Maple League Press Release: Funding from Business + Higher Education Roundtable for Work-integrated Learning

by Jessica Riddell

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Maple League of Universities recognized as industry partners and granted funding from Business + Higher Education Roundtable for work-integrated learning.

Sherbrooke, QC, August 4, 2021 – Business + Higher Education Roundtable (BHER) has committed $170,000 to the Maple League to scale the OLTC (Online Learning and Technology Consultants) pilot program across the four Maple League campuses.

The pandemic exposed several challenges in Post-Secondary Education (PSE) in Canada and around the world. In June 2020, Dr. Jessica Riddell, along with the IT Director Scott Stoddard and student leader Georges-Philippe Gadoury-Sansfacon created the Online Learning and Technology Consultants (OLTCs) program at Bishop’s. This program engaged students from all academic disciplines to help support faculty members prepare COVID classrooms. Students were trained in technology, pedagogy, and mentorship.

Dr. Jessica Riddell, Executive Director of the Maple League and OLTC co-founder notes, “As we move into a post-COVID world, many of the lessons we have gleaned in a time of disruption will inform classroom design and delivery and should enhance the delivery of a 21st century liberal education. We are expanding this High-Impact program to all four campuses in 2021 – 2022 and will adapt this program to each unique institutional culture. The hope is that we can expand this to universities across Canada in the future so other universities can benefit from this model of student co-design and authentic collaboration of a 21st century education.”

Valerie Walker, CEO of BHER, said “BHER is thrilled to partner with the Maple League of Universities to support this innovative approach to Work-Integrated Learning. Maple League is uniquely positioned to help students recognize valuable career paths within post-secondaries. Putting students in a driving role, especially in remote learning environments, equips them with key digital and human skills needed for evolving post-COVID workplaces – all while advancing high impact teaching and learning practices.”

“We are extremely grateful to BHER for this investment of funds,” says Dr. Peter Ricketts, Chair of the Maple League Council of Presidents and President and Vice-Chancellor of Acadia University, “which reflects a level of trust by Canada’s business community in the great work being done by the Maple League to expand opportunities for work-integrated learning experiences for our students across the four campuses.”

The Bishop’s University pilot project, launched in June 2020, hired 23 undergraduate students to help faculty prepare for Fall 2020 as OLTCs. They were trained in educational technology and pedagogy, with a particular focus on supporting high impact practices, accessibility and accommodations, and authentic learning environments.

The OLTC program goals are threefold:

1. Offer individualized support for faculty to enhance student learning experiences (through engagement, community-building, and transformative learning) in person and remotely

2. Provide students with work-integrated learning (WIL) experiences and future-facing skill development (digital literacy, design thinking, creative problem solving, emotional and social intelligence)

3. Help re-imagine a 21st-century liberal education that engages students as key collaborators in the co-design of their university experience

The OLTC program provides opportunities for students to develop key transferable skills, such as teamwork, leadership, analytical skills, written and verbal communication, and knowledge mobilization. The benefits of these skills reach far beyond the student employee; they have large impacts on the institution, the higher education sector, and the communities within which these universities are embedded.

“Maple League’s WIL program is an invaluable opportunity for students to actively shape their own teaching and learning. Critically, the program is driven by an inclusive, student centered approach wherein underrepresented and marginalized voices are prioritized. These voices will help guide teaching and learning moving forward at Maple League universities and set standards for high impact practices in post-secondaries across Canada.” said Matthew McKean, BHER’s Chief R&D Officer. As the Online Learning and Technology Consultants (OLTC) program is expanded across the four Maple League universities the ultimate goal is to deliver a technology rich 21st-century liberal education in a post-COVID world. This program will not only educate students about career opportunities within the post-secondary industry and strengthen the WIL ecosystem within post-secondary institutions via curricular and co-curricular approaches, but also create WIL opportunities that seek to engage underrepresented student communities and develop partnerships with key stakeholders across the four Maple League universities that will help expand the awareness of an innovative model of WIL, by treating universities as industry partners.

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 truth and reconciliation with 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, please contact:
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

Lauren Boultbee
Strategy and Advancement Lead
The Maple League of Universities
lboultbee15@ubishops.ca

Sherri Turner
Manager, University Communications
Acadia University
sherri.turner@acadiau.ca

Sonia Patenaude
Interim Communications Manager (May 31- December 31, 2021)
Bishop’s University
spatenau@ubishops.ca

Richard Hiscock
Director of Marketing & Communications
Mount Allison University
rhiscock@mta.ca

Kyler Bell
Director of Marketing & Communications
St. FX University
kbell@stfx.ca

Click here to view the press release as a PDF.

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