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Our Research


Below is a collection of slide decks presented by the Centre at various conferences.
*Please note that some of these are preliminary results.

Canadian Institutional Research and Planning Association (CIRPA)

Ontario Council on Articulation and Transfer (ONCAT)

Pan-Canadian Consortium on Admissions & Transfer (PCCAT)

Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICAN)

Canadian Economics Association (CEA)

Canadian Society for Studies in Higher Education (CSSHE)

MAESD Funded Projects

The objective of the Ontario Human Capital Research and Innovation Fund (OHCRIF) is to support research and innovation projects that identify better ways to help people prepare for, return to or keep employment and become productive participants in the labour force.

The Centre has been awarded funding for the following OHCRIF projects:

2016/17: What is the Role of Mathematics Proficiency on Academic and Labour Market Outcomes of College Students?

The pathways of students who entered Seneca College between 2007 and 2014 will be followed focussing on the following research questions:

  • What role does high school math performance and course selection play in program choice in college, particularly in STEM and non-STEM areas?
  • What role does high school math background (grades and course selection) play in performance on standardized college math placement testing?
  • Do math skills at college entry predict college academic performance in math and non- math areas? Do math skills predict overall persistence to graduation in college?
  • Does level of math proficiency affect aspirations for university, particularly in math intensive fields?
  • Does level of math proficiency affect labour market outcomes in terms of rates of overqualification, earnings, and employment rate?

2015/16: From High School to Graduation and Beyond: Pathways of Young Immigrants in a Toronto College

In order to examine the college pathways of immigrant youth and the role of language skill development, this study will use a recently created Seneca database containing a number of linked data sources. This longitudinal dataset enables us to track individual students from the beginning of high school, through to graduation, and on to their eventual transition into the labour market or further education. The study's overall research question is:

  • What is the role of region of origin, timing of arrival in Canada, parental income and education, and proficiency in English on academic and/ or labour market outcomes?

Subquestions include the following:

    • Do immigrant students have different aspirations for after graduation from college in terms of further education or employment?
    • Do immigrant students differ in terms of performance and persistence to graduation?
    • Of those who graduate from a college program, who transfers to further diploma or degree level studies? Does this align with an individual’s intentions upon entry?
    • Of those who enter the workforce, what are the labour market outcomes across the spectrum of English-language proficiency and region of origin, and how do these outcomes differ from graduates who were born in Canada?
    • What is the role of foundational English courses offered by the college in the labour market and academic outcomes of young immigrants?


ONCAT Funded Projects

Seneca College has received funding from the Ontario Council on Articulation and Transfer (ONCAT) to pursue new research in the area of student mobility, at the provincial, regional and institutional level. Several research projects are already underway, including:

From Application and Beyond: Tracking Aspirations, Motivations, Experiences, and Outcomes of Ontario’s Transfer Students

Utilizing survey data from an existing database (UCAS™), this study proposes to profile 1) Ontario college applicants who plan to transfer to university, and 2) Ontario university applicants who are transferring from college. In a second phase, a follow-up survey using Academica’s student and applicant database is proposed to track which students continue on to transfer and their experiences.

Preliminary Presentation

The Degree and Credit Transfer Office: A Profile of Users and an Evaluation of Outcomes

This study will have two phases:

1) provide a profile of users of the Degree and Credit Transfer Office (DCTO)

2) evaluate whether DCTOs have an impact on overall transfer rates and the transfer experience for those who use It. Entering students who indicate they intend to transfer will be tracked to graduation using a variety of surveys and administrative databases as well as whether they had registered with the DCTO.

Mobility Pathways and the Transfer Experience of Ontario College Graduates, 2006-2014

The Ontario Colleges’ Graduate KPI survey was expanded in 2005 to better understand graduates pursuing further education. The data from the first year (2006-07 graduates) was documented in a published report through HEQCO The Transfer Experience of Ontario College Graduates who further their education, 2011 and was included in a Colleges Ontario report. The survey is conducted every year and data continues to be collected, but there has not been an ongoing assessment of the results. Utilizing the data sharing agreement, a series of targeted reports will be developed to assess the changing patterns for college graduates pursuing further education. The analysis will include a calculation of transfer rate; an assessment of originating and destination program affinities; discussion of graduate characteristics and geographic enrolment patterns; and, a documentation of student motivation and transfer experience.

Preliminary Presentation

Mobility Pathways of International Students in the GTA After Graduation

There has been an exponential growth of international students into the Ontario Colleges, particularly in the Greater Toronto Area. Some institutional data indicate a greater proportion of international students are enrolling in an Ontario university after graduating from college. These students are not included in the official MTCU count of student movement, yet international students are attracted to colleges in part for this opportunity. This project component will pool the resources of the four Toronto colleges to evaluate international student who transfer, documenting differences and similarities with the domestic student population.

Mobility Pathways of Seneca College's First Generation and Mature Students After Graduation

Since 2003, more than 4,300 Seneca graduates were attending university six months after completing their program, more than any other college in Ontario according to the results of the Graduate KPI survey. Since 2007, Seneca has been collecting self-reported first-generation data from incoming students by asking for parental education. At the same time, the internal data system documents the basis of admission for all incoming students and is, therefore, able to distinguish between direct and non-direct entry with accompanying demographic characteristics. Combined with the responses to the graduate survey, this project component will provide an insight into the propensity for these two groups of students to pursue transfer relative to other college graduates. They will also be compared to other graduates in terms of timing of transfer decision, motivation and the overall transfer experience.

Aspirations to Reality: Tracking Entering Diploma Students Into Baccalaureate Degree

This study will track Seneca students with aspirations for transfer to a degree program from time of entry to after graduation in a career oriented program, Early Childhood Education, and a transfer oriented program, Liberal Arts. Additionally it will link the pathways of those who indicated they had gone on to a degree program, with their initial intentions at the start of their college program. The linked database will include the beginning student survey, student records, and the graduate survey. The role of original intentions, background characteristics, and the progression through college, on the destination 6 months after graduation for those who complete their program will be analyzed.

Preliminary Presentation

York Seneca Qualitative Study on Inter-institutional Student Experience

This ONCAT funded research complements the HEQCO research project by conducting focus groups with a randomly selected group of students moving between institutions to understand the rationale for their decision making and to gauge their transfer experiences. The study will conduct focus groups each for Seneca students attending York University, and York University students attending Seneca College. The groups are comprised of graduates, early leavers and transfer students. The research aims to answer the following questions:

  • What are the motivating factors behind student transfer?
  • What are the experiences of transfer students with their sending institution?
  • What are the experiences of transfer students with their receiving institution?
  • How might sending and receiving institutions improve the transfer experience for students?
HEQCO Funded Projects

Co-research with Richard Smith, Director Office of Institutional Planning and Analysis, York University, funded by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario

College-University Student Movement Description and Analysis

This project is creating a master data set of administrative student records for two classes of students – those who began their academic careers at Seneca College and proceeded to York University for further study; and those who began their academic careers at York and proceeded to Seneca for further study. The data set includes information on program of study at each institution, cumulative and graduating grade point average, credential obtained at each institution, the secondary school application record as well as various demographic information. The project will provide a complete assessment of non-traditional pathways in the acquisition of post-secondary credentials. It will attempt to answer such questions as: how many students, graduates, early leavers and delayed participants are moving between Seneca College and York University; what are the social and academic backgrounds of these students; and, are they successful in persistence to a credential at either or both institutions?