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3.0 Service

Catalyze the intellectual, social and economic development of our communities

Catalyzing the intellectual, social and economic development of our communities requires service contributions within the academic community and more broadly to society. Our impact on economic development of communities is enabled by the many university activities that foster creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship.

3.1 Contribute to cultural and economic vitality, locally and globally, by fostering creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship

Matt Hebb, AVP Government Relations and Economic Development & Stephen Hartlen, AVP Industry Relations
(June 2017):
Experiential and Work Integrated Learning
• Courses: ShiftKey Labs developed a new Technology Innovation course that is being offered to graduate, undergraduate and NSCAD Interdisciplinary Design students
• Programs: Faculty of Management offers BcCmm, Major in Entrepreneurship and BMgmt, Major in Entrepreneurship & Innovation; Faculty of Computer Science offers Master of Applied Computer Science, Bachelor of Technology in Small Business Management, Minor in Innovation and Entrepreneurship
• Co-ops: 2.5% annual growth in co-op work terms since last year, with 6% increase in Management placements, to 1,964 in total
• IDEA Sandbox: A total of 800 students participated in seminars, 160 in workshops and 18 in the summer program; faculty and industry seminars remained at 6 each, consistent with 2015/2016; faculty workshops increase to 10 from 8; $70k in direct student funding for projects, up from $60k in 2015/2016. Held 2 Make-a-thons as new initiatives in 2016/2017
• ShiftKey Labs: Over 980 students participated in ShiftKey Lab events in 2016/2017, with 3 incorporated businesses launched and 9 teams in active support
• Cultiv8: Over 700 attendees attended approximately 45 events, with approximately 25 students in weekly events; over 50 student projects resulted in 40 pitches at Cultiv8 competitions earning prize winnings of over $15k; additional financial support of $15k; 2 high school students participated during winter semester, 1 of whom took home second prize in pitch finale
• Norman Newman Centre for Entrepreneurship held 82 events and over 9,284 interactions with students, researchers and members of the community, up 18% from 2015/2016
• 10 creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship courses offered, including The Creative Process, New Venture Creation and Advanced Entrepreneurship; 521 students
• Supported 200 early stage mini ventures; 75 venture projects; 20 entrepreneurial work terms; 80 early stage ventures; 35 Canada’s Business Model Competition teams; and 10 LaunchPad accelerator teams
• $600K renovation of the Collider (primary location for programming and serves as nexus for students, faculty, researchers, and the community)
• Entrepreneurship programs received donor support from the family of the late Neville Gilfoy and the Dobson Foundation; Morrison Park Advisors Inc. provided $10k in prize money for Demo Day
• Entrepreneurship teams were accepted into Y combinator, Fierce Founders cohort at Communitech, and nominated for the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Competition
Innovation Spaces
• Construction underway of the IDEA Building and Emera ideaHUB as part of the Sexton Campus Renewal Project
Commercialization of Research
• In 2016/2017, Industry Liaison and Innovation Office supported 458 research and service agreements (from 435 in 2015/2016), 42 patent filings (from 43), 10 technology licenses (up from 7) and 44 startups (up from 21)
• Dal undertook 91% of industry-supported research in Nova Scotia
• Dal is the third-best university in U15 in industry-partnered research per capita
Leadership and collaboration
• Dal continues to increase its support and leadership in the regional innovation ecosystem, including partnerships with incubators, accelerators, science parks, venture capitalists and other organizations
• Dal is represented on all of the working groups of Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education Innovation Team, with President Florizone co-chairing the working group on R&D and commercialization
• President of Dalhousie is the champion for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Regional Entrepreneurship Accelerator Program (MIT REAP), a capstone global initiative for jurisdictions to develop and implement ecosystems focused on innovation-driven entrepreneurship

Read more about priority 3.1

INFLUENCED BY: 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 4.2
INFLUENCING: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.5, 2.1, 2.5, 3.2, 3.3, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.5


In the best tradition of service to society, and in recognition of both the challenging circumstances prevailing in Nova Scotia and the expectations currently placed on universities, there is an opportunity and an imperative to increase the participation of Dalhousie in the creation of economic and social value by cultivating engaged entrepreneurship and harnessing curiosity, creativity and innovation.


  1. Increase student-led entrepreneurship.
  2. Increase and extend external partnerships, particularly those related to research strengths and which feature Dalhousie students, faculty, staff or alumni.
  3. Create more innovation spaces to support creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship.
  4. Support the success of students after graduation by participating in efforts to create economic opportunity for recent graduates and preparing students themselves to build and seize them.

Download the charter [PDF-130kB]


3.2/3.3 Promote a culture of service and engagement by maximizing the opportunities for students, faculty and staff to contribute to community both inside and outside of the university

EXECUTIVE SPONSOR: VP Advancement (VP Finance & Admin)
Arig al Shaibah, Vice-Provost Student Affairs & Jasmine Walsh, AVP Human Resources
(June 2017):
Community Clinics
• School of Social Work clinic provided almost 200 clients in-clinic or phone support since June 2016, and provided work experience for 15 social work students as well as more than 10 students from other disciplines (Occupational Therapy, Pharmacy, Medicine and Management)
• In 2016, Dalhousie Legal Aid Service opened 348 new client files and 6 new community files and took 951 calls through the telelinks program; receptionists referred 441 callers to private lawyers, Legal Information Society of Nova Scotia, Nova Scotia Legal Aid and Dal’s tenant rights project
• In 2016, 204 Dentistry and Dental Hygiene students completed 23,430 appointments in the Faculty’s Dentistry clinic
Community Outreach

• The Service Learning Curriculum in the Undergraduate Medical Education programs developed agreements with community agencies in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick
• The Dalhousie Agricultural Campus McRae Library’s Seed Library has 164 registered users and lent 239 seed packets with approximately 4,075 seeds introduced into the community
• Staff from the Seed Library provided expertise and guidance to four new seed library startups (2 Canadian academic institutions, 1 Nova Scotia public library and 1 Nova Scotia community group)
• Dalhousie’s participation in the Nova Scotia Mental health Foundation’s Different Stage of Mind raised almost $110K in support of provincial mental health services
• The Dalhousie community donated, fundraised and supported a number of community initiatives including almost $164K raised for United Way, $12K raised for Phoenix House, $13K raised for the IWK and over 1 tonne of food donated to Feed Nova Scotia
• Dalhousie’s Department of Human Resources partnered with the Dalhousie Professional and Managerial group to launch a free Growing Communities professional development conference for new, job-ready immigrants to Canada
Youth Programs

• Dalhousie’s Supernova program offered classroom workshops, clubs, events and 47 summer camp programs for youth interested in science, engineering, technology and mathematics (STEM); with an overall registration increase to 778 (up from 630 in 2016)
• The Imhotep’s Legacy Academy (ILA) programs foster interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) among students of African heritage in Grades 6-12 and continues its growing influence with 660 participants in 2016/2017 up by 415 from the previous year and increased enrollment in after school and tutoring programs. At least 25 former ILA participants are students at Dalhousie with at least five other students enrolled at other universities. Mentor Bai Bintou Kaira received a Governor’s Award and a 3M Student Fellowship. The FIRST Lego League team won a place in an international innovation competition in Washington Dc in June 2017.
• Dalhousie is one of 13 campuses nationally to host a SAHD summer program, with Dal faculty and students volunteering and offering hands-on workshops and lectures to high school students; a project idea launched at SHAD Dalhousie went on to win Best Prototype at the national SHAD-John Dobson Entrepreneurship Cup
• Dalhousie hosted one of Canada’s largest Girls Learning Code Day, bringing together 45 girls ages 8 to 13 and 20 mentors for three hours of hands-on learning and experimentation, supported by mentors from the Faculty of Computer Sciences Women in Technology Society; Girls Learning Code aims to teach girls 21st century digital skills and enable them to experience the satisfaction that comes from being a builder of technology

• 3 Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) Community Service Award winners recognized exceptional students for their efforts in combining athletics, academics and community service
• 250 student varsity athletes spent more than 2,000 hours volunteering with a range of community groups in 2016/2017

Read more about priority 3.2/3.3

INFLUENCING: (3.2): 1.1, 1.3, 2.4; (3.3): 1.1, 1.2, 3.1, 4.1, 4.2, 4.5


Service is the third key element of the university's mission. For the purposes of understanding this part of the mission it is useful to conceive of it as falling into two broad areas: service to the academic community and service to the public. This priority deals primarily with the latter. 

There are many examples of public service at Dalhousie, ranging from the education of professionals to serve the province; research contributions to address significant local, national or global problems; service to rural and other communities and the volunteer and other public service efforts of our individual faculty, staff and students. 

Beyond the public service that arises out of the missions of teaching and research, the Dalhousie community also makes important contributions as citizens. Dalhousie's students are also actively engaged in public service, from raising money and awareness for charity to working hands-on with not-for-profit organizations. 

Increasingly students are seeking opportunities to complement their academic programs and goals with community based initiatives whether on campus or off campus. 

Nova Scotia, and Atlantic Canada more broadly, faces multiple tough challenges, ranging from a shrinking, aging population, to weak economic growth to poor health outcomes compared to many parts of Canada. Dalhousie could potentially play a greater role in addressing these challenges through the talents and capacities of the people who make up its communities.


  1. Increase by 10% the proportion of faculty, staff and students who contribute to community through public service activities by 2018.
  2. Develop a focused public service strategy by December 2016 that identifies opportunities to align its unique talents and capacities with public needs.

Download the charter [PDF-139kB]