Staying connected with the people I serve is one of my priorities as president. I’ll be using this blog to start and join conversations with you about ideas and issues that matter to Mohawk. Look for weekly posts where I’ll answer your questions, ask you a question of my own, invite you to cast your vote and showcase the outstanding people who learn and work at our college.
Putting a college education within reach of everyone in Hamilton is the goal of our City School by Mohawk initiative.
The Government of Ontario last week announced a $1.6 million investment that will allow us to take City School on the road in 2017. We were honoured to welcome the Hon. Deb Matthews, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development, MPP and Mohawk Alumni of Distinction recipient Ted McMeekin and East Hamilton resident and Sherman Neighbourhood Hub member Steve Calverley
We’ll be launching a Mohawk City School mobile next year that will serve as a classroom on wheels. We’ll also be investing in permanent locations in priority neighbourhoods.
We currently run City School in North Hamilton at the Eva Rothwell Resource Centre and in the downtown core at the Hamilton Public Library.
City School offers tuition-free college credit courses and workshops. Hamiltonians can earn their first college credit and gain the confidence to continue their studies at Mohawk.
On the journey to post-secondary education, we want City School to serve as basecamp.
I’m pleased to welcome two new senior leaders to Mohawk College.
Laura Dobson is our new Chief Information Officer. Laura brings a wealth of strategic IT planning, governance, change management and project delivery to Mohawk. Laura was previously with eHealth Ontario where she served as Program Director of Business Services and Director, Enterprise Architecture. Laura has also worked at Innovapost, a subsidiary of Canada Post where she Director of Enterprise Architecture and Project Delivery Director. A Dundas resident, Laura holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Mathematics from the University of Western Ontario.
Joining Laura on our senior leadership team is Chief Financial Officer Kim Watkins. Kim joined Mohawk from Canadore College where she served as Director of Finance and Controller, providing leadership to Canadore and the college’s Foundation. Kim previously worked as the Manager of Corporate Services at North Bay Hydro Distribution and as a senior accountant at KPMG. Kim is a Certified Professional Accountant and holds an MBA from Laurentian University and a risk management certificate from the University of Toronto.
Laura and Kim will report to Deborah Brown, our Vice President of Corporate Services.
Please join me in extending a warm Mohawk welcome to Laura and Kim.
We officially opened Hoop Dance last week in the heart of our Fennell campus. Mohawk is proud to be home to the first outdoor Indigenous gathering place of its kind at any college or university in Ontario.
Hoop Dance marks an important milestone on Mohawk’s ongoing journey to weave Indigenous knowledge and culture into the fabric of our college.
Students, faculty, staff and college partners are invited to use Hoop Dance for classes, ceremonies and celebrations. To find out more, send an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We were honoured to have Six Nations Polytechnic president and CEO Rebecca Jamieson and the Hon. Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario, take part in the official opening of Hoop Dance at Mohawk College. We were also joined by the Hon. Eleanor McMahon, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, MPP Ted McMeekin and MP Filomena Tassi.
Hoop Dance was made possible thanks to the generous support from the Mohawk Students’ Association. As MSA President Kyle Datzkiw said during Hoop Dance’s official opening, the association had just one question when they heard about plans for constructing an Indigenous gathering place. “How can we help make this happen?”. During the ceremony I also thanked everyone who played a part in creating Hoop Dance, including Mohawk’s Jeremy Dowling and Alan Griffiths, Six Nations Polytechnic project advisor Rick Hill, main designers BrookMcIlroy, Blackwell Structural Engineers and Kavaski Electrical Engineers and Oakridge Landscape Contractors.
Premier Wynne was presented with a Two Row Wampum Belt made by Ron McLester, Mohawk’s Director of Aboriginal Initiatives. Ron was the driving force behind creating a unique space where the college and community could teach, learn, gather and share Indigenous knowledge, culture and tradition.
The Spirit Vision Drummers and Dancers led our guests to the Hoop Dance. They gave an inspired performance, even though they had just finished welcoming graduating students and proud family and friends at all nine Mohawk Convocation ceremonies the previous week. Joining the Spirit Vision Drummers and Dancers were the Mush Hole Singers.
Everyone joined in a Round Dance to officially open Hoop Dance – the first of many events, celebrations and ceremonies planned for this one-of-a-kind space.
Vanh Kalong is helping Mohawk welcome the world to our college and community.
Vanh received a Mohawk Alumni of Distinction Award in 2015. Vanh survived five years in a refugee camp before her family made their way to Hamilton. She was 17 years old when she started high school and became the first in her family to earn a post-secondary education when she graduated from Mohawk in 1991. Today, Vanh owns restaurants in Hamilton, Burlington, Ancaster, Brantford and Waterloo.
Vanh also served on our Welcoming Communities Task Force. We brought college partners together last year to help us identify ways of welcoming newcomers to Hamilton and international students to Mohawk. We currently educate and serve 2,000 international students from more than 70 countries.
We turned the task force recommendations into an action plan, outlining a number of initiatives Mohawk will carry out to become an even more welcoming college.
Helping international students make a successful transition to Mohawk and Hamilton is one of the initiatives we’ll be working on.
During the grand opening of her PinToh Cuisine restaurant in downtown Burlington, Vanh announced she’s leading a fundraising campaign to support that work.
Thank you Vanh for helping your alma mater welcome the world to Mohawk and Hamilton.
I was honoured to officially announce Mohawk’s second basecamp on the fourth floor of the Central Library in downtown Hamilton last week.
CitySchool by Mohawk will share space with the City of Hamilton’s Learning Annex and the Hamilton Public Library’s The Circuit 4.0. Together, we’ll focus on helping Hamiltonian youth realize their potential and achieve their dreams. Mohawk will begin offering courses and workshops this Fall.
We opened our first CitySchool last September at the Eva Rothwell Resource Centre in North Hamilton.
CitySchool brings our college into the community and makes a post-secondary education accessible to even more people in Hamilton. CitySchool offers tuition-free courses and workshops where Hamiltonians can earn their first college credits and gain the confidence to continue their education at Mohawk.
By connecting and collaborating with education, health care and employment providers, the Learning Annex supports youth in achieving their goals. Our youth navigator understands the challenges youth face and helps them prepare them for their future by creating pathways to community services and employment. The Learning Annex is a partnership initiative between the City of Hamilton and community partners, with funding from the Local Poverty Reduction Fund.
The Circuit 4.0 is a collaborative and creative space located on Central Library’s 4th floor featuring a Makerspace, a Digital Media Lab, performance space as well as individual and group meeting space. It is an adaptable space that can accommodate 400 people for concerts and author readings or can be divided into smaller components for group meetings and individual study. All you need to get started is a
Mohawk will induct four Distinguished Fellows during this week’s Convocation ceremonies.
Distinguished Fellows are recognized for their outstanding professional achievement, expert status with their profession and business acumen. They are highly respected within, and beyond, the communities served by our college.
Distinguished Fellows make invaluable contributions to Mohawk in key ways, including academic advisement and student engagement, community outreach and strategic advisement to Mohawk’s senior leadership team.
This year, we are proud to induct:
Peter Vicano (Tuesday, June 14 at 7 p.m.)
From modest beginnings that included himself, a pick up and borrowed tools to a major construction company with an impressive list of industrial, commercial and institutional projects, Peter Vicano built a company to be proud of. Founded in 1973, Brantford-based Vicano Construction has completed thousands of construction projects throughout Ontario, with individual projects in excess of $50 million. Under Peter’s leadership, Vicano Construction has earned a reputation for ability, integrity, fiscal responsibility and sound management in serving clients. Peter graduated from Mohawk College’s Architectural Technology program in 1972.
Winnie Doyle (Wednesday, June 15 at 7 p.m.)
A healthcare professional with more than 35 years of experience, Winnie serves as Vice President, Clinical Services and Chief Nursing Executive at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton. Winnie has worked in clinical practice, research and more recently as a senior administrator in acute clinical programs. Winnie has been a leader in driving improvements to quality and patient engagement in the healthcare system. She is currently a lecturer at McMaster University and received the 2012 John C. Sibley Award for her outstanding contributions to the education of health professionals. Winnie received her Master of Nursing Administration from the University of Toronto in 2000.
Ann McLaughlin (Thursday, June 16 at 2 p.m.)
An entrepreneur, educator and community builder, Ann is a retired business owner with strong connections to the Hamilton community. Among her many accomplishments, Ann helped build a local business that caught the eye of Toshiba industries and resulted in that company establishing itself in Hamilton. Deeply committed to social justice and the creation of a diverse, tolerant and culturally rich community in Hamilton, Ann has served on numerous boards and advisory committees including Co-Chair for Workforce Planning Hamilton, Mohawk College’s Access Hamilton Employer Engagement Steering Committee, the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce’s HR Committee and as Chairperson of the Turning Point Giving Circle with YWCA Hamilton. Ann has an MBA from McMaster University and an Honours B.A. in Physchology from the University of Guelph.
Richard J. Brennan (Thursday, June 16 at 7 p.m.)
A newspaper reporter for 43 years, Richard covered a variety of stories from his days at the Ingersoll Times weekly newspaper to the Toronto Star where he worked as a National Affairs reporter and most notably as a political reporter with the paper’s Queen’s Park and Ottawa bureaus. It was at Queen’s Park where he earned the nickname the Badger for never letting go of a story. It was a reputation that preceded him to Ottawa where shortly upon his arrival in 2007 he was elected president of the 400-member Parliamentary Press Gallery – the only person to hold that title both provincially and federally. Richard graduated from Mohawk’s Journalism program in 1972.
Good things grow in Ontario and get served to our students here at Mohawk College.
The Greenbelt Fund, in partnership with the Ontario government, is investing $100,000 through the Local Food Investment Fund (LFIF) to develop the first provincial local food procurement model for Ontario colleges. The project is also being supported by Compass Group Canada and the Mohawk Students’ Association (MSA).
It’s a project that supports our commitment to further strengthening Mohawk’s leadership in environmental sustainability. Mohawk was also the first Ontario college to formally adopt an environmental management plan.
The team in our Sustainability Office will work with Compass Group Canada and the MSA to get more locally grown food sold on campus – something that our students, faculty and staff have been asking for.
Our plan is to carry out the procurement pilot project with two other Ontario colleges. It’s anticipated that our three colleges will boost local food purchases by $1.5 million over the next two years.
We’ve also recruited an advisory committee that brings a tremendous wealth of experience and expertise to the project.
Mohawk will share the results of our project with the Province’s other 23 colleges to bring more of the good things grown in Ontario into our campuses and on to our students’ plates.
Congratulations to the staff in Mohawk’s Sustainability Office for their hard work and effort in earning Mohawk a STARS (Silver) rating from the Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).
The AASHE has more than 650 participants on six continents making the STARS program the most widely recognized framework in the world for publicly reporting information related to a college or university’s sustainability performance. Participants report on four areas: operations, academics, planning and administration and engagement. You can find out how Mohawk did in these areas by reading our STARS report on the AASHE site.
The STARS announcement comes the same week that Mohawk celebrated the opening of its community garden. The garden is a great example of how Mohawk is leading by example and creating opportunities for our students, faculty, staff and community partners to get directly involved in helping build and even more sustainable college.
Strengthening our leadership in sustainability is a strategic priority for Mohawk. Being recognized by the AASHE shows we’re delivering on our commitment.
Next Friday is the deadline for Mohawk’s employee recognition award nominations.
The Mohawk Awards of Excellence recognize faculty, staff and teams who go above and beyond in making our college a great place to learn and work.
We present up to 10 Awards of Excellence each year. All the recipients are then in the running for President’s Awards of Excellence.
It only takes a few minutes to make an online nomination. Mohawk’s Executive Group reviews all the nominees and has the difficult task of deciding who to recognize.
The awards are then presented before a full house during our annual President’s Breakfast in late August. Every recipient receives a framed award.
Last year, Awards of Excellence were presented to:
- Kathy Hicks for her outstanding work with students as the Collaboratory’s team lead
- Marla Robinson for her leadership in connecting our college with academically at-risk youth
- Robert Gerritsen for his mentoring of students in Mohawk’s Additive Manufacturing Resource Centre
- Melanie Graham for supporting Early Childhood Education students on their field placements
- Hetal Patel for her unwavering commitment to serving students in our School of Interdisciplinary Studies
- Our Control Room Team in Facilities and Property Development for keeping our campuses cool in the summer and warm in the winter (Tony Scime, Rob Daniel, Kevin Buttrum, Brad Jordan, Brian Fitz, Glen Wojnar, Nicolar D’Aurizio, Alan McKee, Mike Flikkema, Steve Currie and Chris Hutchinson)
- Karen Moore for her leadership and financial acumen in balancing Mohawk’s books
- Kelvin Lee who takes his passion for Mohawk on the road as a Mohawk recruiter
- Debra Pearson for consistently delivering outstanding programs and services for our students
- And the Mohawk Access Team for removing barriers to post-secondary education for young people from priority neighbourhoods
President’s Awards of Excellence were given to Marla Robinson, Karen Moore, Kelvin Lee and the Mohawk Access Team.
Our students will get to host, research and write for a live sports talk show. Top students will be offered internships at the station and TSN 1150 on-air personalities will mentor students at the college.
This is the first sports broadcasting partnership of its kind in Canada.
At Mohawk, we have more than 1,000 partners who help us transform students into future ready graduates. Growing and strengthening collaboration and partnerships is one of the priorities in our new strategic plan.
Thanks to TSN 1150 for giving our students this one-of-a-kind opportunity and kudos to program coordinator Sam Cook for brokering Mohawk’s latest partnership.