SYDNEY: The incoming leader of Cape Breton University (CBU) says he wants to engage all regions of Cape Breton in his new role.
CBU announced last Wednesday that David C. Dingwall has been chosen as its next President and Vice-Chancellor. Dingwall said he believes that CBU can be an asset to all of Cape Breton, including Inverness, Richmond, and Victoria counties.
“I think there’s an obligation on the part of the institution to outreach to all of our stakeholders and to all our communities,” Dingwall told The Reporter last Thursday.
Dingwall served as a Member of Parliament for Cape Breton-East Richmond, as well as the former riding of Bras d’Or Cape Breton (now Cape Breton-Canso). Dingwall is also a former federal cabinet minister.
Although he will not assume the role until the end of March, Dingwall says he hopes to work with governments, businesses and non-profits in rural Cape Breton. He said he wants to listen to the needs of communities and develop programs, such as educational opportunities for businesses.
“There doesn’t seem to be any reason as to why for instance, the Shannon School of Business couldn’t be doing some various workshops in terms of assisting the entrepreneurs and businesses in those counties, whether it be Richmond, or Inverness, or indeed Victoria County,” said Dingwall.
“I think we have to reach out and make sure that we understand the needs, and see where we can be helpful and develop partnerships. We also want to work closely with municipal governments in those areas as well as their school boards, making certain that we understand their needs.”
Dingwall believes that CBU is well-positioned to provide a high quality, cost-effective and culturally rich educational experience to students throughout the island. He feels some opportunities for outreach may have been overlooked in the past.
“I don’t think we’ve been there. I think we’ve talked the talk, but we only talk about it in Sydney,” he said.
“There’s too much richness in Cape Breton for us not to reach out to people in Richmond County, and Inverness and Victoria County, as well as Cape Breton County itself.”
Dingwall said that CBU is an important economic force in the region. The school has close to 400 permanent employees, as well a large number of part-time staff, and attracts students from over 40 countries.
“We’re an asset because we have an intellectual focus, we provide students with a quality education, we contribute to the economy and we want to do more. We are hopeful that others will see us in that light,” he added.