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Defining Student Success. A View from the College Sector November 22, 2013. Defining Student Success. Two ways of looking at student success Meeting Employer Needs/Graduate Employment Rates Educational and Social Development. What are we doing to meet Employer Expectations?.

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defining student success
Defining Student Success

A View from the College Sector

November 22, 2013

defining student success1
Defining Student Success

Two ways of looking at student success

  • Meeting Employer Needs/Graduate Employment Rates
  • Educational and Social Development
what are we doing to meet employer expectations
What are we doing to meet Employer Expectations?
  • Survey work to identify the key skills and attributes employers are looking for
  • Experiential Learning
  • Leveraging our Program Advisory Committees to inform curriculum and new program planning
what do employers want
What Do Employers Want?
  • In addition to the information collected from employers through the KPI process, George Brown decided to conduct a research project in order to dig a little deeper to try and understand exactly what skills Employers value in graduates.
  • The sample (n=705) was collected via telephone interviews with GTA employers (Metro and GTA outside Metro) across a range of industries / sectors relevant to priority GBC centres / program areas
  • Representative sample of GTA employers sourced through industry-targeted business listings (as defined by SIC industry codes).
  • Employers screened to ensure they have hired college and/or university graduates in the past two years and/or would consider hiring college and/or university graduates in the next year.
  • Respondents are a mix of HR (gatekeepers responsible for screening applicants) and line managers (those who actually do the hiring); split of 40% and 60% respectively.
  • Mix of small, medium, large size companies in the sample, reflective of the mix of companies where college graduates go to work (79% small/medium).

Employers say industry credentials, relevant work experience & field placements, and soft skills are most important when evaluating recent grads as a potential hire

Importance of Graduate Attributes When Evaluating Recent Graduates

S3Q2: Now I would like to ask you about what attributes are important to you, as an employer, when evaluating the attractiveness of a recent college or University graduate as a potential hire. For each statement I read you, please rate it on a scale from 1 to 10, where 10 means this attribute is “very important” in making a graduate highly attractive to me, and 1 means this attribute is “not at all important” when evaluating the attractiveness of a graduate. Let’s begin with the statement…


Customer service, teamwork, and productivity are the most important skills needed of new hires, along with multi-cultural & oral communication

Importance of Skills/Abilities for New Hires

S1Q2: Please tell me how important this specific skill and ability is to performing the type of work that most new college or university hires would typically do at your [company/organization].

developing soft skills
Developing Soft Skills
  • The employer survey data tells us that technical skills are table stakes
  • Soft skills such as customer service, team work, critical thinking, cross-cultural communication are highly valued by employers
  • How do we support student development in these areas?
  • Developing a mandatory Soft Skills course in our Centre for Business will launch 2014
experiential learning
Experiential Learning
  • Currently approximately 70% of our programs have a field education component
  • George Brown College has made a commitment that by 2020, 100% of eligible programs will have a field education component
  • Successful experiential learningcan start with failure
Call: 416-415-2260


Reserve online:


The Chefs' House is open to the public for lunch and dinner, Monday to Friday. Lunch: 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.Dinner: 6 p.m. with last seating at 8 p.m.

We are located at 215 King Street East, Toronto, ON.


2013 Key Performance Indicators

Source: 2012-13 KPI files, GBC Office of Institutional Research & Planning

GTA college average = George Brown, Centennial, Humber, Seneca, Sheridan

employer input to ensure student success
Employer Input to Ensure Student Success
  • Program Advisory Committees – mandated by province
  • Direct input from Industry to create the program and graduates that they need
  • Bachelor of Technology in Construction Management
student success story
Student Success Story

are employment metrics the best measures of student success
Are Employment Metrics the Best Measures of Student Success?
  • Not for all students and not for all programs
  • Employment is always dependent on the economy and to expansion and contraction in specific areas
  • While colleges are very responsive to labour market needs, it still takes 18 months-2 years to move a certificate program from concept to first intake of students
  • We are still predicting employment needs 2 to 5 years out or longer
student success and social development
Student Success and Social Development
  • Colleges have a broad access mandate and provide opportunities for a diverse range of students
  • Academic upgrading and pre-programs do not have obvious employment outcomes. The more successful students in these programs tend to go on to further education
  • Many of the students we serve come to us with complicated histories and disadvantaged backgrounds.
social development
Social Development
  • The Ontario Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology Act, 2002 states that one of the purposes of the college is to support “the economic and social development of their local and diverse communities”
  • Social development cannot be measured by employment rates or employer satisfaction rates

2013 KPIs

Institutional Research & Planning

next steps
Next Steps
  • Full implementation of the Ontario Education Number
  • Protect and promote the value of the social development function of education
  • Continue to work with employers to ensure that we are equipping students with the skills they need to be successful
  • Recognize that success comes in many forms and celebrate it

2013 KPIs: GTA Colleges

Institutional Research & Planning