Centennial College Launches Signature Learning Experience

    Challenges Students and Public-at-large to Join the Human Race

    TORONTO, June 24 /CNW/ - Centennial College today launched its Signature
Learning Experience (SLE), a distinctive learning experience designed to open
students' minds to the current issues that affect our world, helping them
learn how they can get involved, make a difference, exert their influence and
impart change. Mandatory for all Centennial diploma students beginning this
fall, the SLE will help build a foundation for a critical understanding of
diversity, equity and social justice issues and give students cultural
competencies that prepare them for living and working in a changing world. As
part of the launch, Centennial unveiled its new, thought-provoking
"humanracebook.com" campaign that challenges students and the public to think
about important issues and "Accept" rather than "Ignore" our responsibilities
as global citizens.

    "Society, culture, religion and our unique experiences are often ignored
    in our regular education, yet they are what mutual understanding and
    respect are built upon."
           - Imran Nasan, Centennial student and SLE participant

    "Our Signature Learning Experience reflects Centennial College's
commitment to creating an inclusive and collaborative learning environment
that will enable students to integrate and apply the knowledge, skills and
attitudes necessary to be socially responsible in a diverse world," says Ann
Buller, President, Centennial College. "Plus, it will equip our students with
the critical thinking skills necessary to work together in today's
multicultural and multinational business environment - expertise that
employers both large and small have told us they are looking for in

    Celebrating Diversity
    "Centennial College offers one of the most diverse learning environments
in Canada," says Vicki Bismilla, Vice President Academic and Chief Learning
Officer, and the driving force behind the SLE at Centennial College. "The
majority of our students are visible minorities with most having English as a
second, third or fourth language," she adds. "This diversity guided the
creation and implementation of the SLE, which is aligned with the core vision,
mission and principles that direct learning, teaching and working at
Centennial. The college is the only post-secondary institution in North
America to include diversity within its Academic Framework and we are unique
in our implementation of the Signature Learning Experience. The fact that it
is mandatory for all diploma students, regardless of their field of study,
further underlines our commitment to ensuring our students graduate with a
strong awareness of equity, diversity and social justice issues."
    The SLE has four key components: the General Education course Global
Citizenship: Social Analysis to Social Action;" Portfolio Learning through
which students build a portfolio of work that showcases the equity
competencies learned in their journey through Centennial and their field of
study; Professional Development and learning for all college staff; and the
Embedding of Equity Competencies across all programs in the college to develop
an appreciation for diversity and difference and build an environment that
values, embraces and promotes equity and inclusion.

    "To be honest, when I started the Signature Learning Experience I was a
    little skeptical. But I quickly found out that there were so many issues
    I knew nothing about such as those surrounding the production of coffee,
    something so popular in our society; I learned, however, how small
    actions can make a difference."
           - Anita Bouchard, Centennial student and SLE participant

    Can an Auto Technician Change the World?
    Centennial College offers a myriad of programs that are as diverse as the
college community itself, ranging from business and communications to
engineering and transportation technology. Beginning this September, every
student, whether they're training to be an auto technician, pharmacy assistant
or a television producer, will share a common learning experience through the
SLE. Imran Hasan, a Centennial student who participated in the SLE pilot in
2007 says "There is often a misconception among students that general
education courses, such as the new Global Citizenship course, have no real
value when it comes to the workforce. The reality is that the SLE not only
helped me understand the world in a way I never could before, but also
fostered the necessary human skills that employers are constantly looking
    "One of our key objectives is to stir the social conscience of our
students and show them how they can make a difference," says Ms. Bismilla. "We
want to show them that they can change the world, if they want to. It is
important for them to see that such change begins right here in the
communities in which they live, and in which they will soon work. Students who
participated in the SLE pilot witnessed this first hand, whether by visiting
with the homeless under the Gardiner Expressway, challenging fair trade claims
by local coffee retailers or participating in a community forum on the Darfur
    Another critical objective of the SLE is to empower students to speak out
when they witness inequity in any aspect of daily life, whether it is access
issues for the disabled, racism in the workplace or homophobia on the streets.
By speaking out students learn how they can become better citizens and
transform society.

    Will You Choose to Accept or Ignore?
    To coincide with the SLE launch, Centennial College revealed its
"humanracebook.com" marketing program that provides a new twist on the popular
social networking trend that has engulfed society. It asks you whether you
will choose to 'accept' or 'ignore' your responsibilities as a global citizen
and challenges you to take action. Those who visit humanracebook.com can
explore better options to 'hanging out' or 'chatting' for What Are You Doing
Right Now?
    The humanracebook.com campaign was created by Smith Roberts Creative
Communications, the agency behind The United Church of Canada's Wondercafe and
Colleges Ontario's Obay Campaign. "In today's world there's a lot more
important news out there than who just added whomever as a friend," says
Malcolm Roberts, Principal, Smith Roberts Creative Communications. "We want
people to understand that true social networking isn't about who's doing what
with whom, but rather what they're doing to help whomever they can. The
campaign goes beyond raising awareness of the mission and core values of
Centennial College by asking people to look at what their core values are, and
what they're doing to help the planet or their fellow man."

    Ontario's First Community College
    "The Signature Learning Experience is a fundamental expression of
Centennial College's roots as Ontario's first community college and our deep
commitment to serving our community with progressive, pioneering ideas,"
concludes Ms. Bismilla. "Named in celebration of our nation's 100th birthday,
Centennial College's evolution and growth over the past 40 years has kept pace
with the changing face of Canada, reflecting a nation that honours
multiculturalism and diversity. In the words of our President, Ann Buller, "we
are proud of our role in preparing students to work in the world and the world
to work in Canada."
    Centennial College offers programs in business, communications media and
design, community and health studies, general arts and science, English and
general education, engineering technology and applied science, hospitality,
tourism and culture and transportation. Its mission is educating students for
career success and its vision is transforming lives and communities through
learning. As a large and diverse public college with four campuses across
Toronto, Centennial has a reputation for quality, exemplary teaching,
innovative programming and extensive industry partnerships.

For further information:

For further information: Centennial College spokespeople are available
for interviews. For more information, please contact Flex PR, Laurie Hall,
laurie@flexpr.com, (416) 696-5554; or Heather Ward, heather@flexpr.com, (416)
909-4328. Additional information about Centennial College and the Signature
Learning Experience, please log onto www.centennialcollege.ca, or log onto

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