Alberta Advanced Education focuses on the province’s adult learning system. This includes post-secondary education and research, apprenticeship and industry training, community adult learning and literacy, and financial supports for adult students. Alberta’s government is committed to providing an accessible, innovative, and high-quality adult learning system for Albertans. Education helps unlock the potential in our society. Creative, passionate and hardworking graduates help Alberta remain strong and competitive in a global environment.
Established in June 2022 under the Post-secondary Learning Act, the Minister’s Advisory Council on Higher Education and Skills (MACHES) is a system-level council informed by visionary thinking, stakeholder engagement, and global trends.
It is responsible for advising the minister on metrics for measuring performance, long-term strategic goals for the direction of Alberta’s advanced education system, and any other matters as requested by the Minister.
The council consists of not more than nine members (including the chair) that reflect the Alberta government’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. Each member is selected to serve a term of one to three years. There are currently no vacancies on this Council.
Dr. James Barmby, Chair
Dr. Barmby has over 25 years of experience in the ranks of senior leadership at universities and colleges in Alberta, British Columbia, and Nova Scotia. Prior to his tenure in public and private institutions, James held positions at Alberta Advanced Education, where he reported directly to the Deputy Minister and later the Minister. Recently the Associate Vice-President, Government Relations at NSCAD University, James has extensive experience in government policy, the development of employment-related curriculum, program approvals and accreditation, strategic enrollment management of domestic and international students, university-government relations, and a full range of student services. Throughout his career, James has always been actively engaged in the community, including serving as the Chair of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce Education and Training Committee, Foundation Director of the Salmon Arm Rotary Club, and President of the Alberta Playwrights Network. Born and raised in Alberta, a graduate of both the University of Calgary and the University of Alberta, James has a PhD from the University of British Columbia, which was the result of researching the 35-year period of relations between senior officials of Alberta's universities and Advanced Education, a period which culminated in the establishment of the Campus Alberta Quality Council. James is highly collaborative, and loves the challenge of bringing people together to solve problems and seize opportunities.
Dr. Frank Cotae
Dr. Cotae is an associate professor teaching International Business and Strategy courses at Mount Royal University, Alberta. He has worked for a Fortune 500 company and in over 90 countries as an operations manager, director, and strategist. As an entrepreneur, he developed his own consulting practice, owned several franchise operations in the United States, and has served as a Chief Financial Officer and advisor for start-up companies. His professional efforts in Alberta have focused on technologies for reducing costs and carbon footprint for oil, gas, manufacturing and commercial operations. Frank has taught at both undergraduate and graduate levels in North America and Europe. His research interests focus on the internationalization theory, strategy, emerging and developing markets, micro-credit, experiential learning and international development. Dr. Cotae has authored hundreds of country and industry reports, operations manuals, and academic papers while his textbooks are the first in Canada, to recognize the economic, socio-cultural and historic contribution made by Indigenous people, in his field of study. Frank enlists collaboration with provincial, national, and international organizations and industry stakeholders for the purpose of informing his development of curriculum that reflects the employers’ and industry needs for graduate skills. Dr. Cotae has earned a doctorate in International Business (ISM), MBA (UOP) and a Bachelor of Arts in Finance (CSUF) in the USA.
Mrs. Darshana Dave
Mrs. Dave is Economic Development Officer-Entrepreneurship & Innovation at Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo Economic Development and Tourism. She leads the Wood Buffalo Regional Innovation Network and manages the Governance board and Collaborative Community Stakeholder group. She holds a Master of Science in Biochemistry and a Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology. She has completed post-secondary programs in Business, Project Management, and Marketing. Darshana has extensive experience tailoring strategies and tactics to meet local, provincial, national, and global business goals. She works closely with other Alberta Regional Innovation Network, including the education sector. She also understands the stakeholder landscape and has experience fostering trusting relationships and collaboration with stakeholders within various regions of Alberta. She has knowledge and expertise in the higher education sector locally, nationally, and internationally from her experience working with various universities and institutes in Alberta, British Columbia, India, China, Japan, and the USA. In her career, Darshana has been instrumental in developing business incubators, startups, technology makerspace, and several innovative initiatives highlighting her ability to take a long-term and forward-thinking perspective. She focuses on analytical and system thinking and strategic planning to achieve impactful results in her work. Darshana brings a broad range of experience from her work in various industries, including Technology, Manufacturing, Non-Profits, Post-Secondary, Startups, and Project Management.
Dr. David Finch
Dr. Finch holds a PhD in management and is an active educator, scholar, and practitioner. He currently holds several academic appointments including as a Professor at Mount Royal University’s Bissett School of Business, a Visiting Fellow at the Henley Business School at the University of Reading (UK), and the Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics at the University of Guelph. As a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Community Prosperity, Dr. Finch leads the Institute’s CityXLab. This lab explores the role of place in developing, attracting, and retaining human capital. Most recently, Dr. Finch co-authored a study with the Canada West Foundation on Alberta youth migration, and a study of Calgary’s skills ecosystem for Calgary Economic Development. Dr. Finch has authored over 50 scholarly articles in journals such as the Academy of Management Learning & Education, Higher Education, International Journal of Management Education, Journal of Business Ethics, and Industry and Higher Education. Prior to academia, Dr. Finch held progressively senior roles in areas of corporate strategy with Bell Canada, Rogers Communications, and Harris Corporation.
Dr. Glen A. Jones
Dr. Jones is Professor of Higher Education and Director of the Centre for the Study of Canadian and International Higher Education at the University of Toronto. In 2008, he was appointed the inaugural Ontario Research Chair on Postsecondary Education Policy and Measurement, an endowed chair he held until becoming Dean of Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto (2015-2021). His research focuses on higher education systems, policy, governance and academic work, and he has published more than a dozen books and over 100 papers on various aspects of Canadian and international higher education. In addition to his work in Canada, he has led or participated in over a dozen international research teams conducting innovative comparative studies of higher education systems, including detailed cross-national analyses of policy, governance, institutional diversity, and federal higher education systems. He has received both national and international awards in recognition of his contributions to the study of higher education, including an honorary doctorate from the University of Manitoba. He has been an advisor to numerous governments and organizations on higher education policy issues, and has been an invited speaker at conferences across Canada and around the world.
Ms. Anne Rimmer
Ms. Rimmer is a Policy Analyst in the Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Cities and Regions at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). In this role, she provides recommendations and analysis to higher OECD member states on global trends related to higher education, with a specific focus on identifying best practices and innovations for higher education institutions to support their local ecosystems. Prior to June 2020 Anne was the Deputy Director for Higher Education Quality and Regulation within the UK’s Department of Education, with oversight of the independent regulator of England’s higher education sector and of the Teaching Excellence Framework. At the Department for Education, Anne delivered on Ministerial priorities related to international student exchanges, higher education reform including metrics for assessing performance, and supporting successful student outcomes. Born and raised in Ottawa, Canada, Anne started her career in the Canadian Public Service. She is a graduate of the University of Oxford (UK).
Mr. Denis Ram
Mr. Ram currently works at Parlee McLaws LLP in corporate/commercial law, as well as founder of Complete Complaints Foundation, a legal tech non-profit that automates legal complaints. Through these, Denis has engaged heavily with stakeholders from across the spectrum. Denis has had diverse educational experiences, studying at public schools growing up, and then studying at SAIT, Royal Roads University, Harvard Business School, and the University of Alberta (Faculty of Law). While at SAIT, Denis was elected Chair of the students’ association and advocated for student needs and modernization. Denis rewrote all of SAITSA’s policies, set measurable targets for the organization, reorganized failing on-campus businesses, and changed strategic goals. While at the University of Alberta, Denis won national and international competitions, making him the most externally awarded law student of his year. He was President of the Energy Law Club, worked as a Communications Associate, sat on the Alumni and Friends Committee, and volunteered as a Caseworker for Student Legal Services. Denis is a champion for diversity and an advocate for students and for modernization with all stakeholders.
Dr. Terry Rock
Dr. Rock is President & CEO of Platform Calgary, an organization focused on driving growth and velocity in Calgary’s tech and innovation ecosystem. Platform works with over 70 partners to advance startup founders, investors, tech talent and corporate innovators in the new Platform Innovation Centre in Calgary's East Village. Terry’s previous experience has covered a wide variety of contexts and industries. He has been Executive Director of the Alberta Small Brewers Association and founding CEO of Calgary Arts Development Authority. He worked on Civic Partnerships at the City of Calgary, and was an Assistant Professor in Strategy at the University of Calgary. Terry has contributed to the community through volunteering on the TELUS Calgary Community Board, and the boards of Sled Island Music & Arts Festival, Hillhurst United Church, Calgary Cultural Capital 2012, the 2008 and 2016 Calgary-hosted Juno Awards, and was on the founding board of cSPACE Projects. He was the Chair of the AIESEC Canada board where he had been President in the early 90’s. Dr. Rock holds a PhD in Management with a focus on Strategic Management, Entrepreneurship and Innovation from Texas Tech University, and a Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing (with Distinction) from the University of Saskatchewan.
Dr. Elka Walsh
Dr. Walsh, passionate about student success and preparing Canadians to thrive in the digital future, leads Microsoft’s pan-Canadian learning and skills strategy as National Learning and Skills Lead. She is a leader in education with over 20 years of experience ranging from executive positions at colleges and polytechnics, to Chief Education and Learning Officer at one of Canada’s largest science centres and as founder of UDiscover Learning Inc. Dr. Walsh has also advised provincial and federal governments and international organizations on education and skilling strategy and policy. She has earned a reputation for leading innovative change initiatives at scale that result in tangible outcomes. Dr. Walsh holds a PhD and Master’s degree from McMaster University and an Honours Bachelor of Arts from University of Toronto. She has taught at Humber College and McMaster University.
Connect with the Minister’s Advisory Council on Higher Education and Skills:
Email: [email protected]
Minister’s Advisory Council on Higher Education and Skills
23rd Floor, Commerce Place
Edmonton, Alberta T5J 4G8
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