From Nunavut to Dalhousie

- March 16, 2017

Nunavut Deputy Premier Monica Ell-Kanayak and Martine Durier-Copp, director of CFAME. (Provided photo)
Nunavut Deputy Premier Monica Ell-Kanayak and Martine Durier-Copp, director of CFAME. (Provided photo)

For the last two years, colleagues in the Faculty of Management have been working with the Government of Nunavut on the best way to help public servants advance their leadership skills.

Last month, Martine Durier-Copp, director of Management’s Centre for Advanced Management Education (CFAME), signed an agreement with Nunavut Deputy Premier Monica Ell-Kanayak that will bring this collaboration to a new level—and potentially bring Nunavut’s public servants into Dal’s programs.

The agreement grants members of the Nunavut public service advanced standing into CFAME graduate programs once they complete the Government of Nunavut’s Hivuliqtikhanut Leadership Development program.

Supporting the public service

Plans for the Leadership Development program were initially developed by PGF Consultants and the Institute on Governance (IOG) two years ago, in answer to a request from the Government of Nunavut (GN) for proposals on how to better equip the territory’s civil servants. Looking to build an educational program that would strengthen the skills of Nunavut’s leaders, PGF and IOG approached Dalhousie to join the team. With relevant expertise in the Faculty of Management, Dalhousie’s role was twofold: to ensure that the program conformed to a high academic standard, and to provide advanced standing into higher education programs.

“The leadership development program involves capacity development in leadership competencies targeted at three levels of public officials: supervisors, senior managers and emerging leaders,” explains Dr. Durier-Copp, “and involves delivery of training modules in Iqaluit and other communities in Nunavut.”

The program’s first cohort graduated last month, and the graduates now have advanced standing into three CFAME programs: the Master of Public Administration (Management), the MBA (Leadership) and the Master of Information Management. These programs are blended, with a combination of online education and short intensives, so the public servants have a good deal of flexibility to complete them.

“They can continue to live in Nunavut and work full-time while earning their master’s degrees,” says Dr. Durier-Copp. “And if a cohort registers together, we will be able to offer our intensives in Iqaluit.”

Building capacity

Since the initiation of the project than two years ago, the CFAME team has been preparing for this agreement. Paul Brown and Bob Moody of the School of Public Administration, Jim Barker and Florence Tarrant of the Rowe School of Business, and Vivian Howard of the School of Information Management, as well as Dr. Durier-Copp, worked together on the project.

“We participated in the needs analysis, program design, curriculum review and suggestions,” says Dr. Durier-Copp, who has also taught in the program.

Faculty members visited Iqaluit to get a better feel for the needs of the Government of Nunavut (GN). Since the program began, curriculum review and development have been ongoing: the supervisor and senior manager programs have been completed and those students are now able to apply to CFAME’s programs with advanced standing. (Several graduates of the Leadership program have already approached CFAME, with a view to applying.)

“The academic committees are now reviewing the third and final program, for emerging leaders,” says Dr. Durier-Copp. She adds that they are also exploring avenues for admission into the Bachelor of Management program.

On the brink of having public servants able to move into master’s programs, the GN is pleased, says Dr. Durier-Copp, reporting that the Deputy Premier, senior officials and media were present for the signing of the agreement. “They’re very excited to have this partnership with Dalhousie University!”

Supporting a young government

Programs like Hivuliqtikhanut are especially valuable to a government as young as Nunavut’s, explains Dr. Durier-Copp. When Nunavut was created in 1999, it inherited policies from the Northwest Territories, and operated a slim public service.

“Since then,” says Dr. Durier-Copp, “no other government in Canada has faced the breadth and pace of development of its legislation, policy, programs and public sector.” She explains that continuing to educate Nunavut’s administration and leaders is essential.

“The goal is to effectively professionalize its public service and ensure that it functions at a high level of competence and effectiveness,” she says. “Public administration is an evolving practice with many provinces and the federal government demonstrating advances and innovation that would be beneficial for Nunavut officials to be aware of.”

Dr. Durier-Copp emphasizes that the idea is not to push Nunavut to use the practices of other provinces and territories, but to “enable it to select the most appropriate practices that are optimal for its population.”

Dalhousie, she points out, has a long history of involvement with Nunavut. Add the expertise of those in the Faculty of Management, and the university is a natural choice to partner with the GN.

“Dalhousie is an institution that is very well respected in Nunavut,” she says. “Our having been mentioned in the Legislature and in governmental reports alludes to the value the Government of Nunavut places on our relationship.”

It is a relationship that both sides appreciate, and one that Dr. Durier-Copp obviously hopes will continue to flourish.

“There are many more opportunities for educational partnerships,” she says, “which our Faculty will continue to explore with the Government of Nunavut in the months ahead.”


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