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Canadian collaboration

Six university partnership to help young Canadians access new skills

Teaching and Learning

By Memorial University

Memorial University has been announced as a member in a national network of universities focused on exploring and integrating effective approaches to skills development.

FUSION, the Future Skills Innovation Network, is a collaborative group of Canadian universities focused on innovative skills development to prepare students for the future economy.

Launched as part of the new federally funded Future Skills Centre, FUSION consists of six partner institutions: Simon Fraser University, University of Calgary, University of Saskatchewan, Carleton University, Concordia University and Memorial University. The Government of Canada’s Future Skills Centre is investing $2.5 million to support FUSION’s network model for an initial two years.

“The Future Skills Centre is thrilled to be partnering with Memorial University and universities across Canada on FUSION,” said Melanie Wright, interim executive director, Future Skills Centre. “This project will work towards supporting young Canadians in gaining access to new skills and will contribute to a growing evidence base in skills development research.”

Three priorities

FUSION’s network model will help to foster collaboration around skill development and speed the diffusion of successful innovations.

The network’s pilot projects focus on building more inclusive forms of skills development through its three priorities: integrating more skills development into formal and informal learning; creating more flexible learning formats to better facilitate skills acquisition; and increasing access to, and success within, post-secondary education for underrepresented students.

“This collaboration will enable us to share and use strategies that will ultimately help students to be successful in their careers and their lives.” — Dr. Noreen Golfman

To address these challenges, FUSION partners will experiment with delivery modes, teaching methods and credentialing practices, while supporting students’ ability to identify and translate their skills for rapidly changing labour markets. Additionally, FUSION’s work will contribute research, data, methodologies and program formats to the Future Skills Canada ecosystem.

“Being part of FUSION gives Memorial the opportunity to be at the national forefront with our partners as we explore new ways of strengthening the educational experience for students,” said Dr. Noreen Golfman, provost and vice-president (academic), Memorial University. “This collaboration will enable us to share and use strategies that will ultimately help students to be successful in their careers and their lives.”

“One of our current challenges is that we don’t really allow students to articulate the broad range of skills that they’re developing, it’s often implicit,” said Dr. Gavan Watson, associate vice-president, teaching and learning, and director of the Centre for Innovation in Teaching and Learning (CITL) at Memorial University. “Communication, collaboration, problem-solving, critical and creative thinking – these are the big skills that I think we need to make more explicit in our programming. Our partnership in FUSION will help us to do just that.”

Skills ecosystem

FUSION represents a new way of working for Canadian universities.

As the only cross-institutional network of universities in Canada focusing on innovation in skills development, FUSION fills a vital gap and will significantly contribute to Canada’s skills ecosystem as a partner in the Future Skills Centre.

Memorial University’s FUSION project is funded by the Government of Canada’s Future Skills Centre.

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