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Future Shock: Is Higher Education Ready for the Impact?

November 29, 2018

by Coro Strandberg

President, Strandberg Consulting

  Industries, companies and governments are retooling for the future, driven by the sustainability imperatives of climate change, resource, food and water scarcity, social polarization and rising income inequality. Universities and colleges are no exception. The future will be won by organizations that were proactive, not those that defended the status quo. As with other industries, the post-secondary sector is undergoing a transition as it explores its reason for existence. Does it equip students and professionals for future roles? Yes. Does it also equip its administrators to contribute their expertise, resources, assets and investments to contribute to societal outcomes? Slowly but surely. The McConnell Foundation and the Canadian Association of University Business Officers (CAUBO) have been piloting measures to accelerate […]

orange-hued image of a woman shooting a bow and arrow

Training the Archer – new research on changemaker education

How can colleges and universities support students to become changemakers? Although the field of changemaking is still emerging, it is becoming abundantly clear that the approach to “changemaker education” is significantly different to more traditional forms of education. Changemaking, “is not about collecting or committing knowledge to memory and then moving out into the world. Instead, it is about learning through discipline and practice within the complexities of the real world.” This is described in a new report Training the Archer: Accelerating Student Changemaking Through Testing Assumptions. In it, author Alexandra Daignault examines how Canadian students are inquiring, reflecting on, and examining assumptions in learning about and advancing a social or environmental cause they are passionate about. And its findings are eye-opening. The report […]

Indigenizing University Governance – Yukon College Blazes the Path

November 28, 2018

by Tosh Southwick

Associate VP, Indigenous Engagement and Reconciliation First Nations Initiatives, Yukon College

What does it look like for a college or university to wholly adopt principles of reconciliation? In an effort to try to find out, Yukon College is using its upcoming transition from a College to a University to develop a new governance model that holds indigenization as a fundamental tenet. Part of their challenge is that information about indigenization in the post-secondary sector existed, but only in relation to specific areas (programs, curriculum, space, policy, etc.). Information about indigenization at an institutional level, or about shared governance, meanwhile, was critically lacking. Sensing a gap and an opportunity, Yukon College decided to lead a conversation. In March 2018, they brought together a group of 30 people, including representatives from fifteen post-secondary institutions […]

Announcement: A brand new RECODE website is on the way

November 22, 2018

We’re excited to share that RECODE site is undergoing a complete overhaul and redesign. Although it hosts valuable resources and information, the current RECODE site makes finding relevant information challenging. The program’s aspiration is to accelerate and scale change in the post-secondary sector, and our goal is to simplify the site and highlight activities, resources, and opportunities that are most interesting and useful for visitors to know about. We envision the new site as a helpful resource: one that clearly communicates the inspiring activities of colleges and universities across Canada, in their work to increase their social impact and wellbeing in their community To do this, we are proud to be working alongside Winnipeg-based and B Corp design studio, Manoverboard. […]

Image of a cityscape of Montreal in the winter, taken from out in the water looking into the city

My Year as a McConnell Social Innovation Fellow: lessons I learned and have yet to learn

October 17, 2018

by Jennifer Gammad Lockerby

RECODE Social Innovation Fellow

  What is social innovation, anyway? Social infrastructure? Movement building? Going into my fellowship, these were all questions that I had full confidence I would learn the answers to. I was to support the RECODE program, and my job description included stakeholder engagement, event planning, communications, and programmatic tasks such as report-writing or project management. Easy enough, right? With a strong social justice, community and direct service background, I was excited for this new world of social innovation and philanthropy. In hindsight, however, I was not fully prepared to adjust to the frameworks, tools, relationships, and ways of thinking about social transformation. At the end of my first day of work, McConnell’s Vice President asked me to summarize what I had […]

Catalyst for Sustainability: Social Infrastructure in Action at the University of Winnipeg

October 15, 2018

by Stephen Huddart

President and Chief Executive Officer, The McConnell Foundation

  Through investments in training and innovation, Canada’s universities and colleges anchor the economic livelihood and social wellbeing of communities and our country. In addition to teaching and research, their impact is expressed in the people they hire, the goods and services they purchase and the ways they invest their financial, physical and relational assets. Recognizing their latent capacity to shape better outcomes as economic actors and social innovators, post-secondary institutions are beginning to apply their assets to building “social infrastructure.” The University of Winnipeg Community Renewal Corporation (UWCRC) is an outstanding example of a social infrastructure strategy. It comprises investments in urban renewal, post-secondary infrastructure, affordable housing, food services and more. The report Catalyst for Sustainability: The Achievements, Challenges, Lessons and Prospects of […]

New Resource: RECODE and Ashoka Canada 2018 Retreat Report

August 7, 2018

In July 2018, RECODE and Ashoka Canada convened higher ed changemakers from across Canada on Wasan Island in Port Carling, ON. The purpose of the retreat was to build community, take inventory of and celebrate our collective progress, and see how we can advance social impact work. This report contains the key retreat takeaways and next steps, represented through ‘requests’ and ‘commitments’ by individual participants. These requests and commitments include site visits, resource sharing, and future convenings. It also includes actions for building new partnerships that test innovations. Download our retreat report

Why do Canadians need to go all the way to Boston to connect?

May 9, 2018

by Danica Straith (Ashoka Canada), Chad Lubelsky (RECODE), and Jennifer Gammad Lockerby (RECODE)

  Earlier this month, some 800 social impact educators, students and administrators gathered in Boston for the Annual Ashoka U Exchange. United in the belief that post-secondary has been and continues to be a force for positive change in the world, this event showed us how we can accelerate and scale change in post-secondary. Prior to the Exchange, Ashoka and RECODE hosted the 3rd annual “Canada Day” – this pre-event, became an “instant tradition” in 2016, and notwithstanding its short history, participants generally agreed that this year felt different. One of the highlights of Canada Day was the Mennonite Walk (thank you Paul Born!) – a paired walk where participants got some air and got to know each other a bit better […]

Solving the problems of today and tomorrow with social infrastructure

March 27, 2018

by Academica Group

This article was originally posted on the Academica Group website and has been cross-posted here with permission. — Challenges to social cohesion and community wellbeing are on the rise across the world, and governments at every level no longer have the resources they once did to address these challenges. As the forces of globalization squeeze public budgets, many postsecondary institutions also face growing pressure to justify their existence to the communities they serve. But within this challenging environment, Canada’s postsecondary leaders see an opportunity for their institutions to use their capacity and resources to address some of society’s most wicked problems. For Simon Fraser University President Andrew Petter, the current challenge to community wellbeing stems from an urgent need for improved “social […]

The LabWISE Program: A Small Contribution to the Field of Change Labs in Canada

March 19, 2018

by Mark Cabaj

President, From Here to There

Change Labs are becoming an increasingly popular methodology across the world to address complex social, economic and environmental problems. There are scores of labs in Canada tackling food security, early childhood development, energy transition, affordable housing, water management and racism. There are even several more “permanent” lab platforms, such as the MaRS Solution Lab in Toronto, the Government of Alberta’s Co-Lab in Edmonton, and REOS Partners Social Lab group that facilitate lab processes for other groups. While there has been a great deal of experimentation with Labs, the field is still highly emergent. Most practitioners rarely document their approaches, systematically evaluate them, or share their learnings and failures with others. As a result, most Lab facilitators, participants, and those who […]

Featured Posts

  1. Future Shock: Is Higher Education Ready for the Impact?

    by Coro Strandberg

  2. Training the Archer – new research on changemaker education
  3. Indigenizing University Governance – Yukon College Blazes the Path

    by Tosh Southwick

  4. Announcement: A brand new RECODE website is on the way
  5. My Year as a McConnell Social Innovation Fellow: lessons I learned and have yet to learn

    by Jennifer Gammad Lockerby

  6. Catalyst for Sustainability: Social Infrastructure in Action at the University of Winnipeg

    by Stephen Huddart