Special to The Echo
Canada is celebrating its 150 birthday and colleges and institutes across Canada gathered to celebrate and collaborate at the end of April in Ottawa at the Canadian Colleges and Institutes Conference ‘Celebration’ Conference. Fairmont Hot Springs resident and College of the Rockies Chair of the Board of Governors Wilda Schab attended and found the conference productive and worthwhile.
The conference showcased the contribution of colleges and institutes in transforming communities and building a more prosperous and equitable Canada. Keynote speakers included astronaut Julie Payette; author and professor Lawrence Hill; and Canadian tech entrepreneur Michael Hyatt.
“From the perspective of the Board of Governors, this conference is important to assist the board in fulfilling our B.C. government mandate and serves to enhance public sector governance by furthering understanding and appreciation for public post-secondary education and the milieu in which it functions,” said Schab. “We took this opportunity to educate ourselves and discuss best practices in delivering on each of our College strategic initiatives set by the Board.”
The conference provides six streams of sessions for attendees: Leadership and Governance; Applied Research, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation; Teaching, Learning and Student Success; Indigenous Education; Serving Rural, Remote and Northern Communities; and, International.
“The conference also provides opportunities to interact with business, industry and government through networking and social events,” said Schab. “The conference brought people together from all across Canada and approximately 20 other countries who have a vested interest ‘to transform lives and enrich communities through the power of education’ which is the mission statement in the College of the Rockies 2015-2020 Strategic Plan.”
Schab also had the opportunity to meet with Kootenay-Columbia MP Wayne Stetski at the conference and other government officials.
“It was important for us to meet with [Wayne] and listen to the federal Minister of International Trade Francois-Philippe Champagne as our College participates in the two-way flow of international education and training programs.”
The main takeaway for Schab from the conference was that the College of the Rockies is “well positioned” to serve the needs of the region from Golden, through the Columbia Valley, Creston, Kimberley, Fernie and the main campus area in Cranbrook.
“The Board must remain informed and committed to improving our understanding of the statutory obligations that ensure the College community policies remain applicable and accountable to the taxpayers and stakeholders of this region,” Schab concluded.