A Message from BC Colleges President - Colin Ewart

Welcome to the November edition of “What’s New at BC Colleges”.

As I approach the first 60 days in my new position as President of BC Colleges, I thought I would take a few moments to share my early impressions on what I have discovered about our very diversified and impressive local colleges.

When I joined in September, the top item on my agenda was to visit all of the colleges as soon as possible. I wanted to get my feet on the ground and see what was happening not just at the urban colleges (that are admittedly easier to get to), but also at the more rural locations that serve and add value in every corner of British Columbia. In the first two months I’ve managed in-depth visits to College of New Caledonia, College of the Rockies, North Island College, and Selkirk College and informal visits to Langara College, Vancouver Community College, and Camosun College. I’ve reached the 70 per cent mark and now visits to Okanagan College, Northern Lights College, and Northwest Community College have moved to the top of my to-do list – stay-tuned. If you want to learn more about my early insights, you can follow the visits on Twitter @BCColleges #NewPrezRoadTrip.

At each college, I thoroughly enjoyed meeting with senior leaders, faculty, and students. One of the strongest common threads that I noticed at all institutions was their welcoming demeanor, not just to my visits and questions, but their vital openness to their students, communities, local business and industry. In particular, I was especially struck by the inclusion of Aboriginal and International Students. At each college I visited, both these groups were welcomed and encouraged to be a growing part of highly diverse college communities. Whether it was clocks lining College of New Caledonia’s hall displaying 8 different time zones to help international students feel closer to home, or the beautiful entrance to College of the Rockies Aboriginal Gathering Place, I was left with the distinct knowledge that our colleges are reaching out and welcoming students both close to home and from places much further away.

Clearly, my office will continue to support our colleges in their work to encourage both Aboriginal and International students to benefit and prosper from a BC college education. This will be a key area of focus and one that I will delve into during the months ahead.

For example, my office is working with the colleges that have Aboriginal Service Plans (ASP) to share high quality ASP's and learn from each other. Also, this Fall we will be actively involved in helping the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Advanced Education as they refresh BC’s International Education Strategy. As part of the strategy, we will work to help BC deepen global education relations, increase international pathways to BC education, ensure quality educational experiences for international students who study here, and foster cultural exchange opportunities overseas for our BC students and faculty.

Please read on to learn more about the milestones, projects, collaborations and announcements from our colleges during the past month. For a full list of this month’s news, please check out “In the News” on the BC Colleges website. And, I welcome your feedback, so please feel free to contact me by e-mail.

Colin Ewart, President BC Colleges

BC Colleges What's New November 2015