How can we increase the impact of our institutions to better strengthen our communities?
In our new discussion paper we explore how higher education institutions can harness and leverage their assets (financial, physical, relational, research and education) to build social infrastructure that will positively impact communities and advance societal well-being.
Maximizing the Capacities of Advanced Education Institutions to Build Social Infrastructure for Canadian Communities was commissioned by RECODE and Simon Fraser University for a recent roundtable dialogue of 19 university presidents held during the C2U Expo in Surrey, BC.
Our goal is to develop a greater understanding of instruments upon which advanced education institutions can draw individually and collectively to improve society's prospects.
The meeting, and this paper, constitute a call to action for post-secondary institutions to accelerate and scale their beneficial social impact, at a time when it is critical to do so.
~ Andrew Petter, President and Vice-Chancellor Simon Fraser University
Stephen Huddart, President and CEO The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation
Society faces challenges and uncertainties
that threaten social cohesion and
community well-being in Canada and
around the world. Advanced education
institutions are uniquely positioned to
invent and scale the solutions needed to
enable a better quality of life for all of
society within planetary thresholds. Many
of these solutions can be found in their
existing assets and capacities, which, when
directed at building social infrastructure,
can reveal the pathway for citizens and their
institutions to thrive.
This paper sets out the social imperative
and the business case for accelerated social
innovation, and introduces a typology of
assets that advanced education institutions
can harness. Further, it defines a social
infrastructure architecture to facilitate this
essential transition. It concludes with a
set of collaborative actions that advanced
education organizations can pursue
together to foster breakthrough ideas,
and poses questions for further research
May 3, 2017 - Presidents' Roundtable
Building on the paper, the roundtable provided an opportunity for discussion among presidents of Canadian post‐secondary institutions, together with a small group of foundation representatives and thinkers. To learn more, read SFU and McConnell's join Aide-Mémoire highlighting the themes that emerged from the discussion.
Building Social Infrastructure Retreat Report
In July, we hosted a retreat with higher education representatives to discuss how to better leverage post-secondary social infrastructure assets in service of Canadian communities. Read our retreat report to learn how discussions unfolded and where we're headed.