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Strategic Plan 2012–2017

A different kind of school. A different kind of graduate.

At a time of rapid social, economic, political and technological change, Seneca is at the forefront of providing student-focused teaching and learning that is redefining how people think about postsecondary education.

The proof is in what we do. Our programs are increasingly in demand, always evolving to meet market needs. Our emphasis on core literacies — including critical thinking, problem-solving, communications, collaboration and leadership — prepares students for success and a lifetime of learning.

Most important, the proof is in our graduates. Equipped with a Seneca education, they are engaged citizens, ready for today’s careers and tomorrow’s opportunities.

Supporting our teaching and learning environment is an unwavering commitment to quality in everything we do to support our students in their educational journey. We are proud of our faculty and staff, who are committed to continually improving the quality of the student experience inside and outside the classroom. We are equally focused on quality in building and enhancing the relationships that are at the centre of our local and global networks with our industry, community and education partners.

We are dedicated to providing our students with great opportunities no matter what path they choose after graduating. Across all the credentials we offer, we are building more comprehensive internal and external pathways to new and enriching opportunities in a career or further education.

We begin the implementation of our new strategic plan recognizing that the accelerating pace of change around the world and in our own backyard demands a constant evolution in what we do and how we do it. We start from an excellent foundation, and this strategic plan is about building an even stronger Seneca focused resolutely on providing the best possible experience for our students.

  • 25,000 full-time students annually
  • 70,000 continuing education registrations annually
  • 3,500+ international students from more than 100 countries
  • Seneca is a leader in flexible learning and has the highest summer enrolment of all Ontario colleges with more than 8,300 full-time students.

Who we are

Seneca is a leading postsecondary educational institution with a reputation for offering high quality programs at the baccalaureate, diploma, certificate and post-graduate levels.

Seneca has a proud history, and we are building an even more exciting future. Anchored in Canada’s largest city and economic engine, we are also active in meeting the demand for postsecondary education in one of the fastest growing regions of Ontario.

Our students, faculty, staff and alumni share a passion for our school. Hardworking, ambitious and compassionate: that approach, that culture, is what Seneca is all about. We also constantly look for ways to improve and innovate.

  • Campuses in the GTA, York Region and Peterborough
  • More than 290 programs, 500+ career options, including:
    > Post-graduate certificates
    > Degrees
    > Diplomas
    > Prep studies
    > University pathways
  • 8,000 students graduating every year
  • 95% employer satisfaction
  • More than 4,400 full and part-time employees

Our Values

Our values describe Senecans at our very best. They connect us, underpin the work we do, and the way we interact with each other and the world.

While we will always be flexible in our approach, we never compromise on quality, standards and results.

From the day our first students walked through our doors in 1967, we understood that the world is in constant evolution. We are always improving, innovating and looking ahead.

We build bridges and networks within our college, to our community and across the world. And we give back, building and strengthening the communities where we live and work.

Seneca celebrates its extraordinary diversity as an enriching strength and a competitive advantage in today’s global economy.


Our Future

We’re building a different kind of school with a different kind of graduate, and we are changing the way people think about colleges.

We have long been committed to providing innovative pathways for students, including being the model for collaboration between colleges and universities.  Through our expanding partnerships, we are creating more options for students to achieve their educational and career ambitions.  That includes continuing to grow our program mix with more degrees and graduate certificates focused in our clusters of expertise, providing access to relevant credentials for students and graduates from Seneca and other postsecondary institutions.

Our world needs leaders who make a difference at work and in the community.  By providing inspired learning, innovative opportunities and great student experiences, our graduates will be those leaders.


Our Strategic Objectives

Seneca’s three strategic objectives are:

Great Teaching and Learning.
Building on our record of academic excellence and the innovations in teaching and learning underway across Seneca, we will expand cross-disciplinary learning in all programs, strengthen networks among students, faculty, staff and external partners, expand the core literacies that all students must master, reflect a diverse and international perspective in our programs, give all our students experiential learning opportunities and offer flexible delivery options in every program. We are building a bold, exciting and contemporary approach to teaching and learning.

Great Student Experiences.
Creating great student experiences means providing enriching learning experiences inside and outside the classroom. It means delivering great services and supports our students need, when and how they need them.  Creating great Seneca experiences also means celebrating the achievements of our students, alumni, faculty and staff – and creating an environment that makes our students proud to have chosen Seneca and our employees proud to work here.

Great Foundations.
A different kind of school with a different kind of graduate is supported by great faculty and staff, processes and physical infrastructure. It means our employees work in a progressive, respectful environment infused by an inspiring culture. It means our processes are robust enough to meet our current needs and support what we imagine we can do tomorrow. It means creating opportunities to innovate and improve within the College and around the world by working in partnership. And it means ensuring that everything we do is about quality – for our students, for our employees and for our many stakeholders.


The Future of Seneca: Our Strategic Objectives

Seneca faces a challenging fiscal environment with dynamic student, employee and stakeholder needs. Our strategic objectives and priorities for the next five years are designed within the context of those realities.

Our plan is the result of extensive consultation with students and employees across Seneca’s campuses, as well as with partners and community members. This consultation process included a college-wide survey, multiple town hall meetings and one-on-one interviews, an environmental scan and many discussions at the Board of Governors. We also reviewed the results of other surveys conducted in the past two years at Seneca, such as the Employee Engagement Survey and the Student Recruitment and Support Project.

Our campus master planning process reached out to our local communities to engage them in a dialogue about Seneca’s current and future role. We spoke to municipal and regional representatives and to our donors and alumni. We sat down with thought leaders, industry partners and members of our Program Advisory Committees to understand how Seneca can be a different kind of school with a different kind of graduate.

Our objectives are directly linked to Seneca’s business and operational planning processes through which detailed timelines, accountabilities and metrics will be assigned to each priority.

  • One in three Seneca students are the first in their family to pursue postsecondary education.
  • 40% of full-time students have a different first language than English.
  • 46% of full-time students have attended college or university before coming to Seneca.
  • 70% of Continuing Education students possess a degree or diploma.
  • Seneca students receive hundreds of bursaries and scholarships awarded each year from the College and its partners.

Great Teaching and Learning

Our bold and ambitious Academic Plan infuses every Seneca credential with a consistent yet differentiated excellence across each of our program areas. Working with our industry partners and program advisory committees, we will continue to entrench and deepen our focus in our areas of specialty, including continuing to expand our suite of graduate certificates and degrees to meet student and employer demand and create stronger pathways to and from other postsecondary institutions.

As the demand grows for our programs, our status as a first-rank institution will be strengthened. We will improve our graduation and retention rates while maintaining our high academic standards. We already play a leadership role in student mobility in the postsecondary system through our many pathways to and from universities and colleges. We will grow those pathways, creating more links to top-tier universities and collaborating on joint programs, whether online or at one of Seneca’s campuses. We will be the preferred partner of colleges seeking to provide their students opportunities for transfer and advanced diplomas.

Seneca remains committed to promoting access to postsecondary education through a range of foundational programs for non-traditional students who demonstrate both commitment and potential to enter Seneca’s postsecondary credentials.

A different kind of school will produce a Seneca graduate with distinctive qualities: highly attractive to employers; ethical, engaged and confident; and, adaptable and capable of addressing the challenges of the future in a global context.

We’ll achieve this by creating a teaching and learning environment that:

  • Brings cross-disciplinary learning to our global classroom. Enhancing our combination of academic rigour and applied learning, Seneca will be a leader in cross-disciplinary curriculum, networking through partnerships and bringing a global perspective to our programs. All of our students will be provided with an experiential learning opportunity during their time at Seneca.
  • Teaches the core literacies that are essential to success. Beyond the traditional definitions of literacy, we will ensure that graduates from every program have the broad range of skills that are key to success: communication, problem solving, critical thinking and collaboration. These are among the Seneca Core Literacies that equip our graduates with the skills to navigate change at work and in society.
  • Is creative and flexible in the way we deliver learning. Today’s learners need flexibility. While maintaining the highest academic standards and requirements, we will challenge and change the learning structures of the past. As a recognized champion of educational pathways, we will continue to create dynamic and flexible opportunities to learn within and beyond the classroom, online and face-to-face, across full-time and part-time programs.
  • Commits to teaching excellence. Seneca has passionate, inspiring faculty who are respected experts in their fields. Our faculty members bring unique experiences and styles to help students learn. We will continue to foster teaching of the highest quality, and offer support and resources for faculty to be effective and innovative in their unique approaches to inspire our students.
  • Collaborates and builds linkages. We will continue to create opportunities to exchange ideas and build networks within our school and among our students, our alumni, our local community and the world. Seneca’s extensive network of partnerships will help students and faculty to collaborate with external organizations and industries. Our approach to applied research will help ensure our courses provide opportunities for students to be engaged on the frontline of industry innovation.
  • Reaches beyond our borders. Seneca brings together students, faculty and staff from around the world with life experiences and perspectives that create a rich environment where everyone learns from each other. We will complement our extensive international student community by helping Canadian students and faculty enrich their own experiences, providing more work, volunteer and study abroad opportunities.

Great Student Experiences

Great student experiences make a difference.  They help to attract and keep the dedicated, focused, high-quality students who are proud of their Seneca education.  They build strong community while at Seneca, and relationships that create lasting networks after graduation.  That’s why we are focused on helping our students to succeed, both while they’re with us and on the paths they choose after Seneca.

A different kind of school, putting students at the centre will:

  • Provide great options and pathways. Our students come with a variety of goals – fulfilling a childhood dream of a career, preparing for further education, or finding a new career. Others are unsure of where their Seneca experience can take them, or find their aspirations change. To meet the range of needs, we will continue to build a comprehensive set of advising services from pre-application through to graduation, providing guidance on how to match programs and pathways with interests and skills. For our graduates, whether they are seeking immediate employment or planning to continue their education, we’ll help with career services, credit transfer, networking opportunities and connections to alumni.
  • Deliver integrated and relevant services. The services we offer and how we deliver them make a difference to student experience and retention. We will continue to consult with our students on the supports that matter to them most. We’ll provide the services our students tell us they need and how they need them. From tutoring to mentoring, from First Generation to Aboriginal student services, from mental health counselling to first-year transition supports, we will coordinate access to student services through single points of entry both online and in-person.
  • Build connections inside and outside the classroom. Helping our students to succeed is everyone’s business. With academic and service areas working together, we will provide students with an increased and holistic level of support. Through an early alert system, students facing challenges in their programs will be connected to the appropriate supports. By expanding our successful mentoring program, all students will have an opportunity to be supported by upper-year students who can help offer advice about how to successfully balance academic achievement with the many other commitments our students have.
  • Provide opportunities to get involved and contribute. Beyond their academic and experiential commitments, our students benefit from opportunities to engage and contribute outside the classroom as well. From mentoring to athletics, from student government to volunteering and from student clubs to leadership activities, Seneca will expand opportunities for experiences that are meaningful to our students while they’re with us and highly prized by employers and other postsecondary schools when they graduate.
  • Partner with students. Our students bring an irreplaceable energy and an incredible spirit to each of our campuses. They represent Seneca in the community and in workplaces around the globe. We will continue to seek their insight and opinions on their experiences both inside and outside of the classroom, and value their partnership in achieving our goals.
  • Celebrate our achievements. Seneca students, faculty and staff are doing and achieving amazing things. From winning Academy Awards to developing world-renowned open source software to crowning athletic champions, we have much to be proud of. We will continue to foster a culture of celebration and excellence that validates the choice that students make by coming to Seneca.

Great Foundations

Seneca has strong foundations, with faculty and staff who care deeply that we continuously make learning and working here even better.  It is through these foundations that we will support great teaching and learning and great student experiences.

A different kind of school built on the foundations of its people and environment will:

  • Foster an inspiring culture. More than buildings, state-of-the art equipment or technology, what makes any organization unique is its culture.  In all we do, from our hiring process to the way in which we welcome students to Seneca, we are guided by our values and beliefs. Our culture is founded on a pride in our college and a strong commitment to communications, to openness and to providing a respectful working and learning environment.
  • Support talented people. Already recognized as a leading employer in the Greater Toronto Area, Seneca is committed to helping our faculty and staff grow and learn. Our leadership training and employee development opportunities will help nurture our next generation of leaders and keep staff skills current and fresh.   
  • Provide modern high-quality infrastructure. Our Campus Master Plans outline a clear vision for the future of Seneca’s infrastructure and are linked to our smart growth strategy. We will continue to focus on creating modern environments so that our students have opportunities to learn and collaborate in inspiring spaces with access to cutting-edge equipment.  Equally important is our ongoing project to transform our enterprise systems to better support students and employees.
  • Integrate planning. We will implement new planning processes to ensure that in everything from risk management to enrolment growth management, we have the tools we need to be successful. The result will be more effectively integrated planning processes across our faculties and departments.
  • Recognize the importance of strong relationships. Seneca’s network is ever expanding. Our international students and alumni are excellent ambassadors for Seneca and have an important role to play in helping us grow our international partnerships. We are committed to working with our college and university partners on expanding transfer opportunities for students, and to working closely with our government partners to help support their priorities. We will continue to make significant contributions through our fundraising campaigns to support both Seneca and external initiatives. We understand that when we invest in our community, our community will invest in us.
  • Maximize our investments and expand our revenue sources. Given that the next decade will be characterized by constrained government resources, we will need to actively seek out new partnerships and alternative revenue sources. A strategic approach to partnership development and philanthropy will create stronger connections with industry and alumni to help grow our endowment and will underpin the development of Seneca’s future capital campaigns. Changing demographics also mean that we will need to continuously assess our activities and locations to ensure value for service and their alignment with our strategic priorities.

Seneca’s Key Indicators

1. Core Literacies

In five years, every Seneca graduate will demonstrate competency in the Seneca Core Literacies.

2. Innovative Partnerships

In five years, Seneca will be the preferred partner for colleges and universities, offering the most innovative pathways for students in Ontario.

3. Cross-disciplinary, Experiential and Flexible Learning

In five years, every program will embed cross-disciplinary learning, experiential learning opportunities and flexible learning options that enable students to access courses offered in the day and evening, in person and online.

4. Integrated Student Services

In five years, every Seneca student will have access to ongoing and integrated advisory opportunities starting from their first contact to the day they graduate.

5. Smart Growth

In five years, our students will be learning in new facilities at our King campus and in our new home for our Bachelor of Aviation Technology program.

6. i3 – Information, Integration and Innovation

In five years, we will have an integrated enterprise system in place to support streamlined business processes and improved services across student, financial and human resources systems.

  • Seneca is #1 among Ontario colleges to send graduates on to university through postsecondary partnerships.
  • Annually, the College assists more than 3,000 students interested in transferring to university or into a Seneca degree program.
  • Through Ontario’s School-College-Work Initiative, more than 900 dual credit students from seven local school boards are enrolled at Seneca each year.

Our Way Forward

Seneca excels when we reach across the College to engage the skills and talents we have in abundance throughout our campuses, whether found in students, alumni, faculty or staff. While there will be specific accountabilities, timelines, measurable results and deliverables attached to each priority in this Strategic Plan, everyone within the Seneca community has a role in its implementation.

The broad directions outlined here provide the framework for Seneca’s business and operational planning. The teams working on the delivery and execution of priorities identified in our Strategic Plan will be made up of students, faculty and staff from across the College working together in cross-functional teams.

With our strong values, focused priorities and clear sightline to the future, we are building a different kind of school. With outstanding academic programs, a global perspective and a strong community, we are building a different kind of school with a different kind of graduate.

It’s a great time to be at Seneca.

  • It’s a great time to be at Seneca.