University and industry collaboration in Canadian mining education

by Masaki Edward Miyoshi

Institution: University of British Columbia
Department: Mining Engineering
Degree: Master of Applied Science - MASc
Year: 2015
Record ID: 2057924
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/51973


For many years Canada has been at the forefront of mining engineering education, research, and technology development. Canadian universities have been the foundation for developing the individuals and companies that have maintained a global reputation for quality and responsibility. However, various stresses on the Canadian mining education system currently appear to place at risk the quality of the educational experience, limit the ability of mining departments to adapt to industry, while overall jeopardizing the sustainability of mining education. This study identifies the absence of an industry strategy to nurture the sustainability of Canada’s mining educational excellence. The thesis is based on a qualitative research program that examined the perspectives of a range of industry and academic experts. It attempts to contribute to invigorated collaboration between industry and universities to better address the future human resources challenges and ensure the sustainability of Canadian mining leadership. Data collected through a series of structured interviews was organized into six themes leading to the conclusion that the challenges threatening the university contribution to mining engineering leadership in Canada can be mitigated through strategic university and industry collaboration. It concludes that industry leadership needs to become proactively involved in collaboration with schools to sustain Canada’s mining education health and quality. Its leadership needs to be more aware of the critical state of Canadian mining engineering education system. Industry needs to influence mining schools to pool resources and expertise and to work collaboratively together rather than in isolation. Companies need to accelerate the development of future leaders through offering consistent summer student and co-op hiring. Lastly, it is recommended that industry needs to prioritize mentorship and facilitate the timely transfer of knowledge from senior engineers to junior engineers. This thesis contends that Canadian mining engineering education is at a critical juncture. The mining industry is experiencing a new era of globalization and expectations of sustainable development. Continuing to simply stay the course places Canada’s competitiveness as a leader in mining at risk. The research concludes by observing that a new vision and strategy for industry-university collaboration, energised by government, should be a priority short term goal.