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Small Changes, Big Impact


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Title: Small Changes, Big Impact

Small Changes, Big Impact
  • Transforming Orientation at
  • Seneca College
  • Presented by Amy Gaukel, Manager First Year
    Student Experience
  • NODA Region 7 Conference
  • March 23-25, 2007

Session Agenda
  • Overview of Higher Ed in Ontario
  • Ontario College System
  • Seneca College
  • Orientation at Seneca
  • The Process of Change
  • Change Can Happen
  • Where We Go From Here
  • Sources Acknowledgements

Higher Ed in Ontario
  • 19 universities, 24 colleges of applied arts and
    technology, agricultural colleges, colleges of
    health sciences and of art, a military college,
    privately funded degree-granting institutions,
    registered private career colleges, and
  • Post-secondary education is the responsibility of
    the Ministry of Training, Colleges Universities

The Ontario College System
  • 24 Colleges of Applied Arts Technology
  • Ontario college system was created 40 years ago
    by the provincial government
  • They receive public funding from the Ontario
  • The College Compensation and Appointments Council
    appoints the external members to college boards
    of governors and acts as the bargaining agent for
    college management in collective bargaining
  • Most have multiple campuses (over 100 campuses in
    ON) and have 2-3 intakes/year

The Ontario College SystemEnd Products
  • Colleges in Ontario Offer
  • 1 year certificates
  • 2 or 3 year diplomas
  • Apprenticeships certification programs for
    skilled trades
  • 4 year applied degrees
  • Unique partner programs with universities that
    lead to a degree and may result in both a degree
    and a diploma
  • Province-wide, there are over 1000 program

The Ontario College SystemLearner Demographics
  • In 2004-05 academic year
  • 158,418 distinct applicants
  • 182,682 funded full-time equivalent enrollment
  • F/T college enrollment increased by 67 from
  • Average age of applicant 22.7
  • 25 of surveyed applicants (in 2005) had
    household income of less than 29,999 (15 under
    20,000) the Ontario population (in 2001) had
    only 16 of households earning less than 30,000
  • Parents of applicants and attendees are more
    likely to have graduated high school and less
    likely to have attained a post-secondary
    credential when compared to a comparative age
    group in Ontario

The Ontario College SystemLearner Demographics
  • 36 of college students have had previous
    post-secondary education, 16 of whom previously
    attained a college or university credential
  • 18 of surveyed applicants (in 2005) were not
    born in Canada and 11 were 1st generation
  • 26 of students (in 2005) did not speak English
    or French as their first language
  • 41 of high school students pursuing PSE went
    directly to college (in 2005)

Seneca College of Applied Arts Technology
  • Mission To contribute to Canadian society by
    being a transformational leader in providing
    students with career-related education and
  • 8 campuses located throughout the GTA
  • Canadas largest college with over 100,000
    students (over 17, 000 f/t and 90,000 p/t)
  • Canadas largest enrollment of international
    students with over 75 countries represented in
    our student population
  • Students can choose from more than 260 careers

Seneca College of Applied Arts Technology
  • More than 70 transfer agreements with
    universities throughout the world (including
    Australia, Canada, England, South Africa, USA)
  • The Seneca community embodies the cultural mosaic
    of Toronto

Orientation_at_Seneca...(up to Fall 2006)
  • 1 day of Orientation per program held the week
    prior to the start of class, with variety of
    workshops, academic session, campus tours, etc
  • Varied from campus-to-campus
  • Invitation to Orientation looked like a corporate
  • No real social element to the program
  • Lack of important people in attendance
  • Academic Orientation takes place with specific
    faculty areas
  • Email to register for the day
  • No cohesive planning group involving all campuses
  • Frosh Week is run by the SSF the first week of
    class, separate from Residence Orientation and
    from Welcome Week run by Student Services

The Process of Change
  • Step 1 observe Orientation events on a variety
    of campuses
  • Step 2 think critically about what were
  • Step 3 Get feedback from students and from the
    staff involved in organizing the program
  • Step 4 Write a report detailing observations
    recommendations for future program development
  • Step 5 Review budget and how youre spending
    your money
  • Step 6 Begin the process of change

The Process of ChangeReview Meet with Team
  • Dont just have boring meetings feed them (to
    thank them for all their hard work) and make them
    think and have fun while doing it!
  • Get creative with how you ask them to think about
  • Mind mapping
  • Ask thought-provoking questions
  • Get them to write down their answers
  • Create a philosophy and goal statement together
  • Provide a meeting challenge

The Process of ChangeAsk and Ye Shall Receive
(or sometimes, just change it!)
  • Free Hot Chocolate!
  • President, VPs, Deans Chairs helping serve hot
    chocolate and pizza!
  • Orientation Volunteer position created (job
    description, application, day of training,
    t-shirts, certificates)
  • Website (with online registration!)
  • New Invitations (that show happy students)

Change Can Happen!
  • By adding small elements of change to different
    areas of the program, we noticed big changes in
    the Winter Orientation
  • Theme!
  • OVs (more student involvement)
  • Lanyards
  • Ice Breakers
  • Welcome Sessions were fun!
  • Visible presence of important people
  • New content How to Support the Student in Your
    Life workshop
  • Hot Chocolate!
  • More consistency across campuses

Please Join UsORIENTATION 2007G.O.A.L.S.Get
Oriented In Academics and Life At SenecaApril
28, 2007
There are still challenges
  • Attendance there are many barriers in getting
    students here and keeping them for the day
  • Budget
  • Spreading resources thinly across campuses over a
    short period of time
  • Line-ups!
  • How do we create social opportunities that
    students will attend? How do we meet the needs
    of very different groups of students (i.e.
    traditional entry from high school, mature,
    single parent, international, etc.)

Lessons to keep in mind
  • Never stop thinking critically about what youre
    doing and who youre (not) reaching
  • Make meetings meaningful and timely
  • Communication is key (among organizers
  • Ask! You never know what can happen unless you
    go for it!
  • Keep Orientation fresh by adding new elements to
    your program and keep it student-friendly
  • Talk with colleagues at other institutions on a
    regular basis

Acknowledgements Sources
  • Overviews of Education in Ontario.
    EducationCanada http//www.educationcanada.cmec.c
  • Post-Secondary Education in Ontario. Canadian
    Information Centre for International Credentials
  • About Ontario Colleges. Ministry of Training
    Colleges Universities http//
  • 2006 Environmental Scan. Association of Colleges
    of Applied Arts Technology of Ontario, Toronto,
    ON. May 2006.
  • Seneca College An Overview. A World of
    Opportunity http//
  • People who have helped me immensely with this
    project event
  • Student Life Coordinators Paul Cadoo, Iscenty
    Benjamin, Shanna MacInnes, Sheryl Minnett, Glenna
  • Frank Summers-Young, Web designer
  • Monisa Cheung, Manager, Enrolment Planning,
    Statistics Convocation

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