Final Report of the Provost’s Advisory Group on Lifelong Learning Opportunities (PDAD&C #86)

From: Cheryl Regehr, Vice-President and Provost 
Date: June 30, 2021 
Re: Final Report of the Provost’s Advisory Group on Lifelong Learning Opportunities (PDAD&C #86) 

In light of current global and local factors – such as a broad-scale shift to and acceptance of online learning, an increased demand for retraining due to the impact of technology on the workplace, government recognition and prioritization of short-course reskilling programs, and the retirement of the Dean of the School of Continuing Studies – last December, I struck the Provost’s Advisory Group on Lifelong Learning Opportunities (PDADC #33). 

The mandate for the Advisory Group was to provide strategic advice and recommendations with respect to the current and future offering of continuing education, professional development, skills-upgrading, micro-credentials, and other lifelong learning initiatives, both for-credit and not-for-credit, at the University of Toronto. The group met regularly from January through May and has now provided me with their Final Report. I thank the members of the Advisory Group and the Chair, Professor Glen Jones, Dean, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, for their efforts and service to the University in producing this insightful Report.  

The Report proposes nine recommendations to build on, strengthen and expand the University’s positioning, marketing, and delivery of lifelong learning activities. In particular, the recommendations propose the adoption of mechanisms – such as a community of practice, a central credentialing system, an improved system of wayfinding for potential learners, and an enhanced foundation for access to opportunities – which will allow the University to reach more learners, improve internal coordination and efficiencies, and further access, equity and sustainable development goals. 

I accept the recommendations of the Report that are directed to my office and will work with relevant University offices to implement the other recommendations. Lifelong learning has always been an important part of the University of Toronto’s institutional purpose. The Advisory Group’s recommendations will allow us to build on our successes while developing new systems and strategies that will support new partnerships, better communication, and broader reach in this increasingly significant area.