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What's A Polytechnic? The Short Version!

Being a polytechnic means that our programs are career-focused and responsive to changes in competitive global job markets. Humber professors bring a wealth of relevant industry experience to the classroom. Class sizes are small, simulation labs and work placements bridge the gap between classroom and industry. We put theory into practice from day one, which is important because work-integrated learning means you will have experience working in your industry before you graduate! When you leave Humber you will be a professional, poised and ready to make your mark.


For The Long Version, Continue Below.

The Polytechnic Teaching Model

Humber College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning subscribes to the polytechnic model of education.

The polytechnic model of education is made up of four tenets: technology related education, experiential teaching methods evaluated on competency based outcomes, strong ties with industry, and applied research that aim to solve problems faced by industry and provide students with work integrated learning (WIL). 

Humber’s programs are skills-intensive and technology-based. The most prominent differentiators between our programs when compared with universities, is how employment-connected our credentials are. To fulfil our mandate to the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development as a conduit for meeting emerging labour market needs our programs undergo annual consultations with a Program Advisory Committee (PAC), whose purpose is to advise Humber on its programs’ curriculum. These annual consultations assure Humber students that their curriculum is regularly updated to reflect the developments in their industry and that they are gaining competency in the skills required for gainful employment.

Program Advisory Committee

A Program Advisory Committee (PAC) meets at least twice annually to ensure all Humber programs are relevant and align with industry needs. Each PAC is voluntary and compromised of eight to 12 members external to the college (e.g. employers, graduates, business and industry leaders, representatives from professional and accrediting bodies, and agencies) who review every postsecondary degree, diploma, and certificate program offered by Humber. The mandate is to provide advice on a number of key indicators including field placements and co-ops, employment prospects, student awards and scholarships, curriculum, technology, and public relations. Program Advisory Committees play an integral role in maintaining the integrity and strategic direction of programming at Humber.

Work Integrated Learning (WIL)

Types of WIL

Apprenticeship: Combination of on-the-job training and classroom instruction. 
Field Placement: Practical experience in a real work setting.
Mandatory Professional Practice: Specified work hours required for licence or professional designation. 
Co-op: Combination of academic and paid work experience developed or approved by the college.
Internship: Relevant industry experience in professional work setting.
Applied Research Projects: Student projects that solve real problems in industry. 
Service Learning: Student projects that address community or global needs. 

Sattler, Peggy and Julie Peters. Work-Integrated Learning in Ontario’s Postsecondary Sector: The Experience of Ontario Graduates. Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario. 2013.

Employment-Connected Credentials  

Employment-connected credentials refers to the contemporary teaching model that focuses on fostering competencies (skills) that can be applied in industry. The connection between curriculum and industry allows students to develop the specific skills that employers expect them to bring to the job. Faculty works closely with industry to clearly define the competencies students should be able to demonstrate when they graduate and establishes reliable assessments for measuring progress. This approach diverges from the traditional education model as it underpins the importance of mastering skills that align with industry using a variety of methods to help students synthesize and apply knowledge. Competency-based education challenges the one-size-fits-all method of teaching and learning, and works to develop competencies at the student's pace over time.

Teaching Method & Faculty

Faculty is focused on leveraging industry experience to develop a comprehensive curriculum that aligns with evolving employer needs. Shaping students' understanding of key concepts and learning outcomes, and facilitating an ideal learning environment that bridges the gap between classroom and industry is the institutional teaching model. Faculty works directly with students to foster learning using a variety of methods including group discussions and team work, applied research projects, exposure to industry, and active learning initiatives. It is critical that faculty build a foundation for students that connects learning outcomes to the specific needs of industry by way of application and experimentation.