The conference theme this year is Inclusion: A Recipe for Success. Niagara College, this year’s host institution, chose this important topic inspired by the Niagara area’s longstanding history as a place of freedom and inclusion. For thousands of years, it was a place of peace for First Nations to meet and trade. It was one of the key northern termini of the Underground Railroad, later giving rise to the Niagara Movement which evolved into the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The Niagara area served as a symbol of peace between two nations following the War of 1812 and remains welcoming to immigrants from all over the world today with this proud legacy.
Inclusion is critical to postsecondary education in Canada as we grapple with reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, welcome newcomers to Canada, and create an educational environment that values diversity and is accessible to all learners.
The conference is organized into six streams, outlined below, with cross-cutting topics of relevance to each stream incorporated across the program: Indigenous Education and Applied Research and Innovation.
This stream will present sessions related to the leadership and governance of colleges and institutes. This includes the role of the CEO and Board in leading inclusion, as well as concepts such as leading cultural change and planning for sustainability via endowments/foundations etc.
- Strengthening communities via strategic partnerships
- Creating nimble institutions able to seize opportunity while mitigating risk
- Governance structures that facilitate the recruitment, retention, and success of Indigenous peoples and other vulnerable groups such as immigrants, international students, LGBTQ2, and students with disabilities
This stream will present sessions related to the future of postsecondary education. Topics covered can range from preparing/retraining diverse learners for the jobs of the future, to innovations that will help institutions and students thrive in a global economy.
- Responding to employers’ future needs via new approaches to contract training for upskilling, reskilling
- Partnerships with Indigenous communities to support economic development and self determination
- Future trends: using technology effectively in an internationalized learning environment
This stream will present sessions related to providing positive student experiences via support services and engagement. Everything from making campus spaces inclusive for diverse learners to ensuring support is in place from application to career placement.
- Partnering with Indigenous leaders and communities to improve student outcomes
- Institutional research and assessment – using data and evidence to validate investment in Student Affairs and Services
- Creating a campus that offers services, programs, and facilities to promote physical and mental health among students with diverse backgrounds and needs
This stream will present sessions related to teaching and learning for inclusion. Topics from integrating applied research into curriculum, to new approaches to technology and work-integrated learning.
- Enhancing prior learning recognition for better inclusion
- Embedding Indigenous knowledge and cultural traditions into curriculum and learning approaches
- Innovative approaches to student mobility and/or learning in both official languages
This stream will present sessions related to both building entrepreneurial institutions and training future entrepreneurs, including endeavors in social innovation.
- Creating systems that support inclusive student-led ventures
- Building an entrepreneurial culture at colleges and institutes – local to global
- Entrepreneurship via applied research
This stream will present sessions related to the full range of international activities undertaken by colleges and institutes, from international student recruitment to contract training for development.
- Colleges and institutes leading applied research partnerships internationally
- Student recruitment: establishing a presence in target markets and diversifying your international student demographics
- Best practices for International Student Services