – The University of Virginia “Celebrating the Holidays”  - Beautiful video of decking the lawn, baking cookies, and doing good deeds. (Featuring Holley Maher’s “This December.”) https://youtu.be/oS7rkgRjSvA

 

#8 – University of the Arts “Holiday Card”  - Student musicians perform “Winter Wonderland” as we see artists, videographers and others. https://youtu.be/Q2tKXvdxW7o

 

#7 – Marquette University “Joy Is”  - Freshman Ariana Madson performs “Joy to the World,” as we see students demonstrating the values of shaing, caring and kindness. https://youtu.be/OWOpJWCJCzI

 

#6 – University of North Texas “Building Mean Green Holiday Spirit”  - More than 15,000 Lego bricks and painstaking stop-motion animation went into this recreation of 4 campus buildings. https://youtu.be/YFm-63zKa2g

 

The “Behind the Bricks” behind-the-scenes video may be even better – https://youtu.be/c06G0CLHutY

 

#5 – York University “Re-Connect this Holiday Season”  - Student Olivia is heartbroken that her sister won’t make it home for the holidays, but gets a warm surprise after her exams. https://youtu.be/4KOYIhXz4JM

 

#4 – George Mason University “The Perfect Setting”  - A diverse group of students brings together delicacies from all over the world to a shared holiday feast where they “pass the joy.” https://youtu.be/bPCezNjKuuw

 

#3 – Otago Polytechnic “Merry Christmas”  - A senior executive “Christmas Squad” comes to the rescue as a group of students suffers through noodles for Christmas. https://youtu.be/u8dbPeBMCgA

 

#2 – Azusa Pacific University “Christmas Lights”  - Students in residence reach out with a puzzling gift: light bulbs. But the lights awaken fond childhood memories of stringing Christmas lights, and ultimately build a community based on a gift of hope. https://youtu.be/IVKg2umsFMI

 

#1 – University of Connecticut “Warm Holiday Wishes” - uConn mascot husky Jonathan travels the campus with mistletoe, kissing students and staff. https://youtu.be/EhObu7AruiA

 

Also worth a watch is the uConn blooper video - https://youtu.be/_83vNKE8Ubk

 

We missed “Happy Holidays from all Huskies at Heart” back in 2015 - https://youtu.be/FU6caXxn8Kg

 

 

Honourable Mentions:

 

University of La Verne – https://youtu.be/rje5PQCEL3Q

Branksome Hall “Spread the Love” – https://youtu.be/SHzSjig3280

Branksome Hall ARLA music video – https://youtu.be/dKSYkNDarKA

University of Toronto Mississauga “Holiday Chemistry” – https://youtu.be/tPlMZADyHUg

Southern Connecticut State University - https://youtu.be/VWC4Xy12Zpg

 

 

Other Notable Examples:

 

Georgia Tech Police Dept - https://youtu.be/_iDJ6J896Uo

Casper College – https://youtu.be/a66WuBupuMk

Carroll University – https://youtu.be/vFVmrw4IhoY

Newscastle University – https://youtu.be/dBhKdSX-V9w

Towson University - https://youtu.be/PGM7HWBqikk

 

 

Our Playlists:

 

Excerpts also appear in this episode from previous 10K Holiday Specials. Check out 2 hours worth at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLodJ8ParJmYWOlX6xOJpuo5nloz1Q6dA1

 

Videos highlighted in this episode are all contained in this playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLodJ8ParJmYXThZ6t3KKp2dMYNAVdmZJY

 

Check out the full 9-hour playlist of 208 videos from 2017 at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLodJ8ParJmYVmGMsmXoJqATfMohQ5cEYb

 

We’re already compiling a list of 2018 higher ed holiday videos for next year’s Holiday Special!  Add yours to our playlist using this special link: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLodJ8ParJmYXZ7unDyH9cDK-lwTwGul7B&jct=FPMYWPTiiHTp94kpX6IzmfNKgQmYfA

 

We’ll be back in January 2019 with more site visits, interviews, and episodes about higher ed trends and innovations. To be sure you don’t miss a thing, subscribe today!  http://eduvation.ca/subscribe/

 

Happy Holidays!

Dec 5, 2018

Last week, Ken Steele sat down with Vianne Timmons, president of the University of Regina, to discuss why Indigenization matters to higher ed.  (ICYMI see it at https://youtu.be/iLe1mxiT4rM).

This week, we turn from “why” to “how”, and look at dozens of ways that colleges and universities can better accommodate Indigenous students, integrate Indigenous ways of knowing and learning, and introduce all students to Indigenous perspectives.  This episode highlights more than 40 examples of ways in which non-Indigenous faculty, staff and administrators can help to indigenize the campus.

The examples are drawn from “100 Ways to Indigenize and Decolonize Academic Programs and Courses,” a checklist developed for the UofR by Dr Shauneen Pete in 2015, when she was the University’s Executive Lead of Indigenization.  You can find the full checklist at:

https://www.uregina.ca/president/assets/docs/president-docs/indigenization/indigenize-decolonize-university-courses.pdf

or read Dr Pete’s article in Aboriginal Policy Studies vol. 6, no. 1, 2016:

http://accle.ca/wp-content/uploads/Pete-100-Ways-of-Indigenizing-Decol.pdf

 

Because every Indigenous person and community have had very different experiences, it is important to work with elders, knowledge-keepers, and Indigenous staff and faculty to develop approaches for your own context. Without a doubt, we need to recruit more Indigenous staff, faculty, students, and graduate students. A big part of the challenge is to overcome financial and geographic barriers for prospective students in remote communities. Specialized cohort programs can encourage student success. Sessional hires can prioritize Indigenous candidates.

There are many small things that cumulatively can improve the campus experience for Indigenous students. We can recognize Indigenous names and symbols on campus, acknowledge traditional lands, display Indigenous symbols and art. We can honour Indigenous alumni, nominate Indigenous scholars for awards, and recognize Elders with gifts and honoraria. We also may need to revise criteria for faculty promotion, perhaps by recognizing relational capital.

We can also incorporate traditional celebrations and events on campus, from major annual pow-wows to traditional feasts, smudging, and round-dances. These events should engage all students, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, and can be considered at the departmental level.

Every campus needs a gathering place for Indigenous students, where they can feel comfortable in their culture and share joys and challenges with each other and with elders. We can ensure that signage and promotional materials recognize Indigenous students’ languages and contributions. “You must invest financially in supports for Indigenous students,” says Timmons.

We can create some courses designed specifically for Indigenous learners, and make others mandatory on “shared work” such as settler-Indigenous relations and reconciliation. Professional schools need to insert mandatory courses, and pursue Indigenous language programs like First Nations University’s Denee Teacher Education Program.

The biggest challenge for settlers is to recognize our biases. Many of us have been raised in a Eurocentric culture, and we take capitalism and the scientific method for granted. Whiteness isn’t neutral, and we can help overcome students’ limitations by naming the dominant worldview, and ensuring that alternative perspectives are visible. Administrators can ensure that workshops, release time and financial supports are available for faculty interested in Indigenizing their courses. Faculty can co-teach with Indigenous elders, alumni and community members. We can establish Aboriginal Advisory Circles within each Faculty. Instructors can move away from lecture and try a circle format in class, or land-based learning. Even nontraditional evaluation methods, like performance or artistic expression, could be considered.

Ultimately Indigenization can’t just be the job of Indigenous people: it will only have succeeded when everyone on campus understands and advances it. Indigenous faculty and staff are already burdened with much extra work, and Indigenous students cannot be expected to fill in gaps in the curriculum. All of us know how to learn, and need to commit time and energy to the topic. Indigenous history is being written, and Dr Pete’s checklist includes a helpful bibliography of sources. All faculty should consciously seek out Indigenous scholarship in their field, and every campus leader has a responsibility to learn more about Indigenizing the academy.

 

Vianne Timmons began her teaching career on the Babine First Nations Reserve in BC, and was appointed President of the University of Regina in 2008. She has helped advance Indigenization through dozens of initiatives, and two successive strategic plans. Vianne is one of 12 recipients of the national 2019 Indspire Award.

Shot on location at First Nations University, on the University of Regina campus, in October 2018, by campus videography staff – thank you again!

 

Next week, it’s the annual Ten with Ken Holiday Special!  To be sure you don’t miss it, subscribe today!  http://eduvation.ca/subscribe/

And if you would like to host a 10K Site Visit at your campus, see http://eduvation.ca/twk/site-visits/for further information!

Nov 29, 2018

In the wake of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and Canada’s Truth & Reconciliation Commission findings, higher ed is realizing just how much work lies ahead if it is to reconcile itself with Indigenous peoples, and indigenize the curriculum. Saskatchewan, where some projections say that 30% of the population will be Indigenous by the year 2045, is in many ways the epicentre of indigenization.

This week, Ken Steele talks with Vianne Timmons, President & Vice-Chancellor of the University of Regina, to better understand why Indigenization matters.

Vianne grew up in Labrador and is of Mi’kmaq heritage, but Ken is quite conscious of being a white settler of European ancestry. How can non-Indigenous people get over their reticence to talk about a challenging subject? Vianne reassures us that people appreciate genuine interest and a desire to learn, even if they make errors in protocol.

The University of Regina has been Indigenizing for 40 years. Vianne has an Executive Lead – Indigenization who reports directly to her office, and an Aboriginal Advisory Circle that provides feedback. “Shoulder to shoulder we work together to Indigenize our campus.” The latest UofR strategic plan, “peyak aski kikawinaw”, has Indigenization as a top priority.

First Nations University is a federated college of the University of Regina, independent administratively, but integrated academically. In 2009 there were unsubstantiated allegations of mismanagement that led the federal and provincial governments to suspend FNUC’s funding. Indigenous communities and students protested, and the University of Regina stepped up to assume administrative oversight of FNUC for five years until it regained its independence. Now FNUC is financially stable, with solid leadership and growing enrolment. The UofR was presented with an Eagle Staff as a symbol to thank them for their advocacy, but also to challenge them to continue being warriors for truth and reconciliation, and Indigenous education rights.

The UofR’s Aboriginal Advisory Circle defines Indigenization as “the transformation of the existing academy by including indigenous knowledges, voices, critiques, scholars, students and materials, as well as the establishment of physical and epistemic spaces that facilitate the ethical stewardship of a plurality of indigenous knowledges and practices so thoroughly as to constitute an essential element of the university. Indigenization is not limited to Indigenous people, but encompasses all students and faculty, for the benefit of our academic integrity and our social viability.”  (See https://www.uregina.ca/strategic-plan/priorities/indigenization.html)

So to truly Indigenize, institutions need to include Indigenous peoples as students, faculty, and staff; include Indigenous scholarship and perspectives in curriculum; provide physical and symbolic spaces dedicated to Indigenous use; and re-think the foundations of the academy.

Indigenous peoples are the founding people of Canada, and institutions need to reflect their country – but Indigenization benefits ALL students.  It provides them with a better appreciation of First Nations peoples, a more nuanced understanding of historical truth, and prepares them for a world in which indigenous peoples and settlers are truly reconciled. “There is so much that went unsaid in our past, that needs to be spoken in our future.”

 

Vianne Timmons began her teaching career on the Babine First Nations Reserve in BC, and was appointed President of the University of Regina in 2008. She has helped advance Indigenization through dozens of initiatives, and two successive strategic plans. Vianne is one of 12 recipients of the national 2019 Indspire Award.

Shot on location at First Nations University, on the University of Regina campus, in October 2018, by campus videography staff – thank you again!

 

Next week, Ken’s conversation with Vianne Timmons continues, as we explore “100 Ways to Indigenize Your Campus.” To be sure you don’t miss it, subscribe today!  http://eduvation.ca/subscribe/

And if you would like to host a 10K Site Visit at your campus, see http://eduvation.ca/twk/site-visits/for further information!

 

Nov 22, 2018

This week, our conversation continues with Steve Robinson, interim President & Vice-Chancellor at Brandon University in Manitoba. We tackle one of the toughest questions for today’s higher ed leaders: how to encourage a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship on campus.

Many academics, Steve explains, regard the drive to innovation with a great deal of suspicion, as part of modern trends to neoliberalization and commercialization of the academy.  But really, innovation means “thinking creatively, and finding solutions to new problems” – which is exactly what academics have always done in their own research. Now, universities and colleges are simply trying to apply some of that same creativity to the way we operate as institutions. Higher ed has the opportunity now to be intentional and strategic, “leading the way” rather than being driven by external forces when we have no choice.

Campus leaders need to reassure staff and faculty, dispel anxiety about innovation, and encourage innovators to step forward. Steve identifies 3 ways to incentivize innovation, starting with making funding available for new projects. The president’s office needs to send the signal throughout the institution that we are willing to consider new strategies, programming, processes and infrastructure – even when we may not be sure it will pay off. Incentive funds for innovation would be ideal, whether carved from existing budgets or raised through foundations and donors.

Even more important than money, administrators need to make it clear that they are willing to “go out on a limb a little” and experiment with new pedagogies, program collaborations with other institutions, and more – and assuming some risk, although still being careful stewards of public money. With most innovations, there is not absolute certainty of success from the beginning.

Finally, colleges and universities need to recognize the contributions made by innovators, even if only to learn from their failed experiments. Existing criteria for promotion and tenure need to be expanded.

Steve concludes by observing that “most innovation means discomfort for somebody,” but “the discomfort is worth feeling.”

 

Steve Robinson became interim President and Vice-Chancellor at Brandon University in August 2017, after serving two years as VP Academic and Provost, and several terms as Associate Dean of Arts, Acting Dean of Arts, and chair of the Philosophy department. Steve previously taught at the University of Guelph and University of Regina.

Shot on location at Brandon University in April 2018, by campus videography staff – thank you again!

 

We’ve tackled this topic multiple times in past episodes of 10K – check out the “Culture of Innovation” playlist at: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLodJ8ParJmYUlDXmluj1Xm80dXc8GybtE

And there are more episodes to come!  To be sure you don’t miss them, subscribe today!  http://eduvation.ca/subscribe/

And if you would like to host a 10K Site Visit at your campus, see http://eduvation.ca/twk/site-visits/for further information!

 

Nov 16, 2018

This week, Ken Steele talks with Steve Robinson, interim President & Vice-Chancellor at Brandon University in Manitoba, about one of the most urgent changes facing higher ed in the next decade: indigenization.

Every university in Canada, particularly those in Western Canada, is faced with the challenge of accommodating Indigenous peoples and cultures on their campuses, and since institutions and local Indigenous communities vary widely, the solutions and innovations will be unique at each institution.

Campus leaders need to ensure they create an environment in which Indigenous people feel welcome, through visual symbols, dedicated spaces, practices and ceremonies that reflect and respect Indigenous cultures. But universities also need to reinvent traditional western decision-making processes and governance mechanisms in order to embrace Indigenous perspectives. Institutions need to bring more Indigenous peoples, elders and knowledge-keepers, to campus in order to participate in institutional governance, programs and student supports.

At Brandon University, there is a long history of Indigenous participation and service to Indigenous communities. Brandon is re-establishing its elders program. It holds a large, all-nations Pow-Wow at convocation every year. It has a beautiful Indigenous Peoples Centre, and is participating in the Brandon Friendship Centre’s campaign to erect symbolic teepees across the city, and on the campus. But Steve emphasizes that Brandon knows it is still fundamentally a western institution, and although it has made some progress, “we still have a long way to go.”

European colonial traditions permeate the culture and structure of the academy. So although universities have a critical role to play in Indigenous reconciliation, they are beginning to realize just how challenging it will be. What’s required, Steve explains, is not just more Indigenous student enrolment, or more Indigenous representation among faculty and staff; universities must find new ways to operate that incorporate, respect, and energize Indigenous culture and perspectives. Universities must “open up their administration, faculty and governance structures to the significant participation of its Indigenous communities,” and reach out to understand and meet the needs of Indigenous peoples.

 

Steve Robinson became interim President and Vice-Chancellor at Brandon University in August 2017, after serving two years as VP Academic and Provost, and several terms as Associate Dean of Arts, Acting Dean of Arts, and chair of the Philosophy department. Steve previously taught at the University of Guelph and University of Regina.

Shot on location at Brandon University in April 2018, by campus videography staff – thank you again!

 

#ICYMI, check out last year’s interview on “Serving Indigenous Students Better” with Nipissing University president Mike DeGagné: https://youtu.be/5mpQ4Cs59o8

In the months ahead, 10K will continue this discussion in interviews with Assiniboine Community College president Mark Frison, and University of Regina president Vianne Timmons. To be sure you don’t miss them, subscribe today!  http://eduvation.ca/subscribe/

And if you would like to host a 10K Site Visit at your campus, see http://eduvation.ca/twk/site-visits/for further information!

 

Oct 25, 2018

This week, Ken Steele concludes his conversation with Paula Burns, President & CEO of Lethbridge College.  In part 1, Paula described 3 notable innovations at Lethbridge College, in competency-based learning, stackable modular credentials, and the use of VR technology ( https://youtu.be/9-kxnnMA8nM). In part 2, she outlined 5 ways that institutions can prepare for evolving students and the labour market over the next decade (https://youtu.be/zSKoxZI7b_s).

This week, we explore the question of how higher ed leaders can nurture a culture of innovation on campus. Academic environments tend to be cautious and risk-averse, and truly experimenting with programs or pedagogy usually requires curiosity, creativity, collaboration and genuine courage.

Paula admits academic innovation can be challenging, but also presents immense opportunity. Campus leaders need to walk a fine line, respecting tradition and preserving the strengths of the past, while reassuring people that it is also safe to try new things.

Paula uses the metaphor of a marathon: there will always be some pace-setters leading the pack, and others bringing up the rear. The campus leader’s job is “to make sure that everybody is at least in the race.” Paula puts a lot of her own energy into supporting those who are trying to innovate, and believes you need to hire a broad team of visionary leaders to provide direction to the whole college.

Ken points out that research on innovation emphasizes the importance of personal passion in successful innovation, but that there are many obstacles to empowering front-line staff to advance their own ideas. At Lethbridge College, Paula explains that their people development strategy is about finding people’s passions and skills, and unleashing them to benefit the institution. But she also admits that most colleges have far more policies than they really need, and they definitely can be obstacles to innovation.

Paula recommends the “sandbox” model: establish clear parameters, within which staff and faculty can feel free to “play” creatively and innovate. The clear guidelines help to reduce the fear that can accompany experiment. Only when someone needs to step “outside the box” do they need to have a discussion about it. When extreme risk aversion causes us to overly control any environment (a college campus or a schoolyard playground), we inadvertently stifle creativity.  Instead, we need to loosen up the rules, and provide a “loose play” structure in which staff and faculty can build and create.

 

10K will be returning to the question of campus innovation in many more episodes over the months ahead. To be sure you don’t miss them, subscribe today!  http://eduvation.ca/subscribe/

 

Paula Burns served as Provost & VP Academic at NAIT for 5 years before joining Lethbridge College as President & CEO 5 years ago.  In addition to a decade of experience in senior administration, she holds a PhD in Education from Toronto’s OISE, and an executive MBA from Royal Roads University with a specialization in leadership.

Shot on location at Lethbridge College in May 2018, by campus videography staff – thank you again!  (If you would like to host a 10K Site Visit at your campus, see http://eduvation.ca/twk/site-visits/ for further information.)

 

Oct 18, 2018

This week, Ken Steele continues his conversation with Paula Burns, President & CEO of Lethbridge College, about 5 key ways higher education should be preparing for the decade ahead.

(Last week, Paula described 3 notable innovations in competency-based learning, stackable modular credentials, and the use of VR technology: https://youtu.be/9-kxnnMA8nM)

 

  1. Be Flexible to Reskill Working Students

Students not only need Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) but, Paula argues, will increasingly need “Integrated Work Learning,” allowing working adults to return to college for short periods of upskilling and reskilling while continuing to work. Institutions need to respond with flexible learning and delivery models, to accommodate more and more part-time learners.

 

  1. Be Nimble to Keep Up with Tech

Higher ed can’t afford to take months or years to develop programs for new technologies like Virtual Reality, when industry needs our graduates yesterday.

 

  1. Go Beyond Technical Skills

There is worldwide recognition that the skills of the future will be people skills, communication, critical thinking and collaboration skills – so colleges have to ensure that they go beyond the technical aspects of our programs, to prepare our students for the evolving economy.

 

  1. Be Open to Collaborations

Colleges and universities need to innovate as a system overall. Collaboration and potentially mergers and integration will be the way of the future, says Paula. “Institutions can’t all continue to do the same thing and think that we’re going to be sustainable.” Technologies should allow global collaboration on research and teaching alike. although “we talk lots about collaboration, but the system is still set up for competition.”

 

  1. Stay Focused on Areas of Excellence

Institutions should try to integrate their traditional full-time academic programs, continuing education and research or applied research labs into a centre of excellence that can reinforce each other. Every college or university might focus on 3 or 4 key areas of strength, to differentiate and focus each institution’s resources on its real strengths.

 

Paula concludes by observing that the broader world is pushing higher ed to innovate. We can be leaders in our communities, partner to innovate, we just have to “step out of our own box and be part of a wider whole.”

Next week, Ken’s conversation with Paula concludes with some ideas for nurturing a culture of innovation on campus, thinking about lessons learned from the marathon running course and the playground sandbox. To be sure you don’t miss it, subscribe today!  http://eduvation.ca/subscribe/

 

Paula Burns served as Provost & VP Academic at NAIT for 5 years before joining Lethbridge College as President & CEO 5 years ago.  In addition to a decade of experience in senior administration, she holds a PhD in Education from Toronto’s OISE, and an executive MBA from Royal Roads University with a specialization in leadership.

Shot on location at Lethbridge College in May 2018, by campus videography staff – thank you again!  (If you would like to host a 10K Site Visit at your campus, see http://eduvation.ca/twk/site-visits/for further information.)

Oct 11, 2018

This week, Ken Steele talks with Paula Burns, President & CEO of Lethbridge College, about 3 notable innovations in programming, pedagogy and applied research at her institution: competency-based learning, stackable modular credentials, and the use of virtual reality technology.

Don’t let its location in small-town Alberta fool you – Lethbridge Collegeis a born innovator, and the frontier mindset seems to spark plenty of innovation. It opened in 1957 as the first publicly-funded community college in Canada, currently enrols more than 5,000 students and 1,900 online learners, and has been named one of the country’s top 50 research colleges. (For more info, visit https://lethbridgecollege.ca)

 

Police Cadet CBE:

In partnership with the police forces for Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, and the Blood Tribe, Lethbridge College has introduced competency-based cadet training. Formerly, graduates of the Justice Studies programs had to repeat training on the job in order to satisfy national police board competency requirements, but the College redesigned the program to align with and test those competencies, so students are field-ready upon graduation.

 

Modular Agricultural Credentials:

Lethbridge College has also been thinking outside the box when it comes to delivering its programs for non-traditional students. For example, it converted the Agriculture Business Risk Management certificate program into a series of one-month modules that students can begin at any time, and take in any order – providing unprecedented flexibility to part-time working students. Moreover, the certificate is “stackable” – leading directly into the College’s own Agricultural Enterprise Management Diploma program, or even a degree program at the University of Lethbridge.

 

Virtual Reality for Research & Teaching:

In October 2017, Lethbridge College opened a beautiful new 170,000 sq ft Trades Technologies Renewal and Innovation building, including 7,000 sq ft of interdisciplinary multipurpose “innovation space.”  Paula describes the current uses, including an irrigation research study and a virtual reality lab being used for research and several programs on campus.  Lethbridge College uses VR for its Wind Turbine Technician program, and Interior Design students used VR for their final capstone projects, designing a house for a local industry competition. Lethbridge students also organized “Merging Realities” in April 2018, the world’s first full-day conference aboutVR conducted entirely inVR, which will now become an annual event.  (For more info see https://lethbridgecollege.ca/news/announcement/overwhelming-success-lethbridge-colleges-virtual-reality-conference-prompts-plans)

 

Paula Burns served as Provost & VP Academic at NAIT for 5 years before joining Lethbridge College as President & CEO 5 years ago.  In addition to a decade of experience in senior administration, she holds a PhD in Education from Toronto’s OISE, and an executive MBA from Royal Roads University with a specialization in leadership.

Shot on location at Lethbridge College in May 2018, by campus videography staff – thank you again!

 

Next week, Ken’s conversation with Paula continues with a look forward to the challenges and opportunities that will shape the next ten years of higher ed.  To be sure you don’t miss it, subscribe today!  http://eduvation.ca/subscribe/

And if you would like to host a 10K Site Visit at your campus, see http://eduvation.ca/twk/site-visits/for further information!

 

Oct 4, 2018

Simon Fraser University is committed to community engagement, so much so that its campus master plan and infrastructure is focused on building communities, in Vancouver, Surrey, and on Burnaby Mountain. SFU is literally setting its vision in stone!

Last week 10K looked at how SFU’s Engagement Strategy has been socialized across the institution, reinforcing efforts at community-based research, cultural engagement, public events and even April Fool’s videos. (ICYMI, check out “Embracing Engagement at SFU” - https://youtu.be/EGWvfBqJEGs ).

In this episode, we look at SFU’s “concrete” commitment to engagement, manifested in its campus infrastructure:

Science Plaza

Although SFU has no Astronomy department, it has constructed the Trottier Observatory on its Burnaby Mountain campus. Several times a month, hundreds of people from the community gather for “Starry Nights” stargazing, and the Science Courtyard incorporates architectural elements to convey a love for science. Ken speaks with Howard Trottier, SFU Physics professor, and founder of the Starry Nights program.

SFU Surrey

SFU opened a major campus in suburban Surrey’s city centre, which is driving the development of a major metropolitan centre from scratch. The main building, designed by Bing Thom, brings together a university, a shopping centre, and an office tower in a mixed-use concept sometimes called “Vancouverism” – and that mixed-use concept is a good metaphor for SFU’s vision of the “Engaged University.” Ken speaks with SFU president Andrew Petter, and VP External Joanne Curry, who for 12 years led the development of the Surrey campus.

Downtown Vancouver

SFU also has the largest presence in downtown Vancouver, including the Segal Graduate School of Business, the RADIUS social innovation incubator, the Harbour Centre, and the Centre for Dialogue. Ken speaks with Shauna Sylvester, the director of the Centre for Dialogue, about the beautiful purpose-built facility and its unique Asia-Pacific Hall.

SFU Woodsworth’s

In the heart of Vancouver’s downtown eastside, SFU constructed a new School for Contemporary Arts in a former landmark, Woodsworth’s Department Store. The development was a vision of Michael Stevenson, former SFU president, to revitalize a troubled region of social and political tension, and built community relationships through music, culture and the arts. Ken speaks with Howard Jang, then the director of the SFU Woodsworth’s Cultural Unit, and Am Johal, the director of SFU’s VanCity Office of Community Engagement.

SFU UniverCity

The most remarkable example of SFU’s community-building is the 65-acre UniverCity development atop Burnaby Mountain, adjacent to its main campus. While the university had a land grant over much of the mountain, they asked the municipality to compress the density of that land grant to a much smaller area. The result is a small town that will ultimately be home to 10,000 people, and some of the world’s most sustainable architecture and community infrastructure. Ken speaks with Gordon Harris, CEO of the SFU Community Trust, which manages the UniverCity development.

10K will revisit SFU’s UniverCity project, the RADIUS incubator, the Science Plaza, the Centre for Dialogue and more in future episodes. To be sure you don’t miss them, please take a moment now to subscribe! http://eduvation.ca/subscribe/

And stay tuned for some bloopers at the end of this episode!

Sep 27, 2018

At BC’s Simon Fraser University, “the Engaged University,” the slogan is much more than mere marketing; it’s the focus for the institution’s planning framework. (Although yes, it also helps differentiate the university’s brand.) SFU president Andrew Petter invited Ken Steele for a campus site visit late last year, and this is the first of many episodes that will be the result.

Since the brand launched in 2012, SFU’s Engagement Strategy has articulated how the institution will make a strategic priority of engagement:

Engaging Students through active and experiential learning, community service learning, co-ops and business incubators.

Engaging Research by partnering with people and organizations in the community and worldwide for mutual benefit.

Engaging Communities beyond mere philanthropy. SFU doesn’t just provide value, but gains value in the process.

See “SFU: Engaging the World” at https://youtu.be/QeHcNcdAglo


What’s most striking about the SFU vision is how it has been thoroughly socialized across all of its campuses, from Burnaby to Surrey and downtown Vancouver. Ken heard about engagement loud and clear when he spoke with Howard Jang (then the Director of SFU Woodward’s Cultural Unit), Joy Johnson (VP Research & International), Shawn Smith (Co-Director of RADIUS SFU social innovation lab and venture incubator), Sarah Lubik (Director of Entrepreneurship & Innovation), Shauna Sylvester (Director, SFU Centre for Dialogue), and Am Johal (Director of SFU’s VanCity Office of Community Engagement). More from these interviews will appear in future episodes!

SFU students even put the theme to music in this official anthem, created for SFU’s 50th anniversary: https://youtu.be/L1AfIcsDNxU

The vision has taken root across the campus because the commitment to engagement has been “part of the DNA” of the institution for decades. It was not a top-down strategy, but it has helped to focus and motivate faculty and staff efforts -- and as it has started to shape hiring decisions, the momentum for engagement continues to build.

One of SFU’s signature engagement programs is the Public Square, which organizes speakers and events that can be shared, both online and through mass media partnerships, to engage the broader public in dialogue. https://youtu.be/sxVGSFchR2c

SFU also clearly invests the resources necessary to produce top-quality video content for use in the classroom and for the public. And SFU’s commitment to engaging the public includes developing some of the best higher ed April Fool’s videos in the world. (See our episode on “Higher Ed Hijinks” at https://youtu.be/I2v4DnFX_Oo ).

Next week, we’ll look at some even more “concrete” ways in which SFU contributes to community-building, investing in physical infrastructure to engage and even create communities. To be sure you don’t miss it, subscribe today!

And if you would like to host a 10K Site Visit at your campus, see http://eduvation.ca/twk/site-visits/ for further information!

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