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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...


Employment Guaranteed!

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...


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...


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...


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...


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...


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...


Cultivating Creativity

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...


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...


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...


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)...


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...


Let the Best Ideas Win!

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


Small College, Global Edge: LaSalle College Vancouver

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


Moving Mountains: UniverCity @ SFU

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


Higher Ed Holiday Video Countdown

Ken Steele is back with his 4th annual Holiday Special, and this time he’s counting down the top ten higher ed holiday videos from last December, based on a rubric including production quality, acting, music, creativity and emotional impact. The Holiday Top 10: #10 – Elon University “Holiday Video” – A great sing-along video featuring 27 staff and student vocalists. https://youtu.be/0-pIVbnNxVM #9 – The University of Virginia “Celebrating the Holidays” - Beautiful video of decking...


100 Ways to Indigenize Your Campus

Last week, Ken Steele sat down with Vianne Timmons, president of the University of Regina, to discuss why Indigenization matters to higher ed. (ICYMI see it at https://youtu.be/iLe1mxiT4rM). This week, we turn from “why” to “how”, and look at dozens of ways that colleges and universities can better accommodate Indigenous students, integrate Indigenous ways of knowing and learning, and introduce all students to Indigenous perspectives. This episode highlights more than 40 examples of ways in...


Why Higher Ed Indigenization Matters

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


Incentives for Innovation

This week, our conversation continues with Steve Robinson, interim President & Vice-Chancellor at Brandon University in Manitoba. We tackle one of the toughest questions for today’s higher ed leaders: how to encourage a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship on campus. Many academics, Steve explains, regard the drive to innovation with a great deal of suspicion, as part of modern trends to neoliberalization and commercialization of the academy. But really, innovation means “thinking...


Indigenizing the Academy

This week, Ken Steele talks with Steve Robinson, interim President & Vice-Chancellor at Brandon University in Manitoba, about one of the most urgent changes facing higher ed in the next decade: indigenization. Every university in Canada, particularly those in Western Canada, is faced with the challenge of accommodating Indigenous peoples and cultures on their campuses, and since institutions and local Indigenous communities vary widely, the solutions and innovations will be unique at each...