The upcoming Fall 2020 semester will mark the first post-secondary step into what has become a new, COVID-19 world and with it, Northern College will face opportunities and changes to what had been deemed as ‘normal.’
Building on the lessons learned during the quick re-deployment of educational assets in the early days of the pandemic, Northern College is looking forward to its opportunity in helping to shape the future of post-secondary education.
“We have been invited by the Ontario Ministry of Colleges and Universities to participate in an ongoing discussion about the future of college-level education in the province,” stated Dr. Fred Gibbons, President and CEO of Northern College. “We are pleased to be given the chance to participate in a discussion like this during such a period of change, uncertainty and possibilities.”
The strategy, as outlined by the province in a press release aims to give colleges like Northern the opportunity to aid in the creation of several new programming streams including the creation of college-level degree programming, expanding micro-credentialling opportunities for students, alterations to existing funding and recruitment structures.
In short, the round-table discussion will touch on most aspects of Ontario’s college and post-secondary landscape.
“As we continue to emerge from this disruption, our government is committed to exploring new opportunities to transform the sector, so it is poised for even greater success over the long-term,” stated Ross Romano, Minister of Colleges and Universities in the release. “When we make advancements in our sector, we are not just investing in our students. We are investing in their potential.”
Northern College has long committed to making education as universally accessible as possible, pioneering the distance learning techniques that allowed the institution to so quickly transition students into a new, physically distanced learning environment.
“Any change on the horizon is one that we feel we can, not only support, but participate actively in. Given our unique perspective and the long history of challenges that we have overcome being nimble as a smaller institution than most, this is a conversation we feel uniquely equipped to participate in,” stated Gibbons. “We have a long history of providing students with opportunities to expand their learning potential through distance delivery methods as well as engaging academic partnerships with universities that allow for degree earning potential for our students.”
Northern College is keen to aid in the exploration of any changes to the post-secondary landscape that help students achieve their educational goals, and is eager to build on its already extensive experience in student-first learning techniques.
“We have placed a heavy focus on alternative learning options for our students,” stated Dr. Audrey Penner, Northern College’s Vice President of Student & Academic Success. “We have long championed the concept of micro-credentialling and distance learning options, while providing our students tangible pathways to success through a number of transfer agreements with provincial universities like Queen’s and Algoma.”
As Northern College works to contribute to this sweeping educational conversation, it will remain focused on its student-first values, using this opportunity to champion the needs of students to create a better tomorrow through the power of accessible education.