Capilano seeks membership with Universities Canada

The organization will promote the school federally and internationally

Christine Beyleveldt // News Editor

Capilano University made the transition from college to university 10 years ago, but until now continued to hold membership with Colleges and Institutes Canada (CI Can), which provides a voice for Canadian colleges and technological institutes. Now, the University is making the switch and applying for membership with Universities Canada, an organization that represents Canadian colleges and universities. Membership will reinforce the value of CapU degrees both nationally and internationally.

Librarian Debbie Schachter is working with Manager Academic Initiatives and Planning Bernadette Andrade on the application for Universities Canada, which requires a complete self-evaluation and overview of CapU. She noted that membership will entitle the University to benefits including opportunities for scholarships, advocacy on the institution’s behalf at the federal level and access to their research reports. “It’s about being part of that table where the association represents all of the universities in Canada,” said Schachter.

Furthermore, members hold a common position on interpretation of issues such as copyright law. “There are some lawsuits underway, so working with a larger body will obviously benefit every university so we work together on things like that,” said Schachter. “Universities Canada ensures that all universities are following the same interpretation, so that as a unit, as a whole, everyone is following what is considered best practice.”

Instructors who carry out research outside of classroom and office hours will benefit from CapU being a member of Universities Canada. However, Andrade stressed that membership and with it, better access to research grants will not affect the school’s teaching mandate. “In 2008, when we became a university, we were legislated among others as a special purpose teaching university,” said Andrade.

Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) instructors Dr. Sylvia Kind and Dr. Kathleen Kummen noted, after winning a prestigious Insight Research Grant with Western University through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada, that they can only hold research grants from the council in partnership with other post-secondary institutions who are members of Universities Canada, because CapU is not.

Schachter and Dean of Arts and Sciences Julia Denholm are co-chairs of a Research Task Force that was set up in the fall and is currently being led by Acting President Toran Savjord to develop support for research. “We were tasked with providing recommendations for how the university could officially support research,” she said. That involves reviewing existing policies, setting up a research ethics board, which they have already recommended, and defining the scope of research conducted at the University.

Kind noted that research was unique to the ECCE department, although Schachter says that there are many instructors who carry out research, and the task force will be surveying faculty to get a better understanding of research conducted at the University. Recommendations to support research will support the membership application to Universities Canada, but is something that Schachter says CapU should be doing irrespective.

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