Crime Doesn't Pay, But Neither Does Justice

board: programs

St. Clair will be proceeding with its plans to offer a Bachelor’s degree program this fall. But it will be doing so almost purely for the “branding profile” involved, because it won’t be a profitable “money maker” for the college.

In May of 2018, The Scene carried these details about the new program, from a discussion at a Board of Governors (BofG) meeting:

The Bachelor of Applied Arts in Social Justice and Legal Studies was described in (Vice-President of Academics Waseem) Habash's report as "the study of law and social justice, with a focus on community advocacy and activism. This multifaceted and interdisciplinary program also includes curriculum relating to aspects of criminology, sociology, social work, philosophy, political science, community capacity building, and the study of indigenous and marginalized groups. Graduates will acquire strong problem-solving and analytical skills, together with the interpersonal skills required of one seeking a leadership position in advocating for victimized and/or marginalized individuals and groups. The students will learn to critically analyze, formulate and develop strategies to address situations compromising the rights and services of those who are marginalized or without a political or social voice. The program will also include practical components, such as case studies inviting creative programming; mock mediations bringing about resolution; simulations reflective of social injustice; and an internship with a social justice, community, not-for-profit, governmental or legal organization. The curriculum will stimulate the development of an enquiring mind, increased sensitivity for inequalities, and encourage independent judgement and critical self-awareness. Graduates will be equipped to help individuals, groups, organizations and coalitions to navigate the socio-legal system, and will be prepared to pursue graduate studies" (such as law degrees, for instance).

Grads of the Community Justice Services and Paralegal programs will be eligible for automatic admission into the second year of the new program.

Only three Ontario colleges currently offer similar programs: Humber, Conestoga and Georgian. All of those, however, concentrate almost exclusively on policing, as opposed to community law and advocacy, so St. Clair's program will be unique in that regard.

Conservatively, Habash's report - and the oral presentation to the BofG by (then) School of Media, Art and Design Chair Lorna McCormack - predicts an annual, first-year enrolment of 20 students, climbing to a maximum of about 80 in all years of study by the fifth year.

The preliminary intention is to house this program at the downtown Centre for the Arts.

The annual tuition for this program will be approximately $8,000.

The revenue (tuition plus government grants) versus expenditures (mainly faculty salaries) estimate contained in Habash's report forecasts a "profit" to the college of approximately $415,000 in its first five years of operation.

Ministry guidelines for degree-level programs offered by colleges will require 50 percent of the "face-time" between students and faculty members to be delivered by instructors possessing doctorate-level (Ph.D.) degrees. St. Clair currently has such qualified faculty on-staff and/or has access to prospective new professors with those credentials.

Several elements of that program have now been rethought, according to a presentation made to the BofG during its February 26th (2019) meeting.

A report tabled with the Board by Habash and President Patti France stated:

“In review of the program’s tuition costs, it was determined that St. Clair College should reduce the budgeted tuition to compete with similar programs within the catchment (southern Ontario) area.

“An analysis of the (provincial, per-student) grant funding revealed that the recent changes in the corridor funding model will also reduce program revenues.”

So, instead of the initially projected $8,000 per year in tuition, coupled with $5,600 in per-student provincial grant funding, the college will now receive about $6,000 per year in tuition plus $4,150 in provincial grant funding.

“In order to offset the reduction in revenues, administration decided to find opportunities to decrease costs,” the Habash/France report to the BofG continued. “This includes the delay of a new, full-time faculty hire until year three.”

Even that, however, is not sufficient to retain the program’s profitability.

The initial (2018) financial forecast – that the program would make $415,000 for the college during its first five years of operation – has now been shelved.

Instead, using an eight-year model, the Habash/France report informed the Governors that the program would lose $348,449 during that time-span. It would not generate any profit at all until its seventh and eighth years of operation.

Despite that financial reversal, the college’s administration advised the BofG to retain its approval of the program’s launch in September, 2019. “The delivery of degrees at St. Clair is necessary to heighten its profile, brand, and expand the credentials offered at the college,” the report argued.


Two other program changes were approved by the BofG during its February 26th meeting:

• The college delivers several programs in partnership with the Anishinabek Nation, at its sites in Munsee and Nipissing, Ontario. Included in those offerings was the Native Community Worker – Aboriginal Traditional Healing Methods diploma program.

The Nation has stopped using the word “Aboriginal”, so the program will delete that word from its title.

• A third year has been confirmed for the Power Engineering Technology – Mechanical program.

There are still “exit points” within this program which allow students to leave after one or two years with some credentials.

But they must (now) remain for all three years if they wish to obtain the Advanced diploma – which also prepares them to write the Second Class Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) exam. St. Clair is one of only two schools in Ontario which provides students with the opportunity to obtain that additional professional credential.

The third year also allows for 456 additional instructional hours and 160 additional work-placement hours to be added to the curriculum.

Approximately 20 students per year are expected to take the third year of the program, adding about $29,000 in revenue-minus-expenditure profitability for the college over the next eight-year time-span.


See story about a college parking garage:

See story about the college’s Strategic Directions for 2019-20:

See story about the college’s financial status:

See story about the community involvement of St. Clairians: