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July 13, 2020

Inside this edition of ONCAT NEWS, you’ll have a chance to:

  • Explore our new Annual Report, covering all our activities from April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020;
  • Review new and ongoing funding opportunities, including the fast-approaching deadline for the Transfer System Stakeholder Surveys RFP;
  • Learn about five of our exciting special projects: our Transfer Pathways DataPilot; the MapIT: Institutional Process Mapping project; the new HOTA (Heads of Transfer Advising) committee; the Transfer Student Summer Project; and an evolution of our Faculty Fellows project; and
  • Read an update on the state of transfer in Ontario from our Executive Director, Yvette Munro.

ONCAT News: July 2020

Funding Opportinities

This year, ONCAT will be rolling out several funding opportunities to support research that will inform transfer system planning, the development and implementation of in-demand pathways, and seamless and consistent transfer processes across Ontario. Watch for our calls for proposals and opportunities to join one of our Learning Collaboratives.

And if you are ready to go with a project idea, we accept proposals on a continual basis for student action, research, and seamless transfer projects. Click the button below and get in touch!


Image: RFP

RFP: Transfer System Stakeholder Surveys

ONCAT is seeking a qualified vendor with strong survey expertise to assist us in the design and implementation of large-scale surveys. These surveys will involve key stakeholders such as faculty (e.g., instructors, professors, etc.); prospective and actual transfer students; and system partners or stakeholders (e.g., secondary school administrators/educators, parents, etc.).

QUESTIONS DUE BY EMAIL: July 27, 2020, 4:00 p.m. EST
(send to:
PROPOSAL DEADLINE: Aug. 17, 2020, 11:00 p.m. EST

For more information, including full description, scope of work, and submission process, please visit:

Annual Report, 2019-2020

Image: Annual Report 2019-2020

What a year it’s been for ONCAT — and for Ontario’s transfer system. In our Annual Report, we look back at our progress over the 2019–2020 fiscal year.

Inside, you’ll find:

  • Messages from our Board Co-Chairs, Ron Common andDeb MacLatchy, and our Executive Director, Yvette Munro.
  • Transfer System Improvements: How we reinforced Ontario’s transfer system through strategic, targeted funding streams and a host of groundbreaking research projects.*
  • Sector Engagement Updates: How we engaged transfer students, transfer advisors, faculty members, administrators, and institutional leaders.
  • News: How we made improvements to the content and utility of our ever-expanding student-centric platform.

*Contains a full list of all funded projects from the 2019–2020 fiscal year.

Transfer Project and Sector Engagement Updates

Logos: Transfer Pathways Datapilot

1. Transfer Pathways DataPilot. Earlier this year, ONCAT enlisted eight postsecondary institutions—First Nations Technical Institute, Algoma University, Durham College, Lakehead University, Ontario Tech University, Fanshawe College, Mohawk College, and Trent University—to take part in a pilot to assess transfer student profiles, including student uptake of transfer pathways, along with their characteristics and outcomes. Based on the success of the pilot, we plan to expand the strategy, accept additional institutions, and manage a second cohort. Learn more about this work.

Logos: MapIT: Institutional Process Mapping Project

2. MapIT: Institutional Process Mapping Project. Recently, ONCAT selected 10 postsecondary institutions (Queen's University, Université de Hearst, Cambrian College, George Brown College, Conestoga College, Brock University, Laurentian University, University of Waterloo, First Nations Technical Institute, and Algonquin College) to participate in the MapIT Project: our way to examine the known and the ‘behind the scenes’ workflow steps when institutions receive a transfer application, either directly or through OCAS/OUAC. By working through a consortium approach, and with HESA as a consultant, ONCAT conducted a gap analysis to develop a deeper understanding of the entire transfer process. Each institution received an individual report based on the results of their mapping activities. The project concluded with several knowledge-sharing sessions to distribute key learnings and opportunities for improvement. ONCAT will be launching the next phase of MapIT over the summer. For more information, click here.

3. Heads of Transfer Advising (HOTA). An evolution of our Transfer Advisor Group (TAG), HOTA held its first meeting in June. Members of our new committee—Heads of Transfer Advising—will assist ONCAT with building the capacity and efficacy of transfer advising, both across the system and at institutions. Members have significant senior leadership experience in transfer at their institutions and serve as key communication vehicles to disseminate ONCAT’s pivotal work on transfer research and policy. For further details on HOTA, please get in touch with Carolyn Poplak at

4. Transfer Student Summer Project. Inspired by our Student Transfer Expert Panel (STEP), ONCAT will be bringing on a handful of transfer students over the summer to lead action projects that raise awareness of transfer student experiences and help develop peer-to-peer resources for transfer students. STEP will regroup in the fall.

5. Faculty Advisors. ONCAT recognizes the important role faculty members play in the transfer system, as their curricular assessment decisions have long-term impacts on transfer students, and they provide first-hand insights into student transitions. To support the next stage of our Faculty Fellows program, ONCAT will be engaging key faculty advisors to support this important work. Stay tuned for more information!

Message from the Executice Director

Summer is here! Given the challenges facing our sector and our world over the past few months, I think we’re all cherishing brighter days and welcoming change to our work-from-home routine. I hope that many of you find the opportunity to take a break, as I am sure virtual meeting fatigue has set in—and we know that our return to the 2020/21 academic year will bring many more unprecedented challenges.

Despite these hurdles, we are grateful that Ontario’s postsecondary educational institutions have continued to demonstrate an unwavering commitment to transfer-related activities. Just a few weeks ago, we held our virtual Annual General Meeting, and had over 80% of our member institutions in attendance! And for those who were unable to attend, we encourage you to take a look at our new Annual Report, highlighting our collective activities over the past year.

I would also like to update you on two important changes, passed as motions at our recent AGM. As Ontario’s transfer system continues to evolve, and given the critical roles that Registrars play with admissions policies and transfer within institutions, the Board recommended (and the membership approved) the addition of university and college Registrar representatives to the ONCAT Board. We look forward to including registrars as part of ONCAT’s governance, as their expertise will guide our new strategic priorities. The ONCAT membership also approved changes to our By-Laws to be more inclusive of Indigenous Institutes, paving the way for ONCAT to extend invitations to Indigenous Institutes to be recognized formally and become voting members of our organization. As an important pillar of Ontario’s publicly-assisted PSE system, and given the role they play in supporting opportunities and pathways for Indigenous students, we look forward to continuing to strengthen our relationship with them as an integral part of Ontario’s transfer system.

While ONCAT had a great year and has a number of exciting initiatives underway, most of what we accomplish relies entirely on our sector’s willingness to collaborate, share information (including the good, bad, and ugly), and make changes that benefit transfer students. Collaboration comes in all forms: whether it means sharing insights by phone or email to joining one of our collaborative practices like the MapIT project or the Transfer Pathways DataPilot. One recent example was our COVID-19 academic policies and practices query, conducted in the spring. While institutions in Ontario (and throughout North America) changed or contemplated adjustments to their academic policies, with the well-meaning intention of providing greater flexibility to help PSE students complete their terms, it became clear that such changes might have unintended (or at least murky) consequences for transfer students. ONCAT understood that we had to act given our provincial stewardship role. The quick email and phone meeting check-ins I had with PSE registrars/admissions leads, along with the support from Colleges Ontario and the Council of Ontario Universities, helped us develop, distribute, and disseminate the results of our COVID-19 survey. While participation in the survey was voluntary and not anonymous—two factors that generally lead to low survey response rates—our institutional partners surprised us. Almost 90% of our member institutions responded, we also received responses from several Indigenous Institutes and we continue to receive updates from our partners.

On the front, we’ve also seen some important gains over the last few months. It goes without saying that might be the most important public service tool that serves Ontario’s prospective or current transfer student population. The availability of a publicly accessible website that provides information directly to students, in an unbiased manner, and allows them to search for transfer pathway options and course equivalencies (or get their transfer questions answered!), makes for a better and more transparent provincial transfer system. It is also true that the usefulness of is only as good as the information it contains, which we rely heavily upon our partner institutions to provide. The Data Enhancement project, led by our team in close collaboration with a number of institutions, has been a great success in helping to get new information up on the site, as well as in tackling various technology and data capacity issues. While time and labour intensive, we can report that it has resulted in an increase of 23% in new course-to-course equivalencies.

Finally, thank you also to the Ministry of Colleges and Universities. Some folks may not know, but I was working in the Ontario Public Service during the SARS Epidemic, and I recall firsthand how a public health crisis can put incredible strain on Government, so much so that it can easily push many things to the backburner. This has not been our experience here and, in addition to a renewed funding commitment from the Government of Ontario, I want to thank the Ministry for their ongoing support, communication, and willingness to keep moving forward to advance Ontario’s transfer system and the work of ONCAT.


Singature: Yvette Munro

Yvette Munro
Executive Director