Ontario College Graphic Design Advanced Diplomas to Conestoga’s Bachelor of Design (Honours) Program

Michelle Gnutzman, Ryanne Spies, Barbara Kelly, Laura Eaglesham, Jacinda Reitsma, Sacha Burrows, Mihaela Simion, Jeffrey Schmidt, Kim Carr
Alain Paradis, David Bromley, Carol Bridle, Shirley Mondoux, Lisa Rebnord, Chris Jackman, Carol Estok, Wes Beckett, Kurt Muller
Jeffrey Post, Frank Salituri, Lauretta Wood, Mark Jones, Mike Lovell, Lorna McCormack, Erin Boyce, Robin Hicks

Executive Summary

Conestoga will establish academic pathways from Graphic Design Advanced Diploma programs across the Ontario college system into the Bachelor of Design (Honours) Degree program (BDes). The BDes program is a relatively new and unique degree program, currently in its sixth year of delivery. It has already established a good reputation and a significant amount of interest across the college sector, as can be evidenced by the number of colleges wishing to participate in this ONCAT project. Conestoga will partner with nine other colleges to complete this project, including:

  • Algonquin College
  • Canadore College
  • Centennial College
  • Mohawk College
  • Niagara College
  • Sault College
  • Seneca College
  • St. Lawrence College
  • St. Clair College (hereafter referred to as the partner colleges).

Conestoga will work with each partner college to conduct a detailed learning outcome gap analysis comparing each Advanced Diploma program (including Conestoga’s Graphic Design Advanced Diploma) to Conestoga’s BDes program. This analysis will illustrate if the program content and outcomes of the studies for which transfer credit is proposed have been met. Where unmet, the colleges will identify any requirements for bridging studies that will facilitate advanced standing entry into the proposed program. The ultimate goal of the project will be to create pathways for a total of sixteen programs into Conestoga’s Bachelor of Design. Conestoga will utilize the best practices learned from mapping its own Graphic Design Advanced Diploma, as well as those of the partner colleges, to complete a similar gap analysis and design a pathway for the remaining seven Graphic Design Advanced Diplomas within the province, as curriculum information is available. The establishment of academic pathways between the Graphic Design Advanced Diplomas and the BDes program will provide opportunities for a number of students each year to move into degree level study. The number of available seats will fluctuate from year to year, dependent on student retention numbers entering year three. For example, this Fall 2018, the program could accept up to 12 bridging students into year three before reaching capacity. In the 2017/18 year, 58% of registrants in the BDes program did not apply directly from high school, indicating substantial interest from those already in a post-secondary environment. Further evidence of student demand is shown by the fact that students from other colleges have been seeking bridging opportunities since the second year of delivery of the new degree program. To prepare these students for success in the degree, the project will focus on creating an efficient bridge that is manageable for students for all sixteen pathways. During development of the bridge, Conestoga will include considerations of space planning and economic viability to ensure it can consistently meet the needs of all incoming advanced standing students. If it evolves that there is a significant and sustainable number of students interested in bridging into the degree program, Conestoga will invest in the creation of a bridging course(s), where appropriate. Additionally, Conestoga will seek formally articulated agreements to support the continuous quality of the sixteen pathways. The articulations will include schedules for review that ensure the pathways and bridges remain current. Articulation agreements with the seven partner colleges will be a deliverable incorporated into this ONCAT project.

Conestoga College ITAL (Conestoga) has worked to create educational pathways between nine Ontario College Graphic Design Advanced Diplomas. These colleges include: Algonquin College, Canadore College, Centennial College, Mohawk College, Niagara College, Sault College, Seneca College, St. Clair College and St. Lawrence College into Conestoga’s Bachelor of Design (Honours) Program.

In total, seven pathways were successfully established, as follows:

  • Graphic Design Advanced Diploma, Algonquin College
  • Graphic Design Advanced Diploma, Centennial College
  • Graphic Design Advanced Diploma, Niagara College
  • Graphic Design Advanced Diploma, St. Lawrence College
  • Graphic Design Advanced Diploma, St. Clair College
  • Graphic Design Advanced Diploma, Sault College
  • Graphic Design Advanced Diploma, Seneca College

Of the remaining two college programs, one pulled out of the agreement due to a major program review, and the other was found to be too incompatible with the BDes program to pursue. These pathways are as follows:

  • Graphic Design Advanced Diploma, Canadore College
  • Graphic Design Advanced Diploma, Mohawk College