When collegiate universities from around the world came together in Durham, England for the first ever Collegiate Way meeting – a conference designed to discuss the future of the collegiate system of education at the post-secondary level – Trent University was well-represented.
Dr. Michael Eamon, principal of Traill College, delivered a paper that argued ways to balance change with the values that constitute an “Ideal college.” He also chaired a discussion on how collegiate universities could work together in the future.
At the conference, there was a great deal of talk over what lessons and values colleges should teach. “The core value of a collegiate university is humility,” said Dr. Eamon. “Students should see how their education makes them better people and as better people, how they can improve the lives of others.” Other conversations focused on ways to allow students to shape their university into a system that suits them best,. “A lot of discussion was about not so much telling the students [what to do], but guiding them. It’s pivotal to have a strong sense of community. One often repeated phrase was ‘noses in, hands off.’“
Joining Dr. Eamon at the conference was Melanie Sedge, head of Champlain College, as well as Robert Taylor-Vaisey, president of the Trent University Alumni Association.
“It was nice to see just how successful the system can be,” said Ms. Sedge, who was representing the four residential colleges at Trent. “Many people in Canada aren’t aware of how the collegiate system works, how there is a strong focus on a personalized student experience and the development of skills outside the classroom.”
The collegiate models examined at the conference ranged from the traditional Oxford and Cambridge examples, idols of how successful a collegiate university can be, to newer collegiate set-ups found as far as China, Macau and New Zealand.
“It was really useful bringing people together for shared learning,” added Ms. Sedge. “After all, we aren’t competitors, we’re colleagues.”
Based on the success of the inaugural conference, The Collegiate Way will be held every two years moving forward, hosted in different collegiate institutions to further discussion and collaboration around the collegiate model.