Cyndi McLeod wins BCCIE innovation award

June 2, 2011
Amy Dove
Tags: news

Cyndi McLeod's career is dedicated to connecting global education opportunities.

With partnerships and projects implemented in more than 30 countries, McLeod was recognized this week with the 2011 British Columbia Council for International Education (BCCIE) Innovation in International Marketing Award. The award recognizes innovation and success in support of B.C's education export sector, as well as in the marketing of B.C.'s education system.

"I'm surrounded with incredibility talented and professional international educators from across the province, so I am truly honoured to be recognized by my colleagues for this prestigious award," McLeod said.

The award is well deserved, said Thevi Pather, director of Royal Roads' International Programs and Global Advancement. "This award is recognition of Cyndi's determination to be innovative about how institutions market themselves," he said. "Cyndi is known across Canada for pushing the envelope and allowing people to be creative in an environment of traditional thinking. We are so pleased she is being recognized in this way."

McLeod joined Royal Roads in 2009 as the vice president, marketing, recruitment and business development. She was instrumental in developing a partnership between the university and Study Group, an internationally renowned education marketing and recruitment company. Royal Roads is Study Group's only Canadian partner.

Under this program, Royal Roads will offer English as Second Language (ESL) programs for the first time, as well as undergraduate and graduate preparation programs.

"She has probably brought more innovation into Canadian international education than any person I can think of," said Geoff Wilmshurst, market development director for Study Group Canada. "She has opened the pathways to a more entrepreneurial approach to education in Canada than has been seen before."

Prior to moving to the Island, McLeod worked with Thompson Rivers University (TRU) for 10 years. As vice-president international education, training and development, she oversaw the opening of the university's International Education Building in 2005, established offshore programming in seven countries and participated in the BCCIE pilot initiative to create pathways between private ESL schools and the public post-secondary sector.

She was also part of one of the largest teacher training contracts led by the Chinese government which saw more than 2,000 teachers from China attend TRU for professional development. This program was a collaboration between the local school district, the Kamloops Chinese Cultural Association, Kamloops city council, TRU Education Department, the local homestay network and many others.
Based on the success of her work, she was invited by the Canadian Embassy in Germany to share best practices and guiding principles, representing Canadian international education to colleagues abroad.

Working with the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization, Cyndi developed a strategy for peace for the Gaza Strip - through tourism. She has been honored by numerous Chinese and Indian institutions for her work in the Asian education sector. In 2005, Cyndi McLeod was given the Distinguished Service Award from Thompson Rivers University; in 1995, she was honored by Texas University with Teaching Excellence and Community College Leadership Awards.

BCCIE honoured four others with distinctions at the ceremony in Vancouver May 30. Andrea Reynolds of Kwantlen Polytechnic University was presented with the Rising Star in International Education Award. TRU International Days at Thompson Rivers University was distinguished for the Outstanding Program in International Education. Vera Wojna, who recently retired from Thompson Rivers University, was presented with the International Education Distinguished Service Award. Camosun College's Dawn Sutherland was presented with the International Education Distinguished Leadership Award. Biographies of the all 2011 BCCIE winners and nominees can be found here.