Our programs and our research are an evolution of the history and the people of this island. In the 1930’s Cape Breton led the world in co-operative development. Led by two Cape Breton men, the Antigonish Movement flourished as people learned to solve community problems through education, self-improvement, mutual aid and collective action.  Father Jimmy Tompkins and Father Moses Coady’s movement created and built credit unions, co-operative stores and co-operative housing developments. Tompkinsville, an early co-operative housing community launched by the efforts of Tompkins and today bears his name, is located a few kilometers from the CBU Sydney campus. The movement had a strong moral and ethical backbone that continues to this day and remains a strong presence in our MBA in CED program and our faculty research. Although CBU is a primarily undergraduate institution, we are the only institution of higher education in Cape Breton and so, place great emphasis on research. CBU is home to three Canada Research Chairs:

  • a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Integrative Sciences,
  • a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Intangible Culture, and
  • a Canada Research Chair in Molecular Spectroscopy.

Our Shannon School of Business has established Purdy Crawford Chair in Aboriginal Business Studies, which has also been conducting research studies in aboriginal cultural tourism.

Community Economic Development Institute at CBU

This Institute draws on a deep history of community economic development and conducts research into CED issues, while supporting community initiatives. The CED Institute sought and was granted accreditation by the Council for the Advancement of Native Development Officers (CANDO), making CBU the first fully accredited institution in Canada to offer a Certified Aboriginal Economic Developer program. In addition to hosting international conferences on Sustainable Community Enterprise and producing documentaries, our CED Institute created a “Learning Vacation in CED” which brought people from across Canada to CBU for a week-long immersion into the theory and practice of CED in Cape Breton. The Cape University Community Economic Development Institute has also:

  • Hosted the North Atlantic Forum 2002, a conference for co-operation among North Atlantic Islands to develop public policy proposals aimed at greater economic self-reliance for small jurisdictions
  • Delivered a workshop on proposal-writing for museum executive directors
  • In co-operation with CBU Press, our CED Institute is one of the leading publishers/distributors of CED resources in Canada

Research areas

Faculty research interests include:

  • economic development
  • innovation and entrepreneurship
  • co-operatives and social enterprise
  • aboriginal development
  • international development
  • cultural tourism

Some examples of recent research activity of CBU’s MBA in CED faculty:

  • Research on health care and housing co-operatives, with several publications over the last couple of years by Catherine Leviten-Reid, including:
    • “Organizational Form, Parental Involvement and Quality of Care in Child Day Care Centers.” Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly “Co-operatives and Consumer Control of Health Care Services: A Look Fifty Years Later.” In Privilege and Policy: A History of Community Clinics in Saskatchewan “Community Health in Duck Lake and Beardy’s and Okemasis First Nation:  An Exploratory Study.”  Community University Institute for Social Research, University of Saskatchewan.
    • Economic Impact of the Co-Operative Sector of Nova Scotia, a study sponsored by a national SSHRC CURA research grant, to mark the 2012 International year of the   Co-Operatives.  (George Karaphillis)
  • Research on Financing  the Social Economy, sponsored by  the Atlantic Research Node, of the Canadian Social Economy Research Partnership (CSERP) and funded by SSHRC.  Chapters in two books published, and a few presentations in regional and national conferences; including the National CEDNet Policy Summit and ANSER, Humanities Congress.  (George Karaphillis)
  • Research on the Social Enterprise Sector of Nova Scotia, sponsored by the Policy Directorate of the Nova Scotia Department of Rural and Economic Development.  A similar research study on the Social Enterprise Sector of New Brunswick, sponsored by the New Brunswick government, is underway. (George Karaphillis,)
  • Aboriginal development research, including fisheries and cultural tourism research.  Several journal articles and conference  presentations over the last few years (Keith Brown, Joanne Pyke, Janice Tulk, Jacquelyn Scott), including:
    • Scott, Jacquelyn,  “An Atlantic Fishing Tale, 1999-2011: A policy ‘rags-to-riches’ story that’s good news for Aboriginals and for Canada”. Ottawa, The MacDonald-Laurier Institute. Brown, K., Pyke, J., Johnson, D., Doucette, M., “Aboriginal Cultural Tourism Marketing: An Issue of Governance”. Canadian Journal of Native Studies
  • Economic impact study of  the Cape Breton hiking trails, sponsored by the Cape Breton Pathways Association and funded by the federal Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.  (George Karaphillis, Doug Lionais, Martin Moy, Richard Watuwa)
  • Place-based entrepreneurship and innovation. Several journal  articles, conference presentations, and book chapters to-date (Harvey Johnstone and Doug Lionais)
  • Lead development projects on food security and management training  in Guantánamo Province, Cuba;  for the United Nations Development Program’s Human Resources Development Program (Jacquelyn Scott OC)
  • Research on “Third-Age tourism” in collaboration with the  University of Cienfuegos, Cuba and University of Granada, Spain.  (Jacquelyn Scott OC)

On-Going Research:

  • Cape Breton Island Aboriginal Cultural Tourism research case study
  • Economic Impact analysis of co-operatives and credit unions in Nova Scotia
  • A 5-year project to develop a sustainable agriculture sector in Nigeria. This project aims to develop a local infrastructure and assist female farmers to develop commercial vegetable species that have special nutritional and disease prevention properties. This innovative and multidisciplinary project is in partnership with another Canadian university and two Nigerian universities. The project is fully funded by CIDA and was awarded in an highly competitive international RFP process
  • Measuring the Co-Op Difference in Housing examines the economic and social impact of co-operative housing compared to other forms of affordable housing and how co-op organizational form affects families over time. A SSHRC funded  CURA research project.