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

VP Research

Assistant Vice-President, Industry Relations (Stephen Hartlen) and Executive Director, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (Jeff Larsen)

(June 2019):

Experiential and Work Integrated Learning

  • Co-ops: 8.2% annual growth in co-op work terms since last year, to 2,209  in total; 5-year increase is 23.8%
  • 100% of students have access to Experiential Learning
  • 23.3% of students participated in Work Integrated Learning in 2018/2019, up from 22.1% in 2017/2018


  • Idea Sandbox: A total of 440 students participated in seminars, 185 in workshops and 16 in the bootcamp program; 6 faculty and 2 industry seminars; 16 faculty workshops; $70K in direct student funding for projects
  • ShiftKey Labs: 1,175 students participated in 59 ShiftKey Labs events in 2018/2019, with 3 new incorporated businesses launched (Sunreport, Kavi, Duneworld) and 3 teams in active support; 3 Hackathons held in 2018/2019 with 70 total participants
  • SURGE (Science Unleashed: Research Growing the Economy) Sandbox established; new innovation course for fourth-year students launched (SCIE 4705:  Science Innovation, Commercialization, and Entrepreneurship) with 16 students enrolled; 3 Hackathons with 73 student participants; 1 Discover Event with 15 participants
  • Cultiv8: 2,129 attendees at 42 events; 43 students at deep engagement for weekly programming; 60 students for a 12-day intensive design challenge; community/student engagement involved a mix of 195 students and public; became an incubator for Mitacs with first client, a PhD student; also engaged Millbrook First Nations to pursue collaboration opportunities


  • 11 creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship courses offered; 449 students
  • Creative Destruction Lab-Atlantic (CDL-Atlantic), based at the Rowe School of Business, is a proven milestone-based coaching and seed stage financing program for massively scalable tech and science-based startups and after only two years, is recognized as a key contributor to the innovation and entrepreneurship landscape in Atlantic Canada; highlights of 2018/2019 included:
    • Ventures – Cohort 1 raised just under $10M in equity financing, and Cohort 2 is on-track for same
    • Atlantic University Partnership in which students and faculty from Saint Mary’s University, University of New Brunswick, University of Prince Edward Island and Memorial University can participate in the CDL-Atlantic course and experience the meetings
    • Diversity Project to include young women, First Nations and African Nova Scotian high school students with an opportunity to participate in CDL-Atlantic sessions by shadowing a mentor
    • AI Research Project to identify high potential startup companies
    • CDL Course expanded, including students from other Atlantic Canada research universities via MOUs with Memorial, UPEI, UNB and SMU
    • Workshops which support CDL-Atlantic ventures in preparing for participation in the program and potential investment with support from leading faculty from MIT

Innovation Spaces

  • Emera ideaHUB had 9 startup companies, each with a Dal affiliation, accepted to participate in the Emera ideaHUB Bridge residency program designed to support early stag

Commercialization of Research

  • In 2018/2019, Industry Liaison and Innovation Office supported 316 research and service agreements (from 331 in 2017/2018), 35 patent filings (from 36 in 2017/2018), 9 technology licenses (from 4 in 2017/2018) and 89 startups (from 52 in 2017/2018)
  • Dal undertook 88% of industry-supported research in Nova Scotia with post-secondary institutions
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship (I&E) Steering Committee, Planning and Budgeting: Implemented I&E Steering Committee, under the leadership of the VPRI, with a broad senior membership including the Provost, VPs and Deans; implemented a coherent and comprehensive planning and budgeting process for 2018-2019
  • ideaHUB: Launched the Emera ideaHUB; developed new programming focusing on building products, including an incubator to help bridge student- and researcher-led companies
  • NNCE Review: The Faculty of Management responded to the review of the Norman Newman Centre for Entrepreneurship (NNCE) with a go-forward plan, revamping programming and structure
  • MIT REAP, Ocean Supercluster and ONSIDE: MIT Regional Entrepreneurship Accelerator Program (REAP) was led by past Dalhousie President Richard Florizone and catalyzed the creation of ONSIDE, which is designed to encourage inclusivity and diversity across Nova Scotia in innovation-driven entrepreneurship; the Nova Scotia MIT REAP team also helped catalyze the new Ocean Supercluster, a $300M+ initiative that brings industry, government and universities together to drive applied research and innovation to grow the ocean economy
  • Dal Innovates brand, website marketing materials updated to reflect Dalhousie’s curricular and extra-curricular programming
  • Technology Law Clinic: Launching the Stewart McKelvey Technology Law Clinic; students in this clinic will work with entrepreneurs, other students and startups in the university and the wider community to offer early-stage legal information and advice
  • New Minor involving innovation and entrepreneurship will provide undergraduate students in five faculties with an opportunity to develop skills related to design thinking, innovation, new ventures and entrepreneurship; will increase the pool of students engaging in sandboxes, LaunchDal, ideaHUB and CDL-Atlantic
  • I-INC: Dalhousie has joined and become one of four national nodes for the Incubate-Innovate Network of Canada (I-INC), which accelerates science and technology-enabled innovation, productivity and job creation through programs which enhance the individual and collective innovation impact of its member Canadian research universities; I-INC members collaborate in delivering local, regional and national programs to move research from labs to global markets

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

: VP External (VP Finance & Admin)

Vice-Provost, Student Affairs (Ivan Joseph) and Assistant Vice-President, Human Resources (Jasmine Walsh)

(June 2019):

Community Clinics

  • In August 2018, School of Social Work Community Clinic moved to new location at 6054 Quinpool Rd; since April 2018, provided support to 192 clients in clinic or community and provided phone support to approximately 40 additional clients; provided work placement experience to 29 students from Social Work, Occupational Therapy, Psychology, Pharmacy, Nursing, Nutrition, and Medicine; in April 2019, Clinic was the recipient of the Faculty of Health William Webster Excellence in Interprofessional Education Award, recognizing “a team which has demonstrated excellence in teaching and/or leadership with regard to implementing and/or developing innovative, effective and sustainable IPE opportunities”
  • Dalhousie Legal Aid Services opened 219 new files between April 1, 2018 and March 31, 2019 (6 new community files, 55 in the area of administrative or poverty law, 28 adult and child protection, 62 young persons involved in the criminal justice system, 1 adult criminal and 67 family law files) and 663 Telelinks, in which clients were assisted over the phone or drop in; reception referred 817 callers to private lawyers, Legal Information Society of Nova Scotia, Nova Scotia Legal Aid and Dal’s tenant rights project
  • In 2018, 206 Dentistry and Dental Hygiene students completed 20,994 appointments in the Faculty’s dentistry clinics on and off campus

Community Outreach

  • The Dalhousie Agricultural Campus MacRae Library’s Seed Library has 203 registered users and lent 41 seed packets in the last year, with approximately 615 seeds introduced into the community; staff continued to provide expertise and collaboration with seed libraries around the country, and provided programming for Seedy Saturday, local schools and youth camps, engaging with over 232 people at various events
  • Student-led fundraising activities such as the Movember initiative and Five Days for the Homeless raised over $60k and $16k respectively and over 100 students participated in volunteer opportunities across the Halifax Regional Municipality on Community Day; for the second consecutive year, faculty and staff ran at the Blue Nose Marathon to raise funds for the IWK; every spring, faculty and staff participate in the United Way Day of Caring; in tax season, Prof. Laura Cumming and Prof. Jenny Zhang supervised a group of undergraduate business students in the Income Tax Clinic to help students and members of the community complete income tax returns

Student Health and Wellness

  • Continued partnership with the School of Nursing, providing community placements for 40 nursing students annually, who delivered mobile flu shot and STI clinics and participated in a variety of health promotion activities including the popular Ask a Nurse program, where students can anonymously submit health questions online to nursing students and staff
  • Clinical psychology doctoral students led anxiety and resilience-building counselling groups; leadership of group counselling programs has now become embedded as part of the PhD program at Dalhousie

Youth Programs

  • The Imhotep’s Legacy Academy (ILA) programs foster interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) among students of African heritage in Grades 6 to 12 and continues its growing influence, with over 1,484 students reached in 2018/2019 and increased enrolment in after-school and tutoring programs; at least 39 ILA high school graduates have been students at Dalhousie with at least 38 other ILA graduates enrolled at other universities and colleges; on average, 87% of ILA students graduating high school  are in STEM studies 
  • 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
  • Dalhousie’s Supernova program offered classroom workshops, clubs, events and 70 summer on-campus camp programs for youth interested in science, engineering, technology and mathematics (STEM), with an overall registration increase to 1,100 (up from 944 in 2018)
  • PLANS (Promoting Leadership in health for African Nova Scotians) program hosts university transition and health science summer camps providing an interactive opportunity to learn about health programs, career pathways and post-secondary study and has seen 45 of its health science and PLANS prep institute camp alumni graduate high school and 36 enroll in a post-secondary program with 22 in a health or science program; 6 medical students of African descent graduated from Dalhousie Medicine in 2018


  • Angus MacIntosh (Cross Country) recognized as AUS Community Service Award winner for efforts in combining athletics, academics and community service
  • 275 student varsity athletes invested over 4,000 hours of volunteer service to a variety of community groups in 2018/2019
  • Sven Stammberger (Men’s Basketball) honoured by the Governor General as a Top 8 Academic All Canadian (1 of 8 student-athletes recognized from among over 12,000 student-athletes in Canada); award recognizes athletic and academic excellence while also highlighting contributions to the community
  • 195 alumni have registered as willing to volunteer and 132 active alumni volunteers 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]