Low Enrolment Leads To First-Year Suspensions For Some Programs

A St. Clair Christmas show, staged by the Music Theatre program ... Santa needs to deliver some new students to the school.

Out with the old (and under-enrolled), and in with the new.

That was behaviour displayed by the college’s Board of Governors during its June 27th meeting, as – upon the recommendation of the administration – it suspended the first-year intake of 11 low-enrolment-attracting programs, and launched four new micro-credentials courses and a graduate certificate program.

The report on the intake suspensions came from Vice-President Academic/Registrar Mike Silvaggi, explaining:

“It is important to note that as of May 1 (the annual deadline for applicants to confirm their programs of choice), college administration had suspended the intake of 11 programs for Fall 2023 due to extremely low student applications and anticipated confirmations. The programs identified are Music Theatre Performance, Media Convergence, General Arts and Science, Mechanical Engineering Technician-Industrial, Mechanical Techniques-Precision Metal Cutting, Electronics Engineering Technology-Industrial Automation, and Power Engineering Technology-Mechanical at the Windsor Campus; as well as Business-Accounting, Office Administration- Executive, Protection Security and Investigations (PSI), and Border Services at the Chatham Campus.”

A number of other programs were also cited as of concern, given that they have attracted fewer than 25 domestic/Canadian first-year applicants. The status of those programs will be monitored in the coming year. (Some of them may survive if domestic enrolment increases, and/or if they seem to be attracting international enrolment.)

Here’s the full list of “iffy” programs (graphs below):

• Table 1: Windsor programs that are experiencing a domestic enrolment decline relative to the enrolment plan.

• Table 2: Windsor programs that either share a common Year 1 curriculum or offer pre-defined exit points for graduation.

• Table 3: Windsor programs that are either oversubscribed or the expected enrolment is at capacity due to placements or accreditation.

• Table 4: Windsor programs whose planned enrolment concentrates on international students.

• Table 5: Chatham programs that either share a common Year 1 curriculum, planned enrolment concentrates on international students, or is experiencing an enrolment decline relative to the enrolment plan.


Silvaggi emphasized that a first-year intake suspension does not, necessarily, mean the death-knell of a program. Such programs will continue to be promotionally marketed to seek enrolment – both of domestic and international origin.

He also observed that past experience has indicated a degree of year-to-year “cyclical interest” in certain programs – that they experience dips in interest, but rebound within a year or two. A full-scale suspension of a program only occurs when no such rebound appears to be occurring.


On a more positive side, four new micro-credential offerings will be launched via the college’s Continuing Education and Corporate Training wing.

The report on this matter noted that: “Micro-credentials are rapid training programs offered by postsecondary educational institutions across the province that assist students in obtaining the skills that employers require. Micro-credentials help people retrain and upgrade their skills to find new employment. Micro-credentials can be recognized in the form of a digital badge once a student has successfully completed the requirements ... Micro-credentials – short duration, targeted learning for skills and competency development – are fast becoming a key route to ensuring that those displaced by the pandemic and those wishing to upskill or reskill can quickly learn and fill new jobs.”

St. Clair’s newest courses in this domain are Robotics Repair and Maintenance (for millwrights), IV Initiation and Central Venous Access Devices (for nurses and practical nurses), CWB Training to Test (for welders), and Phlebotomy for Health Professionals (for health-care workers who have to draw blood samples from patients).

Most new micro-credentials are easy and inexpensive for the college to deliver because they are mini-versions of courses that already exist as part of full-time programs.

Also approved by the Board during its June meeting was the launch, this coming January, of a new, one-year-duration certificate program in Data Analytics.

Designed for domestic students, it is a part-time version of the current two-year program that is so popular among international students.

The report tabled at the meeting explained: “The funded, one-year Data Analytics Ontario College Graduate Certificate program prepares students to visualize past, present, and future patterns by linking and presenting information in meaningful ways. The area of data analytics offers deeper insight and meaning of data sets for users by telling the story behind the information. This type of detailed and defined information enables graduates to effectively predict trends, understand the needs of customers, as well as make more informed business decisions.

“Students will learn a unique blend of theoretical knowledge and advanced applicable skills. Students will also learn large scale data manipulation, how to collect, curate, encode, and store data sets, which can be analyzed and mined in ways that can be re-used and repurposed to solve challenges and predict future patterns for business decision making. Students will gain critical thinking skills that demonstrate the ability to use existing and discoverable data to solve business problems.”

This is a one-year offering designed for the (domestic) grads of Business programs (college and university) who want the additional, specialized expertise of data analytics.

The program will be delivered in a part-time manner via the college’s Continuing Education department.


• Parking plans: https://news.stclair-src.org/need-know-news/no-deck-more-parking-spaces

• The college will soon have a whistleblower policy: https://news.stclair-src.org/need-know-news/college-sets-policy-whistleblowers

• College prepares for change to provincial funding formula: https://news.stclair-src.org/need-know-news/colleges-prepares-new-provincial-funding-formula

• Items of interest from the President’s Monthly Report: https://news.stclair-src.org/need-know-news/board-updated-president