Canadore College partnered with Lakehead University to formalize an ongoing academic relationship for the purpose of facilitating student movement and regularly examining programmatic collaborative opportunities. The partners were to develop a clear pathway agreement for the Mechanical Engineering Technology, Ontario College Advanced Diploma, to the Post-Diploma Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) degree, which would increase diploma-to-degree student movement and help meet employment demand. This project would also engage all Northern Colleges Collaborative Programming (NCCP) colleges offering Mechanical Engineering Technology advanced diploma programs.
The facilitation of learner mobility and laddering of credentials, while balancing community-based learning opportunities to get students on a path to a career, is a growing need in rural and remote areas. These challenges are common and are of paramount importance to address for students in Northern Ontario.
Simply stated, the goals of this project are to:
1) Align the northern colleges’ (Cambrian (in development), Canadore, Confederation, Northern, and Sault) Mechanical Engineering Technology programs to ensure a clear path to Lakehead University’s Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) degree program.
a. The participating institutions feel the need to emphasize the focus of the goal is the path to the degree is being aligned (which may require some reach-back into years 1 and 2 of the colleges’ curriculum). Emphasis on this is important, as it is recognized that the mandate of the NCCP project is to align college programming, outside that scope is to build the path for the colleges to the university, which is the focus of this goal.
2) Reduce student course overload by aligning the Mechanical Engineering Technology curriculum to eliminate the 3 to 5 courses that students are required to pick up as “missing requirements”.
3) Lessen the burden on students by aligning curriculum to potentially reduce the number of bridging (ideally, from 4 to 2 for summer transition) math courses graduates of Mechanical Engineering Technology programs have to take.
4) Begin discussions for other potential engineering pathways to Lakehead University.
The main goal of the project is to develop a pathway between the Mechanical Engineering Technology, Ontario College Advanced Diploma and Lakehead’s Post-Diploma Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) degree and provide the learner with laddering and mobility options to further their career both locally and within the province of Ontario (as captured in items 1 to 3 above).
The intention of this diploma-to-degree pathway partnership is to develop a seamless pathway that will provide Mechanical Engineering Technology students in the North, the opportunity to acquire their degree while minimizing their costs and minimizing the time before commencing their professional career. The primary focus of the project is to provide Northern Ontario colleges’ Mechanical Engineering Advanced Technology Diploma graduates access to the Lakehead University Post-Diploma Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) degree program, with maximum transferability and the opportunity to complete some components, without leaving the North. In place of occasional, ad hoc, individual transfer agreements, a formalized academic partnership structure will be established. Emphasis will be to facilitate student movement through various methods within the parameters of government or programmatic regulations as suited to this particular discipline. Furthermore, Canadore’s engagement with the NCCP project will open opportunities for colleges in the North who deliver Mechanical Engineering Technology diploma programs to participate in the pathway partnership.
The NCCP-Lakehead committee along with Faculty/Program Coordinators collaboratively created a clear pathway for students.
The partners aligned the northern college’s (Cambrian (in development), Canadore, Confederation, Northern and Sault) Mechanical Engineering Technology (third year curriculum) program to ensure a clear path to Lakehead University’s Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) degree program.
Qualified graduates of the Mechanical Engineering Technology, Ontario College Advanced Diploma from Canadore College, Northern College, Confederation College and Sault College are eligible to apply for admission to the Post-Diploma Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) degree program at Lakehead University. Students are admitted into the Post-Diploma Program which includes the summer transition courses (currently, ENGI3021, ENGI3022, ENGI3014, and ENGI3017) and specific “make-up courses”. Advancement is not dependent on passing all four transition courses. Students from the participating Northern Colleges admitted into the Post-Diploma Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) degree program at Lakehead University are required to successfully complete the following two additional (make-up) courses in addition to the program requirements towards completion of the degree program:
- COMP-1411 - Computer Programming I
- EMEC-1533 – Mechanics of Materials II
It should be noted that these required make-up courses were determined using the gap-analysis based on the academic curricula for the four NCCP participating colleges and the NCCP Mechanical Engineering Technology common third year curriculum:
The minimum grade average requirements for admission to the Post-Diploma Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) program at Lakehead University is available on the official website of Lakehead University:
Future Participation of Cambrian College
Although Cambrian College does not currently offer the Mechanical Engineering Technician program, they have collaborated and participated throughout this entire project. If they do decide to offer the program in the future, they will use the same Mechanical Engineering Technology (3rd year curriculum) as Canadore College, Confederation College, Northern College and Sault College. They may also choose to contact Lakehead University directly to initiate the development of a pathway agreement for the Mechanical Engineering Technology to the Post-Diploma Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) degree and have indicated that they plan to do so.
All partners involved with this project agree that this collaborative model should be used for other potential programs. Conversations regarding future engineering pathways to Lakehead University similar to this one have already taken place.