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Leading the way in IT

As Canada’s leaders in higher education IT gather at Queen’s this week, there will be ample opportunity to discuss the sector’s leading issues including security, privacy, digital strategy, and copyright.

Approximately 450 delegates from universities across the country are attending the annual Canadian Higher Education IT (CANHEIT) conference June 13-16, being hosted by Queen’s for the first time, and they will have a record number of workshops and breakout sessions to choose from, says Stephen Hunt, Chair of the Steering Committee and Director (IT) for the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science.

“We have the most breakout sessions of any CANHEIT. We had a huge response when we went out to the community and asked for submissions. As a result, our program covers almost every area of concern in higher education technology,” he says, adding that security is top of the agenda following a series of high profile attacks at post-secondary education institutions. “In fact we’ve created one entire afternoon that we are calling the security summit.”

Under the direction of CUCCIO, a non-profit, member-funded corporation representing more than 50 universities, CANHEIT 2017 also offers three keynote speakers: host of CBC Radio’s Spark, Nora Young; high-tech trailblazer, author, inventor, entrepreneur, philanthropist Byron Reese; and Queen’s alumna Michele Romanow (BSc’07 MBA’08), a leading entrepreneur and member of CBC’s Dragons Den.

“We have the most breakout sessions of any CANHEIT. We had a huge response when we went out to the community and asked for submissions. As a result, our program covers almost every area of concern in higher education technology.”
                                                      Stephen Hunt, Chair, CANHEIT 2017 Steering Committee

The main body of the conference is the breakout sessions, which are “by delegates for delegates,” Mr. Hunt says, while the keynote speakers help “stretch the envelope” by providing new perspectives that challenge attendees.

Mr. Hunt also hopes the conference helps foster a sense of collaboration and support for the delegates while at the same time introducing them to Queen’s and Kingston.

“My big hope is that when people leave they go home feeling that they are part of a bigger collaborative, supportive community,” he says. “It’s a great opportunity for Queen’s to show what we can do in that area.”

Another key part of the CANHEIT conference is the social program, including the opening reception at the Royal Military College of Canada, a fireworks dinner at Fort Henry, and the CUCCIO Gala, hosted by comedian Mary Walsh.

Organizing the event has been a team effort with a wide range of campus partners being involved.

“It’s really been a cross-campus effort, very much in keeping with IT at Queen’s, which I think reflect very well on Queen’s,” Mr. Hunt says. “We brought people in from all over campus.”

For more information and a full schedule, visit the CANHEIT 2017 website.