Trent University was well-represented this month at the second Collegiate Way Conference held at the Australian National University in Canberra. Over eight countries and 40 different institutions were represented at the conference, with workshops and papers given on various aspects of the university college model by representatives from Cambridge University to the University of Macau.
Collegiate Way International was formed in 2014 at England’s Durham University to address the absence of a global organization that could represent the interests of residential university colleges. The organization not only promotes collegiate education, but also publishes on best practices in higher education.
Trent University is one of the few universities that operate under a residential college system in Canada. It is part of a larger 800-year old tradition that values learning in small, scholarly communities that are interdisciplinary and intergenerational. Trent’s five colleges are a vital part of university life and offer a wealth of learning opportunities for students outside of the classroom. Trent is also a founding member of Collegiate Way International.
At this year’s conference, Melanie Sedge, head of Champlain College, and Dr. Michael Eamon, principal of Traill College, presented a paper on Trent’s collaborative collegiate model. They argued that Trent uniquely balances central administrative functions with independent-minded and spirited colleges.
“After we presented our paper, we were inundated with questions from our international colleagues related to how Trent balances centralization with college autonomy,” said Ms. Sedge. “It seems that many collegiate universities are facing centralization on some level and the world is looking to Trent University as a leader in this area. We can expect visits in the next year from representatives of Durham University in England, and Cromwell College at the University of Queensland, Australia, as they seek more information on how Trent makes this model work.”
At the end of the conference, Prof. Eamon held a business meeting with the over 100 delegates and was unanimously re-elected the chair of Collegiate Way International. The New Zealand contingent then stood and sang a Maori song of affirmation. Trent was also singled out again, by those present, as a leader in Canada for its support of university colleges.