Meet the masterminds behind the Upskilling for Canada’s Climate Transition research project. Through this partnership, the Academy for Sustainable Innovation and the Resilience by Design Lab united their best people to learn more about how to support workforce development for climate action in Canada.
Dr. Robin Cox advances leadership in climate and disaster resilience. Drawing on design thinking and open-learning approaches, Cox is cultivating climate action leadership through an innovative open-learning master program, the M.A. in Climate Action Leadership (Royal Roads University – RRU). As the Director of the ResilienceByDesign lab at RRU, Robin works with an interdisciplinary and multi-sectorial team of faculty, students and external partners (government, business, academic) to conduct regional, national and international climate adaptation research and capacity-building projects. Climate action workforce development is central to this mission and includes developing a Climate Action Competency Framework and the more recent Climate Resilience Competency Framework; a range of climate adaptation focused, not-for-credit professional development courses and micro-credentials; and a recently awarded contract with Environment and Climate Change Canada to design a Climate Adaptation Fundamentals course for federal public sector workers.
Vivian Forssman works at the nexus of climate change capacity-building, applying her experience in learning design, digital knowledge management, web and learning management platforms, and social media to address the skills gap in the climate crisis. She works with Dr. Robin Cox, Director of the Resilience by Design Lab at Royal Roads University (RRU), implementing various initiatives. Her most recent accomplishment was management of Adaptation Learning Network, where she delivered professional development courses and micro-credentials on climate change adaptation through several BC universities; and co-developed a climate adaptation competency framework supporting skill development for individuals and organizations in a climate-changed reality.
From 2013 – 2017 Vivian was Director, Centre for Teaching and Educational Technologies at RRU; prior to RRU she held similar roles at UBC, SAIT Polytechnic, and BCIT. Her background in leading teaching and learning centres opened doors to international consulting assignments, advising post-secondary institutions on best practices in leading effective production and service units for online learning and academic development. She has taught continuing studies and graduate courses at UBC, SFU, RRU, and University of Saskatchewan.
Vivian holds an MBA from University of Cape Town. From 2004-2008 she undertook doctoral research
on online communities-of-practice, through Simon Fraser University.
Dr. David Porter is principal consultant at DP+Associates, located in North Vancouver, British Columbia. He is a long-time advocate for the benefits of adapting new technology and transformational learning practices for delivering educational opportunities, and has been involved in online, open and distance learning since the 1990s.
David was the CEO of eCampusOntario from 2016-2020, leading initiatives across Ontario’s 45 universities and colleges to innovate in the technology-enabled learning space and explore new ideas such as micro-credentials to provide nimble pathways to learning and skills training. David was formerly Executive Director of BCcampus, where he and his team engineered Canada’s first government funded open textbook program, a leading-edge development in Canadian higher education in 2012. He has also worked as an Associate Vice-President of Educational Support and Innovation at the British Columbia Institute of Technology, as Dean of Innovative Learning at Humber College, and most recently as Senior Adviser – Higher Education at the Commonwealth of Learning.
David has also worked as a project leader and consultant for international open and distance learning initiatives, including projects in Mongolia, Vietnam, and India. In 2018, he was awarded the Canadian Network for Innovation in Education’s (CNIE) Leadership Award. On October 9, 2019, he received an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Kwantlen Polytechnic University in British Columbia, for his work in innovating teaching and learning practices that employed technology-enabled learning.
Tamara is a strong, creative, and entrepreneurial leader with extensive experience in sustainability and social innovation. She has 20+ years of adult education experience and designed and delivered courses, programs, and other custom engagements all around the world. Tamara’s previous roles include Program Director in the Master’s of Strategic Leadership towards Sustainability program at BTH in Sweden, Director of Sustainability Learning Programs at The Natural Step Canada, and Associate Director of Education & Training at RADIUS SFU. She has also run her own successful consulting company for the past 10+ years, focused on facilitation, stakeholder engagement, and strategic planning. Tamara regularly teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses related to sustainability, social innovation, and leadership, most recently at Simon Fraser University.
Tamara holds a BSc in Environmental Planning, and a Masters in Strategic Leadership towards Sustainability. She is also a certified Associate Coach with Integral Coaching Canada, and a certified LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® methods facilitator.
Taylor is a passionate problem-solver and environmentalist who works to drive systems change toward a more climate-positive, equitable, and socially-just future that is sustainable for people and the planet. She brings over 6 years of experience researching & developing sustainable materials from renewable resources, from both an academic and private start-up lens. With more than 5 sustainability related micro-credentials, Taylor believes in lifelong learning. Taking inspiration from biology in her approach to solving challenges, she demonstrates that nature is our greatest teacher, and extends this perspective to her role as a sessional instructor for McMaster University’s Engineering & Society undergraduate program. As a McMaster alumna, holding a B.Eng & Society and M.A.Sc in Chemical Engineering, Taylor brings new perspectives to the way we design, engineer, and teach about our shared future, one that works with the planet, and not against it.
Ali Kazmi is a researcher for both the Academy for Sustainable Innovation and the Inclusive Design Research Centre at OCAD University in Ontario. Ali’s research focus is on the development of accessible and robust online education platforms, with an emphasis on micro-credentialing, industry alignment, and formal accreditation. In past projects, he has developed online learning badges for the Inclusive Design Research Centre’s We Count Project, which enable earners to showcase their proficiency in the growing fields of AI, data systems and inclusive data practices as well as other skills. As a former staff member and user of the University of Toronto’s Accessibility Services, Alistrives to keep his research and professional contributions connected to EDDI (Equity, Diversity, Decolonization, Inclusion) principles and advocacy to better serve persons with disabilities and other communities on the margins.
Constantly curious and often wearing many hats, Mabel brings skills in communications and a passion for sustainability and learning. She moved from Brazil to Canada almost a decade ago to pursue a Bachelor of Business Administration in International Business and Sustainability at Royal Roads University.
She worked for many years in the Marketing & Communications field for a few non-profits in Victoria, BC, always engaged in social change and sustainability. Mabel was selected by Leading Change 2016 as one of Canada’s 150 emerging environmental leaders and represented Leading Change and Royal Roads University at the 2016 Globe Conference on Sustainability and Business. Currently, she is studying at the University for Peace – UN Mandated, in the MA in Development Studies & Diplomacy. Mabel hopes to effect positive change through responsible business practices that respect the environment and people.
Our goal is to help address the critical gaps in workforce development in Canada with respect to climate action.