Mohawk ready to do its part to help Syrian refugees Reply

Dear Colleagues:

Welcoming newcomers to Mohawk and our community is a college priority and a personal mission. We launched a Welcoming Communities project earlier this year with community partners and will bring forward an action plan during our winter term.

As a college committed to welcoming newcomers, Mohawk is ready to do our part in supporting Syrian refugees. As many as 25,000 refugees are expected to make Canada their new home in the months ahead.

We are working closely with our community partners, including the City of Hamilton, Wesley Urban Ministries and the YMCA Hamilton / Burlington / Brantford, to coordinate our efforts.  Mohawk will be focused on four fronts, with a heavy emphasis on meeting the educational needs of refugees:

  • Our English as a Second Language team will offer language instruction for newcomers and enhanced language training for internationally trained professionals. These services will be available free of charge at our Fennell campus and at our CitySchool by Mohawk at the Eva Rothwell Resource Centre in North Hamilton.
  • Our team in Community Employment Services will help refugees find jobs that put their skills and experience to work.
  • We will help recruit translators to volunteer with Wesley Urban Ministries. An online form will be posted in early January for students, faculty and staff who are fluent in Arabic, French, Kurdish, Turkish, Persian / Farsi and Assyrian.
  • We will be looking at establishing scholarships for a number of Syrian refugees who would like to attend our college and are liaising with our community partners to determine next steps in this regard.

Many of you are already involved outside the college in welcoming Syrian refugees to our community. For example, Language Instruction for Newcomers professor Julianne Burgess is helping organize a Syria to Hamilton Walk Dec. 23 starting at 1 p.m. from Gage Park to McMaster University. Tom Ferns, our General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, is helping his Waterdown church sponsor a family of four. Please send me examples of how you’re welcoming refugees and we’ll help spread the word within our college.

Thank you in advance for opening our doors and your hearts to Syrian families who are making Canada and our region their new home.




Taking a cold dip for a good cause Reply

On Monday, Dec. 21, I will be joining Michael Messenger, President of World Vision Canada, in the Polar Bear Dip in Lake Ontario.  This is an annual event, usually held on New Year’s Day, and this year will raise awareness and funds to help children and families gain access to clean water and sanitation in Rugarama and Gashora, Rwanda.  The dip will be covered by media including Breakfast Television and I’ll be proudly wearing a Mohawk shirt as I make the plunge.  If you are interested, you can sponsor me by clicking on the attached link.  All funds go to the water and sanitation project in Rwanda and are issued a receipt by World Vision Canada for income tax purposes.

Best regards for the holidays.

Mohawk College PR students help community partner win international award Reply

Learning by doing is one of the hallmarks of a Mohawk education.

The Agency at Mohawk College puts students in our Advertising, Public Relations, Marketing and Graphic Design programs to work in building campaigns for dozens of community partners and start-ups every year.

One of the Agency’s clients has credited our students for helping them win an international award.

The Dundas Valley School of Art has won an award from the Learning Resource Network (LERN), the world’s largest association in continuing education and lifelong learning.

Here’s what Executive Director Claire Lougheed had to say about the Public Relations students who created a communications plan for the Dundas Valley School of Art during the Winter 2015 term. “They provided so many perspectives, new ideas and elements of the strategy moving forward that I feel they should be a part of acknowledging the contributors to this win. These awards are never the work of one person and I believe your students might want to know that what starts as an assignment has real world consequences and successes for us clients.”

Congratulations to the Dundas Valley School of Art on winning a 2015 LERN International Award and thank you for giving our students a real-world opportunity to apply their learning and make a difference in our community.

Many reasons to be thankful at Mohawk College as we head into the holidays Reply


Here’s the holiday letter I sent to the remarkable faculty and staff who make Mohawk College such a great place to learn and work.

Dear Colleagues:

The holidays are a time to reflect, give thanks and celebrate.

For Lynn and I, Christmas is a time of reunion and celebration with family and friends. It’s a time to cut and trim the tree, put up lights, bake pies and write our Christmas letter. It is also, like Thanksgiving, a time that we like to pause and take account of all we have to be thankful for in our lives.

As we head into the holidays and pass the midway mark of our academic year, we have many reasons to celebrate and many people to thank for a semester worth of firsts at Mohawk College.

Thank you for putting a Mohawk education within reach of even more people in our community. Our first City School at Mohawk opened this fall at the Eva Rothwell Resource Centre in North Hamilton. Joining us at the official opening were our first City School donors Douglas and June Barber whose generous gift helped bring a Mohawk education to an entire neighbourhood. No other college in Ontario has taken community engagement to the same level.

Thank you for making Mohawk a more welcoming college for our Aboriginal students. Our new outdoor Indigenous Gathering Space at the Fennell campus is the first of its kind among colleges and universities in this part of the province. During the dedication ceremony for our gathering space, I was proud to sign the Indigenous Education Protocol and reaffirm our commitment to Aboriginal students.

Thank you for making Mohawk a more welcoming college for newcomers. We brought together dozens of thought leaders and hundreds of community partners, faculty and staff for a two-day summit in October. The conversations and insights from our summit will help us build an action plan for Mohawk, with the goal of attracting more international students, connecting them with the community and encouraging them to make Hamilton their home after graduation.

Thank you for making Mohawk a more innovative and entrepreneurial college. We invested in eight applied research projects led by faculty and staff in our Business, Communication Arts, Community Services, Health and Technology programs with our first round of funding from Mohawk’s new Applied Research and Innovation in Education Fund. We also launched Canada’s first journalism course for creating accessible content and made significant investments in simulation technology at our Stoney Creek campus and at our Institute for Applied Health Sciences.

Thank you for educating and serving a record number of students this semester. The quality of your teaching, the calibre of the services you provide and the facilities you take such pride in maintaining have all contributed to building our reputation as the college of choice for students throughout the region.

And thank you for making a great first impression. A record number of federal, provincial and municipal politicians have toured Mohawk during the past year, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who made Mohawk the only college he visited during his election campaign. I’ve proudly introduced political leaders and senior officials to scores of faculty, staff and students. Everyone who visits our three campuses makes mention of your passion for teaching and serving our students. Our guests return to Parliament Hill, Queen’s Park and City Hall with an even greater understanding and deeper appreciation for your work and why Mohawk matters to our community.

Looking ahead to our winter semester, I’ll be introducing you to Mohawk’s new strategic plan that charts our strategic direction for the next five years. I’ll be hosting a series of town halls to present our strategic plan and priorities for the 2016-17 academic year. During the town halls, I’ll also share results from our latest employee engagement survey. We’ll also be launching a formal mentorship program in the New Year to connect you with experienced and respected Mohawk leaders who personify our college values. If career growth and professional development is a New Year’s resolution, I encourage you to consider this program. We’ll also continue to offer our made-at-Mohawk Future Ready Leadership and Step Up to Leadership programs, provide tuition assistance and hold year-round workshops and courses. Like our students, we want you to realize and contribute to your full potential. After all, it’s great people who make Mohawk a great place to work and learn.

Thank you for all of your contributions during our fall semester. Because of you, we have many reasons to celebrate and to be proud of all that we’ve accomplished together. If we don’t have the opportunity to meet during our holiday lunches, I’d like to wish you a safe and joyous holiday season with family and friends filled with Peace, Joy, Hope and Love and extend to you best wishes for what’s sure to be an outstanding year ahead at Mohawk College.



Hamilton Victory Gardens praises partnership with Mohawk College Reply

Our college’s commitment to environmental sustainability was recognized during the Hamilton Victory Gardens’ annual volunteer appreciation harvest.
Hamilton Victory Gardens is a nonprofit team of volunteers dedicated to alleviating hunger and food insecurity by transforming empty city lots into places of community, education and growth.
More than 18,143 kilograms (40,000 pounds) of fresh produce was grown at 15 community garden sites in Hamilton and donated to local food banks this year.
Mohawk donated more than 90 kilograms of produce from our community garden to Neighbour to Neighbour Centre and the Mohawk Students’ Association food bank.
Special thanks to 3rd year Architecture Technology student Ashley Packer who took a leadership role in expanding our garden at the Fennell campus to 47 plots.  We’ve grown from eight plots in 2013 to keep up demand from our students, faculty, staff and community partners.
Mohawk has been named one of Canada’s greenest employers for the past two years and we were the first college in Ontario to adopt an environmental management plan.

Sounds of the season at Grant Avenue Studio Reply

Yesterday I dropped in on our Mohawk Music students who were recording the soundtrack for our annual Holiday Greeting e-card at Grant Avenue Studio in Hamilton. It’s always good to see our students performing at their best. I also want to thank Mohawk Music professors Jamshed Turel and Will Jarvis for coaching and supporting the students, and a big thank you to Grant Avenue Studio for giving our students an amazing experience.


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