Recognized as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2017)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Dec 11, 2016)
Here are some of the reasons why Seneca College was selected as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2017):
- Seneca College helps employees plan securely for the future with contributions to a defined benefit pension plan and retirement planning assistance
- Seneca College supports employees who are new mothers and fathers (including adoptive parents) with generous maternity and parental leave top-up payments of up to 93% of salary, ranging from 37 to 52 weeks
- Seneca College maintains a Diversity and Equity Office responsible for education, training, awareness and prevention programs -- and also recently established an Accessibility Policy with the intent to make the College a barrier-free environment by 2025
The learning never ends at Seneca College
We value learning," says Laurel Schollen, Academic Vice-President of Seneca College in Toronto.
For a post-secondary institution that offers baccalaureate, diploma, certificate and post-graduate programs to over 28,000 full-time students, that statement may seem self-evident. But Seneca's emphasis on learning extends far beyond its students - to more than 4,500 full and part-time employees as well, including faculty, support staff and administrators.
"Faculty members come to Seneca with industry experience and professional credentials," says Schollen, who holds bachelor's and master's degrees in science and is currently studying for her PhD in education. "Our role is to develop them as teachers."
As it supports employees in developing their skills, Seneca also provides them with an abundance of opportunities to take new directions in their employment within the college. Schollen herself began her 30-year career at Seneca teaching biological sciences. "I still miss it," she says.
After 13 years, she moved into an administrative position, rising steadily to become chair of her department, then dean of applied science and engineering technology and associate vice-president. After moving briefly to another college in Ontario as academic vice-president, she returned in the same role to Seneca in September 2016.
"I wanted to come home," she says.
Seneca offered similar opportunities to Hadi Majzoub, now Academic Program Manager in the college's School of Electronics and Mechanical Engineering Technology. A full-time employee since 2003, Majzoub had worked at the college as a lab technologist while studying for his diploma in computer engineering technology.
"I had no expectation of staying at the college," he says. "I'd worked at several companies as part of my co-op program at Seneca, and I expected to work with one of them. But when my supervisor retired, he suggested that I apply to the college. Now it's my second home."
Over the past 13 years as a lab technologist, Majzoub taught part-time courses in computing and technology while serving as vice-president of the college's employees' union. He won a national award for support-staff excellence from Colleges & Institutes Canada.
Over that period, Seneca supported Majzoub as he studied for a bachelor's degree in education from another institution and then enrolled in a master's program. In 2016, he moved into a management position at the college, when he became an academic program manager.
"You can no longer get just one credential for your life," Majzoub says. "Your education needs to be ongoing."
In his current position, Majzoub works with industry to develop new programs in his school while monitoring existing programs to ensure that they meet provincial guidelines. He continues to teach as well, and recently received his certification as an advanced instructor in mechatronics, a multidisciplinary field that includes a combination of mechanical engineering, electronics, computer engineering, telecommunications engineering, systems engineering and control engineering.
"Our program attracts students from all over the country and the world," he says. "It's a global industry, and it's looking for skilled graduates to take manufacturing into the future."
Majzoub's program is one of 150 full-time and 140 part-time programs that attract students from around the globe. Every year, more than 5,500 international students come to Seneca from countries such as China, India, South Korea, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.
A leader in Ontario in university and college pathways, Seneca has more than 60 partner post-secondary institutions in Ontario and worldwide, including universities in Australia, England, South Africa and the U.S., which enable students to apply their college education to obtain credit towards a university degree.
"That diversity and richness is part of being a GTA college," says Schollen. "It's what brought me back."