Come Grow with Us: Meet Eric Fry, Associate Dean, Agile and Work Integrated Learning

Eric at the BCIT Automotive shop.
Eric at the BCIT Automotive shop.

Come Grow with Us spotlights the remarkable career progress of BCIT staff and faculty who have dedicated more than a decade to the Institute. Each story is a celebration of their growth and contributions to BCIT. 

Eric Fry is the Associate Dean of Agile and Work Integrated Learning (WIL) at BCIT. He began his journey at the Institute as a student in the BCIT Automotive Entry Level Trades Training program in 1991. During his time as a BCIT student, Eric decided he would one day like to teach at BCIT. After nine years in the trades industry, he was hired as a part-time instructor in the Automotive department to teach a Digital Lab Scopes course in 2000 and shortly became a full-time instructor, where his journey as a post-secondary educator began.  

Eric has dedicated over 24 years at BCIT. According to Eric, he attributes all his life’s success to the Institute, and it all started with earning a scholarship in trades that led to his path of becoming a tradesperson and now an academic leader.   

Get to know Eric, as he shares invaluable insights into his journey in post-secondary education and BCIT.  

In what ways have you developed professionally while working with the Institute?

With my previous experience as a Ford technician, I had the opportunity to launch the new BCIT Ford ASSET co-op diploma program supporting BC Ford dealers’ dealerships with Ford-trained automotive apprentices.  

As I developed my expertise in teaching, I was awarded the BCIT School of Transportation Teaching Excellence Award in 2010. Receiving this award inspired me to pursue my education acquiring two teaching diplomas and pursuing my master’s degree in Curriculum Design at Simon Fraser University.  

When I became a program head in 2015, my focus changed to academic leadership and my role changed from supporting a cohort of students to supporting a department of 30 faculty and hundreds of automotive and motorcycle students.  

Also during this time, I ran for a seat on the BCIT Education Council (EdCo) and have since held a number of positions on both policy and programming and executive EdCo standing committees. During my time on EdCo, I got a broader perspective of how BCIT operates, how programs are developed, and how our policies and programming impact student success and wellbeing. I saw new initiatives on the horizon which included BCIT’s Agile microcredential.  

In 2021, a new Associate Dean position was available to lead Agile and WIL which captures many of the essential elements that make BCIT unique in post-secondary. I applied and once selected, a new chapter in my BCIT experience opened. I got to join great teams from the BCIT Centre For Workplace Education, Flexible Learning, Experienced-Based Placement and most recently, Educational Grants. This new opportunity in educational leadership combined with working outside of my discipline created a unique opportunity to support others in their work with our students.  

What are projects or initiatives that you have completed at the Institute that you are proud of?

Throughout my 22 years at BCIT, I’ve been excited to champion and support several projects. The largest project was implementing and running the BCIT Ford Asset program for almost 15 years, resulting in over 100 graduates qualified to work at Ford dealers across the province. 

I’m also really proud of the work I’ve accomplished as an Automotive Department Head for six years.  I supported both faculty and student success including championing and chairing the School of Transportation (SoT) Professional Development Days. 

Then there is the service I have done on EdCo for the past 12 years, serving as SoT, BC General Employer’s Union (BCGEU), and now management representative in a variety of roles including Programming Vice Chair, Policy Chair, and EdCo Chair, and Board of Governors member.  

Eric Fry
Eric Fry at BCIT Convocation

Currently I’m super proud of the projects supported by the Agile and WIL department such as the Microcredential, Work Integrated Learning, Experienced-Based Placement, TradeUpBC, and Educational Grant Writing teams. 

 SEE MORE: What are microcredentials and who are they for? 

What has been your most memorable moment working at BCIT? 

As EdCo Chair, I cannot emphasize enough the significance of the moment when I have the privilege of leading the tassel flip, signifying the graduation of hundreds of students every year at Convocation.  

What do you enjoy the most about working in post-secondary education?  

Helping people (both staff and students) design and build their lives through the development of their skills, knowledge, and confidence. BCIT especially excites me because our collective disciplines have the capacity to meaningfully address so many of the seemingly insurmountable challenges faced in the world today.

Do you have a favourite spot or activity at the BCIT campuses that you enjoy spending your time at and why?   

September student Kick Start events, where everyone is new, excited, somewhat lost, and starting on their own great personal adventures. I still remember the first day I came to BCIT in 1991 and I associate how my career journey and all I have experienced in life started from this common “first day at BCIT” experience. 

Share with us how what you are passionate about outside of work. Do you have any hobbies?   

Eric Fry and Susanne
Eric Fry with his wife Susanne.

Beyond my amazing wife Susanne, I am a passionate mountain biker, hiker, camper kayaker, and traveller.  

Do you have hidden talent/skills that you would like to reveal to us?  

Working in my woodshop building custom furniture and playing drums. 

Is there anything else you’d like to add? 

I am about as BCIT through-and-through as anyone could be. I attribute all my life’s success to BCIT. I was not academically successful in high school but because I received a trade scholarship, I found academic success at BCIT as soon as I arrived and began studying something I was passionate about.  

I see this potential in all our students, and this is why, 32 years later I am still at BCIT though now as an academic leader…. Nobody would have possibly foreseen this as my path upon high school graduation. I know BCIT changes lives because it changed mine. 

Come grow with us. Explore rewarding career opportunities at BCIT.  

Leave a comment