Fostering excellence through innovative and student-focused programmes has always been at the core of Humber College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning. Located in Toronto, Canada's largest city, Humber is the nation's largest college and most extensive polytechnic institute. Humber's 150 full-time programmes combine theoretical and practical learning along with applied research. "Our strength is our solid commitment to excellence in teaching and learning, with a strong focus on offering credentials which lead to employment," says Humber president John Davies. "Many of our faculty members work in their relevant field, making our curricula extremely current and closely connected with business and industry." A testament to Humber's growing reputation as the first choice for postsecondary education is increasing student applications. The college receives more than 60,000 applications annually. A more important measure of Humber's success, however, lies in its students' accomplishments. "More than 80 per cent of our students gain employment within six months following graduation," Davies says. Humber attracts students from all corners of the globe. It has 25,000 full-time and 56,000 part-time students across its North, Lakeshore and Orangeville campuses. Humber is the second home to about 3,000 international students coming from 99 countries, led by India and the mainland. International and domestic students are drawn to Humber's flexible academic offerings that allow them to earn a variety of credentials, ranging from two- and three-year diplomas to four-year bachelor's degrees and postgraduate certificates. The majority gravitate towards international business, tourism, accounting and fashion, among Humber's more than 40 areas of study across eight academic schools. "Many students are attracted to Humber because of our pathways between credentials," says Michael Hatton, Humber's vice-president, academic. "Students who complete a diploma may transfer into a degree, often with advanced standing. These pathways give students the options and choices to pursue their individual academic and career goals. Further, all of our baccalaureate programmes require fieldwork experience, out of which many graduates, including international students, get a job." While many international students have come to discover Humber on their own, more applicants are being introduced to the college through its aggressive international recruitment efforts. In addition, Humber has developed academic partnerships and graduate school opportunities in Canada, the United States, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Finland, Japan and on the mainland. Humber has partnered with Ningbo University to offer mainland students an opportunity to graduate with a Humber diploma while gaining exposure to international business and trade in two distinct parts of the world. Students undergo a highly focused programme for the first two years in Ningbo and continue their third year at Humber, where they receive an advanced business diploma. Upon completion, they have the option to complete a business degree at Humber or its partner institutions in Canada and the US. The Humber-Ningbo programme has produced more than 800 graduates since 1996 and is one of the most successful and longest-running Canada-China postsecondary linkages. Humber has replicated this success through similar postsecondary programmes with Jimei University in Fujian and National Kaohsiung University of Hospitality and Tourism in Taiwan. "Job placement is a key component of the joint study programmes. Humber offers a rare hands-on job exposure - and it is very important, especially for international students who look forward to future employment in Canada," says Humber-Jimei student Zhang Lin, a mainland resident now studying on campus at Humber. "The small class sizes and interactive learning experience enable international students to adapt easily. But above all, Humber's welcoming culture, accommodating faculty and well-structured orientation programme certainly make us feel at home." Taking its international initiatives further, the college launched its annual Humber Marketing Plan Competition on the mainland to raise its profile and broaden its base of Chinese educational partners. The strategic move has paved the way for life-changing opportunities for the student winners who receive full scholarships at Humber. "Studying at Humber is a refreshingly different experience that I recommend to Chinese and other Asian students seeking global exposure," says scholarship winner and international business degree student Zhang Yuxin. Humber is actively establishing more international collaborations, including additional student exchange programmes, faculty exchanges, joint research and joint publications. "Our future is set in terms of our overall positioning but we will continue to nurture our offerings, develop relationships and focus on high-quality teaching," Davies says.