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Ten with Ken (Audio)
12 minutes | Sep 30, 2020
Speaking Out about Mental Health
In pre-pandemic times, Ken Steele sits down on the Carleton University "Friendship Bench" with president and vice-chancellor (and neuropsychologist) Benoit-Antoine Bacon to talk frankly about his own journey to mental health, and his advice for students. Mental health has been a significant concern on higher ed campuses for a decade or more. Anxiety and depression have been rising. In Fall 2019, the National College Health Assessment found 39% of students in moderate or serious psychological distress, 49% experiencing loneliness, and 27% reporting consistently high levels of stress for the preceding year. The COVID19 pandemic has exacerbated those feelings of loneliness, stress and distress. But President Bacon emphasizes that mental health issues are not a new problem, although there’s a growing realization in our society of their prevalence and impact. “It’s really the new generation… that are leading the way. In many ways, we’re following their lead… because the young people are showing courage.” He has been quite open about his own mental health journey, even at his presidential installation ceremony in 2018 ( https://youtu.be/zI_XuTexdPo ). His father was abusive, and Benoit himself spent 20 years in and out of depression. “I thought it was important to lead from a position of honesty… Talking openly and honestly about mental health issues, their symptoms and their causes, is the first step towards addressing them, both as an individual and as society.” Certainly students at Carleton appreciate their president’s willingness to speak openly about mental wellness. “You don’t have to be bound by your past… The journey of healing is always continuing, it’s never ever done.” The worst scenario is to be someone who believes they don’t deserve to seek help or speak openly about the healing they need. “A live lived in trauma, by yourself, is a desperate life that you don’t want to live.” Mental illness has multiple causes, genetic and epigenetic, and it doesn’t matter what form of trauma a person experiences, the issue is the self-perceptions and habits of thought that hold them back. “If you’re raised in a way that you’re worthless and that the world is dangerous, you’ll never have a fun day, ever!” People need to retrain their minds to perceive reality differently: “The world is both beautiful AND dangerous… We have more control than we think about whether the world is perceived as beautiful or dangerous.” This part 1 of a series on mental health at Carleton. We’ll be back soon with: - Suzanne Blanchard, VP Students & Enrolment, on Carleton’s holistic approach to mental wellness - Rebecca Drodge, a recent graduate, on Carleton’s peer wellness programs - Shannon Noonan, Special Projects Officer for Student Mental Health Engagement and Pet Therapy, about Carleton’s impressive therapy dog programs Stay tuned! Or to be sure you don’t miss them, take a moment to subscribe, here or by email at http://eduvation.ca/subscribe/ A special thank-you again to Benoit, Suzanne, Rebecca, Shannon, and the Carleton University videographers who made this possible!
16 minutes | May 2, 2020
“Blended” approaches to teaching and learning (sometimes also called “hybrid”) combine in-class discussion and activities with a substantial proportion of online course delivery. Done well, blended courses can combine the best of online and on-campus pedagogy, improve student learning outcomes, provide flexibility for non-traditional students, and even save institutions on classroom space and operating costs. To really maximize flexibility for students, about a dozen institutions are pilot-testing “HyFlex” courses, which allow students to seamlessly shift between attending class in person, joining in synchronously online, or catching the class asynchronously later – and they can change their mind, fluidly, from day to day. HyFlex courses might just be the best way to ensure academic continuity in the face of campus disruptions, whether floods, wildfires, earthquakes, or even… global pandemics. This week, Ken Steele sits down (via Zoom) with Dr Jenni Hayman, Chair of Teaching & Learning at Cambrian College (in Sudbury Ontario), to learn more. The goal of HyFlex course design is to give students access to equivalent learning experiences, whether in-person, synchronous or asynchronous. There are “affordances” to each mode of delivery: in-person and synchronous learning provides immediacy, access to body language and conversational interaction. Asynchronous learning allows students to pace themselves, reflect more, and participate online if they are uncomfortable doing so in class. Giving students choices allows them to accommodate changing life needs, from work or childcare responsibilities to inclement weather or self-isolation. Choice also helps motivate adult learners, empowering them and engaging them more. Hyflex learning design starts with learning outcomes, with thought to encouraging active learning and authentic assessment. Only then does the HyFlex teacher start to think about technology and delivery modes, and the different activities that can happen in different spaces. How live on-campus students interact with online students depends on the approach of the faculty member, who needs to juggle the needs of three audiences simultaneously. At a minimum, all the students will share an asynchronous LMS shell, and ideally the students will support each other and help each other learn. “Leveraging the learners is where the gold is,” Jenni observes. The challenge for faculty developing and delivering effective HyFlex courses is (naturally) finding enough time for planning, for the technology learning curve, and for maximizing use of the LMS. Hyflex takes as least as much time and effort to plan as a fully asynchronous online course. Jenni is really appreciative of the Cambrian faculty members who have been partnering with the Teaching & Learning Innovation Hub, who are open-minded and eager experimenters with pedagogy like HyFlex. HyFlex is still a relatively new delivery method. In addition to Cambrian, there are 8 US institutions pioneering HyFlex: Ohio State University, University of Denver (University College), University of Michigan, Montana State University Billings, San Francisco State University, University of St Thomas (Minnesota), and Peirce College (Philadelphia), and Delgado Community College (Louisiana). Internationally, HyFlex is also being used at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium. At Cambrian, 3 of the 4 HyFlex programs are graduate certificates, which appeal both to working Canadians and to international students. (The former find distance learning more flexible, but immigration requirements demand that the latter study in-person on campus.) For successful HyFlex delivery, institutions need to think through the learner experience and the experimental mode of teaching, and ensure that there are adequate supports and expertise in place to help faculty and students alike. The most important thing we are learning right now, Jenni observes, is “digital red-lining.” Many community college students do not have access at home to broadband internet or modern computers for effective online learning. Many programs and students at community college also need face-to-face, hands-on vocational learning opportunities. The students will need additional support, encouragement and care to be successful online. Thank you to Cambrian's marketing office, for providing stock video footage to help illustrate this interview. An even bigger thank you to University College at the University of Denver, for generously allowing us to use excerpts from their video, "Hyflex Lab at University College," to provide a really helpful look at a HyFlex class in action. (Unfortunately there would be no way to film a class on campus at the moment.) You can see their beautiful 2-minute video at https://youtu.be/zwTdscUPUHo For the latest emerging trends and bright ideas shaping the future of higher education, subscribe to Ken’s free daily newsletter, the Eduvation Insider, at http://eduvation.ca/subscribe/
14 minutes | Dec 13, 2019
Festive & Furry!
The fifth annual Ten with Ken Holiday Special continues our review of highlights from more than 500 college and university greeting videos released around the world last December. In part 3, “Festive & Fuzzy,” we turn to the cuddlier side of the season, with a look at campus mascots, puppy dogs, and classic movies. Mascots appear often in holiday videos, as we saw in parts 1 and 2, including the University of Virginia’s Cavalier, Upper Iowa University’s Pete the Peacock, Wheaton College’s Roary the Lion, James Madison University’s Duke Dog, and Cape Breton University’s Caper. Mascots played Santa as well, such as JW the Mustang in Western University’s video. At Atlanta’s Emory University, it was not the official mascot, Swoop the Eagle, but the “spirit” of campus, Dooley the Biology Lab Skeleton, who played Santa. The best-in-class “Mascot as Santa” video, though, came from the University of Alabama: Big Al, the elephant, was rushing around campus dispensing gifts, when he needs to figure out how to cheer up a disappointed little girl. Although cat videos (like my current fave, Owl Kitty) dominate the internet, when it comes to higher ed holiday videos, it’s all canines all the way! They make cameo appearances at tree-lighting ceremonies, music recitals, and even serve as a prop for presidents. An adorable golden retriever puppy warmed up the bonfire at Algoma University. Two malteses cheered up a fireside chat from Quinnipiac University president Judy Olian. At Duke University, president Vincent Price recited a poem to his golden doodle and labradoodle. Dogs are also increasingly the stars of holiday videos. Teddy and Travis toured the College of Veterinary Medicine at Ohio State University. At North Carolina’s Meredith College, president Jo Allen’s dog Bachelor has starred in holiday greetings for years – delivering ornaments and candy canes, making a fitness resolution and hitting the treadmill. Last year, he took us on an aerial tour of campus, flying his WWI prop plane. Bachelor has earned a special lifetime achievement award for his contributions so far. Landmark College president Peter Eden talked to the animals – by Facetime! And the campus therapy dogs texted each other. And speaking of therapy dogs, the theme of well-being has been increasing in holiday videos. The SAIT Student Association released several videos last year emphasizing support services. The Thompson Rivers University student life office produced a tongue-in-cheek video about winter wellness. And of course, plenty of videos focus on homesickness and loneliness. Lonely mascots often find a happy ending. At the University of California Merced, Rufus the Bobcat felt neglected by busy students until he launched a campus feel-good initiative. At the University of Guelph, Gryph snuggled up to watch holiday videos with president Franco Vaccarino. At Scotland’s University of Stirling, the mascot Squirrel was deeply depressed until he was brought into a warm circle of friends to celebrate the holidays. “Be the Difference” was the best-in-class video of this type last year. Often, lonely mascots parody classic Christmas movies like “Home Alone,” eating tons of ice cream and getting into trouble. Last year it was Penn State’s Nittany Lion, and the University of Alberta’s GUBA the golden bear. But we also saw the president of Regis University, Father John Fitzgibbons, recreating holiday classics like “Home Alone,” “Elf,” “Christmas Vacation” and even “Love Actually.” With even higher production standards, the John Chambers School of Business & Economics at West Virginia U produced a wonderful best-in-class collection of movie parodies. It was matched only by another outstanding parody of “Christmas Vacation” from the University of Tennessee – Martin, in which Chancellor Keith Carver performs superbly. Of course, the other popular holiday movie parody was “The Grinch,” from UK’s Newcastle & Stafford Colleges Group to Bellarmine University. This episode contains clips from more than 500 higher ed holiday videos that Ken collected last year. You can find our full collection of 2018 videos on Youtube at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLodJ8ParJmYXZ7unDyH9cDK-lwTwGul7B And we’ve started collecting 2019 higher ed holiday videos at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLodJ8ParJmYXaztYot1vitgTZ5AHfAfJk If you want to add one, please use this special link: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLodJ8ParJmYXaztYot1vitgTZ5AHfAfJk&jct=Tm_lbyblL2ee4fhdD9En0aFVEu-NVg After 3 parts and 40 minutes, we may have done what we can for this month. Ten with Ken will be back in January with more serious topics, from virtual reality in pedagogy, to student mental health and therapy dogs. To be sure you don’t miss a thing, be sure to subscribe at http://eduvation.ca/subscribe/
14 minutes | Dec 10, 2019
The “Ten with Ken” Holiday Special continues with part 2: Season’s Eatings! Every year, baked goods and particularly gingerbread are prominent in higher ed holiday greeting videos. Often, we see students baking together, such as in a best-in-class vid from Wellesley College last year. More often than not, the bakers are joined by the school mascot, like Azul the Eagle at Florida Gulf Coast University. At Laurentian University, interim president Pierre Zundel made the rounds, spreading holiday cheer and deliciously empty calories around the campus library. At Cape Breton University, the cookies were a family recipe of mascot “the Caper”. At James Madison University, in Harrisburg Virginia, Duke the Dog likes to bake solo – but as a result, the cookies were shaped like dog treats! Decorating gingerbread cookies is an event in and of itself. At William Paterson University, in New Jersey, president Helldobler hosted a cookie decorating party at his home. Stanford University included a life-sized gingerbread house in their holiday video – with decorations that looked good enough to eat! At Utah’s Dixie State University, president Biff Williams and his family get into a food fight while baking holiday cookies. Gingerbread often sparks some friendly competition. At Boston University, students from Engineering and Fine Arts were pitted against each other to build the perfect gingerbread house, in an amusing best-in-class video. At the University of the Fraser Valley, culinary arts, indigenous visual art, and engineering push technology even further, creating an award-winning gingerbread house using a laser cutter. The University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee shared some amusing examples of gingerbread construction fails in another best-in-class video. Several holiday videos included campfire singalongs, like those from Algoma University or Trent University, toasting marshmallows or even making s’mores – like at Wheaton College in Massachusetts. Quite a few institutions released recipe-style baking videos, including “high altitude baking tips” from Colorado State University, and a 350-year-old meat pie recipe from Loughborough University. More metaphorically, the University of Waterloo Faculty of the Environment shared their own secrets for success. Gathering to share a holiday meal is a powerful ritual, explored in videos from Colorado College, Tarleton State University, the University of Toronto Mississauga, and the University of Windsor. But perhaps the most moving holiday video depicting a campus meal came from the University of Aberdeen. It depicted a student, away from loved ones, baking tarts to contribute to a holiday feast on campus with her friends. The warmth of the group shines through the cold winter night, as they stroll through the Aberdeen campus, and join the tree-lighting ceremony. Definitely a best in class, this was one of the overall besthigher ed holiday videos last year. This episode contains clips from more than 500 higher ed holiday videos that Ken collected last year. You can find our full collection of 2018 videos on Youtube at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLodJ8ParJmYXZ7unDyH9cDK-lwTwGul7B And we’ve started collecting 2019 higher ed holiday videos at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLodJ8ParJmYXaztYot1vitgTZ5AHfAfJk If you want to add one, please use this special link: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLodJ8ParJmYXaztYot1vitgTZ5AHfAfJk&jct=Tm_lbyblL2ee4fhdD9En0aFVEu-NVg Ten with Ken will be back in a few more days with part 3 of our Holiday Special, “When the Fur Flies” - featuring parodies of classic films and Christmas carols, multiple mascots, and plenty of wagging puppy dog tails. To be sure you don’t miss it, be sure to subscribe at http://eduvation.ca/subscribe/ Meanwhile, if you missed part 1, “Mid-Winter Magic,” you can catch it at https://youtu.be/NGWq5-4xWl0
14 minutes | Dec 5, 2019
This year’s “Ten with Ken” Holiday Special starts with part 1: Midwinter Magic! In last year’s higher ed holiday videos, campus marketers were clearly anxious about doing a good job, such as at the Bryan School of Business & Economics at the University of North Carolina Greensboro, Upper Iowa University, Chambers College of Business & Economics at West Virginia University, and Newcastle & Stafford College Group. Some campus leaders invite lots of input, such as at the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism at the University of Southern California. But president Ryan of the University of Virginia took matters into his own hands, in the best-in-class “presidential message” video. As always, hundreds of videos were just animated greeting cards, but some stood out from UBC Okanagan, Otis College of Art & Design in Los Angeles, and the Mellon College of Science at Carnegie Mellon University. The best-in-class “miniature campus” video came from New York’s Barnard College. We saw tree-trimming or tree-lighting ceremonies at Sweet Briar College, Mount Saint Vincent University, King’s University College, and DePaul University. Meadow Brook Hall at Oakland University was decked with all the trimmings, while Elon University released an hour-long “yule log” video (without a fireplace). Many campuses are beautiful in winter, and snow sports featured in videos from Bishop’s University, McGill University, Western Carolina University, and Trent University. At the University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management staged ice sculpting. But in the southern hemisphere, the holidays fall at the height of summer – so Santa visits the University of Western Australia wearing shorts and sandals! One new trend in last year’s videos was giant snowglobes on campuses, including Grand Valley State University in Michigan the University of Leicester in England, and the University of La Verne. Although it started two years back, the use of robots in holiday videos really accelerated last year. Some good examples came from the University of South Florida, the UCLA Robotics & Mechanisms Lab, Germany’s Forschungszentrum Informatic research centre, and perhaps even the Western University Archives. Eschewing tradition, the Chancellor of Purdue University Indianapolis was sent on a scavenger hunt, while at Oklahoma State University, president Burns Hargis and his wife took on whitewater rafting. Chancellor Susan Koch of the University of Illinois Springfield became a cartoon and went snowboarding with the provost, while president Feridun Hamdullahpur of the University of Waterloo was turned into claymation in the best-in-class “animated president” video. Animated presidents were just a new twist on the longstanding tradition of amusing videos from animation students, and last year we saw good examples from Sheridan College, Centennial College, and Emily Carr University of Art & Design. The best-in-class “animated greeting” video came from Scotland’s University of Stirling. This episode contains clips from about 60 of the 500+ higher ed holiday videos that Ken collected last year. You can find our full collection of 2018 videos on Youtube at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLodJ8ParJmYXZ7unDyH9cDK-lwTwGul7B And we’ve started collecting 2019 higher ed holiday videos at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLodJ8ParJmYXaztYot1vitgTZ5AHfAfJk If you want to add one, please use this special link: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLodJ8ParJmYXaztYot1vitgTZ5AHfAfJk&jct=Tm_lbyblL2ee4fhdD9En0aFVEu-NVg Ten with Ken will be back in a couple of days with part 2 of our Holiday Special, “Season’s Eatings” - featuring gingerbread, baking, smores, campus feasts and more. To be sure you don’t miss it, be sure to subscribe at http://eduvation.ca/subscribe/ Meanwhile, you can watch last year’s Holiday Countdown at https://youtu.be/g1KhnHCqMqw
12 minutes | Oct 27, 2019
Makerspaces as Learning Spaces
So-called “maker spaces” are proliferating in campus libraries, but truly effective ones require much more than a 3D printer and some shiny new toys. This week, Ken Steele chats with Kerry Harmer, the Maker Studio Specialist at Mount Royal University, about the potential connections between academic makerspaces and undergraduate curriculum and pedagogy. Makerspaces are creative spaces for thinking differently, Kerry explains, “a place for students to make a mess, to be creative, and a safe environment to get things wrong.” MRU’s Maker Studio is a bright, glass-walled space on the main floor of the Riddell Library & Learning Centre. (If you missed our episode on MRU’s new $110 million library, check it out: https://youtu.be/eSM-wyyxXVs ). The Maker Studio has 3D printers and scanners, laser cutters, 7 kinds of sewing machines, and a full suite of electronics and robotics from Little Bits to ADA Fruit, Raspberry Pi, Arduino and more. (For an inventory of equipment and software see https://library.mtroyal.ca/teaching/makerstudio/resources ). Mount Royal’s Maker Studio is “completely barrier-free,” open to students, faculty, staff and the external community in Calgary, free of charge. Because material costs can cause users to second-guess themselves, all materials for 3D printing are offered completely free as part of the pilot year, to help build digital literacies and see how the technology gets used. So why do Makerspaces so often wind up in campus libraries? Meagan Bowler, Dean of Libraries at MRU, explains that “a library collection is not just a collection of books. It can be a collection of software, of tools. It aligns with our mission to collect the things our users need to create new knowledge and get it out there into the world.” Moreover, Kerry Harmer emphasizes that locating new technologies centrally on a campus removes barriers, inspires interdisciplinary collaboration, and democratizes the technology. “There’s a real kind of magic and synergy, peer learning and self-directed learning” when students from across the university work beside each other in the space. A big part of Kerry’s job is working with faculty across many disciplines to develop unexpected curriculum connections for their students and class projects. Science and technology faculty and students actually seem to be using the Maker Studio less than students in the Arts and elsewhere. So far, more than 24 courses from all faculties have done coursework in the Maker Studio, from Math, Child Studies, and Interior Design, to Social Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship classes. Makerspaces are increasingly part of the learning commons in primary and secondary schools, so it’s really important that MRU’s pre-service elementary school teachers get familiar with the technologies that will be in the K-12 curriculum they will teach. In addition to working one-on-one with faculty across the university, Kerry is developing a full-day faculty workshop to expose them to the design thinking process, and the resources of the Maker Studio. Then faculty can better consider how to incorporate making experiences into their curricula, and how to assess the learning that lies behind student creations. Maker spaces are about much more than 3D printers, which “can only output as good as you put in.” The key, Kerry explains, is to understand that the learning in a makerspace “is not necessarily about the making; sometimes it’s about the thinking,” from problem definition and human-centred design to design thinking. The ideation process is similar, for a 3D print or a traditional essay: “The tools are just the output for the thinking that happens in the Maker Studio, which is creative, which is innovative… it’s about making change.” Special thanks to Mount Royal University for hosting our visit and providing the videographers for this episode. Next time, we’ll return to MRU to explore the 360° VR Immersion Studio in more depth. 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/
14 minutes | Oct 18, 2019
A Library for the 21st Century
For decades, college and university libraries have been continuously renovating their space and replacing technology. But what would a 21st-century library look like if you could build it from scratch, with a $100 million budget? Two years ago, Calgary’s Mount Royal University got the chance to do just that! This week, Ken Steele talks with MRU Provost Lesley Brown and Dean of Libraries Meagan Bowler about the Riddell Library & Learning Centre. When it was announced that Mount Royal College would gain university status, the existing library was “woefully inadequate.” “We knew that we would have to build our collections, expand our services, and the information environment was changing in a rapid way,” Meagan explains. The new $110 million facility opened in 2017 as the new centerpiece of the campus, and also houses MRU’s Department of Education, Student Learning Services, the Institute for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, and the Academic Development Centre for faculty. The furnishings, architecture and zoning are designed to be progressively quieter from floor 1 through 4, and student spaces range from purely introverted study carrels and cozy benches for two, through lounge spaces and walking desks. But the 34 collaboration rooms have been the biggest hit, constantly booked up by students. The MRU Library is a testament to active learning and emerging technologies. “We knew that students weren’t just consuming information,” Meagan explains. “They needed space and technology to engage with it, to mobilize it, to create it, to hack it up, to change it and to share it with other people.” The main floor “Ideas Lounge,” and a similar classroom, feature massive 6x3 screen touch-enabled visualization walls that allow groups to engage with multiple inputs simultaneously. The building also includes a VR Experience Lab, audio recording suites, and media production studios. In particular, we’ll focus on the 360-degree “Immersion Studio” and the “Maker Studio” in upcoming episodes. The campus library is the “heart” of the university, explains Lesley, but also an “interstitial space” for exploring teaching practices, accessing and engaging with new information and technologies. MRU centralized these facilities to make them available across faculties and departments, and for interdisciplinary work. But an effective library needs more than space and resources, emphasizes Meagan: it also needs the expertise of talented librarians. “It’s a jungle out there in information-land,” she jests. Special thanks to Mount Royal University for hosting our visit and providing the videographers for this episode. In upcoming episodes, we’ll return to MRU to explore the Maker Studio and Immersion Studio in more depth. To be sure you don’t miss them, 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/
11 minutes | Sep 11, 2019
Bringing Science to Life
Children are natural born scientists, with an insatiable curiosity and desire to experiment – but studies have demonstrated that somehow, through years of formal education, most teenagers lose their enthusiasm for science. By the time they are applying to college, less than a quarter say they remain very interested in science, which they consider “complicated” and “difficult” rather than “fun” or “inspiring.” (See the findings of the CFI’s “Canadian Youth Science Monitor” at https://www.innovation.ca/sites/default/files/news_items/Jun-7-2010-ipsos.pdf). This week, Ken chats with Bonnie Schmidt, founder and president of Let’s Talk Science, about the importance of keeping young people engaged in STEM fields, and some recommendations for science teaching at the primary, secondary, and tertiary levels. She emphasizes that “what’s happening at K-12 is actually THE most important economic driver for this country.” Since 1991, Let’s Talk Science has mobilized more than 26,000 college and university students to bring experiential, hands-on STEM activities to some 5 million elementary and secondary school students. LTS provides web tools, governance, resources, guidance and support for the student teams at no charge. “We love bringing science to life!” (For more information, check out http://letstalkscience.ca) LTS has been leading Canada2067, an ambitious initiative examining international trends in STEM education, and mapping future directions for the next 50 years. (Check out their resources at https://canada2067.ca) Canada2067 brought together Grade 9/10 students, millennials, parents, teachers, industry and non-profit organization leaders, and policy makers across the country, and there was considerable agreement on some general principles, including: RELEVANT: To keep students of any age engaged with course content, it has to be clearly relevant to their daily lives. EXPERIENTIAL: Hands-on, group activities have been a key component of the Let’s Talk Science program for decades. (We explored the importance of experiential learning in this episode: https://youtu.be/DU1gRLZeEIo). INTERDISCIPLINARY: Bonnie emphasizes that the best way to create relevance for students is to move towards “an interdisciplinary, issues-based” approach to teaching, addressing big global challenges from multiple perspectives. In Saskatchewan, for example, there are some interesting experiments in multidisciplinary senior-level science courses. But colleges and universities will need to accept those interdisciplinary credits, and higher ed instructors need to revisit the tradition of “teaching how we were taught.” TEACHER PD: “We’re not investing enough in our teachers,” Bonnie laments, at any level of education. Teachers need resources, training, and time to develop lessons and share best practices. PARENTS: “Parents are the #1 influencer of the students taking optional credits at high school,” and it’s crucial that parents urge their children to persist in STEM subjects even when they are challenging, to keep higher ed doors open. Parents also need to keep an open mind about non-traditional teaching approaches, such as experiential or inquiry-based learning. “The world is undergoing such transformation right now,” Bonnie says, that we need to reconsider how we teach STEM in primary, secondary, and tertiary classrooms. Memorization is a far less important part of learning. We need accelerated ways to upskill and reskill displaced workers, and more pathways between universities and colleges. “We’re all recognizing that change is needed,” Bonnie says. “I have never actually seen the stars align with a desire to change in education at all levels that I’ve seen in Canada over the last 5 years.” Bonnie Schmidt holds a PhD in Physiology from Western University, was identified as one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40, is a member of the Order of Canada and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. She has chaired numerous national science education committees and task forces, and served on the board of governors of Ontario Tech University and the board of directors of the Ontario Genomics Institute. Special thanks to Let’s Talk Science, who hosted Ken as keynote at the Digital Literacy Summit in Toronto in late January 2018, and provided the videographers for this interview. Next time, 10K travels to Mount Royal University in Calgary, to check out the latest in makerspaces and immersive VR at the Riddell Library and Learning Centre. 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/
13 minutes | Jun 11, 2019
Radical Ideas: RADIUS @ SFU
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/
9 minutes | 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/
8 minutes | Apr 30, 2019
Invest in Your People
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/
7 minutes | Apr 22, 2019
Equity & Diversity on Campus
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/
8 minutes | Apr 12, 2019
Interdisciplinarity & Soft Skills for an AI Age
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/
10 minutes | Mar 27, 2019
University vs College?
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.)
10 minutes | Mar 20, 2019
Mental Health & Student Success
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.)
12 minutes | 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.)
9 minutes | Mar 6, 2019
Industry in our DNA!
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.
6 minutes | Feb 28, 2019
4 Ways to Go Global
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.
8 minutes | Feb 20, 2019
Ownership & Initiative: Nurturing a Culture of Innovation
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.
10 minutes | Feb 14, 2019
Immigration & Participation on the Prairies
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.
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