Fiona Deller – The buzz is building

The buzz is building for HEQCO’s November 7-8 conference, Rethinking Higher Ed: Beyond the Buzzwords. If you follow us closely, you will know we host a conference every year around this time. And each time we try to focus on the issues that are making the sector hum with debate, anticipation and sometimes angst. Turns out that it’s a good year for all three.

Words like disruption, revolution and change have peppered our twitter feeds, the blogosphere and traditional media. Some people are for it, some people are very, very against it. Some are worried….about the humanities (or about the STEM disciplines), about the cost of postsecondary education (and about the funding), about the traditional physical campus; and some are excited, about MOOCS, about tech in the classroom, about what big data can do.

Part of our job (and our passion) is to follow up on these ideas — figure out who is doing the innovative, creative thinking and bring these people to you.

Innovation is the day job of our keynote speakers, who include John Baker from Desire2Learn on the role of technology in revolutionizing higher education, David Helfand from Quest University Canada on competency-based education and Da Hsuan Feng from National Tsing Hua University on postsecondary education’s international landscape.

We also have an exciting group of young innovators and risk-takers who are working on making the postsecondary experience more meaningful. From Kane Sarhan at [E]nstitute to Lauren Friese at TalentEgg; from Sunny Lee of Mozilla Open Badges to Hadi and Marwan Aladdin at CoursePeer – they are inspiring, creative and full of enthusiasm.

Then there’s all the talk of entrepreneurship and higher education. Is it possible to teach entrepreneurship or innovation and to what end? Expect some strong points of view from MaRS’ Joe Wilson, Ryerson DMZ’s Valerie Fox and OCAD University’s Petra Kassun-Mutch.

And because we cannot forget about the importance of funding and how it drives the postsecondary system, we’ve invited TVO’s Steve Paikin to facilitate a panel of experts.Not Your Grandparents’ Funding Formula will bring perspectives from both the US and Canada on funding as an incentive for system change.

In the midst of the MOOC, we haven’t forgotten about the great things going on in the classroom. Two panels explore technologies for teaching and learning and a third considers the classroom of tomorrow.

The media play a significant role in shaping postsecondary discussions, so we’ve convened a panel of leading and thoughtful commentators: Scott Jaschik, editor of Inside Higher Ed; Leo Charbonneau, deputy editor of the AUCC’s University Affairs; and Simona Chiose, education editor of the Globe and Mail.

HEQCO’s fourth annual conference is about people who are making a difference in higher education. Some you’ve heard about and some, well, maybe not yet. From the two motorcycle guys who are driving the Finish Up Florida program to the third-generation sheet metal worker who’s a voice for change in apprentice education, it’s an inspiring group with something to say that’s definitely worth hearing. Space is limited so register soon.

We look forward to seeing you.

Fiona Deller is HEQCO’s executive director of policy & partnerships.

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