Northern College and Province Sign Strategic Mandate Agreement

Northern College News and Events

TIMMINS, ON: Northern College and the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities have signed a Strategic Mandate Agreement (SMA) that will guide college operations until 2017. This agreement is a central component of the ministry’s Differentiation Policy Framework for Postsecondary Education.

The province has signed Strategic Mandate Agreements with all of Ontario’s 45 publicly-assisted colleges and universities. The agreements outline each institution’s strengths and areas of expertise, and encourage growth in those areas. By encouraging schools to specialize in few key areas, the ministry hopes to expand the variety of programs available to students in Ontario, while reducing system-wide program duplication.

Northern College’s Strategic Mandate Agreement outlines what the ministry sees as the key elements that separate the college from other academic institutions in the province. These elements include the college’s ongoing commitment to maximizing access to post-secondary education, the development and expansion of its five signature program areas, and its strong emphasis on supporting learner engagement, retention, choice and success. The ministry also praises the college’s innovative technology-enhanced delivery methods, the applied learning opportunities it provides, and the Aboriginal perspectives it incorporates into program curriculum and college activities.

“We have a history of capitalizing on our unique location and the industries in our area to provide learning experiences that aren’t available anywhere else,” says Fred Gibbons, President of Northern College. “In its differentiation framework, the government is asking post-secondary institutions to focus on providing high-quality programming in a few areas, as opposed to trying to offer everything to everyone. We have opted for a balanced approach in our agreement. We remain first and foremost a regional college providing a composite range of programs to meet the diverse needs of our communities; however we also have a number of signature program areas that have distinguished themselves regionally, provincially, nationally and internationally. It’s clear from the Strategic Mandate Agreement we’ve signed with the ministry that we have a solid understanding of our strengths, and have already carved out a unique place in Ontario’s post-secondary landscape.”

The agreement identifies the college’s veterinary sciences, wellness and health sciences, mining, and specific engineering technology and trades program areas as having potential for further growth. It also notes the ministry’s support for the establishment of a collaborative Bachelor of Technology in Mining Engineering program between the college and Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.

For more information, or to view the Strategic Mandate Agreement between Northern College and the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, visit


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