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Ontario urged to create new strategy to expand degree programs at colleges

July 07, 2020

Sheridan has joined other Ontario colleges in calling for a new provincial strategy for post-secondary education that will offer colleges more autonomy to adapt to changing conditions and create degree programs – including those at the Master’s level of study -- in specialized fields.

“Ontario’s colleges are ideally suited to prepare the future workforce for a world of unprecedented change,” said Dr. Janet Morrison, President and Vice Chancellor of Sheridan. “Our strengths lie in teaching excellence, connectivity to the workforce, interdisciplinary creativity and innovation, personal development and applied research. Those connections give us tremendous insight into the evolving labour market. At Sheridan, this mindset has already led to the launch of trailblazing programs including Ontario’s first four-year, stand-alone Bachelor’s degrees in animation, cybersecurity and athletic therapy.  Working together with government, colleges can help drive Ontario’s economic recovery.”

The recommendation has been submitted to Colleges and Universities Minister Ross Romano’s recently announced consultations on modernizing post-secondary education.

The call for a new vision for post-secondary education follows the recent release of a white paper, “The Future of Ontario’s Workers,” by the StrategyCorp Institute of Public Policy and Economy. The white paper proposes measures to drive economic growth as Ontario emerges from the COVID-19 lockdown.

The proposed post-secondary strategy would help fulfil Ontario’s transition to a performance-based post-secondary system by placing greater emphasis on graduates’ success. It would authorize colleges to:

  • Expand the range of four-year degree programs at colleges to meet local demand without being restricted by arbitrary provincial maximums.
  • Create master’s degree programs for university and college graduates for in-demand specialized fields such as robotics, cybersecurity and animation.
The report also recommends the government provide more funding for short-term micro-credential programs to increase the retraining opportunities for the unemployed and underemployed.  “Our own strategic plan, Sheridan 2024: Galvanizing Education for a Complex World, calls on us to engage with communities and employers to strengthen learning-integrated work and to create opportunities for skilling, re-skilling and upskilling graduates, workers and learners in our local communities,” said Dr. Morrison. “We must help more people acquire the expertise that is needed in our community - with greater autonomy and flexibility, our college can help ensure Ontario capitalizes on the opportunities to stimulate economic growth and prosperity.”