Building pathways to a flexible educational journey

Published in Momentum Fall 2021

Today’s educational landscape is all about providing pathways for students that link programs, institutions and credentials for a customizable, flexible and personal journey. 

There are pathways for students transferring to Mohawk from another college or university program and pathways for students progressing from one program to another within the college, those looking to complete a degree after a diploma or to build an international experience into their pathway.  

“Mohawk has valued transfer and mobility for students for many years and before the practice was a priority in the Ontario postsecondary system,” says Linda Basso, who has been pathways coordinator at Mohawk College for 15 years.  

“Regional universities are important partners with many established pathways for Mohawk students, but the list of agreements with other institutions is long,” says Basso. 

More than 20,000 students each year in Ontario transfer between colleges and universities, says Basso, and the framework of credit transfer is managed by the Ontario Council on Articulation and Transfer (ONCAT). 

“There has been a great shift since ONCAT was formed in 2011. The emphasis on transfer and connections between institutions has grown exponentially. And that’s all-in response to student demand for flexibility.” 

About 70 of Professor Laurence Smith’s Business Administration students have completed a degree at Robert Gordon University (RGU) in Aberdeen, Scotland after graduating from Mohawk. 

“It’s a fantastic experience for them. They are challenged to go out of their comfort zone and they come back transformed in confidence and maturity,” says Smith. 

Kaitlin Ostrander says her experience at RGU ticked off two goals: finishing a degree and travel. 

“I was worried the university classes would be a big jump for me but it was seamless. I was well prepared and there were so many supports in place. I would do it all again.” 

When Loramhel Mateo came to Mohawk to study in the two-year Recreation Therapy program, she knew there was an option to continue at Brock University for another year to complete a degree but didn’t decide to do it until her final year. 

“All my field placements and hands-on experience has made me feel more confident in the classroom at Brock. It’s made me a much better student,” said Mateo. 

“Having that path to a degree has been really motivating for me because I can now go into management and get advanced certification in my field.