Bow Valley College
It was a Calgary-cold day outside of Bow Valley College. I entered the South Campus, and life returned to the world in a way that always seemed absent in the freezing outdoors. I had never been to Bow Valley College, but it felt alive in a fresh way.
Dr. Misheck Mwaba, the President and CEO of Bow Valley College, would later describe the college as diverse and "multifaceted"-- this was part of the energy I picked up on. There are many dimensions to this assessment.
I passed huddled groups, speaking in unfamiliar dialects. As Dr. Mwaba, a Calgarian since 2017, would inform me, these were some of the languages of the nearly 100 countries that formed the student body. It was a stat Dr. Mwaba highlighted when asked what makes Bow Valley college unique. His answer continued, including many reasons why the college was multi-toned in its eclecticism.
"When you look at our economy, we are diversifying. We are receiving a lot of people who are immigrating to Calgary, [even] from other provinces. Bow Valley College's destiny is to position itself as the institution that will ensure those individuals have the skills that Calgary needs."
With an average age of late-20s, the studentry ranges from teens to sexagenarians. The student body is approximately 78% female, and most students already have at least one prior education certification. Dr. Mwaba understands diversity. His career has globe-trotted him in geographically and culturally distant places; he taught at the University of Zambia, completed his masters in England, experienced the Canadian spectrum, and the list goes on. But this was only one piece of the larger puzzle. Diversity of thought and challenging traditional education systems is paramount for Bow Valley College.
"When you look at research and innovation, part of research is discovering new ideas and ways of doing things differently. And as a college, our focus is applied research," Dr. Mwaba explains. "[With our] vision, we talk about shaping the future of college education. This cannot happen without innovation. For me, the innovation comes in when we talk about how we can deliver education in a different way."
At Bow Valley College, diversity is an all-encompassing guiding maxim.