The Benefits

SummaryAcknowledgementIntroductionWhy Should We Help?The BenefitsThe Venture ItselfHow to Avoid the Marie Antoinette SyndromeThe Action PlanConclusionSelected Bibliography


By undertaking this unusual and worthwhile mission, BCIT stands to gain remarkable benefits, both tangible and intangible. These benefits are an expanded public profile, and unusual educational component, and goodwill and prestige.

3.1       Expanded Public Profile

BCIT is already well known for its outstanding programs and partnerships with industry. But if we became the first North American post-secondary institution to respond to the challenge of helping the developing world, we would dramatically expand BCIT’s public profile. It would put BCIT on the map as a leader and innovator and as an institute with a global vision.

I recommend promoting this venture to the highest degree in the media and taking full advantage of the attention that will be garnered by BCIT embarking on such a pioneering enterprise.

3.2       Unusual Educational Component

As the enterprise is implemented, BCIT could offer an unusual educational component to its technology offerings. Students could get course credit for taking part, either by doing projects and/or research or by travelling to the field and doing hands-on work there. This component would be similar to overseas studies offered by many universities, but the focus would be on practical aid to the needy instead of just absorbing the local culture.

Such a unique component would dovetail well with the Liberal Studies (LS) courses now required in many BCIT technology programs. Many Canadian technical institutes now offer LS classes, concerned that technical programs alone are too limiting, especially as students progress to higher levels (Chris Liotta, personal communication, January 12, 2004). This new venture, concerned as it is with the social good, would fit well with the LS offerings.

A LS course covering the rationale for this venture, including the background, history, and the ethical considerations, could be offered as well.

This new educational component would undoubtedly appeal to prospective students and possibly increase BCIT’s enrollment from across the country and internationally. A student exchange program with Africa could also eventually be implemented.

3.3       Goodwill and Prestige

Last but not least, BCIT would gain enormous goodwill and prestige from this venture. Taking advantage of the chance to help the developing world and show great generosity and largess can only show BCIT in the best possible light: visionary, dynamic, and inspired.

This opportunity will not last. We could be usurped. If we don’t do it now, another polytechnic institute or university or college in Canada or the US will eventually be first. We can always be second, or third, or later in the pack. I, however, would prefer that we be first.

We can benefit in many ways by seizing this chance immediately.