Some record low temperatures were set in the Toronto area this winter (2015). On my visit to the University of Guelph-Humber on the west side of Toronto in early February, I was glad that the entire university is housed in just two buildings. Once I got inside, I thawed out quickly and was soon immersed in learning about a great university, the type of place that may become a model for the next generation of post-secondary institutions.
Colleges have long battled for academic respectability. Universities are in the throes of questioning their validity as the populace continues to demand practical applications for education. We need institutions that combine academic excellence with the practicality of college instruction based in work experience and laboratory work. The University of Guelph-Humber is an excellent example of this next generation of post-secondary institution. UGH offers just seven streams of degree programs: Business, Kinesiology, Media Studies, Psychology, Family & Community Social Services, Justice Studies, and Early Childhood. Substantial work experience through field placements, and study abroad activities round out the student experience. Some study modules are undertaken at Humber College, which is adjacent to UGH and connected through a covered pedway. The UGH-HC model is worth close examination for students who wish to combine their academic studies with practical elements focused on employability.