Zabudsky outlines final hurdles for Sheridan U


If you were to hop in your DeLorean and take a trip to 2020, you might very well end up at Sheridan University.

If all goes as planned, that will be the name that shows up on future diplomas, degrees and certificates of Sheridan grads.

In a town hall meeting at Trafalgar Campus November 24, college president Jeff Zabudsky told faculty and students the college is on the “journey” to becoming an accredited university.

“I believe we’re in really good shape to achieve the goals of our strategic plan by the year 2020,” he said.

To become a university, there are two things Sheridan needs to do.

The first is to meet the requirements set out by Universities Canada, the organization that recognizes university standards in Canada.

While Sheridan has not yet been assessed formally, it did go through a mock exercise in order to prepare for the real deal.

This past year, Sheridan had two presidents of universities in Canada who have gone through the same process themselves act as an assessment team.

In July, they were presented with material gathered by many people, including deans, which stood as the application in the mock exercise. In September, the pair visited the school.

Their formal report is expected in mid-December, but Zabudsky said he’s “not that worried.

“Informally, we did really well. We hit it out of the park in terms of preparation, materials provided, and meetings that we held,” he said.

“I wouldn’t be so Pollyannaish as to tell you everything is perfect. I think there is still work to do, but they will tell us that, and those will be areas that we will focus on.”

After the report is received, Zabudsky said, a decision will be made about when Sheridan will apply for membership in Universities Canada.

He said once Sheridan officially applies, the entire accreditation process will take about a year and a half.



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The second part of becoming a university is having the province say you are a university, because post-secondary institutions are governed by the province.

“We’ve lined up the process very clearly to start with the readiness piece that is Universities Canada,” said Zabudsky.

“This gives us credibility to walk into the minister’s office and say ‘Hey, look, the rest of Canada – all 100 universities – have said we meet the standard to be a university.”

The best pathway to make that request, Zabudsky said, is in legislation that governs the college today, the Post-Secondary Excellence and Choice Act.

This is the same act that Sheridan has used on 20 occasions to have degree programs approved.

“It’s built right into act that there’s a mechanism that gives us the opportunity (to become a university).”

There are a few things degree students can expect to change when and if Sheridan becomes a university.

For one, it should be easier to apply to a graduate or masters program.

“If you are a member of that institution (a member of Universities Canada), your grads are looked at as being equivalent to every other university in the country,” Zabudsky said during a follow up interview this week.

If Sheridan receives the green light, students who graduated shortly before the switch will likely be able to get their graduation document amended to say “Sheridan University.”

“Typically what’s happened in the past, when institutions have gone from college to university, there is usually a process that allows students who graduated in a certain time frame, going back, to allow for a reprint of their parchment,” Zabudsky said.

“I’m sure that we will implement the same process.”

To learn more, visit the Sheridan Journey website.

To learn more about Sheridan’s history, see the timeline below.