Today’s employers are recruiting self-directed graduates with skills in critical thinking, problem solving and teamwork. The BACS core courses, Community Studies, are the key to developing graduates with these abilities.

As a BACS student, you will build skills in research, writing, critical thinking, communications, problem solving and group work – skills you can use no matter what career path you follow or what community you choose to work in.

Personalized education leads to big things. This three-or four-year degree can lead to careers in social work, policing, education, public service, sports, recreation and health promotion. However, our students take it even further. You will find our graduates around the world in law, corrections, child care, youth centres, tourism, public relations, journalism, community development and many other rewarding fields. Some career examples are presented:

CBU student wants to teach crowd CPR

Cape Breton Post

SYDNEY — A Cape Breton University student is planning a project that is intended to see a large number of people undergo training to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation and using automatic external defibrillators.


© Cape Breton Post photo

Matthew Ball, a fourth-year Cape Breton University student is planning a mass training event to teach people the skill of cardiopulmonary resuscitation and how to properly use automatic external defibrillators, such as this one located at the university.

Matthew Ball is a fourth year CBU student who describes himself as having a passion for the health-care field. As part of his coursework, he had to develop an idea for a community intervention and, after consulting with the Heart and Stroke Foundation for some guidance, came up with the idea of the mass training event.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation is particularly promoting CPR training, he said. At an event in October, 5,000 people underwent the training at an event held at Canada’s Wonderland in Ontario, setting a world record. It was part of the Heart and Stroke Foundation CPR campaign, which was launched with a horror-movie style public service announcement called The Undeading.

Ball’s event will be called the Cape Breton University’s Undeading: A free mass CPR/AED training event.

“I thought, why not do something like they did in Toronto,” Ball said.

By performing chest compressions when someone is in a medical emergency, Ball noted it pushes blood to the body’s organs, allowing time for paramedics to respond.

“Basically, you’re acting as an artificial pump for the heart so you’re pushing the blood to all the essential organs in the body, keeping them going so that when the paramedics arrive they can do further life-support work,” he said. “The key thing is getting people to higher medical authority as quickly as possible.”

Ball noted a good friend of his works for EHS, which provides paramedic service in the province. He said his friend wanted to become involved, and got in touch with EHS communications staff.

It’s important to know CPR, Ball said.

“You never know when you’re going to need this skill, obviously not everyone that comes to my training program will necessarily need to use it, but it’s a good skill to have and it can save a life,” he said, adding it takes little time to learn to do it correctly.

Ball said he is hoping to attract 100-150 people, but noted he would be satisfied if 50 people participated in the training. He expects there will be at least eight-10 instructors, including paramedics, nurses and Heart and Stroke representatives

It is open to the general public and is free of charge.

He noted it is a familiarization event meaning the trainees will not receive a certificate, although they will receive quality instruction from trained medical professionals and hopefully a deeper understanding of CPR and the use of defibrillators.

The event will take place in the Verschuren Centre lobby beginning at 7 p.m. on Feb. 4. In the event that it has to be postponed due to weather conditions, it will take place the following evening at 7 p.m. at the same location.

For more information, contact Ball at 304-6545.

Benefiting from Group Dynamics

For second year student Mark Vickers, from Sydney Mines, N.S., studying at Cape Breton University (CBU) has been quite the experience so far. He has benefited greatly from the small class sizes that allow students and professors to be engaged in discussions inside and outside the classroom. “CBU has broadened my horizons and no day is ever the same,” Mark explains. “The tight-knit community on and off campus, being able to see familiar, friendly faces every day and being able to interact with many different people from so many different cultures makes it such a wonderful place to learn.”

Mark VickersMark, who is enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts Community Studies (BACS) majoring in Psychology, thoroughly enjoys the program’s approach to learning, which allows for and encourages individual growth. “I love going to class and devising strategies with my group members as to how we can approach a problem and work towards solving it in a practical manner,” he says.

In the BACS program, Community Studies courses are a core component of the program.  They revolve around group dynamics where students engage in group discussions to come up with reasonable solutions to community-based situations. The courses include discussions, assignments, and interacting with people and organizations outside of the university. Mark believes that developing these skills is invaluable as he moves forward. “They become practical life lessons that I can use and apply later in life as well as teaching me valuable skills that I eagerly anticipate using outside of the classroom on a daily basis,” he explains.

Being involved in community has always been a priority for Mark. Since an early age, he has been an active member of the Saint Andrew’s Community Youth Group. For Mark it was the youth group and the lessons he’s learned through various youth group activities that played a major role in his decision to take the BACS program. “I want to work with groups and figure out how to better our community one step at a time,” Mark says. Having the opportunity to work as a youth leader at Saint Andrew’s has enhanced his learning as he takes his youth group experience into the classroom and applies it to the theory being learned, and vice versa.

During his studies, Mark has been involved in the Debating Society and was a frosh leader during Frosh Week 2013. He has also joined the Psychology Society on campus and enjoys partaking in activities and fundraisers that are held by the group.

Although Mark hopes to pursue further education in either Speech Language Pathology or Social Work, in the meantime he is determined to bring better awareness to the needs of youth by addressing the issues at hand like disabilities and mental illness. “Overall, I want to be happy, and I want to make others happy. If I can succeed at that, then my life will be perfect,” he says.


“The Bachelor of Arts & Community Studies program at CBU has helped me  progress in my career as a Police Officer. To be an effective Police  Officer you must have excellent communication skills, a complete  understanding of community and the ability to work effectively with  people. The BACS degree, especially the Community Studies courses  have equipped me with these skills through community intervention and  a solid understanding of group work, both of which are vital aspects  of my career. I am able to apply the academic principles I acquired
through the BACS program to my career, which has helped me advance my skills as a Police Officer. I highly recommend the BACS program to  anyone who is thinking of a career as a Police Officer. It has helped me in my career and I am sure it will do the same for you.”

  • Constable Erin Donovan, Cape Breton Regional Police Service
    BACS Graduate

“The Police Preparatory course played a significant role in preparing me for the Atlantic Police Academy. I feel this course helped improve my confidence, not only at the Academy but on the job as well. The broad range of topics covered are those I touch on regularly in my policing career. Obtaining my BACS degree has given me the knowledge and skills to better myself both personally and professionally. The courses taken have allowed me to learn and grow individually and develop specific qualities which I plan to take back to the street. Receiving my BACS degree has given me the further intelligence needed to achieve my goals and succesfully complete the promotional process within my career one day.”

  • Constable Kelsey Aboud, Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, BACS Graduate 2009

“I take the skills I have learned in the BACS program and apply them everyday in my field of work. Research, critical thinking and problem based learning is the core to police work. The Police Preparatory Course gave me an idea of what training goals would be like, acknowledging areas where I was weak and has motivated me to achieve my career goals.”

  • Constable Janelle Robertson, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, BACS Graduate 2004

“The policing field requires many skills such as communicating, critical thinking and problem solving which are all components of the Bachelor of Arts Community Studies program at CBU. The concepts I have learned from the BACS program are applied on a daily basis in my policing career. Also the Police Preparatory course allowed me to gain exposure to the different aspects of policing, giving me more confidence prior to my training at the Atlantic Police Academy. I strongly recommend both the BACS program and the Police Preparatory course to anyone interested in a career in policing.”

  • Constable Raymond Aikens, Cape Breton Regional Police Service, Certificate in Public Administration 2004, BACS Graduate 2003

“The wide range of courses offered through the BACS Program at CBU, along with providing students with the opportunity to learn at their own pace, eased my decision to return to university and achieve my personal goal of getting a degree. The knowledge and skills, such as; group-work, communication, and report writing, that I attained through the BACS Program at CBU have enhanced my work in the field as a senior police officer with the Cape Breton Regional Police Service.”

  • Constable Wayne Forgeron, Cape Breton Regional Police Service, BACS Graduate 2010

Social Work

Lindsay Latham“Although I am a firm believer of choice and free will, I feel strongly that my educational experience was pre-determined; that destined path that was made to show me my true potential. For every struggle there was an accomplishment, for every sacrifice there was a gain and for every desire to quit there was a motivating voice that kept me going. I consider my experience in the BACS program both a choice and something that was meant to happen; full of both highs and lows that continues to have an influence on where I am today.”

  • Lindsay Latham, Dalhousie University School of Social Work student, BACS Graduate 2009

Vince MacDonald

“The Bachelor of Arts and Community Studies degree provides students the opportunity to explore, critically examine and act upon issues both locally and globally. The B.A.C.S. degree was a stimulating academic journey which allowed me the opportunity to translate ideas from the classroom into actions within the community while feeling fully supported by your peers and professors.

Completing the BACS. degree provided me with invaluable experience and networks which brought me to study with Dalhousie University in the Bachelor of Social Work program and continue my work as a dedicated grassroots activist.”

  • Vince MacDonald, Dalhousie University School of Social Work student, BACS Graduate 2008

Lindsey Smith

Community Development and Support

“The BACS program at CBU is by far the most real-world-life area of studies you can enroll in. The course material covered many areas that I use on a daily basis. Most specifically, the Community Studies courses prepared me for what working in the real world would be like. You are able to gain strategies and insights for working within a group and independently. In my role as the Alumni Officer at CBU, I am constantly working in groups through committee work and individually to complete necessary tasks. I feel that the BACS program gave me the competitive advantage and skills needed to deliver high end events and communication strategies to fellow alumni. The BACS program at CBU is what you make of it, the more you put into the program, the greater the reward. I realized this in my final year of study, but when I received my first job, I was very greatful for the education provided to me through CBU in the BACS program. I think all Schools should implement the Community Studies courses into their degree programs!”

  • Lindsey Smith, Alumni Officer, BACS Graduate 2007

Vanessa Wachuku“The ability of the BACS/Community Studies program at CBU to link theory to practice, the phenomenal learning environment and dedicated faculty /staff were instrumental in providing me with essential skills and knowledge to enhance outcomes for the vulnerable that use the services and programs that non-profit organizations like Red Cross deliver”.

Vanessa Wachuku, Manager, Operations and Administration, Canadian Red Cross – Ontario Zone, BACS Graduate 2009 – Silver Award.


BACS--testimonial-jessica-mills_0“Attending Cape Breton University has allowed me to stay at home and embrace the CBU experience with my sisters. The BACS program specifically, has given me the opportunity to get involved in my community and pursue career experience that I was interested in. The program allowed for me to participate in volunteer work placements and become involved in community intervention projects. It ultimately opened the door for entry into the Master of Business Administration in Community Economic Development program at CBU. I have utilized my education from the BACS program to achieve my goal of completing a Masters degree.”

  • Jessica Mills, CBU Master of Business Administration in Community Economic Development student, BACS Graduate 2009


Coleen Moore-Hayes

“For me, the BACS program was the “critical” first step in my educational journey. The self-directed, experiential nature of the degree heightened my desire to pursue a career in higher education. In 2008 that goal was achieved when I was awarded my PhD in Education… BACS prepared me well!

  • Dr. Coleen Moore-Hayes, Assistant Professor, Education, BACS Graduate 1997


Margaret Mayich“My most memorable experiences were at CBU working towards my BACS degree. I strongly recommend the program to any future student. The BACS core courses build co-operative working strategies and research skills that are key factors in any working environment. The two work placements are terrific in helping to get hands-on feel for areas of interest and the degree provides you with a lot of options to move into different areas of study when pursuing a career.”

  • Margaret Mayich, Teacher, BACS Graduate 2000.


Sport Management and Human Kinetics

BACS Sport Management Option

Jarrett Timmons

“The BACS program at CBU you has assisted me immensely in attaining my career goals. The courses offered helped me grow as a person and prepared me to enter the world of work”

  • Jarrett Timmons, Phys Ed teacher, Fairview Junior High School, Halifax, NS, BACS Grad 06′, B’Ed Grad 08′


Pat Maher
Associate Professor, Community Studies

Office: B-268-D

Phone: 902.563.1230

Jane Connell
Assistant Professor, Community Studies

Office: B-268-A

Phone: 902.563.1222

Bettina Callary
Associate Professor, Community Studies

Office: B-268-C

Phone: 902.563.1452

John Hudec
Assistant Professor, Community Studies

Office: B-268-E

Phone: 902.563.1982

Sue MacKenzie
Part-time Instructor, Community Studies

Phone: 902-371-3473

Emily Root
Assistant Professor, Community Studies

Office: B-268-B

Phone: 902-563-1889

Pam Seville
Part-time Instructor, Community Studies