It will be interesting to see who gets chosen to lead UNB. I agree with Anthony Knight about the importance of that position and that institution.
However, I continue to be an unapologetic one-trick-pony and I am a little disappointed that Knight didn’t make the direct case that UNB needs to understand its role in the province’s economic development. He talks about the economic benefit to suppliers (presumably the members of his Chamber) and the value of R&D, but I would like to see UNB ask itself a more fundamental question – specifically, “Why has New Brunswick’s population stagnated and net youth out-migration continued unabated for almost two decades and what could be UNB’s role as a key actor in redressing these challenges (among many others)?”
Certainly, the 21Inc. initiative is interesting as is/was the NextNB initiative. Professor Frank Collin’s program that puts engineering students in front of real world economic development issues right here in New Brunswick is a good thing. I’d like to see this thinking extended to virtually all faculties.
It is likely the new Prez will be brought in from outside NB. I have no knowledge of that but it is likely, IMO. Therefore, I hope that senior people who have a deep understanding of the broader challenges facing NB and ideas about UNB’s role in changing things will be able to huddle with the new Prez and impress upon her/him early on the need for this focus.
Economic self-sufficiency, prosperity, progress – you choose your label but it won’t happen if it remains just a government document restricted to a few offices in the Centennial Building. Our major institutions like UNB need to fully understand their role in the future of this province.