What’s a Certificate

JAC Offers More Than Your Typical Programs

by Vanessa Burns (Arts and Culture Editor)


Some of you students out there may not know this, but there are four general education certificates that any student can accomplish at John Abbott College. There is the Peace Studies certificate, the Women’s Studies and Gender Relations certificate, the Environmental Studies certificate, and finally, the recently added Aboriginal Studies certificate.

“But how am I supposed to have time to complete a certificate if I’m already so busy with school, work, extracurricular activities (and, let’s face it, partying)?” If you said this, then I have good news for you. You don’t need to do any extra work to qualify for a certificate! Then what do you have to do? Well, I shall tell you, aspiring certificate-receiver. There are a number of courses that are a part of each certificate. You must complete six of
these classes (which are listed on the John Abbott website) In addition to this, you must also complete a class project which counts for 25% or more of your grade and that revolves around the subject of your certificate. You don’t need to do any extra work; you only need to narrow your studies down a little bit to that one topic.

“Why even bother to complete a certificate? What good will it bring me?” Well, obtaining a certificate actually has loads of benefits. Eileen Kerwin Jones, the coordinator of the Women’s Studies and Gender Relations certificate, explains how she believes these certificates can help students: “The certificates offer students an opportunity to develop a little bit of an expertise in an area that they’re interested in. Also, the communities attached to the certificates offer opportunities for students to experience their college life outside the classroom and meet other people that are interested in the same sorts of things.” Not only do the certificates cater to students’ interests, they also carry academic benefits. “There’s good evidence that students who are implicated in their college life do better academically,” she believes. “It enriches the experience and ends up being a bonus for them.” She also says that those going onto university have also found the certificates of value; they appear well on college applications and on CVs.

The only disadvantage that could present itself is sometimes, students have trouble getting into the courses they need to complete the certificate. However, the coordinators are very flexible and are always there to work things out if ever there is a problem.

“Sounds great! Now how do I enroll?” If you are interested in completing one of the certificates or simply wish to obtain more information on them, contact the coordinator of the certificate you are interested in. For Peace Studies, the coordinator is Paul DiStefano. The Women’s Studies and Gender Relations coordinator is Eileen Kerwin Jones. For Environmental Studies, contact Jessica Burpee. And the coordinator for the Aboriginal Studies certificate is Michelle Smith.