Royal Roads delegation at Ashoka U Exchange


This week a delegation of faculty, staff, students and alumni representing the Faculty of Management, Faculty of Social and Applies Sciences, College of Interdisciplinary Studies, Professional and Continuing Studies, Office of International Collaboration and Development, Student Services, and Marketing and Recruiting is headed to San Diego, California to attend the Ashoka U Exchange. The Exchange is the world’s largest convening of social innovators in higher education. This year it is co-hosted by the University of California, San Diego.

The Ashoka U Exchange is a three-day learning lab, testing ground, space for celebrating innovation, and spark for the collaboration of 700 of educators, students, and other higher education professionals from around the world.

All Exchange participants from Canada are invited to join a Canada Day event hosted by RECODE and Ashoka Canada to connect with peers from across the country and learn about unique opportunities for changemaking within Canadian post-secondary.

Faculty of Management Dean Bill Holmes and Associate Vice-President, Student and Academic Services, Roberta Mason are attending the Senior Leaders’ Experience session. Senior leaders are key to setting the vision, policies and cultures of their institution. At the Senior Leaders’ Experience, university leaders will come together to think about how they can lead campus-wide change and align educational and research assets to be drivers of social impact.

Collectively, the Royal Roads delegation will present and facilitate a variety of workshops, learning and sharing best practices, and networking with hundreds of people committed to changemaking in and through higher education.

Some of the Ashoka U delegates from Royal Roads have shared their thoughts, plans and hopes going into the conference.

Prof. Catherine Etmanski, School of Leadership Studies: As part the Canada Day events, Asmanahi Antoine, Kathy Bishop and I will be facilitating a modified version of Walk With Me: A Step on the Path to Reconciliation at RRU. This experiential activity supports participants in exploring what terms like reconciliation, decolonization and Indigenization mean in their own contexts. We're looking forward to sharing this Royal Roads-style community event with other Canadian changemakers.

Assoc. Prof. Kathy Bishop, School of Leadership Studies:  I am excited to connect with like-minded educators to talk about creative and innovative ways to support students. Catherine Etmanski and I will be speaking in a best practice session, highlighting what our Master of Arts in Leadership students are doing through their action-oriented capstone projects. In this way, we can share some of our success and challenges to support other changemakers in the world.

Dr. Zoe MacLeod, director of Professional and Continuing Studies: I’m looking forward to exploring what we can learn from others who are implementing changemaker competencies and frameworks in their curriculum, and how we might incorporate changemaking into overall Professional and Continuing Studies strategy while aligning with our own Learning, Teaching and Research Model I will be exploring how we might collaborate with other institutions to bring changemaking learning (such as student exchanges with network partners) and learning ways  we can better measure changemaking outcomes and progress. Finally, I'm looking to learn ways to cultivate changemaker qualities in ourselves and our students.

Roberta Mason, associate vice-president of Student and Academic Services: The Exchange’s theme of “Beyond Boundaries and Borders: Expanding Possibilities for the Future of Higher Education” resonates for our work in each unit and across my  portfolio and throughout our university. I am especially looking forward to spending time with like-minded people who are also looking to expand boundaries and borders in their work to make the world a better place through the faculty we support and the students whom we serve.

Tasha Welch, director of International Collaboration and Development: My goal is to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a changemaker, a changemaker campus, and to find evidence that can be used as examples to better articulate this designation. I develop international partnerships and oversee international student recruitment; it’s important to my work to be able to tell the changemaking story in an authentic way that attracts prospects, as well as to work with like-minded partners. As a student in the Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration and Leadership program, I want to understand how this type of network benefits institutions, higher education, students and alumni and to brainstorm how we may take this further into my program and sector.

Assoc. Prof. Robert Mittelman, School of Business: This is going to be my fifth Ashoka U Exchange and it’s probably my favourite event of the year. To be together with hundreds of staff and faculty from around the world all dedicated to social innovation through higher education is truly inspiring and rejuvenating. There is so much to learn and best practices to gather to bring back to Royal Roads. I will be delivering a workshop on faculty engagement in social innovation initiatives based on some of the tools and frameworks I use in my entrepreneurship and marketing courses.

Assoc. Prof. Jaigris Hodson, College of Interdisciplinary Studies: I will be facilitating a panel, participating in networking events and learning more about changemaking measurement. I’m excited to connect with old (and new) changemaking friends and to tell them all about what Royal Roads has been up to since the last Exchange!

Dr. Bill Holmes, dean of the Faculty of Management: As students, faculty and the greater society continue to increase their orientation towards activities, initiatives and occupations that make positive social and environmental contributions, I am interested in discovering how we, as educators, can facilitate the acceleration of this social engagement. I am also interested in finding out what I currently don’t know about what other institutions are doing in this vein.