Dr. Nasir Kenea knows all about sparking big changes. He was responsible for internationally recognized innovations in Markham, Ontario while he was Chief Information Officer for the city. Now he’s arrived at George Brown College to help make our exciting plans for the future a reality.
Kenea has taken on the new role of Chief Digital and Infrastructure Officer at the college—a position that oversees both information technology services and facilities management. His top priorities will be fulfilling the goals outlined in George Brown’s Strategy 2022, Vision 2030 plan in his areas. This includes ensuring physical spaces are technology enabled to provide a seamless teaching and learning experience and bolstering online services and supports.
“Transformation is not easy. It requires the will and commitment from the organization," Kenea said.
“George Brown has the atmosphere of innovation, the level of engagement and collaboration, and the strategy to really impact change. It’s going to be a bit of an uneven road to drive on, but that’s part of the process. I look forward to the opportunity to make a difference.”
As part of our plan for the future, George Brown is prioritizing innovation in personalized learning, the integration of physical, digital and experiential learning environments, and developing resilience in our learners and in our organization.
Key learnings from digital initiatives in Markham
Kenea led exciting changes in Markham, a city of approximately 350,000 just north of Toronto, including full-scale online voting for the 2018 municipal election, digital inclusion and literacy initiatives with the Markham Public Library, and bolstering online city services as well as advancing innovation.
These efforts, and others, were recognized by a global think tank called the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF). Markham was named one of the ICF’s Top 7 Intelligent Communities list for 2020.
“When COVID-19 hit, in addition to using artificial intelligence capabilities to help citizens get timely and accurate information, we were one of those municipalities that were least impacted in terms of service offering because most of our services were already online,” Kenea said.
“Having this digital infrastructure in place really put Markham ahead of the crowd.”
Why the move to post-secondary education?
After more than a decade working with a municipality to shape the future of communities, Kenea said he was ready to shift to the education sector.
“Education has a special place in my mind and my heart. I always wanted to work in education but when I came to Canada it didn’t present itself the way I was hoping, so now is the time for me to experience that lifelong learning environment,” he said.
"Having worked in the municipal space and understanding what smart communities / smart buildings look like and where that is heading, I feel there are exciting possibilities at George Brown. The significant overlay of technology in the learning environment is fascinating and I’m pleased about the opportunity to be part of this journey.”