Recently joining the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) as president in July of 2023, to say Dr. Jeff Zabudsky had to fast-track his preparation before school started in September is an understatement.
However, Zabudsky is a well-respected, seasoned professional with an impressive thirty years of high-level experience in the post-secondary and polytechnic sectors across Canada and the Middle East. A logical candidate for the role, he joined BCIT at a pivotal time with extensive transformations underway at the Burnaby Campus and across B.C.’s workforce.
Still, Zabudsky feels enthused and privileged to take on the challenge.
Forging a new way forward
It is estimated there will be over one million job openings available in B.C. in the next ten years, and Zabudsky plans to work closely with both industry and government to provide the necessary skills and training to set students up for success.
When asked about his own leadership style, Zabudsky states: “A leader who presumes they can do it all themselves and have all the answers is probably not the strongest of leaders. Identifying good talent and surrounding yourself with that talent is critical.”
He also emphasizes the importance of “assuring you are giving appropriate authority and autonomy to those individuals to make good decisions and use their talents accordingly, to try new things and be innovative. I am a leader who is patient with situations that might fail but am willing to take risks.”
Beyond B.C., the whole country looks to BCIT as a visionary in post-secondary education, especially in the industry and advanced technology-focused workforce.
“BCIT is a great institution with a powerhouse reputation,” Zabudsky describes. “If I were to think forward five to ten years, I’d like to see BCIT recognized as faithful to its past while leading the way to new, sustainable technology in A.I., in net zero house constructions, and many sustainability themes.
“Given the climate changes that are occurring, I would like us to be known globally for our influence in advanced technology around themes of the green economy. Our students are keen on this stuff. They are the future. That is why they are here.”
Supporting sustainable success
Post-secondary education plays a crucial role in the future of B.C.’s workforce, and Zabudsky understands its significance to the province’s economic growth.
“We are getting close to achieving our campaign goal of $125 million from the Inspire Campaign,” he explains, funds which will support students with scholarships and bursaries, contribute to new buildings and more.
“We recently announced a $5.5 million donation from the Washington Foundation, as well,” he says. “This funding will provide BCIT programs to four different high schools throughout the Lower Mainland where young people can get their start in in-demand skilled trades training and then carry on into an apprenticeship of their choosing, free of charge. We chose schools that have more vulnerable and marginalized students that need support.”
With BCIT’s track record presently at 98% of degree grads employed within six months of graduation, we can’t wait to see what Zabudsky’s new leadership will inspire.
To learn more about BCIT programs, research and initiatives, visit bcit.ca.