You asked: In your opinion, which is better – university or college? Reply

This is a debate I won’t be having while I’m president of Mohawk.

Colleges and universities both have a lot to offer students and we have complementary strengths.  Ultimately, it comes down to what’s best for each student and they make the call.

When we work together, colleges and universities create new opportunities for students. Mohawk and McMaster have one of the strongest postsecondary partnerships in Ontario and our collaborative programs in health and technology are in high demand by students and well-respected by employers.

Rather than prove we’re better than universities or other colleges,  we should focus instead on moving Mohawk from good to great and making sure we do our absolute best when it comes to educating and serving our students.

You asked: What’s with all the lockdown drills that disrupt classes? And why did we have back-to-back lockdown and fire drills this week? 1

There’s no good time to have a lockdown drill at Mohawk.  Classes and labs are going to be interrupted.

We hold two lockdown drills a year at our Fennell and Stoney Creek campuses for one reason. Nothing is more important than your safety and the safety of our students, faculty, staff and visitors.

The drills put our emergency response measures to the test. After each drill, we look at what worked and where we can do better.

Lockdown drills also give all us a way to practice getting to a place of safety as quickly as possible. In the event of a real lockdown, we don’t want anyone wondering what to do and where to go.

Our plan was to only do a lockdown drill on Monday morning. However, a fire alarm was accidentally pulled at our Fennell Campus immediately after the end of our lockdown drill.

Thanks to all students, faculty and staff who knew immediately how to respond in both situations. Your patience and cooperation were much appreciated.

We’ll definitely look to see if there’s a better and less disruptive time to schedule future lockdown drills.

You asked: With our focus on moving Mohawk from good to great, will we continue with our access strategy? Reply

Absolutely.  Mohawk’s mission of prosperous communities and transformed lives extends to everyone in every neighbourhood in Hamilton.  Thanks to grassroots access strategies like our College in Motion Team and the Future Ready Loyalty Card, we’ve connected with hundreds of young people from Code Red neighbourhoods who are now Mohawk students.  We have a responsibility to maintain these connections with young people, families and community partners. We should settle for nothing less than being the absolute best at removing barriers and putting a college education within everyone’s reach.

You asked: In your travels around the world, what’s been your most memorable experience? Reply

I’ve had the privilege of visiting over 68 countries on all seven continents. Antarctica is perhaps the most memorable place I’ve ever visited. I was there for two weeks and the continent’s sheer beauty is staggering. It’s an amazing place – nearly twice the size of Australia – and virtually untouched by humans.

The most memorable experience I’ve ever had was in rural Zambia. I sat under a tree with a group of eight women. All of the women were HIV positive. And they were all mothers. We talked about their hopes and dreams for their children. They wanted their children to grow up healthy, to be cared for and to be educated. They knew that education leads to options and opportunities that they themselves never had. I will always remember our conversation. Many times since that trip I have asked other parents the same question. What are your hopes and dreams for your children? Wherever I travel, whether in the developing or developed world, the answer is the same.  Parents want an education and a chance for a better life for their children.  Working at Mohawk is such a privilege because we get to make that dream a reality every day. We give people options and opportunities.

You asked: McMaster University is building a new health campus across from City Hall and moving its continuing education programs into Jackson Square. Does Mohawk have any plans to move into downtown Hamilton? Reply

Both Mayor Bob Bratina and Hamilton Spectator columnist Paul Wilson took me on tours of downtown Hamilton during my first few weeks on the job. I was impressed by the vibrancy and renewal that’s happening downtown.  There’s no doubt that having a presence in the heart of the city would be good for our students, good for Hamilton and good for Mohawk. The issue is money.  We don’t have the resources to make the move on our own. We’d need financial support, likely from all three levels of government and from our college partners.  Right now, our priority is investing in the renewal our three existing campuses and building a much-needed engineering technology building. That said, we’re always receptive to opportunities to move into downtown Hamilton.

You asked: Where are we in the search for Mohawk’s Vice President Academic and Corporate Services and when do you expect these positions to be filled? Reply

We’ve hired an executive search firm to help us find the best candidates for both positions.  We’ve posted the jobs nationally and the search firm is developing detailed candidate profiles. Thanks to everyone who’s provided their best advice on who we should be looking for in terms of experience, personal values and leadership styles.  The successful candidates will likely join our college early in the new year. While we’re months away from their arrival, we’re fortunate to have Piero Cherubini and Bob Carrington serving as interim vice presidents.

My question to you 12

Outside of the college, I’m chair of World Vision Canada. I’m a big believer and supporter of community service. I’ve already heard some great examples of how Mohawk students, faculty and staff are engaged with our community, including the work that our Production Framing students are doing right now with Habitat for Humanity Hamilton on the Beach Strip. So my question this week is how is your program or department involved in our community? What projects are your students and staff involved in? And is there more that we could be doing as a college to support our community?

Kudos: Thank you Student Services and congrats to the MSA on their new Strategic Plan Reply

Thank you to the team in Student Services who served 21,482 students in person at our three campuses from Aug. 13 to Sept. 16. Not only did the team serve nearly 3,000 more students compared to last year, they reduced the average wait time by approximately six minutes per student.

Student, faculty and staff presentations are a highlight at Mohawk’s Board of Governors’ meetings.  At our Sept. 11 meeting, we had outstanding presentations by Shaun Iles on gamification, an overview of our Justice and Wellness program by Jo-Anne Procter and an introduction to Mohawk’s new co-curricular record from Michelle Ball, Rachel Matthews, Mickey Rochon and Lindsay Dyment.

Congratulations to the Mohawk Students’ Association on their new strategic plan, with a mission to enhance all college students’ experience through leadership, support and advocacy. As MSA President Max Brown said during a presentation this week to our senior management team, the end game is the same for our college and the MSA – get every student to their Convocation Ceremony.  The MSA plays an invaluable role in supporting students and fostering a sense of belonging. We have one of the strongest and most productive partnerships among Ontario’s colleges and much of the credit goes to the MSA’s student leaders and staff.

Poll: In the last month at Mohawk, have you Reply