This speech was given by Bruce Jago, during the Goodman School of Mines Cocktail Reception at the King Edward Hotel, Toronto, Ontario on May 15, 2013
Thank you Dominic for your very kind introduction and thank you all for attending this celebration.
I would like extend particular thanks to Ned Goodman and Family for their generous investment in the educational future of Laurentian University under-graduate and graduate students but also in the future wealth and health of mining communities world-wide.
In addition, although I have only known Peter Crossgrove a very short time, I would like to express to him my sincere gratitude for introducing Ned Goodman to Laurentian’s President Dominic Giroux and for extending the invitation to this event to his many friends.
Many of you here today have some sort of tie to the mining industry but many of you do not. For those that do not have that tie, you should be aware that the mining industry is going through some transformative changes. We are still going discover and mine new deposits and put them bed once they are exhausted, that is still true, but the real change is going to be about changing how the next generation of mine industry workers are educated.
Many people have asked – what is this Goodman School of Mines?
Conceptually, we are like many Mining Schools, we are an Administrative umbrella that encompasses a number of educational disciplines. We are there to guide new program development and re-organise existing programs so that students graduate with a broader educational experience. I am like a Dean of Graduate Studies but with a budget, which thanks to the Goodman Family, can be used to fill educational gaps and broaden the educational experience.
Our industry and society now demands graduates with multi-dimensional talents. It is no longer acceptable to just graduate geologists or engineers that are focused on their fields alone. New graduates now need a keen knowledge of a broad spectrum of disciplines. It is almost like a liberal arts-style approach to education but with a strong engineering and scientific twist. We need geologists and engineers and environmental scientists, accountants and lawyers even that have the tools to engage local communities, to really understand what corporate social responsibility is all about, and at same time be a part of a team that makes an ore deposit discovery or builds a new mine.
The structure of the Goodman School of Mines is simple – six programs under-pin the Goodman School of Mines. These are Earth Sciences, Engineering, Commerce, Indigenous Studies, Occupational Safety and Health and Restorative Ecology; these programs track the Mining Cycle from start to finish.
As mentioned by Dominic, Laurentian already graduates some of the most sought-after graduates in the mining industry; my job is to work with Deans, Heads of Departments, teaching staff, and public, private and community stakeholders to identify potential gaps in all programs and fill these gaps by developing new courses, modular executive programs, and certificate programs. One of our primary goals is to provide distance education to remote work sites, remote communities, your colleagues at their desks in downtown Toronto or your colleagues at their desks half-way around the world.
I have spent considerable time meeting and listening to colleagues in the mining industry and to colleagues at Laurentian to determine potential gaps in current programming and to define those programs that will make us a world-class mining school, to be the best at providing a mining cycle education.
Educational gaps exist at Laurentian but Laurentian is not unique in that regard, in fact we punch way higher than our weight class. For example, after several decades of cut-backs in University funding, a large number of geology departments have shrunk in size and barely teach the basics; some departments do not even teach all the courses that are required to graduate geology students that can practice as Professional Geoscientists in Ontario.
Laurentian has been exceptionally fortunate though and currently boasts the only Earth Science department in the country and perhaps in North American in which all of their faculty, which numbers 12, are engaged in ore deposits research.
In the coming months we will be working with academic staff and industry partners to fill the existing gaps and broaden areas that already are well recognised.
As many of you know, one of the keys to success is to be unique. And what makes the Goodman School of Mines unique is that we are the only institution to provide educational programs that teach across the Mining Cycle – no one else has offered this or probably can offer it amongst all the Universities scattered across Canada or the US or maybe even the world.
I have mentioned the mining cycle several times.
For clarity, teaching to the mining cycle means teaching course content to under-graduate and graduate students and those currently working in the mining industry ……… from exploration and discovery through exploration finance, economic analyses of resources and reserves, mine building, mine operation, mine closure and site restoration. Knitting these together requires close collaboration and partnering with Indigenous communities and local stakeholders. As you are all aware corporate social responsibility is no longer a choice and we addressed that too.
Our locale makes it much easier than for most to teach to the Mining Cycle. Laurentian is located in one of the largest and most successful mining camps in the world ……… it is attached to a community with the largest cluster of mining-related industries in the world, one that generates over $5 Billion in sales each year, and it sits on the southern boundary of some of the most fertile and prolific geology in the world.
We have a living laboratory in our backyard with which to train our students and we have some of the most productive geology in the world for them to make a living at once they graduate. And, if they don’t find work or want to work at home, Canadian graduates and professionals are welcomed the world-over as the best.
Our industry now demands graduates with multi-dimensional talents. We will meet that challenge through the creation of new undergraduate and graduate programs utilising cross-disciplinary and co-op models as well as executive programs in modular, short-course and distance education formats.
For those in industry who desire an educational top-up, we do not view the educational experience as a one-time event but one of career-long learning opportunities where professionals continue their education long after graduation and at a pace that matches their career development.
Simply put, we want our graduates to be able to excel at the highest levels possible in their careers; they will be leaders who will be there to develop the world’s mineral resources in the most efficient, sustainable and equitable manner possible.
I have had overwhelming support from Laurentian faculty and staff for establishing the Goodman School of Mines.
One of several examples which illustrate the point comes from Peter Ryser, Head of the Biology Department. He commented during a meeting in my 3rd week on the job in January: “We began preparing new course material a year ago in anticipation of the School’s opening. Here are the outlines for Major and Minor Courses in Restorative Ecology; they will go for accreditation in a couple weeks.” I was thrilled, and he was not the only one to bring me opportunities like that.
Likewise, there also has been overwhelming support from industry. Industry sees many gaps generally in the education of undergraduate students and is highly supportive of our plans for the development of new courses across the spectrum of the mining cycle. A number of service companies have even offered to build and provide their portions of modular courses for free they have such a desire to contribute to student’s education and to the industry.
There has been a remarkable consensus from industry and faculty regarding the programs that are considered a priority for development in modular and certificate formats. As these programs are rolled out, course materials will be broadened to provide the basis for accredited university course majors and minors. Some of those considered as priorities include:
• Mining MBA;
• Project Evaluation;
• Extractive Metallurgy;
• Exploration Targeting;
• Restorative ecology; and
• Indigenous Communities and Resource Development.
We have four funding priorities as budget line-items amongst several others in our operating budget. These include funds for:
• Program Development
• Facilities and equipment
• Expanded field trips and field schools, and,
• In honour of academic and entrepreneurial excellence The Goodman Scholarships
You would be surprised by the value that is added simply by topping up field trip funds so students can go to places like Chile or Peru to see giant porphyry Cu mines, to visit the guts of these deposits and to interact with other cultures and pick up a few words of another language. We provided exactly that kind funding for a trip to Chile this past spring for Laurentian under-graduates and graduates with tremendous effect. The field trip was described as transformative by some. This was money well-spent.
In closing, I would like to thank you all again for attending. I hope to meet as many of you as possible but keep in mind, I am part of the grey wave that will be retiring in the next couple decades so I might not remember your name at our next meeting; please forgive me for that.
For those of you, who would like to learn more about Laurentian University and the Goodman School of Mines, or potentially investing in the Goodman School of Mines or creating collaborative opportunities, please see one of us tonight for contact-information.
Have a great evening and enjoy the special company around you.