When it comes to setting the tone as an institution, NAIT definitely has the brass that leads by example.
NAIT’s President and CEO Dr. Glenn Feltham represents our school while also serving as the chair of Polytechnics Canada, a committee of representatives from the 11 major polytechnic institutions in the nation.
“I represent NAIT wherever I go,” Feltham said. “NAIT itself not only has a provincial role in being one of Alberta’s two polytechnics but has a profound national role and an international role.”
At the national level, NAIT is trying to promote polytechnic education and build support for it from government and industry.
“At an international level, NAIT is delivering programs around the world to indigenous work forces and we’re very actively involved in attempting to elevate polytechnic education even outside Canadian borders,” Feltham said.
In Alberta, Feltham said that Polytechnics Canada is not only attempting to elevate polytechnic education but build the best post-secondary system so that students have the tools that allow them to work and grow industry with innovation.
“We ensure that our system overall both has the capacity as well as the quality to ensure that Alberta truly is competitive into the future,” Feltham said.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to not only lead this institution but to take leadership roles as well within our province and within our country.”
Feltham says that Polytechnics Canada is moving towards a common messaging for what a polytechnic is within the organization.
“I would say almost all of our conversation is student-centred. Almost all of it relates to how we build the best possible post-secondary system for our province.”
Feltham added that all institutions are equal partners in that discussion, no matter how small or how large or whether it’s a polytechnic, college or a university. He says that these institutions have equal voices and that they must be able to allow our province to become even stronger across post-secondary education.
Overall, it comes back to what NAIT essentially is as an institution.
“When we talk about NAIT being a polytechnic, we talk first of all that our programs are technology based. The second thing is that our educational method is competency based or hands on,” he said.
“The third thing is that industry is fundamentally a partner in what we do. The final thing relates to the nature of research, which is applied or industry driven.”
Feltham suggests that NAIT is trying to help industry become competitive.
“When I think about the role for polytechnics, that form of education is so critical to the broader economic welfare to our province and our country. We need to be a lot larger but the other thing that we need is for people to understand what NAIT is.”
Feltham linked it to the school’s slogan, that NAIT is essential. With the progress of creating awareness of polytechnic institutions it establishes just how fundamentally important NAIT is to the province.
“The more people in Edmonton, Alberta and in Canada understand what NAIT is and what a polytechnic is, the greater the support we will receive.”