Taking initiative with students' futures

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When Fanshawe's Board of Governors approved the 2011/2012 Strategic Plan, they gave the green light for Fanshawe to continue and develop the School—College—Work Initiative, the latest measure in providing education and workability skills for secondary school students in London.

The initiative was designed to offer dual credits to students at the secondary school level. With a roster of select courses, students can immerse themselves in the adult—oriented atmosphere of college life and earn credits applicable to their own secondary school transcripts while being recognized at the post-secondary level.

"Our mission is to prepare students for success in jobs that are available in our regional economy," said Dr. Howard Rundle, President of Fanshawe College, when the Strategic Plan was unveiled. "Despite the recent economic situation, Ontario's looming skills shortage is a reality. Our new programs and capital projects are aimed at addressing that shortage, and making sure every student who wants a college education has an opportunity to achieve one."

Students are selected on their merit for potential based on their circumstances, such as former students in need of only a few credits to graduate and students considered at—risk to not graduate at all because they've outgrown the post—secondary environment. The SCWI launched as a pilot program back in September 2010, leading to its first 22 graduates at the end of the school year.

"We are pleased to be working on this program, especially when we see such positive results," said Marilyn Willis, Curriculum Consultant at Fanshawe, at the graduation dinner. "This experience can truly make a difference to the student's future."

With such a successful start, the program is growing to accommodate more students with two educational models — School-Within- A-College and the Day Away format.

With the SWAC program, eligible students who require eight to 10 credits to graduate pursue their studies full—time on campus at the college. The Day Away model of learning sees eligible students continuing their studies at the secondary level and making trips to the college with the assistance of a dual credit teacher.

Students are expected to be aware and compliant to the rules of student conduct in exchange for access to FanshaweOnline, official midterm reports and an authentic post-secondary experience unlike any other.

For more information, visit gotocollege.ca.