Tompkins Institute


Founded by Dr. Greg MacLeod in 1973, Cape Breton University’s Tompkins Institute leads applied research demonstration projects and offers continuing education in community leadership and regeneration.

The institute is named after Dr. Jimmy Tompkins (1870-1953), one of Cape Breton’s internationally recognized leaders in adult education and community enterprise. His work harnessed the power of universities and inter-faith organizations to advance the public good and empower struggling communities.

Current Director

In 2015, Dr. Tom Urbaniak succeeded Dr. MacLeod as director of the Institute.

Dr. Urbaniak works extensively with community organizations and faith communities. Among other services, he facilitates tailored workshops to help organizations renew themselves and realize their full potential.

Tom can be reached at or 902-563-1226.

Current Initiatives

  • Regenerating places of faith. The Tompkins Institute leads community-development workshops for faith communities upon request, recognizing their role as local anchors. We are also collaborating with the national organization Faith and the Common Good to sponsor detailed “green audits” (cost-saving and sustainability recommendations) for faith communities in collaboration with the national organization Faith and the Common Good. Please e-mail
  • Workshops on non-profit governance, fund-raising, and social entrepreneurship. Next offering: Winter 2018. Dr. Urbaniak will be offering a course on Tuesday evenings in downtown Sydney called “Leading Community Organizations,” open to members of the community. 
  • Completing a textbook Dignity, Democracy, and Development: A Citizen’s Reader (for release in early 2018).
  • Applied research project on investment and social enterprise in affordable housing – in collaboration with the Affordable Housing Renovation Partnership and the Sydney Architectural Conservation Society