Algonquin College is proud to be the first college in Ontario to endorse equity, diversity and inclusion policies. Sarah Gauen, Algonquin College’s Inclusion and Diversity Specialist, and Laurie Alphonse, the College’s Accessibility Advisor and also a founding member of EARN, talk to us about Algonquin’s commitment to lifelong learning and career opportunities at the College.
- Tell us about your organization. What is the one thing Algonquin College is known for?
- Founded in 1967 and part of the Ontario college system, Algonquin College is known for its post-secondary community education, offering 300 programs delivered over four campuses (Ottawa, Pembroke, Perth, and online.
- Programs vary from health sciences (e.g., nursing), hospitality, business, computers and technology to policing and legal studies, and skilled trades such as carpentry, electricity and plumbing, and more.
- Algonquin programs serve 24,000 students in person and many more through the online campus. Graduates find careers in over 300 micro industries across Canada.
- The College has approximately 4,000 employees including faculty, support staff, food services, administration, and maintenance.
- What types of positions do you recruit for on a regular basis?
- Faculty are the core positions filled throughout the year, with the most job postings occurring at the start of each semester (approximately 100) going down to about 12 postings later in the term.
- Algonquin seeks faculty members who are grounded in the industry sector in which they will be teaching – this aligns with the College’s focus on experiential learning.
- How do job seekers apply for positions within your organization?
- All jobs are posted online at https://www.algonquincollege.com/careers/.
- Career opportunities are open to both internal and external job seekers, however, the college is a unionized environment and considers internal candidates first as per their collective agreements.
- Algonquin College has three union partners: Full-time Support Staff, Part-time Support Staff and Academic.
- Who is your ideal candidate? (Specifically: what skills/competencies are important to your organization; do you build some of these on the job?)
- Algonquin seeks candidates whose personal values can be demonstrated to align with the College’s core values of Caring, Integrity, Learning, and Respect.
- The College embraces the concept of lifelong learning for students and employees, and there are numerous professional development opportunities for employees, ranging from teaching in the classroom to client service excellence to a dedicated series of sessions for managers.
- “Here to help” is the campus moto.
- What’s your best advice for someone who wants to build a career in your organization?
- Part-time opportunities are often how people begin their careers at Algonquin.
- Laurie is a good example. She started her career at Algonquin on a four-month contract teaching one course, and took advantage of the professional development opportunities. She was also willing to take on positions in other areas, such as administrative and HR contract roles, until she was hired in her current position.
- General advice: Be patient, positive and flexible. See your career through a lens of continuous improvement and keep focused on what you want to do.
- How are you committed to providing employment that includes professional development and progression for persons with disabilities?
- Professional development opportunities are offered to all employees, including those with disabilities.
- The College has a disability management team who are focused on the well-being of employees. This includes providing support and coaching to employees upon returning to work after they have been on leave.
- Accommodations are provided upon request and employees are encouraged to make their needs known, to view the accommodation process as a partnership between the employee and the College, and to be confident they are working in an environment of acceptance and open communication.
- More broadly, what policies and practices has your organization developed to create and champion an accessible and inclusive workplace for persons with disabilities?
- The College has a number of policies and practices in place that demonstrate the Colleges commitment to accessibility, inclusion and diversity. While the College recognizes its obligations under the AODA and the labour code, these new policies go well beyond the legal requirements to set a higher standard.
- Earlier this year, in his first speech as the new President and CEO of the College, Claude Brulé identified the importance of inclusion and diversity at Algonquin.
- The College is proud to share that in November 2019 Algonquin was the first of the 24 Colleges in Ontario to instill an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion policy. The hope is that more colleges in Ontario will follow suit.
- To find out more about Algonquin College’s new Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Policies visit https://www.algonquincollege.com/policies/files/2019/11/HR24.pdf
We extend many thanks to Sarah Gauen, Inclusion and Diversity Specialist and Laurie Alphonse, Accessibility Advisor, who are both with the Human Resources Department at Algonquin College, for giving of their time to do this interview.
To find out more about careers at Algonquin College visit: https://www.algonquincollege.com/careers/