Thank you to Metrolinx and the City of Hamilton for investing in Mohawk College’s new transit terminal Reply

CONNECTING WITH OUR COMMUNITY:  Kicking off construction of the Mohawk College Terminal at our Fennell campus with MSA President Luke Baylis,  Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger, HSR driver Tony Sears and the Hon. Ted McMeekin, Minister of Municipal Affairs with the Government of Canada.

CONNECTING WITH OUR COMMUNITY: Kicking off construction of the Mohawk College Terminal at our Fennell campus with MSA President Luke Baylis, Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger, HSR driver Tony Sears and the Hon. Ted McMeekin, Minister of Municipal Affairs with the Government of Canada.

I was honoured to join the Hon. Ted McMeekin, Minister of Municipal Affairs with the Government of Ontario, and his Worship Fred Eisenberger, Mayor of Hamilton, and Mohawk Students’ Association President Luke Baylis in officially kicking off construction on our Mohawk College Terminal last Friday.

The transit terminal at our Fennell campus is expected to open in early 2016. The terminal will mean shorter commutes for our students, faculty and staff and support our goal of creating a pedestrian-first campus. More than 4,100 passengers ride buses to and from our Fennell campus every day.

Metrolinx is funding the transit terminal for city-run buses while Mohawk is renovating our J-Wing entrance directly across from the transit terminal.

Special thanks to:

  • IBI Group for their design and engineering work
  • Steve Pongraz with Ianhack for planning
  • Our general contractor Dufferin Construction
  • And from Mohawk, Ron Taylor who’s serving as development manager and Jeremy Dowling who is our project coordinator.

The Mohawk College Terminal is the latest investment in our three campuses. To date, more than $90 million has been invested for the direct benefit of our students.

Welcoming your comments on Mohawk College’s new strategic plan Reply

We’re looking for your impressions of Mohawk’s new five-year strategic plan.

We drafted our plan following months of consultation with faculty, staff, students, our Board of Governors and college partners. Together, we’ve created a plan that we believe meets the current and future needs of our students, employers and the communities we proudly serve. Our strategic plan also builds on Mohawk’s strengths and successes in key areas including applied research, social inclusion, Indigenous education and sustainability.

Like Mohawk’s new vision statement – Future Ready. Learning for Life. – our strategic plan is ambitious, bold and will both challenge and inspire us to make our great college an even better place to learn and work.

Please take a few minutes to review our plan and share your ideas. Our draft plan is posted online strategicplan.mohawkcollege.ca.

Our Vision:

Future Ready. Learning for Life.

Our Values:

We are student focused. Students and learning are at the heart of all we do.

We are committed to excellence. We are committed to best practice in education, corporate services and student services.

We engage our community. We are responsive to and collaborative with the communities we serve.

We are inclusive. We ensure a welcoming and supportive environment for all.

We are accountable. We act with integrity, transparency, and base our decisions on evidence.

Our Strategic Themes & Priorities:

Student Success →

  1. Pathways for Student Success
  2. Reduced Financial Barriers
  3. Accessible College Dream
  4. Student Engagement

Career Readiness →

  1. Most Experienced Graduates
  2. Most Employable Graduates
  3. A Culture of Entrepreneurship and Innovation
  4. Future Ready Programs

Learning for Life →

  1. Commitment to our Graduates
  2. A Culture of Lifelong Learning for our Staff and Faculty

Collaboration, Partnership, Innovation & Community Building →

  1. Leaders in Applied Research
  2. Generating Solutions for Industry and Community
  3. Redefining Campus to Support Collaboration
  1. Leaders in Environmental Sustainability
  2. Leaders in Social Inclusion
  3. Leaders in Indigenous Education
  4. Leaders in Internationalization and Global Experiences

Our Future Hamilton: Communities in Conversation (remarks) Reply

We all have a responsibility to help Charley, Josh and all of Hamilton's kids dream big and realize their full potential.

We all share a responsibility to help Charley, Josh and all of Hamilton’s kids dream big and realize their full potential. In 25 years time, Hamilton shoudl have the most highly skilled and best-educated workforce in Canada. Thanks to the Hamilton Boys and Girls Clubs for introducing us to the dynamic duo.

I had the honour of speaking at The City of Hamilton’s Our Future Hamilton: Communities in Conversation event earlier today. I took the opportunity to talk about Charley and Josh and announce Mohawk’s newest project aimed at improving access to post-secondary education – City School at Mohawk.

Good morning.

I’d like to introduce you to a pair of 10-year-olds.

Charley wants to be a scientist when she grows up.

Josh plans to be an archaeologist.

Charley and Josh have three things in common, beyond being adorable and members of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Hamilton.

In 25 years time, there’s a good chance Carley and Josh will be working, raising families and like all of you, giving back to their community.

So the conversations we have today will help define their future.

Our vision for Hamilton will be their reality.

We owe it to Charley and Josh to get it right.

Here’s the second thing Charley and Josh have in common.

They live in one of Hamilton’s Code Red neighbourhoods.

These are priority neighbourhoods where high school graduation and postsecondary participation rates are below the provincial average and lower than other parts of Hamilton.

These are neighbourhoods where employment rates and health outcomes are also below average.

These are neighbourhoods with high levels of poverty and a tyranny of low expectations.

The playing field is not level for Charley and Josh.

Yet here’s the third thing that Charley and Josh have in common. It’s also the most important. At Mohawk, we believe it to our core.

Charley and Josh have unlimited potential. They have as much potential as kids living in any neighbourhood in Hamilton. Charley and Josh are just as talented and remarkable.

Our job is to make sure their promise and potential is not wasted.

Hamilton will not move ahead if kids like Charley and Josh are left behind.

We all have a part to play in giving every child in every neighbourhood an equal shot at realizing their full potential.

At Mohawk, we’re working hard to become even more accessible to more Hamiltonians.  We’re helping to ignite and then build the dream of postsecondary education in young people from priority neighbourhoods. We’re making that dream a reality by removing barriers and marking a clear path to college.  We don’t believe that postal codes are destiny.

For the past five years, teams of Mohawk staff have been welcomed into high schools and community centres. We’ve connected with thousands of young people and their families. Many of those young people are now students and future ready graduates.

We’re about to take community engagement to a whole new level.  We’ve just introduced a major project called City School by Mohawk. We opened our doors this month at the Eva Rothwell Resource Centre in North Hamilton.  To be the best of our knowledge, no other college in Ontario is making the same long-term commitment to the communities they serve.

We are going to offer college courses, workshops, services and mentoring programs. What we offer will be decided in close consultation with the neighbourhoods we serve. And this will be a long-term commitment. We are in this for the long haul.

City School at Mohawk also bridges a divide. In many priority neighbourhoods, Mohawk seems a world away. This will help close that gap. We’ll demystify the college experience.  We’ll show young people that there’s a place for them at Mohawk. We’ll help them get there. And we’ll set them up for success.

Our goal is to expand City School at Mohawk to six priority neighbourhoods over the next three years. To do that, we need community partners. We need partners from the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. Mohawk is ready to do our part on the education front. We need other partners to ensure the kids and families in those neighbourhoods are healthy, well-fed and have a roof over their heads.

Hamilton is big enough that we can do something meaningful. And Hamilton is small enough that we can do it together.

At Mohawk, we believe that we will always do better by working together. We also agree 100 per cent with former U.S. President Harry Truman who said, “it is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.”

We’re not in this to get credit. We’re not doing this to recruit Charley and Josh although we’d be proud to have them as students in seven years time.

We’re doing this because we believe in the power of education to transform lives, neighbourhoods and entire communities. We see it every day in our halls and classrooms. With City School at Mohawk, we’ll see it in Hamilton’s priority neighbourhoods.

Now education is at its most powerful when young people have big dreams and bold ambitions. Dreams and ambitions are the multiplier. We need to encourage kids like Charley and Josh to set high expectations.

So what will that take? Right now, Hamilton is making a significant investment when it comes to recruiting highly educated young professionals. Like every city, we’re chasing after highly coveted 20-somethings who make up the creative class.

We need to make the same investment when it comes to developing the talent in our own backyard.  Nurturing that talent must start now, in year one of Hamilton’s 25-year vision. Our investments need to continue year after year. This will be hard work. It will require a sustained and coordinated effort. We can’t do it on the cheap.  No one organization can do it alone. There is no silver bullet. And the payoff won’t be immediate.

But the return on our investment will be off the charts.

Charley and Josh are Hamilton’s future. Now, maybe they’ll move away. But Hamilton will always be their hometown. They will always remember how all of us stepped up, believed in their potential and helped them achieve their dreams. They will become Hamilton’s best ambassadors, cheerleaders and champions. And maybe one day they’ll return to Hamilton once their careers are in full swing, bringing a wealth of skills and a world of experience.

So here’s Mohawk’s vision for Hamilton. In 25 years time, Hamilton will have the most highly skilled and best educated workforce in all of Canada.  Made-in-Hamilton talent will be our greatest competitive advantage, our most sought-after export and our most powerful magnet for attracting new companies, new investments and new jobs. We’ll do our part to make sure Mohawk students and graduates are future ready.

This will be Hamilton’s reputation. We will be known as a city where potential is developed to the fullest. A city that has high hopes and expectations for every child.

We will be heralded as a city that moved ahead because we worked together to ensure that no one was left behind. We tilted the playing field in favour of kids like Charley and Josh.

In 25 years time, there should be conferences and conversations like this happening in communities across North America.

Citizens will get together to ask two questions.

How do we become the next Hamilton?

And how can the kids in our community follow in the footsteps of Charley and Josh?

Mohawk is all in. We’re open to new ideas and ready to partner.

And we don’t care who gets the credit so long as kids like Charley and Josh dream big and make the most of their remarkable gifts.

Thank you.

Your three most important days as a Mohawk College student (remarks) Reply

A record number of students attended their Day One orientation at Mohawk College.

A record number of students attended their Day One orientation at Mohawk College. Today was one of the three most important days during our students’ time at Mohawk.

We welcomed thousands of new students to Mohawk today. Here’s what I said to our students about their three most important days at college.

Good morning everyone.

And welcome aboard.

We’re thrilled that you’re here.

Students and learning are at the heart of all we do at Mohawk. That’s true if you’re a professor, a staff person working in The Square or the president of the number one college in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.

So we’ve been counting the hours to this moment when we get to welcome you to Mohawk College.

Now who’s coming to Mohawk straight from high school?

About 30 per cent of our students arrive directly from high school.

Who’s been out of school for a while?

You’re in the majority.

Who’s already graduated from another college or university?

About 10 per cent of our students are university grads and nearly half of our students already have some postsecondary education when they start at Mohawk.

Who’s travelled from another country?

We have over 1,200 students from more than 70 countries at Mohawk.

Thank you for bringing a world of experience to our college.

And who’s the first in their family to be earning a postsecondary education?

Nearly 30 per cent of our students are the first in their families to go to college. Congratulations to everyone who’s making history.  Your family will be very proud of all that you accomplish here at Mohawk.

Today’s a big day for all of you.

It’s your very first day as a Mohawk student.

You’re in very good company.

It’s the first day for over seven thousand other students from across all three of our campuses.

While we call this an orientation, think of today as your commencement ceremony.

You’re meeting with all the professors and staff from your program. The profs who will teach you and the staff who will support you.

I may be biased but I believe we have the best faculty and staff of any college in the province.

And together, they’re 100 per cent committed to helping you graduate to success.

Today, you’re also meeting all the other students in your program.

Many of you will become good friends. Lifelong friends.

And some of you will become more than just good friends.

I hope you forge friendships that continue long after you’ve graduated from Mohawk. True friendships where you celebrate the best of times and support one another when times get rough.

I’d like to quickly touch on your three most important days as a Mohawk student.

Today’s an important day because a good start makes for a strong finish.  I encourage all of you to get involved and engaged in college life.  Make the absolute most out of your time at Mohawk.

If you’re feeling lost and overwhelmed, ask for help. To us, you’re not just a student. You are someone’s son or daughter, grandchild and pride and joy. They’ve entrusted us with your future. We won’t let them, or you, down.

You and your family are also counting on us to keep you safe.

At Mohawk, nothing is more important than your safety and continued well-being.  All of us play a part in making sure our college remains a safe place to learn and work.

We are starting the new year with a new sexual assault policy. I encourage all of you to review that policy, along with our procedures for locking down and evacuating the college in the event of emergencies. You’ll find this information in your student handbook and on our website. You’ll also be discussing college safety during your program orientation.  If you haven’t already,  please download the Mohawk Security app for your smartphone.

Like your first day, your last day at Mohawk is also important.

We want your last day to be the day you leave here as a future ready Mohawk College graduate.

While all of you are unique, you all share the same goal.

To graduate from college. To get a great job. And launch a rewarding career.

Your goal is our priority.

So we’re going to work as hard as you to make your dream a reality.

To have you walk across the stage at your Convocation Ceremony.

To have your proud family in the audience.

To shake your hand, offer our congratulations and present you with your hard-earned and well-deserved diploma, certificate or degree.

So your first and your last days are incredibly important.

There’s one other life-changing day that will happen here for many of you.

It’s the day you figure out why you were put on this earth. When you discover what you do best and enjoy most. Where you can make your mark and make a real difference in the lives of other people.

It’s finding that place – that sweet spot – where your skills, your passion and your purpose intersect. When you find yourself in your element.

Maybe you’re already there.

But if you’re not, there’s a very good chance you’ll discover it here at Mohawk.

A lot of amazing opportunities are coming your way. Seize as many as you can. Push and challenge yourself. Take full advantage of everything we have to offer.

It was Mark Twain who said “the two most important days in your life are the day you are born and they day you find out why.”

So here’s to finding out why. To having a great start and a brilliant finish at Mohawk College.

We’re honoured to have you a student.

And we’ll be proud to call you a future ready Mohawk graduate.

Good luck to you all.

Congratulations to our newest Mohawk College Alumni of Distinction recipients Reply

Mohawk Alumni of Distinction

Congratulations to our newest Alumni of Distinction recipients. (Back row left to right): Derek Doyle, Vanh Kalong, Rocco Passero, Mayor Fred Eisenberger, the Hon. Ted McMeekin MPP, Megan MacLeod and Brian Jonker. (Front row): Daniel Popowich and Barbara Shea

Every year Mohawk recognizes outstanding graduates who’ve made their mark at work, made a difference in their communities and inspired our students to follow in their footsteps.

This year, we’re proud to honour nine remarkable graduates with Alumni of Distinction Awards. Please join me in congratulating:

Derek Doyle (Small business Entrepreneurship, 2007). Derek is the co-founder of Ambitious Realty Advisors and Mezcal Tacos and Tequila.

His Worship Fred Eisenberger (Community Planning and Development, 1983). Fred is serving his second term as Mayor of Hamilton.

Brian Jonker (Radio Broadcasting, 1993). Brian is the Parts and Facility Manager for Tigercat Industries and coach of our Mohawk Mountaineers men’s varsity basketball team.

Vanh Kalong (Information Systems Technician, 1991). Vanh is the owner of the My Thai chain of restaurants across Southern Ontario.

Megan MacLeod (Fundraising Development Associate Certificate, Leadership and Management in the Not-for-Profit Sector, Volunteer Management and Event Management, 2013-14). Megan is a Development intern with McMaster University and organizer of Warm Up For Winter, Feet First for Haiti and Glitz, Glamour and Graduation.

The Hon. Ted McMeekin (Social Studies 1970). Ted is Ontario’s Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing and MPP for the riding of Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough- Westdale).

Rocco Passero (Engineering Technology, 1980). Rocco is Assistant Deputy Minister and Executive Lead with Infrastructure Technology Services, Treasury Board Secretariat.

Daniel Popowich (General Arts and Science, 1992). Daniel is a professor at Mohawk and a recipient of a 2014 Mohawk College Award of Excellence.

Barbara Shea (Medical Laboratory Technology, 1980). Barbara is the Network Coordinator of Public Health Ontario’s Central East Infection Control Network.

A student bursary will be established in the name of each of our award recipients.

We’ll also be celebrating our nine newest distinguished alumni with family, friends and colleagues on Oct. 27  at Michelangelo Event and Conference Centre. Tickets are available online or by calling our Alumni Relations team at 905.575.2258.

Good to not so great ideas for Mohawk College (President’s Breakfast video) Reply

Earlier this year I asked faculty and staff for big ideas that would take our college from good to great. Nearly 200 ideas were submitted and some have already been acted on and added to Mohawk’s new strategic plan that’s currently in development.

Here’s the tongue-in-cheek video we showed to kick off this morning’s President’s Breakfast. The video showcases a few of the ideas that would take Mohawk from good to not-so-great.

Thanks to all the staff who made cameos in the video and special thanks to communications coordinator Sean Coffey for his work behind the camera.

Not so big ideas – President’s Breakfast 2015 from Communications and Media on Vimeo.

Congratulations to Mohawk College’s 2015 award-winning faculty and staff Reply

We were proud to honour 10 outstanding individuals and teams during this morning’s President’s Breakfast. Our Mohawk College Award of Excellence recipients make Mohawk a great place to learn and work and put students and learning at the heart of all they do.

Please join me in congratulating:

  • 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 high-need neighbourhoods

In addition to receiving Mohawk Awards of Excellence, the 2015 President’s Awards were presented to Marla Robinson, Karen Moore, Kelvin Lee and our Access team.

Students at the heart of Mohawk’s new community report Reply

We’ll be releasing Mohawk’s first community report over the next week.

Students are at the heart of all we do at Mohawk and they’re also at the heart of our community report.

Our report showcases 14 students from our three campuses who made their mark at Mohawk and in the community during the 2014-15 school year.  As part of their profiles, our students were asked to name their everyday heroes at Mohawk. You’ll see some familiar names in their answers.

The report also includes a centrespread infographic with at-a-glance key facts and stats about our college.

Faculty and staff attending the President’s Breakfast this Wednesday will get preview copies of our community report.  Along with posting a digital version to our website, the report will be inserted in the Hamilton Spectator and Brantford Expositor Sept. 9 and in the Burlington Post Sept. 10.

Two recent graduates – Jessica Tuck from our Creative Photography program and Karen Evans from our Graphic Design program – worked with our Marketing and Public Affairs departments to put together our report.

Our goal is to thank our college partners and introduce Mohawk to prospective students, funders and donors. Our 14 students profiled in the report have done an excellent job representing our college. They’ve made a great first impression.

Preparing our student leaders for the year ahead 2

I had the opportunity last week to meet and talk with the students who will take on leadership roles at Mohawk in 2014-15.  Student Services organized the two-day Leadership Academy to bring together 121 students for team building and bonding at Crieff Hills Conference Centre in Puslinch. They’ll be playing key roles at our college as members of MoCrew, student ambassadors and volunteers at major events including Convocation and Open Houses. They’ll also be gaining invaluable experience that’s sure to impress their future employers.

To get a sense of what the Leadership Academy is all about, here’s a great video put together by Loredana Del Bello.