Sheridan has always been a trailblazer in industry-aligned education that prepares visionary, job-ready graduates. Fuelled by key learnings on the role of postsecondary education beyond the pandemic, we’re laying the groundwork for bold new learning opportunities that will further empower our students with skills to make a difference in their chosen fields – and continue the Sheridan legacy of applying creativity and innovation, for good.
Laying the foundation for a different kind of learning experience
The power of education to unlock people’s potential will be key in developing and supporting the post-pandemic workforce — in Canada and globally. There is a societal imperative for postsecondary education to perform a greater role in positioning students to thrive in their careers in the long term. Schools need to do more than hand out credentials — they need to build the self-awareness, courage and agility of their learners so that they can continue to succeed long after graduation.
According to the World Economic Forum (October 2020), the top five skills required by 2025 are: analytical thinking and innovation; the ability to learn; complex problem solving; critical thinking; and creativity, originality and initiative. Research shows that graduates need these skills to adapt, lead and contribute meaningfully to the future workplace.
That’s why over the past year, Sheridan has built the framework for a bold new learning model — which will develop the particular essence that sets Sheridan students apart. This represents a different kind of postsecondary experience — one driven by contemporary research on human potential that provides unique self-leadership opportunities that will ensure our students succeed regardless of circumstance.
Through a multi-faceted program of cutting-edge learning experiences and technology, the Sheridan model will thoughtfully enhance students’ academic learning and their capacity for innovative contributions within any field they choose. Throughout this journey, they will develop and refine foundational skills like agility, resilience, social awareness, compassion and critical thinking — positioning them to be able to relate to themselves and to others with ease, so that they can have impact within the adverse and rapidly-changing workplace.
Our academic teams will begin integrating experiences that support this model into Sheridan’s programming this fall. Our efforts to reimagine the student experience at Sheridan also include significant work to provide more flexible and personalized options to students throughout their time at Sheridan — from the way they interact with our student support teams, to the projects they work on to augment their learning.
We’re laying the groundwork for a more intuitive, seamless system of support for students that is rooted in understanding the needs of the student and providing targeted supports and referrals based on their individual goals and circumstances. In 2022, we’ll begin testing Homeroom: an integrated approach to supporting students based on human-centred design principles and informed by data and learning analytics.
We’re also ensuring this personalized approach extends to our students’ programs by introducing more flexibility for academic pathways, including options for course delivery and making it easier for students to include new features in their programming such as micro-credentials.
We’re making our learning environment even more responsive to quickly evolving industry and community needs by embedding more real-time industry and global challenges that provide problem-based learning, and groups of students coming together to solve complex problems faced by industry today. Sheridan will be scaling several of these signature learning experiences throughout 2022 including interdisciplinary courses, and courses that connect our students with instructors and students from other colleges and universities around the world, as well as learning experiences that utilize state-of-the-art augmented and virtual reality.
Furniture students help create new Indigenous Knowledge Centre in Thunder Bay library
Sheridan Honours Bachelor of Craft and Design (Furniture) students go the extra mile to ensure their furniture exceeds their clients’ expectations.
They went even further in 2021 to help build a more inclusive space in the Thunder Bay Public Library, partnering with the social enterprise Codesign to produce a collection of furniture for one of the library’s Indigenous Knowledge Centres.
Students and faculty traveled 1,400 km north for three days of relationship-building activities and collaborative design with members of Thunder Bay’s Indigenous community, gaining an appreciation for their culture and values. That understanding shone through in the final designs, which included rounded edges and imagery of turtle shells, tree roots and porcupine quill baskets — all suggestions that were made by Indigenous participants during the design process.
A transformative internship: shaping inclusive, accessible summer camps
With a passion for keeping young people safe, engaged and supported regardless of their backgrounds or abilities, Cassidy O’Reilly, a fourth-year Honours Bachelor of Community Safety student, took on a summer internship as location coordinator for a municipal summer camp for kids ages 6-12 from July to August 2021.
The internship presented her most challenging leadership role yet: providing direction, mentorship and day-to-day behavioural management and conflict resolution support to a team of young counsellors who ran craft, music and sports activities for children every day.
Several of the participating children in each camp group were neurodiverse — some living with autism spectrum disorder, Asperger’s or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. This called for O’Reilly to draw on her leadership skills and the strategies learned from her studies to advise her staff how to adjust the activities to help all children participate.
For O’Reilly, these meaningful steps to help all children feel engaged and supported at camp were particularly critical, as many of the participants had been in isolation for more than a year due to the pandemic.
United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals
Last year, Sheridan became Ontario’s first institution to sign the SDG Accord, the postsecondary sector’s collective international response to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals . These 17 Global Goals were adopted by countries around the world in 2015 as a means to guide global action on the urgent social, economic and environmental challenges facing our planet. Which goals do the stories on this page advance? See below.