Three new vice-presidents are tasked with the mission of a digital future for students, faculty and staff
Anne Sado, president of George Brown College (GBC), met the three new vice-presidents of academic, student success and strategy and innovation—Cory Ross, Chris McGrath and Rick Huijbregts—recently to talk about how the college can meet the needs of the market, students and faculty in a world of rapid change.
“It’s time to start engaging all the members of our community to start thinking ‘what is that? What are we going look like as an institution in 2030? How are we going to make sure that we are addressing the needs of the economy and industry partners in the best way possible?'” said Sado.
Ross, the new vice-president of academic, says that it is important update teaching methodologies and the ways professors and students interact.
“The introduction of technology will be important,” Ross said. “However, technology will only be in service of pedagogy. Nothing can replace the relationship between a student and a teacher.”
According to Ross, who was most recently the interim executive dean at GBC, the college is focused on creating foundational pillars that will push the curriculum into the future, respecting the different levels of understanding of technology between students and faculty and trying to balance them.
McGrath, the new vice-president of student success, has 18 years of leadership experience in student affairs and was most recently a vice-president at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College. McGrath joined George Brown with the mission to lead a portfolio of programs and services to provide a best-in-class student experience.
Huijbregts, the new vice-president of strategy and innovation, has an extensive professional background linked to the information technology industry, having spent 12 years with Cisco Canada, most recently as vice-president of digital transformation and innovation.
Huijbregts knows the importance of the college being part of the technological revolution.
“(Technology) impacts everything,” said Huijbregts. “In nursing, you think about how three-dimensional visualization or things like virtual reality are changing in (health) care, how technology is making nursing more mobile in hospitals how big data, analytics and artificial intelligence is changing health care—it’s the same in business.”
To help GBC become more digital, Huijbregts said that he will be focused on increasing strategic partnerships and working closely with the technology industry to identify what improvements need to be implemented at the college.
Sado and Huijbregts also highlighted that academic institutions are an important piece of the digital revolution, being responsible for adequately preparing students for the labour market.