November 5th, 2021

Redefining polytechnic education 

Two students wearing masks walk outside amidst grass and green foliage with the Humber Arboretum in the background

Humber College is known for its approach to hands-on and work-integrated learning, and it has remained a central focus throughout our 54-year history. 

As the world changed abruptly in 2020, we developed new programs and modes of delivery so that our learners had the opportunity to gain practical, career-related experience while studying online or in a hybrid format.  

We incorporated virtual work placements, applied research and skills development challenges into our curriculums and created more pathways between credentials, breaking down barriers to further education. 

Now, with a more widespread return to campus planned for January, we can combine the best of on-campus and online learning to create a unique polytechnic experience. Students will be returning to even more hands-on learning, this time enhanced by online learning strategies.  

The lessons learned since March 2020 will inform our planning going forward. We will continue to offer online initiatives and programs like Humber Global's hugely successful Global Systems Gap Challenge. Humber's polytechnic opportunities are now accessible from anywhere in the world. 

Experiential learning on-campus 

I am excited to see more students, faculty and staff on campus this term. In January, we will be incorporating even more in-person academic programming. 

Experiential learning is a hallmark of a Humber College education, and the cutting-edge learning spaces on our campuses make it possible. More students will return to our specialized learning spaces, including bioscience labs, kitchen labs, restaurant training facilities, and outdoors at the Humber Arboretum. 

Students will also benefit from updated learning labs at the Barrett Centre for Technology Innovation like the SEW-Eurodrive Innovation lab, newly outfitted with power supply design tools. 

At the Lakeshore campus, our Humber Fashion Institute building is coming back to life, from merchandising in the front window to brainstorming sessions in the lounge. Our fashion and beauty students will be able to take advantage of equipment, including mannequins, a dropped-ceiling boardroom perfect for hanging merchandise and several presentation areas. 

The path(way) to student success  

A Humber education has never been more accessible, and we're reaching more students than ever before through partnerships and pathways. 

In October, we signed the official Memorandum of Understanding for the co-delivery of the new Bachelor of Engineering – Mechatronics program, which allows students to study at either Sault College's Sault Ste. Marie campus or Humber's North campus. We also continued to expand on the Humber-Seneca Polytechnic Partnership with Seneca College, including more than 200 pathways between the institutions.  

Student mobility is essential, especially as we navigate a new learning landscape. It's also crucial to recognize our students' prior experiences and education so they get the most out of Humber's programs and enter the workforce as soon as they can.   

Recently, Transfer Student Week recognized our many transfer students. Approximately 50 per cent of Humber students are transfer students who have come to us from other institutions, transferred programs within Humber using pathways or had their prior knowledge or work experience recognized at enrolment. 

When they graduate, Humber College students become part of a diverse alumni community with an excellent reputation. Eighty-seven per cent of employers believe that Humber alumni are well-prepared for work and an equal percentage of our graduates are hired six months after graduation, according to the latest Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) from the Ministry of Colleges and Universities. 

On November 8, we will celebrate another cohort of graduates at Humber's Virtual Fall Convocation 2021. This group will carry with them a set of unique learning experiences and an already-demonstrated adaptability and sense of resilience into their careers and further studies. 

They're the faces of the new polytechnic approach, and I can't wait to see what they do.