30 May 2007

Report from the ACCC conference

The annual ACCC conference convened this week in Montreal and featured many interesting presentations and keynote Talks. The Canadian College community pulled together to discuss key postsecondary education issues and the particular niche that colleges fill in the education landscape. There were a few sessions on applied research that offered a variety of perspectives on how to fashion applied research within our colleges.

A media panel featured a few prominent speakers, including the Globe and Mail's Edward Greenspon, who told the crowd that “Colleges are raising standards, and therefore standards of living.” He added that Colleges are the midwives of the next middle class, have a key role to play in Canada's social cohesion, and are stewards of good citizens and global citizenship.

Greta Chambers, speaking of the Cegep system in Quebec, noted that colleges offer a vital transitional link between high school and the working world. A little later, David Stewart-Patterson talked specifically about applied research and the role colleges have in ensuring that Canada's productivity can continue to grow. "Innovation is more than just coming up with new ideas," he said. "It is putting those ideas to work." Applied research links colleges directly to industry, and colleges "excel in making knowledge relevant."

This is not to say that a liberal arts education is not also relevant. But as we meet the workforce demands of the future, it is incumbent upon us as educators to ensure that when our students leave our classrooms, they are ready to assume their place both as citizens, and as participants in the global economy.

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