The past week saw the announcement of an important partnership between Sheridan and Mohawk College; important because it will allow our institutions to serve many more students more effectively and efficiently while focusing on our respective areas of academic excellence.

It’s interesting that this partnership delivers on goals that were identified way back in 2002 for the Ontario College system. At that time a new charter in the form of amendments to the colleges act envisioned the elimination of catchment areas. Instead, colleges were invited to focus on unique areas of excellence in programming and to anticipate attracting students from across the province, the country and around the world.  The general themes of the new charter emphasized program excellence, more choice for students, and institutional freedom and autonomy.

My take on the 2002 Charter is that its intentions were worthy and well-founded but that its goals have yet to be realized. Perhaps it was an idea that was ahead of its time. As Ontario emerges from the recent economic downturn and wrestles with a resulting deficit, those themes of excellence, choice and autonomy sound like the makings of a recipe for system success in the years ahead.  The Sheridan-Mohawk partnership is one example of a way forward.