College ties strengthened

Queen’s and St. Lawrence College sign new partnership agreement

Principal Daniel Woolf says an increasing number of university students take college programs after getting their degree in order to gain practical qualifications.
Principal Daniel Woolf says an increasing number of university students take college programs after getting their degree in order to gain practical qualifications.
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A new agreement between Queen’s and St. Lawrence College aims to address issues that students face when completing both college and university educations.

“The memorandum of understanding (MOU) is just that, an agreement to talk about stuff,” Principal Daniel Woolf said.

The MOU, signed on Nov. 3, hopes to provide students with the opportunity for a combined university and college education.

“Could we, for example, think of programs that are a hybrid of a Queen’s degree and a St. Lawrence diploma program, where you could get both qualifications,” Woolf said.

Students face issues when transferring from a two-year college program to the upper years of a university degree, he said.

“We’ve also found increasingly that students with university degrees go to college after to get some kind of practical application qualification to help them out,” he said. “We want to make sure we find programs that match up.”

Woolf said he and St. Lawrence College President Chris Whitaker came up with the idea for the partnership together.

“A useful ‘summit’ meeting at St. Lawrence College between Queen’s and St. Lawrence College administration agreed that the next logical step was to sign an MOU,” he told the Journal via email.

In 2008, Queen’s and St. Lawrence College came together to create a one-of-a-kind teaching partnership called Go Tech Ed. It was made to decrease the shortfall of technology teachers in Ontario.

Woolf said there is no timeline or expiration date on the MOU.

“We do always, as we do with exchange partners, check in regularly to make sure that things are going as they should,” he said.

The MOU will also set a framework for research collaborations between the two schools, Woolf said.

The new MOU will give faculty members license to get in touch with their counterparts at each institution, Woolf said.

Any new programs created under the MOU must pass through the normal governance procedures of both institutions and the government’s quality assurance framework, which is a set of guidelines to rule over the quality of post-secondary programs.

Woolf added that the MOU is in part a result of a provincial government push for partnerships between colleges and universities, specifically to simplify the transferability of course credits between Ontario institutions.

“The next stage will be for deans and departments in both schools with an interest in collaboration to develop relationships and come up with initiatives,” Woolf said.

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