We’ve officially launched Mohawk’s new five-year strategic plan following months of consultation with students, faculty, staff, our Board of Governors and college partners.
Together we’ve built a bold plan with a clear vision that will make Mohawk the college of choice for prospective students, funders, donors and employers.
I introduced Mohawk’s blueprint for the next five years during town halls at all three of our campuses.
I previewed the strategic plan following a review of our latest employee engagement survey results. We achieved across-the-board gains on all the survey results compared to the 2013 results. Four out of five faculty and staff would recommend Mohawk to family and friends as a good place to work and learn.
Here’s a copy of my remarks.
“Our strong engagement scores is good news as we get set to launch Mohawk’s new strategic plan.
Our plan is Mohawk’s roadmap for the next five years. It promises to be a pretty amazing ride.
In keeping with the recommendations from our employee engagement survey , let me start by saying thanks. Thank you for a job well done.
We asked you for big ideas. You delivered hundreds of them.
We asked you to review our strategic plan while it was a work in progress. You made hundreds of comments and suggestions.
We consulted over many months with faculty, staff, students, our Board of Governors and college partners.
Together, we’ve built a bold plan that plays to our strengths and takes us in new directions.
This is a plan that’s equal to the challenges and opportunities on our horizon.
A plan that’s equal to the challenges and opportunities on the horizon.
We can expect more competition for fewer students. More competition from other colleges and universities.
Here in Hamilton, our public schools have 6,000 empty seats. Those are 6,000 elementary and secondary school students who won’t be coming to Mohawk.
Our plan will make Mohawk the college of choice for direct, non-direct, international and apprenticeship students.
We can expect more competition for public and private sector investment.
To be the college of choice for students, we need to continue upgrading our labs and classrooms at all three campuses. We need new equipment and technology.
And so does every other college and university. They’re not just looking to construct new buildings. They’re also looking to maintain aging campuses. Among Ontario’s 24 colleges, there’s more than $1 billion in deferred maintenance. That number is significantly higher among Ontario universities.
Every college and university will be looking for investments and there’s only so much money to go around.
Our strategic plan makes a compelling case for why funders and donors should invest in Mohawk.
Those are some of the major challenges heading our way. We also have a golden opportunity.
I chair the Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Task Force on Workforce Development. The task force includes leaders from some of Hamilton’s major companies. We’re talking with Hamilton employers and business owners about their short and long-term hiring needs. What are the skill gaps in our city and how can we fill them.
Every employer we’ve talked to said they’re looking to us. They’re counting on our students and graduates. They plan to hire a disproportionate number of college grads.
To meet that need, we need to grow. And we need to stay relevant and responsive to the needs of our partners.
Our strategic plan will do exactly that.
We’ve built a bold plan with a clear vision.
Future ready. Learning for life.
Our students will be future ready. All of us will play a part in transforming our students into future-ready graduates. Our students will gain the knowledge, skills and experience to chart a brilliant future.
And we will stay connected with our graduates in learning for life. We will be there to help our graduates advance in their careers as they take on new roles and responsibilities.
So that’s our vision for Mohawk. Future ready. Learning for life.
Our plan is built on the four pillars of student success, graduate success, collaboration and partnerships and community leadership.
Supporting our four pillars will be a strong foundation of fiscal stewardship.
Rather than walk you through the commitments and objectives under each pillar, let me preview where Mohawk will end up in 2021.
This is where we want to be in five years. How we get there will be up to you.
In five years time, Mohawk will be the number one college for graduate employment. The best way to sell Mohawk to prospective students is to showcase the success of our graduates. We’ll be known as the college that puts students to work.
In select programs, we’ll offer job guarantees to our top students and offer everyone a job readiness course and toolkit.
In five years time, Mohawk will be the number one college ifor employer satisfaction. Our future ready graduates will consistently exceed expectations. And we’ll have a reputation for forging strong, mutually rewarding partnerships with employers. Keeping up with employer demand will be our biggest challenge – and a very good problem to have.
In five years time, Mohawk will be among the top 10 colleges in all of Canada for applied research. Our students will work with regional, national and international partners to bring innovative solutions to market and make the world a better place. Our applied research projects will attract significant funding and investments and spur heavy demand for our students and graduates.
In five years time, Mohawk will be recognized as a leader in simulation-based learning. Students will be immersed in interactive learning environments that replicate the real world. If you want to see the future of learning at Mohawk, look to the simulated hospital at our institute for applied health sciences. It was featured last week on the front page of the Hamilton Spectator. We also have other outstanding examples, from the Agency at our Fennell Campus to the Eco-House at Stoney Creek.
Simulation-based learning will make our students the best prepared for their co-ops, placements, capstone projects and first jobs out of college.
In five years, we will have invested heavily to expand and renovate our campuses. In our last strategic plan, we invested over $90 million. We plan to invest the same, if not more, for the direct benefit of our students.
Some of renewal plans include a new partnership and innovation centre at our Fennell Campus. Major expansion to our simulated hospital at IAHS. And a new building at Stoney Creek were students and apprentices will work with industry partners on cross-disciplinary projects.
With apologies to Mo the Hawk, the construction crane will remain the official bird of Mohawk College.
And in five years time, Mohawk will be recognized for our leadership in building better colleges and stronger communities. We will be seen as leaders in improving access to post-secondary education. Advancing Indigenous education. Championing environmental sustainability. Welcoming newcomers, celebrating diversity and fostering a spirit of inclusiveness. Other colleges and universities will come to us and ask, how did you that? We will have blazed a trail that others follow.
So those are some of the highlights of where Mohawk will end up at the end of our new strategic plan:
Number one in graduate employment and employer satisfaction
Top 10 in applied research
A leader in simulation-based learning
Major renewal at all three campuses
And a recognized leader on key initiatives that matter in our sector and our community.
We will be very busy over the next five years.
But I also want to highlight what won’t change.
Our students will continue to earn an education of the highest quality. They will continue to get the supports and services they need to be successful. And they will continue to get one-of-a-kind experiences to unlock their full and true potential.
And all of this will continue for our students because of you.
I’ve talked a lot about what Mohawk will become.
Let me remind you what we already are. And where we are starting this journey from.
In my opinion, Mohawk is already blessed with the best faculty and staff of any college in Canada.
An amazing, inspiring and highly engaged team with a singular focus on helping each and every one of our students achieve their dreams and realize full potential.
When you’re in the company of exceptional people, you can set ambitious goals.
So here’s what I need you to do this week.
On your way out the door, you’re going to get a personal copy of our strategic plan. This is the Coles Notes version.
Give the plan a close read. Mark up the pages with a highlighter. Bend the corners. Circle the priorities that you can support in your day-to-day work. Write down your ideas on how we can deliver on our commitments.
I realize this is a lot of information to absorb at once. Please know that this is the start of a conversation about our strategic plan. A conversation that we’ll continue over the next five years.
Along with conversations, we should count on many celebrations as we make this great college an even better place to learn and work.
So let me end off where I began by thanking you for a job well done. You’ve brought us to a place where can aspire to do even more amazing things for our students, graduates and their employers.”