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Ten with Ken

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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...


Season's Eatings!

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...


Midwinter Magic!

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...


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...


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...


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 ...


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...