Working together to establish more opportunities for students in Ontario

The recently tabled Supporting People and Businesses Act included a proposed initiative by the provincial government to expand credentials in the public college system to include applied master’s degrees. 

This is very encouraging news and, if passed, something that would help keep more talent and skill in Ontario. Applied master’s degrees offered by Ontario colleges would create opportunities to develop critical skills and specialties within the province. 

Applied master’s programs would be integral to supporting local labour market conditions and regional economies, particularly as we continue to emerge from the pandemic. 

It should be noted that institutions offering polytechnic models of education in Western Canada are able to offer applied master’s degrees currently, with much success. 

At Humber, one of our strengths is our polytechnic approach to teaching and learning and providing a combination of career-focused theory and hands-on learning through a comprehensive range of credentials. 

The college currently offers more than 30 honours degrees. More than a quarter of all students enrolled in degree programs at an Ontario college study at Humber.  

In the last 10 years, our hands-on, industry-focused graduate certificates have seen significant growth and they continue to be our fastest-growing credential, attracting both domestic and international students. Learners in these post-graduate programs come to Humber having already completed undergraduate degrees or advanced diplomas. 

Offering applied master’s degrees would also allow colleges to meet the demand for graduate certificate programs and provide greater flexibility and options to students strengthening their skills and knowledge in Ontario. It would also ensure learners can build on their academic experience while saving time and money through new pathways from our current suite of degrees and graduate certificates.  

While Humber has more than 100 master’s pathways with partner institutions around the world, 90 per cent of them are international opportunities. As students are clearly looking to take that next step in their education journey, it often leads them, their potential, and their skills and knowledge to other parts of the globe.  

With so many other countries recognizing the high quality of our graduates and programs, it’s time to give them that same recognition here at home.  

About the Author

Dr. Chris Whitaker, President and CEO, Humber College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning

Dr. Chris Whitaker is President and CEO of Humber College Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning. Chris Whitaker joined the college in July 2012 and is the fourth president in the college’s history. He has worked in the Ontario postsecondary sector for over 30 years and is passionate about student success and the role of colleges in providing access and pathways to postsecondary education opportunities. Since joining Humber, he has continued to advance the college as a comprehensive post-secondary institution with a reputation for creating and delivering a high quality student-focused teaching and learning environment. Dr. Whitaker’s education includes a PhD from the University of Toronto, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education; an MA from York University and a BA from Queen’s University. Among his many commitments to Humber and the college system, Dr. Whitaker is Chair for the League for Innovation in Community Colleges, and for the World University Service of Canada, as well as Board member for Polytechnics Canada, Community Colleges for International Development, Ontario College Application Service and Skills Ontario.