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Participants from VIA University, Otago Polytechnic, and Humber College at the Barrett CTI Humber College


Global Polytechnic Alliance Pilots Joint Programming and Micro-credentials Programs

November 22, 2019

As celebrated at the recent GPA Summit Meeting in Denmark, it’s been a productive inaugural year for the Global Polytechnic Alliance (GPA). The GPA members—Humber College, New Zealand’s Otago Polytechnic and Denmark’s VIA University College—have worked hard to formally establish the collaboration and have made significant strides launching its strategic priorities, which include joint programming and micro-credentials.



In September, GPA faculty gathered at Humber to formalize the alliance’s forthcoming joint programming initiative. Set to launch this spring, the initial pilot project will bring students from the three institutions together online for a week-long learning module centred on using systems thinking to resolve local and global sustainability issues. The long term vision is to create a collaborative credential in global leadership with a focus on sustainability and an option for students to visit and study at each of the GPA institutions.

Representing Humber on the task force was Jennifer Wilson-Lee, Manager, International Partnerships and Mobility; Sara Hassan, Professor, Liberal Studies; and Elinor Bray-Collins, Professor in International Development and Liberal Studies.

“We have to be collaborating at the global level and thinking at systems now, in ten years this is going to be old news,” says Bray-Collins. “Issues like sustainability are only going to get more critical. To see Humber and the GPA lead the way with this type of educational experience for students is an important step–and I love being a part of it.”



Humber staff and faculty have also joined forces with our GPA partners to develop an internationally recognized micro-credentials program. The skills and competency-based credentialing is an innovative continuing education offering that provides customized training for employees and employers to up-skill and stay on top of professional development.

Leveraging the success of Otago’s micro-credential EduBits program, Humber has been working with corporate clients, such as Magna International, to launch an EduBits program here in Canada. One of the key benefits of working with the GPA on this initiative is being able to demonstrate our strength as a global organization to our industry partners who are increasingly internationally-focused.

“We’re using our partners’ experiences for our own learning, but we’re also able to present our global partnerships to our major clients,” says Sarah Peake, Humber’s lead on the GPA micro-credential initiative. “When we talk about being a global leader, our clients and industry partners see our international experience and the alliances we draw from–and see us as truly being global.”

As Humber continues to build its own program, the GPA is working towards establishing a global platform for shared delivery and recognition of micro-credentials with employers around the world.



In addition to joint programming and micro-credentials, over the next year, the GPA will also launch several collaborative research initiatives and continue to share best practices and programming that will help build capacities within each of the three institutions and their respective systems. 

The GPA experience has confirmed the benefits of Humber’s global approach to polytechnic education and the positive outcomes we can achieve through strong international partnerships, including new global learning opportunities for our communities.

“One of the really exciting things is that we’re recognizing that global experience doesn’t necessarily have to be on the ground,” says Peake. “Students who can’t travel globally can still experience global perspectives because of the types of learning opportunities and meaningful collaborations we’re developing with the GPA.”


Professor Elinor Bray-Collins presenting to the participants at Humber