Spreading one of the world’s greatest post-secondary systems across borders

Our country is facing a challenge, and we think your school can help.

This was the substance of what Fanshawe College President Peter Devlin heard in April of 2015, when he was invited by then-Governor General David Johnston to meet the visiting then-president of Peru, Ollanta Humala. Devlin, a retired Canadian Army commander, soon learned that Peru was facing a dual shortage of skilled production technicians in its economy and personnel in its military, the latter shortage stemming largely from the country’s decision to end conscription in 2010.

One year later, Fanshawe College signed a four-year partnership agreement that would see the school provide enhanced leadership training to executives and faculty from the Armed Forces Public Technological Institute of Peru. Opened in 2015, the Peruvian institute offers free education to soldiers under 30 who complete two years of voluntary military service.

The agreement also provides dual credentials for five technology/skills-based programs from both Fanshawe and the Armed Forces Public Technological Institute of Peru.

Positive Impacts

Through this partnership, Fanshawe has been able to support Peru’s military enlistments and its need for skilled workers at the same time, changing many lives in the process.

“The agreement has had a positive impact on international relations for post-secondary education between our two countries,” said Fanshawe President Peter Devlin. “Our partnership with Peru allows Fanshawe to broaden its global reach to new geographic areas of opportunity.”

Candace Miller, Fanshawe’s Senior Manager of Strategic Initiatives & Business Development, shares a similar viewpoint and believes this type of partnership is a two-way street.

“Canada should take pride in its higher education system and practices,” notes Miller, “we have best practices we can share and so much we can learn from our global partners as well.  These projects provide our institution and people with exposure to completely different cultures and post-secondary systems, which adds tremendous value to our programming as well as our community.”

Global Experiences

Miller will be one of the key figures presenting in Montreal this November at Reaching Across Borders, Building a Better World, a first-of-its-kind conference that will explore how Canada’s post-secondary institutions can support the wellbeing of all the world’s citizens. Presenting alongside Miller will be her colleague, Rosa Cristina Aguilar Correa, Fanshawe’s Director of International Outreach (South America). Miller says that she looks forward to engaging other conference attendees from all over the world, and forging closer ties with the conference’s host, Academics Without Borders.

Paul Meahan, curriculum consultant at Fanshawe’s Centre for Academic Excellence, spent a week training Peruvian staff and faculty members in London, Ontario. “It has been an eye-opening experience to see other countries approach the challenges and opportunities of curriculum design and community involvement,” Meahan says. “I believe my involvement in the project made apparent to me the power of access to education.”

Miller says many Fanshawe faculty and staff echo a similar sentiment. “When they return from one of these global experiences, nearly all of them talk about how transformative it’s been for them,” she says.

Jeff Wright, Fanshawe’s Vice-President, Corporate Strategy and Business Development, attended the first graduation ceremony for nearly 500 students at the Armed Forces Public Technological Institute of Peru in July of this year. Wright believes creating a more global outlook is a process that will gain momentum and become a part of Fanshawe’s DNA.

“We want to create this thirst for knowledge and global experience that spreads throughout our institution and community,” says Wright. “This global mindset is crucial for participation in a 21st-century economy.”

Sharing The Gift of Higher Education

Wright notes that global experience “helps our staff, faculty, and administration appreciate what a significant gift post-secondary education is, which helps them find greater inspiration and motivation to pursue their own work at Fanshawe, knowing that they’re changing people’s lives.”

Looking forward, the College plans to continue to be a champion of innovation, adopting new technologies that can support exceptional student learning; promoting academic, industry and community partnerships; and meeting the demands of students and the labour market.  

Miller says that there are a variety of ways that Fanshawe is looking to expand its portfolio of international partnerships. One is through grassroots connections like the kind that put Fanshawe in contact with its partners in Peru. Another is seeking partnership opportunities through the incredible work being done by Colleges and Institutes Canada in international programming.

Some of Fanshawe’s other near-term goals include developing its international brand, building stronger capacity for resources and information sharing, and igniting a full marketing plan. Fanshawe is also working on the Colombia PAP-CICan proposal, which is currently being led by Niagara College. Miller notes that Fanshawe is looking to learn from their partners in hopes of leading this kind of project in the future.

One of the College’s other top priorities is the creation of Innovation Village. In the next few years, Fanshawe aims to be the catalyst and creator of future jobs by supporting innovators and entrepreneurs through an ecosystem of services, as well as a physical and virtual space, to drive student development in unconventional and unique ways. Innovation Village will empower Fanshawe students and faculty to create exceptional learning experiences to augment traditional vocational learning outcomes with job skills of the future such as transdisciplinary experiences, sense making, adaptive thinking, social intelligence and new media literacy. New technologies are expected to be used and developed in this hub.

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