1. In September, the 10K crew went on location to the 2017 Ontario Universities’ Fair, to interview a dozen higher ed leaders about trends in innovation.

    Celia Ross began teaching French Literature at Algoma in 1982, became Dean in 1997, and served as President from 1998 until 2010 – 12 busy years in which Algoma gained its independence from Laurentian University, and signed the Covenant with Shingwauk Education Trust. When her successor resigned in 2016, the board of governors appointed Celia Acting President until a search could be completed. (Asima Vezina, formerly the board chair, was appointed President in October 2017).

    In this special bonus episode, Ken asks Celia to answer 3 key questions about higher ed innovation.

    Innovations at Algoma?
    Algoma University is particularly noteworthy for its partnerships with First Nations peoples. The University is in a former Indian Residential School building, but is working to change the paradigm of education from colonial to a “two-way dialogue.” As a small university, Algoma demonstrates the continuing value of small undergraduate seminars from first year onward – although now it utilizes videoconferencing and other technologies to create small groups across a wide geography. Algoma’s Institute for Community-Based Research gives students research and volunteer experience, and even leads to paid internships. Again, the philosophy is one of collaboration, in which the communities grow their own solutions.

    The Decade Ahead?
    In a world of rapidly advancing automation and globalization, Celia predicts that university students will be increasingly international, and seek ever-narrower specializations. At the same time, with coming labour market disruptions, Celia anticipates that students will turn to their educations to bring meaning to their lives, resulting in a renaissance of interest in Philosophy, Religious Studies, the Humanities and Fine Arts. She also sees exciting developments in First Nations education coming thanks to Ontario’s funding of the Aboriginal Institutes Consortium. Universities will need to ensure that a diverse range of students feels comfortable on our campuses, and that all our students come to understand other cultures and histories. We need to be forerunners in the fight against ignorance and racism. Over the next decade, universities will increasingly partner with colleges, industry and other communities: “the days of the ivory tower are gone.”

    Culture of Innovation?
    Celia observes that it can be challenging to nurture a culture of innovation on campus. We need to value the innovators on campus, no matter how difficult or demanding they may seem. Leaders need to make time to discuss the big ideas, either in a strategic plan consultation process or during an off-site strategic retreat. Especially for isolated institutions, it is very important to bring in external speakers to spark new ideas. Our students are being encouraged to think innovatively, and you can see them becoming the leaders of tomorrow.

    Watch for more interviews soon, or to be sure you don’t miss them, join more than 15,000 Ten with Ken subscribers and followers on any of a dozen platforms. Stay in the Loop by subscribing to our free email newsletter at eduvation.ca/subscribe/

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  2. In September, the 10K crew went on location to the 2017 Ontario Universities’ Fair, to interview a dozen higher ed leaders about trends in innovation.
    At the time, Brian Stevenson was finishing his term as President & Vice-Chancellor at Lakehead University. (Moira McPherson replaced him as interim President in January 2018). Brian’s extensive higher ed administrative experience includes founding the Canadian Studies program at ITAM in Mexico, serving as AVP International at uAlberta, Provost at uWinnipeg, and most recently President at Lakehead (2010-17). In this special bonus episode, Ken asks Brian to answer 3 key questions about higher ed innovation.

    Innovations at Lakehead?
    Brian starts by describing Lakehead’s new “Student Central,” a brand-new one-stop student services office that aims to help students focus on academic studies instead of bureaucratic paperwork. He then observes that Lakehead has been a leader in Indigenous higher ed for decades, from Canada’s first Vice-Provost Aboriginal Initiatives and Truth & Reconciliation Chair, to mandatory Indigenous courses and extensive support services for Indigenous students. Lakehead’s “Achievement Program” reaches out to students starting in grade 4, bringing them to campus and setting aside scholarship funds for them. Lakehead has immersive telepresence technology connecting its two campuses in Thunder Bay and Orillia, allowing professors to co-teach students on both campuses. And Lakehead has extensive partnerships with Confederation College and Georgian College, to create seamless collaborative programs that offer students “the best of both worlds.”

    The Decade Ahead?
    Over the next ten years, Brian predicts that higher ed will make more effective use of technology for distance education, offer more experiential and work-integrated learning opportunities, and increasingly make use of technology and active learning pedagogies in the classroom. Key to encouraging faculty to adopt effective approaches will be the expansion of campus centres, like Lakehead’s new Teaching & Learning Commons. Universities will also work to promote entrepreneurship, not just among business students but across the campus, through programs like Lakehead’s Entrepreneurship Certificate. Brian also emphasizes that internationalization will be critical for universities, not just to recruit students and generate revenue, but more importantly to expose local students to global experience, other languages, and global citizenship.

    Culture of Innovation?
    Brian believes that universities are “hotbeds of innovation,” because they are not only disseminators of knowledge but also creators of knowledge, through innovative research. First and foremost, to nurture a culture of innovation, higher ed leaders need to LISTEN to students, faculty and staff across campus: ultimately the sustainable innovations won’t come from senior administration, but will arise from those working on the front lines. Leaders also need to promote strategic partnerships, with other educational institutions, the private sector, non-profits, municipalities, and international organizations and institutions. Universities are social agents for positive change, Brian says, primarily because of those external partnerships.

    Watch for more interviews soon, or to be sure you don’t miss them, join more than 15,000 Ten with Ken subscribers and followers on any of a dozen platforms. Stay in the Loop by subscribing to our free email newsletter at eduvation.ca/subscribe/

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  3. In September, the 10K crew went on location to the 2017 Ontario Universities’ Fair, to interview a dozen higher ed leaders about trends in innovation.

    Leo Groarke holds a PhD in Philosophy from Western, and has experience as Provost at the University of Windsor, and founding Principal of the Wilfrid Laurier campus in Brantford. Since 2014, he has served as President & Vice-Chancellor of Trent University. In this special bonus episode, Ken asks Leo to answer 3 key questions about higher ed innovation.

    Innovations at Trent?

    Leo observes that Trent is proudly focused on the undergraduate experience, and is starting to return to its roots of federated colleges, modelled after Oxford and Cambridge. Trent is revitalizing humanities programs by offering a wide range of double degrees, and has partnered with Swansea University in Wales to offer an international Law and Arts dual degree. The renowned Bata Library is currently undergoing a $20-million renovation, and will remove half of its print collection to make room for an entrepreneurship centre, research and active learning classrooms. And finally, Trent is developing an 85-acre research park focused on environmental science and green industry. The park will generate revenue, advance research, and offer students experiential learning opportunities.

    The Decade Ahead?

    Leo predicts Internationalization will be very significant for Canadian universities over the next 5-10 years, and not just for revenue but to build global understanding. Likewise Indigenization will be a big priority, although Trent has been working at this since the 1970s when it launched Canada’s first Indigenous Studies programs. Trent’s Indigenous Environmental Science program, in particular, tries to marry the Eurocentric, scientific perspective with Indigenous ways of knowing. Leo dismisses MOOCs as overhyped, having had marginal effect on most university programs, but he notes the growing emphasis on applied learning and work experience: the Ontario government wants 100% of undergraduates to get experiential learning opportunities. But Leo cautions that universities also play an important role as places for reflection. The decade ahead will be “tough times for universities,” thanks to pressure on demographics and government funding, but “necessity is the mother of invention” and universities are good at recreating themselves in useful ways.

    Culture of Innovation?

    Ken suggests that academic culture tends to reinforce “zero fault tolerance,” which can make it difficult to encourage innovation or entrepreneurial approaches. Leo agrees that universities don’t tolerate mistakes well, and that in itself is a mistake: even failed experiments can lead to crucial insights that move knowledge forward. Universities put too much emphasis on grades for admission, attracting students who have never experienced failure, and are unwilling to take risks. Even researchers tend to be cautious in order to attract funding and pass peer review: the system is stacked against radical disruptive ideas. Higher ed leaders need to support innovators on campus, provide them with budget and moral support. When you have creative people, there is a great deal of opportunity for universities launching innovative new programs.

    Watch for more interviews soon, or to be sure you don’t miss them, join more than 15,000 Ten with Ken subscribers and followers on any of a dozen platforms. Stay in the Loop by subscribing to our free email newsletter at eduvation.ca/subscribe/

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  4. In September, the 10K crew went on location to the 2017 Ontario Universities’ Fair, to interview a dozen higher ed leaders about trends in innovation.

    Catherine Newell Kelly was appointed Registrar at the University of Waterloo just a month before this interview, after serving for two decades as Director of Waterloo’s Centre for Extended Learning, as well as stints as Executive Director of eCampus Ontario and President of CAUCE and OCULL. In this special bonus episode, edited to 7 minutes, Ken asks Cathy 3 key questions.

    Innovations at Waterloo?

    Cathy emphasizes Waterloo’s liberal intellectual property policies, and its roots in co-operative education, and its co-op program has grown to be the largest in Canada, with students earning $253 million a year. Waterloo is pushing the envelope to make experiential learning more flexible, like the EDGE experiential learning certificate program for non-co-op students. Waterloo’s Velocity is the largest free start-up incubator in the world. After 50 years in online learning, Waterloo is exploring Labster and Riipen to bring laboratory and co-op work experiences to online students.

    The Decade Ahead?

    Cathy predicts that university-business partnerships will become much more important, with the government’s emphasis on work-integrated learning. Transformative research, which changes what we know, will grow, and interdisciplinarity will continue to drive research and teaching. Universities will also need to enhance the flexibility of program delivery and structure for adult learners and working students.

    Culture of Innovation?

    Cathy believes that senior leadership has to foster a culture of entrepreneurship on campus, in which students, staff and faculty feel safe enough to take strategic risks.

    Watch for more interviews soon, or to be sure you don’t miss them, join more than 15,000 Ten with Ken subscribers and followers on any of a dozen platforms. Stay in the Loop by subscribing to our free email newsletter at eduvation.ca/subscribe/

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  5. In September, the 10K crew went on location to the 2017 Ontario Universities’ Fair, to interview a dozen higher ed leaders about trends in innovation.

    Alan Wildeman has served as the President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Windsor for a full decade. (He was appointed in July 2008 and recently announced his retirement for the end of June 2018.) In this special bonus episode, edited to 7 minutes, Ken asks Alan 3 key questions.

    Innovations at Windsor?

    Alan points to his university’s community engagement and new downtown facilities in heritage buildings. Innovative cross-border collaborative degrees with the University of Detroit-Mercy, such as the dual juris doctor (law degree) and Visual Arts – Architecture pathways. And the Sexual Assault Bystander Initiative, piloted last year, which will be rolled out to every incoming first-year student by Fall 2018.

    The Decade Ahead?

    Alan predicts steadily increasing interdisciplinarity, such as between computing and automotive engineering, or environmental science and the social sciences. He also observes that the steadily growing diversity of Canada and of its campuses, particularly the University of Windsor, will become a major engine of innovation in academe and the economy.

    Culture of Innovation?

    Alan observes that university leaders don’t have all the answers, but need to set the conditions and context for creative people to unleash their own potential for innovation. For example, Windsor’s SPF50 Strategic Priorities Fund is allowing them to hire 50 tenure-track faculty in priority areas, injecting fresh ideas and new diversity among the faculty. Windsor has also put in place a $1 million curriculum reform and development fund, to conduct market research, develop new courses and interdisciplinary programs.

    Watch for more interviews soon, or to be sure you don’t miss them, join more than 15,000 Ten with Ken subscribers and followers on any of a dozen platforms. Stay in the Loop by subscribing to our free email newsletter at eduvation.ca/subscribe/

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Ken Steele is Canada's most trusted higher ed monitor and futurist, and an in-demand campus and keynote speaker. He co-founded Academica Group in 2004, created Canada's leading higher ed news daily, co-authored Canada's first book on Strategic Enrolment…


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Ken Steele is Canada's most trusted higher ed monitor and futurist, and an in-demand campus and keynote speaker. He co-founded Academica Group in 2004, created Canada's leading higher ed news daily, co-authored Canada's first book on Strategic Enrolment Intelligence. He facilitates retreats and workshops, consults on institutional brand strategy, recruitment marketing, student services and strategic planning. This channel features his almost-weekly podcast, "Ten with Ken."

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