TIMMINS, ON: Northern College is looking to Northerners to help guide the institution forward into a promising future.
In preparing for the development of its 2021-2025 Strategic Plan, Northern College has outlined tangible goals for moving a process forward in the creation of the important document, including the seeking of community input in a Covid landscape.
“Northern College is a product of the people and communities we serve,” stated Dr. Audrey J. Penner, President & CEO of Northern College. “We are constantly at work to determine the needs of local industry and community partners as our learners become employed professionals and contributing members of society. We do this through discussion, consultation and participation. It’s in this spirit that we are seeking input from as many people as possible at this time to help guide us forward with diverse insights and perspectives.”
Replacing most in-person consultation that would usually occur, those of all ages, backgrounds and identities are encouraged to share their views and experiences with the College online so that the plan is as inclusive as possible. A survey tool is available to the public on the College website as for capturing feedback, ideas, and input.
“Youth, Canadians, Indigenous partners and learners, newcomers to Canada, seniors, both young and more mature learners are all encouraged to visit our website and share your feedback and insights with us,” states Dr. Penner. “We want to embrace the opportunities before us to become even more than we have been before, build upon previous successes, create circumstances that celebrate exceptional people, make improvements where needed, and go above and beyond the region’s expectations for us. This will inspire us to greatness, and help create a better college for those who seek to work with us,” she added.
The simple, 14 questions cover a variety of topics including Indigenous education and empowerment, diversity and inclusion, innovative approaches to access, inspiring programs of study, and invigorating Northern experiences. College staff, faculty and administrators were first invited to share their feedback beginning last week.
“When our region grows, we see the impact across all sectors,” states Dr. Penner. “This is the socio-economic impact that Colleges can have, and along with our partners, we can continue to embrace and encourage innovative and inclusive ways of thinking, building upon the foundation of our mission and vision as a College now and into the future,” states Dr. Penner.
The College’s new President, who began her role just over a month ago, is introducing herself in her new role to the various communities where the College has campuses, with delegations meant to both inform Councils and towns while opening up conversations with community partners. She has also reached out to Indigenous organizations to invigorate and solidify partnerships.
“When we speak of access, it’s important to relate the lives of learners and the barriers community members from a wide variety of backgrounds face,” adds Penner. “How do people find us, learn with us, grow with us, overcome obstacles that may have previously hindered them? These are the questions we are asking. What do we need to be going forward, when we see a global perspectus that is ever-changing? That is the spirit with which we are engaging in this open-minded research and fact-finding.”
With the College’s Academic Plan recently unveiled highlighting the focus on excellence and the invigorating of Northern-infused experiences in the curriculum, the Indigenization of the institute will be on the forefront, as well.
“This is the beginning of a new day, and together, we know that we can become more than we have ever been before. We are looking forward to the challenge of responding to what is before us and are passionate about empowering students to lead us in this brave new world,” says Penner.
The survey can be found on the College’s main page at northerncollege.ca or is here:
Input on the survey is open until October 1, 2020.
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