Strategic Mandate Submission

TO: The Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities FROM: Dr. Daniel Patterson, President, Niagara College Canada

Part 1

Niagara College: Proposed Mandate Statement
Niagara College’s mandate is to provide a high quality, research and innovation rich, educational environment directly linked to our regional economy and our communities, ensuring our graduates are able to work effectively in our globally competitive, rapidly changing world. Our mandate is realized through strong industry engagement and a multiplicity of partnerships to ensure program relevance and leading edge, innovative business practices. Underpinning everything is a profound commitment to ensure student success and satisfaction throughout the entire learning experience. Niagara College has a demonstrated track record in productivity enhancements and entrepreneurial thinking, while maintaining an unwavering focus on exceptional learning environments. Currently, NC is among the lowest-funded colleges on a per-student basis, yet it remains a leader in Ontario in delivering a high quality student experience, earning the number-one ranking in student satisfaction among all colleges for seven of the past eight years. NC’s core market is the Niagara region, an area challenged by a rapidly transitioning global economy (reflected in lower than average economic growth and high unemployment), but also capitalizing on new opportunities in tourism, trade, and new technology. NC plans to increase enrolment by 1,500 students over the next three years to 10,500 students by 2016, a 15% increase over the current enrolment. NC’s strategic recruitment is increasingly focused on meeting the needs of the mature and non-traditional learner, providing access to post -secondary education to those who have not had such opportunities in the past. Enrolment in 2012-13 will exceed 9,000 full time students, representing an increase of 8% over the previous year. Reflecting a strong brand that reaches across the world, Niagara College is now home to more than 1200 post-secondary international students from over 65 countries. Niagara College’s brand and reputation is built on a foundation of unparalleled student experiences, leading innovation and applied research, and operational excellence. NC differentiates itself by areas of specialty in culinary, wine and beer, advanced manufacturing, and international business and trade.

Unparalleled Student Experience and Satisfaction.
The hallmark of an NC education is an unparalleled range of immersive, real-world student experiences. NC leads all universities and colleges in Canada in developing and offering unique learning enterprises, including a winery, brewery, restaurant, spa, and greenhouse – innovative businesses operating year-round, serving thousands of customers on-campus and producing products sold across the province. The new Applied Health Institute supports interdisciplinary learning amongst several health programs, effectively preparing our graduates for work in the health care sector. NC is recognized as the provincial leader in student satisfaction, ranking first in this category of the Key Performance Indicators for seven of the past eight years. In addition to the top ranking for satisfaction, NC ranked much higher than any other college in both the overall quality of the facilities/resources and overall quality of the services, reflecting our commitment to providing an engaging learning environment. Results show students are also very satisfied with the

knowledge and skills they gain and program quality, highlighting the strong connection between their NC learning experience and industry. Further enhancing the student experience, NC launched a Centre for Student Engagement and Leadership, including a cocurricular record to recognize the additional competencies developed by students through on-campus involvement and community service.

Leading Innovation and Applied Research.
NC is widely recognized as a leader in applied research among Canadian Colleges. NC received one of the first Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) grants to a college in 2001, secured one of the first six pilot NSERC College and Community Innovation grants in 2006, co-founded the Colleges Ontario Network for Industry Innovation (CONII), is a strong member of the Ontario Network of Excellence, and recently received one of the first NSERC Industry Research Chairs for Colleges. NC is integrated within the region’s innovation ecosystem, which includes nGen, the Regional Innovation

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Centre, several incubators, the Niagara Angel Network and industry associations. Over the past three years, Niagara Research, the research and innovation arm of NC, has attracted and managed $5.9 million dollars in support from NSERC, CFI, FedDev, ORF, OCE, CONII and industry. These funds support, per year, 35-50 projects with industry involving 75+ faculty and up to 1,000 students, providing our students with direct links to innovation, industry, and success as graduates. These projects directly support regional economic growth through the development of new or improved products, services, and business practices for SMEs. Based on institutional strengths and industry demand, NC has prioritized research efforts in three centres of excellence: culinary, food, beer & wine; advanced manufacturing; and precision agriculture & horticulture.

leader in Ontario in delivering a high quality student experience – resulting in high student satisfaction. Building further on our track record of enhancing productivity, NC has worked with colleges that use a common enterprise system (PeopleSoft) to share development and leverage the systems to enhance efficiency; introduced a revamped academic schedule that will enhance student retention while maximizing our resource utilization; and has been an early adopter of shared purchasing, both at the regional and provincial levels. The recent $90 million Master Plan campus transformation provided an opportunity to incorporate new green technologies into our facilities, lowering NC’s environmental impact and reducing operating costs. This includes a geothermal heat pump at the Rankin Technology Centre and 500 solar panels as part of Ontario’s Feed-in Tariff program generating $120k per year in revenue. Green roofs, which use vegetation to absorb rainwater and provide insulation, were installed in several areas. A chiller replacement at the Welland Campus has drastically reduced energy consumption while obtaining Welland Hydro’s largest Retrofit rebate (full details at: www.niagaracollege.ca/sustainability). Revenue diversification such as an increase in International summer programs not only increases the utilization capacity of classrooms but also generates revenue from International ESL students and cohort programs.

Operational Excellence.
NC is strongly committed to continuous improvement, while delivering top-quality programs. Embedded within NC is an entrepreneurial culture, with all staff understanding that success means working within financial realities. Currently, NC is among the lowest-funded colleges on a per-student basis, yet it remains a

Niagara College: Priority Objectives
Niagara College’s Priority Objectives build on our areas of expertise and unique regional economy, focusing on three themes: supporting culinary, viticulture and other agri-business sectors; a regional strength in manufacturing and materials that is restructuring to meet the need for a flexible, nimble manufacturing environment; and Niagara’s position as a world tourism destination and one of the major border crossings in the world. NC’s achievement of these objectives will have a direct positive impact on the economic growth and development of the Niagara region. Priority Objective 1: Expand the program and applied research base of the Canadian Food and Wine Institute to position Niagara College as the premier college in Canada for the culinary, food and fermentation sciences. The Niagara economy has evolved to become one of the country’s leading viticulture and culinary centres. Niagara is the heartland of the Canadian grape and wine industry, and a strong food and culinary tourism sector has emerged. Priority Objective 2: Support the re-building of the Niagara Region’s advanced manufacturing base through new and enhanced programs and research support for SMEs. Niagara’s traditional large scale manufacturing sector has evolved into one comprised of small, nimble companies filling niches on a provincial and global scale, complemented with growing clusters in the advanced manufacturing and green/renewable energy sectors. Priority Objective 3: Expand our cluster of Business programs in hospitality, international commerce and supply chain logistics, linked to the Niagara region’s position as a unique, world renowned travel destination and a major international border crossing. Niagara’s unique geographic location makes it a pivotal trade region connecting Ontario with the major trade regions of North America. With Niagara Falls as a backdrop, Niagara continues to be one of the world’s top tourism destinations, attracting tens of millions of visitors annually from all corners of the globe, requiring a skilled hospitality and tourism workforce.

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Part 2

Niagara College: Vision
Niagara College’s vision statement, “Enriching lives and fulfilling dreams” embodies our passion and dedication to student success. Our mission, “Providing outstanding applied education and training for a changing world,” clearly links the top quality experiential education our students receive with the skills demanded in today’s (and tomorrow’s) rapidly changing economy. NC’s tagline, “Applied Dreams”, brings the vision and mission to life. NC’s vision and mission are supported by two main campuses that are unique, integrated learning environments. The Welland Campus is a model of community engagement and partnerships with community dental and health clinics operating within the College, and the Niagara Children’s Safety Village, a Niagara Regional Police training facility, and the Central Niagara YMCA all located on campus. The Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus provides state-of-the-art facilities and “living labs” for environmental, horticulture, hospitality and tourism, and business programs. NC’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute (CFWI), the national centre for culinary, wine, and beer education, is based here. Integrated within the CFWI are the Wine Visitor + Education Centre, Benchmark Restaurant, the award-winning Niagara College Teaching Winery and Brewery – the only commercial teaching winery and brewery in Canada, and 40 acres of teaching vineyards. As an example, see NiagaraCollegeBeer.ca The core of NC programming, covering more than 100 post-secondary certificate, diploma, graduate certificate and apprenticeship programs, is aligned to the key sectors of the regional Niagara economy and public sector - hospitality and tourism, advanced manufacturing, agri-business, international trade and logistics, health, policing, and community services. New programming reflects new growth clusters in Niagara, including renewable energy, new media, and culinary innovation. NC’s vision, mission, and passion for student success has driven innovation and creativity in delivering post-secondary programming. When NC opened the Wine Visitor + Education Centre in 2009, we had already broken ground by becoming the first PSE institution in Canada to establish signature winemaking programs and experimental vineyards to support a growing regional industry. NC has created a range of programs, in fields from a diploma in renewable energy to a joint degree with Brock University in Game Design that support innovation and creativity in our students and ensure that the Niagara region and the province are positioned to meet the current and future challenges in our global economy. With 50 individual transfer agreements with universities across the globe, NC also strives to facilitate graduates’ ability to transfer credits to further study. Notwithstanding the efforts made to create articulations, nearly all of them require students to move from their home, which is not an option for many of our students, particularly second career, first generation or mature students. Policy changes to allow colleges to offer three year and honours four year degrees in disciplines where NC has strength would significantly benefit many of our students.

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Part 3

Niagara College: Priority Objectives
Priority 1:
Expand the program and applied research base of the Canadian Food and Wine Institute to position Niagara College as the premier college in Canada for the culinary, food and fermentation sciences.
NC’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute (CFWI) provides expert–level education for students, employers and consumers across Canada, modeled on best practices from around the world, combined with strong applied research programs. The CFWI specializes in regional cuisine and terroir, with a focus on culinary arts and science, wine and beer sciences, business, and food technology. They are supported by our Learning Enterprises, including Benchmark Restaurant, our unique Teaching Winery and Brewery, and Wine Visitor + Education Centre. The CFWI asserts its leadership as a national organization partnering with PSE institutions across Canada. Recently, NC signed a historic partnership agreement to offer the CFWI Brewmaster program through Olds College (Alberta), providing the first panCanadian Brewing program. Partnership negotiations are underway with Nova Scotia Community College and Okanagan College, and several International partnership opportunities are in the early stages of development. The enhancement, expansion and consolidation of training programs and applied research at the CFWI will further re-affirm the region’s reputation as one of the key agribusiness concentrations in the province. This will not go unnoticed by the domestic and international investment community. As the CFWI evolves as a major source of graduates, innovative products and processes, research excellence, and industry partnerships, the potential for re-shaping and attracting secondary industries in the agribusiness and food sectors of the regional economy are significantly enhanced. Goal 1: Expand the Canadian Food and Wine Institute (CFWI) through new programs and increased enrolment. Building on existing diploma/apprenticeship programs in culinary, bakery, viticulture and brewery operations, as well as a new advanced diploma in Culinary Innovation and Food Technology, new programs planned for the next three years include Baking Goal 3: Develop the CFWI Research Centre. NC has recently received a College and Community Innovation (Innovation Enhancement) five-year grant from the federal government to establish the CFWI Research Centre, our second such funded research centre. Additional funding came from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), the Ontario Research Fund (ORF), and industry. The Niagara Region is one of the foremost Goal 2: Maintain a leadership position in experiential learning for all students through expanded “Learning Enterprises”. NC’s “learning enterprise” model of education is a pedagogical innovation that has created an unparalleled student experience, while at the same time supporting labour market needs for a highly skilled workforce. The learning enterprise concept was created by Niagara College and is a self-sustaining on-campus business that provides students with in-depth experience and knowledge of the industry. This successful model of entrepreneurial education directly connected to an industry sector is being adopted in other post-secondary programs within NC. As an example, NC’s Wine and Viticulture program, developed in partnership with the wine industry, allows students to demonstrate mastery of their subject matter through hands-on learning from “grapes to bottle”, starting in the college’s 40 acre teaching vineyard through to the sales and marketing of wine in the retail wine store. Expanding CFWI’s learning enterprises will build skills and student engagement, both inside and outside the classroom, leading to a richer learning experience, higher satisfaction and increased student success as well as strengthening and helping stimulate industry and employment growth in the regional agri-business and food sectors. and Pastry Arts, Sommelier (grad certificate), and Distilling and Fermentation Sciences Diploma. A degree in Food Technology to extend our existing diploma stream, and a Distilling and Fermentation Sciences degree in partnership with other academic institutions are in the planning stages. To build on cross-Canada partnerships, a Canadian Culinary diploma is also being developed. The program cluster will increase our student base in this key program area 50% from approximately 1,000 to 1,500 students.

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Part 3

Niagara College: Priority Objectives
agricultural areas in the country. The CFWI Research Centre, driven by industry, will support the regional economy through a portfolio of applied research and innovation projects involving faculty, students and partners in the key culinary areas of raw ingredient innovation, new food and culinary products and processes, and consumer research. The Centre’s goal is to work with companies to increase their market access, product value and process efficiency, supporting company growth aspirations. Goal 4: Enhancement through on-Line Resources. NC has world-calibre faculty and staff, with a rich base of resources available to on-campus students. The CFWI will enhance its outreach and the student experience by expanding the on-line resources available to students, professionals and consumers. Working with sectoral organizations such as the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers, CFWI will develop on-line programs to expand access and provide different learning opportunities for students. Aligned with the vision of other world class institutions, the CFWI will develop and provide broad access to learning resources, and draw on the resources available from other institutions.

Priority 2:
Support the re-building of Niagara Region’s advanced manufacturing through new and enhanced programs and research support for SMEs.
Niagara is experiencing a massive transition in its manufacturing sector, and seeing growth opportunities in newer technology sectors such as renewable energy. NC has been identified as a key resource in leading the transition to these new economic opportunities. As highly competitive global markets emerged, outdated/inefficient technological infrastructures hindered the competitiveness of manufacturing in Niagara, and the absence of local, industrybased applied R&D rendered many firms vulnerable. As the sole PSE institution in Niagara with engineering capabilities, NC will be the only regional entity able to address the imperatives of this new manufacturing paradigm with strong programming in advanced manufacturing and state-of-the-market equipment. In addition, Niagara Research, the research and innovation arm of NC, has dedicated staff and a track record of success in responding to industry needs. Over the past three years, Niagara Research has attracted over $5.9 million to fund 35-50 projects per year with industry involving 75+ faculty and 625-1,000 students. Goal 1: Expand and enhance support for the manufacturing and materials sector through three year degrees. NC’s Technology Division provides well-established Engineering Technician and Technology programs in Mechanical, Electronics, Electrical, Photonics, Construction and Computer Science, forming the technical workforce of tomorrow. The two and three year programs are often laddered to one another and to graduate certificate programs and degree completion options that allow students to determine their own further educational pathways. The degree completion opportunities are limited in technology areas, and require that the graduate relocate as programs are not available in the community. This is exacerbated by an increasing number of employment opportunities requiring a degree for consideration, creating a barrier for our graduates. Our three-year Advanced Diplomas meet many if not all of the requirements to be considered as three-year Baccalaureate degrees within the Ontario Credentials Framework. It is NC’s desire to convert many of its three year advanced diplomas to degrees, thus enhancing student employment opportunities as well as increasing the market recognition of the credential when recruiting internationally. The nomenclature change would also more appropriately recognize the level of academic achievement that our programs provide in a global environment.

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Part 3

Niagara College: Priority Objectives
Goal 2: Expand the student experience through the further infusion of applied research, including course-based applied research, into all advanced manufacturing technology programs. Niagara Research funding supports applied research projects involving research teams of students, faculty, and over 50 industry partners annually. Course-based research projects linking student teams and companies provide almost 1,000 students with practical real-world experience each year. This model is a best practice in the Canadian college system, and NC has been asked numerous times to present at conferences and workshops, and assist sister colleges in developing strategies and practices to involve students in applied research projects with industry partners. The goal is to build coursebased research into all advanced manufacturing programs over the next three years. The research projects provide real-world industry experience to students, leading to a richer learning environment, higher satisfaction and increased student success. Goal 3: Expand Niagara’s support for regional advanced manufacturing through the development and implementation of the Industry Innovation Centre at Niagara (IIC@N). The IIC@N will help companies develop new and improved products across the spectrum of product development, including engineering design, technology development, proof-of-concept, prototyping, and testing. This applied research service builds on the strengths of our facilities and the hands-on skill of our faculty and students. We will also help with process innovation, analyzing the company’s processes throughout their operations, finding areas needing improvement, and assisting in the implementation of changes needed to become more efficient and productive. The third area of support is assistance with business solutions. Often, an industry partner has been primarily focused on the technical aspect of a new product, and has not conducted some of the most important steps in the innovation process: study the competition, assess the market for the product, and devise a commercialization plan. Business faculty and students will be working with clients on these crucial aspects to ensure that when the actual product or service is ready to launch, the rest of the necessary foundations for success have been laid. NC is pursuing financial support through NSERC to support the applied research and innovation goals of the industry innovation centre and our community.

Priority 3:
Expand our cluster of Business programs in hospitality, international commerce and supply chain logistics, linked to the Niagara Region’s position as a unique worldrenowned travel destination and a major international border crossing.
Global tourism and trade have changed dramatically in the last decade. Today international trade is more dynamic, fluid and integrated across countries and industry sectors. Bolstered by current and planned investments in the region’s transportation and border management infrastructure, Niagara is positioned to maximize the advantages of its brand as a global tourism destination and its strategic links to continental and international trade. Niagara’s strategic location and connectivity into North American transportation, trade corridors and consumer markets is explicitly recognized by the Province. In its policy document, Places to Grow 2006, Niagara is specifically designated as the province’s singular location for the establishment of a Gateway Economic Zone and Centre, a new economic growth hub for Ontario that will become the focus of investment and new forms of economic activity. This anticipated growth in manufacturing, logistics, and border management activities will be supported by responsive, flexible programs that NC wants to establish as the new economic gateway takes shape. Global changes in the business environment, such as new degree requirements to obtain accreditation in human resources and accounting, have limited the pathways for NC grads. Increasingly students need flexible learning opportunities, so that they can move through their studies at their own pace and schedule learning around work and other commitments.

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Goal 1: Expand program offerings related to international trade to incorporate new three year degrees and Honours degrees and prepare articulated pathways for students to these programs. NC has clearly demonstrated that it can develop and deliver degrees to support the key trade sectors of Niagara. The Hospitality Operations Management degree, developed in partnership with George Brown College to provide enhanced student experiences and institutional efficiency, has gained wide market acceptance. NC’s degree in International Commerce and Global Development was honoured with the ACCC 2011-2012 Silver Program Excellence Award at its annual conference. New four-year (Honours) degree proposals have been submitted to the Minister for programs in Accounting and Human Resources. NC is developing a four year (Honours) degree in Trade Logistics, and would convert several of its Advanced Diploma offerings to three-year baccalaureate degrees. Goal 2: Enhance student preparation for international work through the “Be World Ready” program, and international placement opportunities for all programs in the cluster. NC has been recognized as a leader in creating an intercultural learning environment by bringing the world to Niagara through international students, partnerships and development projects. NC is now positioned to harness this potential by strategically and embedding international applied learning opportunities on-campus, within the community and around the world - where students can develop the intercultural skills and citizenship values that will distinguish them as being not only “job-ready,” but “world-ready.” The college intends to build upon a growing base of international students attracted to Niagara College and expand efforts to ‘internationalize’ campus life for staff and students through a rich array of special seminars, the hosting of international guests, staff and student exchanges with institutional partners abroad, and participation in development projects.

Goal 3: Develop a learning enterprise in which Business students assist other graduating students to start up their own enterprises, as well as work with existing companies to support business planning and market expansion. The launch of an innovative learning enterprise will increase the supply of graduates in key economic sectors and enhance student mobility and employment, supporting new business development and start-ups. It is expected that 10 teams will assist 100 students annually. Goal 4: Expand and support the use of on-line and blended delivery methods for programs. NC is a founding member of Ontario Learn, an innovative consortium of all Ontario colleges that provides opportunities to thousands of students each year to enroll in on-line courses. The use of on-line courses from Ontario Learn, other institutions and existing networks will be further integrated into our programs, to increase student flexibility and minimize development and delivery costs. Based on the learning needs of our students, NC has increased our number of campus-based hybrid courses, which blend distance and in-class elements. Drawing materials from other leaders in our program areas will improve efficiency and improve quality. Enhancements to the support for both students and faculty in using new and evolving technologies will be built on best practices from other colleges and post-secondary institutions in Ontario and beyond.

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