There are many “firsts” we experience throughout our lives. First step, first word, first day of school—they mark important milestones and there is often a great deal of anticipation and celebration surrounding these events.
When we think of a student’s first day of college, we may think about attending orientation, sitting in classrooms and meeting new people. For many students this year, their first day was quite different. They may have attended orientation online, they likely attended their first class online and meeting new students was done through a computer screen. Thousands of postsecondary students have experienced a significantly different “first day of college” than they were likely expecting. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed so much of day-to-day life, and with a focus on keeping communities safe, individuals and organizations alike have adapted to the current reality.
Fanshawe College has moved many programs to an online delivery format. Approximately 60 per cent of students enrolled in the fall 2021 semester are studying fully online. This is an important step to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, however it means students experience a significantly different school year than they had imagined. They may also experience some nervousness about starting their post-secondary journey during such an uncertain time.
Over the years, Fanshawe has built a substantial student support program called Here for You. With access to academic support, counselling services and more, students are given the tools they need to fully unlock their potential. Now, more than ever, students need specialized support to ensure their college experience—while perhaps different than expected—is successful.
Unique to Fanshawe’s curriculum development are the Signature Innovative Learning Experience (SILEx) and Job Skills for the Future models. Fanshawe students will graduate with SILEx opportunities that involve hands-on learning, multi-disciplinary collaboration and live client interactions. These experiences mean graduates enter the workforce having already had valuable experiences that mirror the “real world.”
Fanshawe has identified seven Job Skills for the Future—soft, transferrable skills including resilience, complex problem solving and novel and adaptive thinking among others, that are becoming increasingly important in today’s evolving career landscape. While technical skills change rapidly with the advent of new technologies, soft skills become more valuable over time. The College has committed to developing curriculum for every program that emphasizes a minimum of three Job Skills for the Future.
The College’s approach to the COVID-19 pandemic mirrors the approach to curriculum. Faculty have taken innovative steps to adapt program delivery to online or blended learning. From introducing new technology to enhance the experience for those learning online to building community partnerships that allow students to complete their studies while giving back to those in need, faculty have worked tirelessly to ensure students have an inspiring and fulfilling experience at Fanshawe.
Fanshawe’s commitment to student success includes working closely with students to identify their educational goals and design a pathway that will work best for them. With a variety of credentials including certificates, diplomas, graduate studies and degrees, students can chart a path within Fanshawe that will prepare them for success in their field. We will also work with them to transfer existing credits from another institution to Fanshawe, or help students find additional opportunities at other institutions after completing a Fanshawe credential. There are numerous options for students, and Fanshawe provides guidance every step of the way.
At Fanshawe, we are here for our students. We have seen first-hand just how quickly our world can change, and we are committed to adapting to whatever challenges we face. Our mission remains the same: provide pathways to success, an exceptional learning experience and a global outlook to meet student and employer needs. Whether our students are studying online or in person, we are here to make their first day—and every day after—a memorable one.