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Seneca community rises to an innovative student-focused challenge

nursing students

The spirit of innovation and commitment to students at Seneca is as strong as ever.

This was evidenced by an internal competition held earlier this fall by Seneca‘s Advancement and Alumni team. The Advancement Challenge stemmed from a pool of funds contributed by Seneca’s generous donors, alumni, partners and friends which was designated for the institution’s “area of greatest need”.          

As the Advancement team considered different approaches to engage the Seneca community about how to employ the funds, a unique idea emerged—a call to action for faculty, staff and administrators to bring forward their innovative student-focused projects that could benefit from these donated dollars. For Seneca’s Advancement team, the Challenge also presented an incredible opportunity to gain a greater understanding of the new and impactful initiatives in need of funding support across Seneca.  

In all, 14 project proposals were submitted from faculty and staff across Seneca addressing issues like student financial barriers, gaps in student mental health care and nutrition, needs for upgraded academic and simulation equipment as well as experiential learning opportunities for our students. The submissions were evaluated by a panel of Advancement team members as well as Seneca’s senior executive committee and scored based on: student benefit, innovative/unique elements and value for funds donated.

Transforming the student learning experience, one high-tech mannequin at a time

Long-time professor (and alum) Tania Killian of Seneca’s School of Health Sciences submitted a unique proposal that would enable her program, and others, to use the donated funds to purchase four additional simulation mannequins designed to help augment student learning experiences at their new facilities located at the recently-opened Magna Hall at Seneca’s King Campus. 

Better patient care through enhanced simulation: To see the nursing simulation mannequins at work in Seneca classrooms, watch this clip that aired on a recent episode of Citytv Toronto’s Breakfast Television.

Killian’s pitch was incredibly persuasive and impactful. She explained that Seneca’s nursing program is tasked with training the next generation of workers for the health care industry—graduating students who move on to diverse health care roles in York Region (where the King Campus is located), Toronto and beyond. An invaluable tool in equipping those students with the hands-on knowledge and skills they need are programmable mannequins that mimic real-world trauma situations.

“These mannequins aren’t your everyday department store variety. For starters, the units enable students to practice inserting nasal-gastric and chest tubes as well as catheters allowing them to gain practical skills and experiences,” says Tania. “Each mannequin retails at approximately $5,500/unit and they are used by a number of Seneca’s health-focused academic programs including: Nursing, Personal Support Worker, Practical Nursing, Underwater Diving as well as outside agencies and hospitals in York Region for training purposes.”

Killian’s proposal explained that this investment could also have wide-reaching implications and benefits beyond the classroom. King Campus is also known as the “caring campus” since it serves as the home to Seneca‘s community-focused programs including Nursing, Police Foundations, Mental Health Intervention, Early Childhood Education, among others. 

Tania’s proposal highlighted that in recent years, health care had been among Canada’s biggest drivers of job growth, due largely to an aging population. Furthermore, over the next 40 years, York Region’s population is projected to increase to 1.8 million – 60 per cent of whom will be newcomers to Canada and 23 per cent over the age of 65. Additionally, in Canada, 12,000 registered nurses need to graduate each year just to keep up with this demand. 

It was abundantly clear that Killian’s proposal was very much an area of great need at Seneca.

The need to support Seneca’s nursing program and its students remains great. The Advancement and Alumni team is looking to partner with community agencies and organizations in order to provide Seneca students with great teaching and learning opportunities for now and for years to come.

Based on the results of the Advancement Challenge, we have identified numerous areas of great need across the Seneca community and the Advancement team is committed to working with our donors and partners to find ways to continue to support our students.


To learn more about how you can support Seneca students, contact us at advancement@senecacollege.ca.