Last year, more than 1,000 students enrolled in Humber College’s Foundations and General Arts and Science (GAS) pathway programs. They are recent high school graduates, mature students, people returning to education after years away, and students who are unsure what program they should start with and want to gain transfer credits. The need for pathway programs has been highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on workforce opportunities.
“With so much change happening, people benefit from education and learning. Regardless of whether an individual knows exactly what to study or their future career path, foundations and GAS pathway programs enable students to have a path and direction,” said April-Dawn Blackwell, associate dean, Pathways, in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences and Innovative Learning. “They can start moving forward even during the uncertainty of the pandemic and employment opportunities.”
The foundations and pathway programs are about building the skills to succeed in post-secondary. The courses enable students to explore and learn in college and gives students the opportunity to decide – and focus on- the program stream that is best for them.
Specifically, the general arts and sciences programs offer multiple options. The Technology certificate is eight months and unique to Humber. Students can choose courses in IT, Tech, Trades, Programming, Design, among others that are transferable to many programs at Humber in a high-demand job market. Additionally, the College and University Transfer Certificates have up to six transfer credits upon successful completion depending on whether they take the two or four semester program and the future program they choose.
Humber College offers nine foundations and pathways programs. Some programs require students to take an applied psychology class during their first semester.
Blackwell says it is a flagship course.
“They learn about themselves, teams and college services. There’s an assignment where they get to explore what kind of careers they’d like, and it’s marked, so they’re not doing it at home with no guidance. It helps people decide on which careers might work for them and the education needed to reach their goals.”
‘I knew something had to change’
Since high school, Cameron Farrar had been “aimlessly going from job to job,” and wanted to return to school. It had been six years since he had been in a classroom.
“I wasn’t interested in high school,” he said.
“But I knew something had to change, so I bit the bullet.”
Farrar enrolled in the two-year General Arts and Science – University Transfer diploma program at Humber in 2018.
His brother is a Humber College graduate and told Farrar about the pathway/foundational programs.
“I thought, ‘I’ll jump into this program. I’m going to do everything I can, put everything into it.’”
He says the potential to transfer course credits from the program to a college or university program either within Humber or at other universities was a selling point of the General Arts and Science courses.
Farrar graduated earlier this year with a University Transfer diploma, then applied and was accepted into the Media Communications program at Humber College. He starts his new program this Fall.
The flagship course Blackwell described still stands out in his memory.
“I got to think about what I was going to do next and find my skills and talents,” said Farrar.
He knew he was a good writer, and soon found himself drawn to visual and written communications.
Now he can see himself working in advertising, marketing, and many other positions within the communications sector.
Two years ago, he wasn’t as confident.
“It was the cherry on top.”
Farrar says that after so many years out of school, he needed positive feedback to feel like he was on the right track. He appreciated the open dialogue he had with professors.
“My professors were really great. They provided me with lots of feedback that I appreciated,” he said.
He looks forward to having the same kind of relationship with his future instructors.
His greatest takeaway, though, is the pride he felt being on the Dean’s Honour List.
"It was the cherry on top," he said.
A spot on the list is a clear sign of success, but not the only one. Farrar’s ability to confidently choose a career path should also be celebrated, says Blackwell.
“It’s so important that students have agency for themselves. We create a space where they’re heard,” said Blackwell.
“Some students have had challenges in front of them that most people wouldn’t have the resilience to overcome. Humber is a place of options and potential, regardless of your past.”
Click the links below to learn more about Humber College’s pathways and foundational certificate programs. Or email GAS@Humber.ca or firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your options and get started on your path.