Cape Breton University President Looks Toward Super University

In his keynote address to the Canada International Conference on Education (CICE-2014) at Cape Breton University, CBU president Dr. David Wheeler will make an appeal for “fundamental reform” of the University sector across Canada if it is to maintain international competitiveness and help create the conditions needed for a better world. 

Dr. Wheeler will note that this reform should be predicated on developing the role of Universities in what he refers to as an “integrated educational ecosystem” actively embracing the interests of K-12 and community college systems to work together to drive new synergies in areas such as entrepreneurship education, innovation, creativity and sustainable development.

In this morning’s address Dr. Wheeler will build on themes first developed in an article published in March of 2014, Universities as Engines of Progress, pointing out that public funding mechanisms for universities in Nova Scotia, and in many other jurisdictions in the world, are increasing unworkable. 

Dr. Wheeler believes that in the future universities will be rewarded by governments for their performance in economic development, employability of graduates, immigration and commercialisation of research in addition to more traditional metrics which may have less to do with scientific, social and cultural excellence or economic prosperity.

From a Nova Scotia perspective Dr. Wheeler says that in the wake of the publication of the report on Our New Economy (the ‘Ivany Report’) the time has now come to reopen the discussion of a “super-university” in Halifax.  A university of this nature could aspire to global top 100 status and help catalyse the kind of economic turnaround contribution that has been seen in North Carolina, Kitchener-Waterloo and other jurisdictions in recent decades.

Dr. Wheeler’s address A University as it May Be is available as a PowerPoint presentation here.