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

Stephen Hartlen, AVP Industry Relations & Jeff Larsen, Executive Director, Innovation and Entrepreneurship
STATUS (June 2018):
Experiential and Work Integrated Learning
• Opportunity for innovative experiential learning within the new Minor in Creative Writing
• Co-ops: 3% annual growth in co-op work terms since last year, to 2,021 in total
• 100% of students have access to Experiential Learning
• 23.2% of students participated in Work Integrated Learning in 2017/2018, up from 22.7% in 2016/2017
• Idea Sandbox: A total of 684 students participated in seminars, 200 in workshops and 16 in the bootcamp program; 9 faculty and 2 industry seminars; 4 faculty workshops; $70k in direct student funding for projects
• ShiftKey Labs: 1,007 students participated in 42 ShiftKey Labs events in 2017/2018, with 1 new incorporated business launched (Integrated HACCP Solutions) and 7 teams in active support; 3 hackathons held in 2017/2018 with 129 total participants
• Cultiv8: 2,845 attendees at 62 events, with 72 students in weekly events; 86 student projects resulted in 26 pitches at Cultiv8 competitions earning prize winnings of over $10k; more than 70 high school, junior high and elementary students participated
• The Creative Destruction Lab-Atlantic (CDL-Atlantic) launched, based out of Rowe School of Business, to connect the most successful entrepreneurs and business leaders in Atlantic Canada to mentor the most promising science- and technology-based startups in the region through a 9-month objectives-based program. 28 companies participated at launch, through the program have raised $4M after 4 meetings this year.
• Norman Newman Centre for Entrepreneurship held over 85 events with 10,970 interactions with students, researchers and members of the community
• 9 creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship courses offered; 416 students
Innovation Spaces
• Two additional sandboxes being brought online this fiscal year: Ocean Sandbox (to be located in LSC and led by Faculty of Science in collaboration with Ocean Frontier Institute) and Health Sandbox
• Dalhousie University is a founding member of the Centre for Ocean Ventures and Entrepreneurship (COVE), which will be home to the Ocean Tracking Network’s Glider program and to the R&D enterprises of a large number of SMEs involved in ocean science and technology
Commercialization of Research
• In 2017/2018, Industry Liaison and Innovation Office supported 331 research and service agreements (from 458 in 2016/2017), 36 patent filings (from 42), 4 technology licenses (down from 10) and 52 startups (up from 44)
• Dal undertook 88% of industry-supported research in Nova Scotia with post-secondary institutions
Leadership and collaboration
• 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, is completing its final workshop in June 2018. Among the successful outcomes was the mobilization of the team to identify and advance the successful Ocean Supercluster application, a $300M+ initiative that brings industry, government and universities together to drive applied research and innovation to grow the ocean economy. The university will continue to work with REAP partners from around the world.

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)
Ivan Joseph, Vice-Provost Student Affairs & Jasmine Walsh, AVP Human Resources
(June 2018):
Community Clinics
• School of Social Work clinic provided 161 clients in-clinic or phone support since April 2017, and provided work experience for 61 social work students as well as more than 28 students from other disciplines (Occupational Therapy, Pharmacy, Medicine and Management)
• In 2017, Dalhousie Legal Aid Service opened 362 new client files and 8 new community files and took 430 calls through the telelinks program as well as 378 calls through our tenant rights program; receptionists referred 1,096 callers to private lawyers, Legal Information Society of Nova Scotia, Nova Scotia Legal Aid and Dal’s tenant rights project
• In 2017, 211 Dentistry and Dental Hygiene students completed 21,287 appointments in the Faculty’s dentistry clinics on and off campus
Community Outreach

• The Dalhousie Agricultural Campus MacRae Library’s Seed Library has 184 registered users and lent 347 seed packets in the last year, with approximately 5,205 seeds introduced into the community; staff continued to provide expertise and collaboration with seed libraries around the country working with such national and regional organizations such as Seeds of Diversity, Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security and the Atlantic Canadian Organic Regional Network, and provided programming for the provincial exhibition 150 Years of Innovation in Agriculture, Canada’s Agriculture Day, Seedy Saturday, local schools and youth camps, engaging with over 1,000 people at various events
• The Dalhousie community donated, fundraised and supported a number of community initiatives, including $152k raised for United Way; student-led fundraisers such as the Movember initiative raising over $60k and Five Days for the Homeless raising over $17k for Phoenix House. Professor Laura Cumming supervised a group of undergraduate business students in the Income Tax Clinic to help students and needy members of the community complete income tax returns, including residents of Adsum House and Laing House.
• Dalhousie University emergency bursary program for students launched by family gift from Dalhousie University President Richard Florizone and Dr. Mona Holmlund. The microbursary will be administered through Dalhousie’s Student Affairs and will combine timely financial aid with the university’s On Track program, Dalhousie’s student success and retention program. Students will be able to access the emergency funding starting in September 2018.
• Dalhousie launched a Building Community series with an employment conference for job ready new Canadians in 2017 and will host a Day of Active Learning for elementary students in 2018
Youth Programs

• Dalhousie’s Supernova program offered classroom workshops, clubs, events and 63 summer on-campus camp programs for youth interested in science, engineering, technology and mathematics (STEM), with an overall registration increase to 944 (up from 778 in 2017).
• The Imhotep’s Legacy Academy (ILA) programs foster interest in STEM among students of African heritage in Grades 6 to 12 and continues its growing influence with 450 participants in 2017/2018 so far. It has increased enrolment in after-school, FIRST Lego League and tutoring programs. ILA has started a new coding program involving 18 students. At least 30 ILA graduates are students at Dalhousie with at least 29 other ILA graduates enrolled at other universities and colleges.
• Each Summer, Dalhousie welcomes 54 exceptional high school students from across the country to the month-long SHAD summer program. University-level academic content with a STEAM+innovation focus is provided by Dal faculty, staff and students, an essential element of this transformational program.
• The Faculty of Medicine’s Indigenous Health Program offered the first March Break camp to 12 Indigenous youth from the HRM from March 12-16, with funding through the ongoing partnership with the Johnson Scholarship Foundation.
• PLANS (Promoting Leadership in health for African Nova Scotians) program hosts a health science summer camp providing an interactive opportunity to learn about health programs, career pathways and postsecondary life and has seen 31 of its health science camp alumni graduate high school and 24 enrol in a postsecondary program with 18 in a health or science program. Six medical students of African descent graduated from Dalhousie Medicine in 2017.

• 1 U SPORTS Community Service Award winner recognized as an exceptional student for efforts in combining athletics, academics and community service
• 275 student varsity athletes spent more than 4,000 hours volunteering with a range of community groups in 2017/2018
• The Dalhousie community contributed almost 5,200 hours of volunteerism to the campus and local communities during the Year of Belonging Days of Action initiative
• We have 127 alumni who have registered as willing to volunteer and 90 active alumni volunteers who are involved in meaningful roles to support students, engagement and the mission of the university

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]