HRM and higher ed: Stronger together

New MOU signed between the city and its universities/colleges

- April 10, 2014

Dalhousie, embedded in the heart of the Halifax peninsula.
Dalhousie, embedded in the heart of the Halifax peninsula.

With six universities and three NSCC campuses, there’s no question that Halifax is a municipality shaped, and in many ways defined, by higher education.

Helping solidify that relationship is a new memorandum of understanding between HRM and the municipality’s universities and colleges, coming together in a group called the Halifax Higher Education Partnership (HHEP).

The agreement is the first new MOU between the parties since 2006. While it does not preclude other collaborations, its primary focus for the next three years is talent attraction and retention: how Halifax’s universities and colleges can work together to position the city as Canada’s education capital and a global leader in higher education.

Universities and colleges play a vital role in attracting people to Halifax. Currently, nearly half of all students in the municipality come from other provinces or other countries, making significant economic, social and cultural contributions to the region. And, likewise, Halifax is a big reason why students are attracted to the East Coast: the opportunity to live and study in a friendly, energetic city beside the Atlantic.

Contributing to a vibrant Halifax

Dal President Richard Florizone says the HHEP can look to other cities with high concentrations of universities and colleges for inspiration.

“I’m particularly inspired by the city of Boston, which has over 50 universities and colleges and a quarter million students in its metropolitan area,” he says. “These institutions and individuals contribute to a vibrant city and a great quality of life, serving as an example of what is possible for Halifax and its eight institutions of higher education.”

In the agreement, the HHEP’s partners agree to work together in efforts to attract and retain students, faculty and staff. While it does not commit to any specific projects, some of the potential collaborations identified in the MOU include: considering adjustments to municipal services to benefit international students; increasing internship and co-op placements; a recruitment summit with both HRM and the universities; a reception for international students in Halifax this fall; and more.

The HHEP’s members will meet quarterly and establish working groups, as required, to implement priority initiatives.


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