Sheridan Journey: A Vision for Sheridan


Over our 50 year history, Sheridan has continued to evolve and grow to meet the changing needs of Ontario's post-secondary students. Continuing with this evolution, we have a Vision for Sheridan that will build on our current diploma and degree programs with the goal of evolving into a unique undergraduate university.

Sheridan Journey

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Why are we doing this?

Sheridan is uniquely positioned to meet the increasing and ever-changing demands on postsecondary education in the region and in the province.

Our history includes successfully adapting to the changing needs of our students and our environment. We have evolved/grown from a community college to an institute of technology and advanced learning that provides diploma, certificate and degree programs, all the while maintaining the essence and character that makes us great and unique. This Vision to become Sheridan University is the natural next stage of this evolution.

Will Sheridan continue to offer its successful certificate and diplomas programs when we become a university?

Yes - Sheridan will continue to offer a broad array of credentials. What will make us unique is the commitment to provide pathways for our students to progress from one level of learning (credential) to the next without unnecessary duplication of learning, time or personal resources.

What is a pathway?

A pathway represents the academic journey that each of our students undertakes. Our intention with the Vision is that we will build robust pathways so that graduates from our diploma programs will have the opportunity to pursue degree completion and optimize their postsecondary choices. We shall map these credential pathways, identify new opportunities, and encourage our graduates to consider progression into our degrees with fair and appropriate transfer of credits.

When will Sheridan become a university?

Sheridan’s Strategic Plan was approved by the Board of Governors to cover the period of 2013-2020. We are on target to achieve the strategic plan vision to become Sheridan University by 2020.

How will university status be achieved?

To become Sheridan University, we will need to be recognized as a postsecondary institution that meets the criteria established by Universities Canada (UC). UC is a quasi accreditation body for Canadian universities. To be a UC member provides formal recognition that our programs, faculty and infrastructure meet university standards. This is critical for the credibility of our Vision.

To be named a university in Ontario, there are two routes we may pursue:

      1. A formal name change can be obtained via a regulatory amendment and Ministerial Consent as set out in the existing Postsecondary Education Choice and Excellence Act, 2000. A precedent for a name change was established in 2003 when The Sheridan College of Applied Arts and Technology became The Sheridan College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning. A name change via Ministerial Consent would not change our status as a member of Colleges Ontario and would retain our collective bargaining status within the province as well as our pension and benefit plans.
      2. Legislation may also serve to create Sheridan University by creating a Sheridan University Charter resulting in an independent stand-alone institution.
Sheridan is pursing both membership in Universities Canada and a name change via a regulatory amendment and Ministerial Consent (#1 above)

What is a teaching university?

A teaching university is focussed on teaching and learning at the undergraduate level. The majority of faculty time and talent is dedicated to curriculum design, development and delivery. Some professors may pursue research activities that engage their students and contribute to their respective professors or disciplines. Support for research is provided via grant funding and/or as part of our curriculum when research is embedded into courses and programs.

Our focus is on students. Sheridan will continue to be known for the outstanding education and exceptional experience that we offer our students. Small class sizes, outstanding faculty, wide range of credentials (certificates, diplomas, degrees and graduate certificates) and modern well equipped classrooms, laboratories and studios all contribute to student learning and interaction.

As we expand our degree offerings, who will decide which programs should be developed?

As is our present practice, we will conduct labour market studies to determine the viability of proposed new programs. We will expand our degrees based on labour market trends and alignment with our established programs as we remain committed to preparing our graduates for employment opportunities and for a fast changing workplace. For all proposed programs that have been supported by labour market review, ad hoc Professional Advisory Councils are established to further inform the design and future development of programs. At present, the Board of Governors is ultimately responsible for decisions regarding program viability; Senate is responsible for program quality.

What happens to the outstanding non-degree programs for which Sheridan is known?

We will continue to deliver our existing programs based on their performance as measured by our Program Review Process which considers KPI data, application trends, fiscal realities, labour market trends, etc. This is “business as usual.” We are building pathways from these programs into degrees offered by Sheridan, other colleges and universities.

Will Sheridan offer Master’s degrees?

Sheridan’s vision is to be a unique undergraduate teaching university. We have no plans to develop or offer graduate degrees. This will remain the responsibility of Ontario’s research universities.

Will some programs be closed as we become a university?

As has been the practice in all colleges, the mix of programs will constantly be reviewed – some programs may close while new ones will be launched.

We have existing relationships with other universities. How will this change affect those agreements?

We will continue our tradition of our longstanding and strong relationships with our university partners. The Vision does not exclude the continuation of these important relationships.

If we become a university, does that mean that we will not need to go through PEQAB any longer for approval of our degrees?

We are working with the government on the current role that PEQAB plays. We assume that we will continue to submit our new degrees to PEQAB for approval as has been done in the past. We hope that with our successful track record for degree success we may work with PEQAB for an expedited version of degree renewals.

Does this mean that faculty will be able to engage in more research?

We are integrating scholarship, research and creative activities (SRCA) into all of our degrees and diplomas and advanced diplomas as determined appropriate by faculty. However, teaching will remain the predominant work of our professors and SRCA in our context will be designed for engagement by our undergraduate students. Opportunities to expand SRCA will depend on research funds/grants and/or curriculum design. We are not expecting new MTCU funding to support SRCA.

What kind of research will be acceptable for faculty?

As mentioned above, SRCA that is integrated into curriculum is funded as part of our delivery costs. SRCA beyond this will be dependent on alternative funding sources as we presently do not, nor are we planning to, receive operating grants that would allow us to divert funds necessary to support teaching and learning.

What are the criteria for membership in Universities Canada?

Postsecondary institutions interested in joining UC must first meet the criteria for institutional membership. Institutions must follow a rigorous application process. Click on the link below for the required criteria for institutional members:

http://www.univcan.ca/about-us/membership-and-governance/membership-criteria/#a_1