The four Maple League Universities sign historic agreement that encourages inter-institutional student mobility

by Jessica Riddell

The four universities’ presidents sign the MOU virtually on April 20, 2020. From top left (clockwise), Michael Goldbloom (Bishops’s), Kevin Wamsley (St. Francis Xavier), Jean-Paul Boudreau (Mount Allison), Peter Ricketts (Acadia). Jessica Riddell, Maple League Executive Director, appears in the bottom right corner. 


Sherbrooke, April 27, 2020 – The Maple League of Universities is pleased to announce that the four universities in the consortium – Acadia, Mount Allison, St. Francis Xavier, and Bishop’s – have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that encourages students to take courses, with a focus on online learning and virtual learning communities, from across the four institutions without the often burdensome administrative processes associated with transfer credits from other universities.

At the core of our inter-institutional collaboration is a shared commitment to an extraordinary undergraduate education. In the past two years the Maple League has shared academic programming on a small scale in order to identify challenges and dismantle structural barriers that might impede inter-institutional student exchanges for both in-person and online course offerings. Under a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), signed on April 20, 2020, by the four university presidents, a number of logistical barriers have been resolved for students.

  1. Students can transfer their grade and course code to their home institution
  2. Students do not need a Letter of Permission (LOP) to take a shared course
  3. Students do not need to pay additional fees or costs related to course registration
  4. Students will not need to pay extra tuition for the Fall and Winter terms

Dr. Peter Ricketts, Chair of the Maple League of Universities and President of Acadia University, has championed quality undergraduate education on a national level in collaboration with the other presidents, Jean-Paul Boudreau (Mount Allison), Michael Goldbloom (Bishop’s), and Kevin Wamsley (St. Francis Xavier):

“We are excited to see how this MOU can help us with capacity building and resource sharing across our four institutions. This agreement provides our students with increased access to diverse courses and programs, mentors and research supervisors, and the expertise of exceptional faculty across the four universities. Enhanced access to academic diversity, paired with relationship-rich, in-person student experiences, provides our students with an extraordinary experience while also helping them stand out to future employers.”

Shawna Garrett, Registrar at Mount Allison University, has worked closely with the other three registrars to operationalize this inter-institutional collaboration:

“In the face of turmoil and tragedy, I am heartened by the Maple League’s collective response to our current COVID-19 related post-secondary educational challenges. The jointly created online spring and summer course calendar and the way our registrars have worked together to find compassionate solutions for students are excellent examples of the main Maple League guiding principle, ‘what can we do together that we cannot do on our own?’ These collective initiatives exemplify how we are better together.”

Georges-Philippe Gadoury-Sansfaçon, Second-year undergraduate student at Bishop’s University, believes that the Maple League is a key lever in fostering resilience and creating social change for students and society more generally:

“We know that interdisciplinarity and personal growth play a key role in fostering not only resilience but also perspective, critical thinking and creative problem-solving. These are the abilities that allow us to aim for the truth instead of polarization, and our four institutions have been committed to delivering this kind of education for ~175 years. This MOU creates smooth pathways for students across the four universities to ‘build their own adventure’ in their undergraduate careers and shape a 21st century education that takes us into the next millennium.”

While this MOU has been under development for the past 18 months, the COVID-19 crisis accelerated the need for this type of agreement. Dr. Jessica Riddell, Executive Director of the Maple League of Universities, points out that we have already laid the groundwork for harnessing technology to create relationship-rich environments where Maple League students can connect in meaningful ways with faculty and peers to enhance engagement and learning consistent with the in-person student experiences we all value. Our collaborations enable us to create unique ways of engaging and interacting with students in remote teaching and learning environments that complement the in-person, immersive, and high-quality learning environments for which we are known.”

About the Maple League

The Maple League is made up of four universities – Acadia, Bishop’s, Mount Allison and St. Francis Xavier – who together form an alliance of small, rural, undergraduate liberal education institutions with Francophone heritage and a commitment to honouring indigenous communities. By fostering reciprocal relationships across institutional boundaries, we provide extraordinary opportunities to transform as leaders, scholars, and institutions. The Maple League creates distinctive learning environments that ensure our graduates are capable of navigating an increasingly complex world as citizens and leaders dedicated to the values of a just and civil society. For more information, visit our website:  www.mapleleague.ca

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For more information:

Dr. Jessica Riddell
Executive Director, The Maple League of Universities
Stephen A. Jarislowsky Chair of Undergraduate Teaching Excellence
Full Professor, Department of English, Bishop’s University
3M National Teaching Fellow (2015)
director@mapleleague.ca

View the press release as a PDF: http://mapleleague.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Maple-League-Press-Release-Agreement-to-encourage-inter-institutional-student-mobility-April-27-2020.pdf

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