Cambrian College is the leading post-secondary institution in Northern Ontario, serving more than 11,000 learners, from the North and around the world, across three campuses. When the College completed its most recent strategic plan a full year early, the bar was set high to both build on that foundation and to think boldly about the future of education, including how the institution could become a college of choice for learners worldwide. To develop this renewed direction, an innovative and inclusive campus and community engagement process was required. The College’s ultimate aim was to ensure broad input on a variety of established priorities and identify new areas of focus to help Cambrian on its path to becoming an undeniable destination for higher education, in Northern Ontario and beyond.
A comprehensive research and engagement design began with a leadership retreat, including both the Board of Governors and senior staff members. This two-day facilitated event created the baseline for the engagement process, which then included digital engagement, personal interviews, and a series of focus groups, drop-in events and campus activations to ensure maximum participation across a diversity of stakeholder groups over a 6-week period. A striking visual brand was created to capture attention under the banner of Cambrian 2025, and was shared via a comprehensive communications plan using a range of digital and print materials and activation assets designed to amplify awareness and participation. Ultimately, the process garnered insights from 1500 stakeholders who offered nearly 5000 ideas through more than 300 hours of engagement.