What's New at BC Colleges: April 14, 2011

Message from Jim Reed - President, BC Colleges

Welcome to this month’s issue of "What’s New at BC Colleges".  It was another busy month in the BC college system.  Vancouver Community College launched a new mobile app designed to help students get schedules and information where they need it most - on their smart phones of course! Okanagan College tailored its tuition approach to keep costs down and the College of New Caledonia's Board of Governors voted not to increase tuition next year – good news for students. Northwest Community College found a way to offer an Early Childhood Education course by video conference so that students from Haida Gwaii didn’t miss a 3-credit course due to terrible weather. And a work readiness mining program for Aboriginal students piloted at Northwest Community College is about to go National. I think these are terrific examples of the "let’s get it done" attitude that’s prevalent at BC’s 11 public colleges.

Additionally, our colleges are working together to ensure students can easily transfer credits between institutions. Okanagan College, Selkirk College and College of the Rockies just signed a Memorandum of Understanding that allows students to transfer directly into second year of the Writing and Publishing diploma program at Okanagan College.

BC's colleges are continuing to collaborate with secondary school boards to ease the transition into college. More than 240 Grade 9 students from across School District 59 converged on Northern Lights College for the annual Dual Credit Day event to explore the courses that are open to secondary students.

Also, colleges are working hard to build connections with aboriginal communities and students. Camosun College’s new Aboriginal Gathering Place opens on April 19th, Douglas College’s new Aboriginal Gathering Place is scheduled to open next week and students in the Timber Framing program at College of the Rockies are raising the roof on their new Gathering Place at the Cranbrook Campus.

I was also heartened to read that colleges are working hard to serve the disadvantaged members of our province. Vancouver Community College has significantly changed one person’s life by giving him a second chance. "Alan" spent three years living in the Downtown Eastside doing drugs and stealing to support his addiction. Today, he’s a straight A student at Vancouver Community College and ready to pursue his lifelong passion for computer programming. His success is thanks to a collaborative program between VCC and the Downtown Community Court Education Program.

Finally, I want to welcome the Hon. Naomi Yamamoto, BC’s newly appointed Minister of Advanced Education. BC Colleges looks forward to working with Minister Yamamoto and her team.  We’re pleased to see that she's already visited a number of college campuses and we look forward to hosting her at all of our institutions in the near future.

Please read on to discover how our colleges are partnering, collaborating and creating new programs to prepare British Columbians for the future. As always, I welcome your feedback. You can reach me by e-mail at To see all of this month's news please check out  "In the News".

Jim Reed
President, BC Colleges

Camosun officially opens new Aboriginal Gathering Place

Camosun College Media Release, April 13, 2011

The grand opening ceremony for the new Aboriginal Gathering Place at Camosun College will take place 11:30am-1:30pm Tuesday, April 19, 2011 at Lansdowne campus, 3100 Foul Bay Road, Victoria, BC. The new open-walled structure resembles a huge cedar hat, and was inspired by Lekwungen Elder Butch Dick. Mr. Dick also suggested the name of the new building, which will be announced at the opening ceremony. "A highlight will be the Unity Drummers performing a new song that they wrote specially for the gathering place," says Janice Simcoe, chair of Aboriginal Education and Community Connections at Camosun College. "The drummers will be accompanied by dancers, so it will be a very memorable performance." Funding for the gathering place was provided by the BC Ministry of Advanced Education to increase success and retention for Aboriginal students by reflecting the character, community and traditions of Aboriginal cultures. The Honourable Ida Chong, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, will bring greetings on behalf of the provincial government. Read more.

TELUS delivers on yearlong campaign to support the Centre of Excellence

Okanagan College Media Release, April 08, 2011

One year after committing to donate $100k to Okanagan College’s Centre of Excellence for every new TELUS TV customer in the South Okanagan, TELUS announced a $50,000 contribution to the Okanagan College Foundation to help support the region’s most innovative and sustainable building development. TELUS General Manager Steve Jenkins along with 10 local TELUS employees spent the morning at the College’s Penticton campus where the group served breakfast to students before announcing the donation. “We came up with the idea for this campaign as a means of delivering on our commitment to give where we live,” explained Jenkins. “By contributing to the Centre of Excellence we are taking the opportunity to become a part of the legacy Okanagan College is creating through this innovative development.” Read more.

NIC Instructor Celebrates Launch of Third Book

North Island College Media Release, April 8, 2011
North Island College is proud to present critically acclaimed author, poet and NIC Instructor, Matt Rader, who will read from his latest collection, A Doctor Pedalled Her Bicycle Over the River Arno on April 13th at the Comox Valley campus. House of Anansi Press writes, “Rader seeks out limits, borders, and order to test their validity. This is an astounding collection from a thrilling voice in poetry.” Wildflowers and weeds, hostels and hostiles, parenting and the shadowy history of grandparents: In A Doctor Pedalled Her Bicycle Over the River Arno Matt Rader's unassuming, deeply spirited, and expansive poems show us again how contemporary lyric can go such a long way toward revealing our true homes to us at the moment we find ourselves most nakedly un-housed. Read more.

Douglas College Aboriginal Gathering Place set to open this month

Douglas College Inside Douglas College Release, April 8, 2011
Nearly a year after the first hammer was swung, construction on Douglas College’s Aboriginal Gathering Place is complete and the space is set to open next week. Located beside Student Services on the 4th floor south, the Gathering Place will function as a multi-purpose facility. The larger main room will be used as a classroom, study space, student lounge and venue for traditional ceremonies. An adjoining smaller room will be used for meetings, potlucks and as a staging area for dancers. Read more.

NLC shows no signs of slowing down: New college president presents to city council

Dawson Creek Daily News, April 7, 2011

Highlights from the Northern Lights College (NLC) community report were presented to city council Monday, providing a snapshot of the school’s activities last year. Just six weeks into her new job, President and CEO of NLC, Laurie Rancourt began by noting the celebrations held to commemorate the school’s 35th anniversary. Read more.

Interior colleges ensure transferability of writing courses

Okanagan College Media Release, April 07, 2011

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been reached between Okanagan College, College of the Rockies and Selkirk College that allows students to transfer directly into second year of the Writing and Publishing diploma program at Okanagan College. “We are thrilled to provide students with this valuable option,” said Selkirk College Dean of University Arts and Sciences, Neil Coburn. “This is a great example of how colleges can work together to provide more educational opportunities and enhance the regions they serve.” College of the Rockies Dean of Instruction, Laura Cooper, noted "It is through collaborations such as this that we are able to offer residents of the East Kootenay increasing opportunities to advance their education with the fewest barriers possible. This agreement will greatly benefit our students who wish to continue studies in this field." Read more Okanagan. Read more Selkirk. Read more College of the Rockies.

VCC goes mobile!

Vancouver Community College Media Release, April 6, 2011

Prospective students looking for VCC online can now access the college website through their mobile device -- whenever and wherever they are. A new mobile version of the college’s website is now live, and it’s designed to make accessing quick and easy from any smartphone or mobile device. "Traditional websites are hard to view and navigate on a mobile device," says project lead and VCC web manager Teodora Dotzeva. "We really wanted prospective students to be able to get the information they are looking for when it suits them – sitting on the bus, waiting in line at the grocery store or when they see VCC advertising."VCC is the first post-secondary institution in Metro Vancouver to have a mobile site; it’s designed for PDAs, smartphones, iPhones and other mobile web-ready handsets from all mobile networks. Read more.

Students give CNC an A in satisfaction survey

College of New Caledonia Media Release, April 6, 2011

CNC exceeded the provincial average in 16 out of 19 key indicators when it comes to student satisfaction with skill development and program experience, according to survey results from the B.C. government. CNC students also ranked the College above the provincial average when it comes to overall satisfaction with studies and their main reason for enrolment being met, stated the annual B.C. Diploma, Associate Degree and Certificate Outcomes (DASCO) Survey. “We are delighted to see CNC students have given us an A once again this year,” said Randall Heidt, CNC director of communications and development. Read more.

Michael Ignatieff visits the campus

Langara College Media Release, April 4, 2011

Michael Ignatieff, Leader of the Liberal Opposition, visited Langara on Tuesday, March 29 for a special Roundtable discussion on immigration and education. He was joined by Liberal Vancouver South candidate Ujjal Dosanjh and members of local community groups including Vancouver city councillor Raymond Louie and MOSAIC representative Ninu Kang. On the matter of immigration, Ignatieff spoke specifically about the family reunification program, calling it "an issue of equality for all Canadians."  Regarding education, Ignatieff spoke about plans to increase funding to help high school students attend post-secondary institutions with a $1-billion annual budget. Read more.

Advanced Education Minister visits CNC

College of New Caledonia Media Release, March 30, 2011

Advanced Education Minister Naomi Yamamoto met with CNC president John Bowman, members of the Students Union, College Board of Governors and others during a visit to the Prince George campus Tuesday morning, where she was given an overview of the College’s future plans and priorities. “The students are really lucky to have this investment in their education,” Yamamoto said after touring the construction site of the $19.7-million Technical Education Centre. “I love the college system because it's responsive and relevant to the community. CNC has seen what the community needs and fulfilled its needs for education and job training." Read more.

Raising the Roof

College of the Rockies Media Release, March 30, 2011

The Aboriginal Gathering Place, located at the College of the Rockies’ Cranbrook Main Campus, is starting to take shape above ground. Currently, students in the Timber Framing program are in the process of raising the roof. Students in the Carpentry, Welding, Plumbing and Electrical programs already have, or will have, the opportunity to work on the building, supervised by their instructors. Dean of Instruction Ron McRae noted, "The Gathering Place is providing our students with a great learning opportunity to work on a permanent structure. I think this will give them a lasting sense of accomplishment."Read more.

Board tailors tuition approach for coming year

Okanagan College Media Release, March 29, 2011

About 70 per cent of Okanagan College’s students will see their tuition remain steady for the coming year, as a result of a Board of Governors’ decision Tuesday. The Board decided to replicate a decision it made last year and freeze those tuition fees at Okanagan College that are more than 10 per cent above average for similar programs at other institutions. The result is that for many students, the fees at Okanagan College will remain the same next year. “This is a student-centric decision that means that most of our students won’t be seeing tuition increases for the coming year,” says Board Chair Lance Kayfish. “Where we are notably higher than other comparable institutions, we won’t be compounding that difference.” Read more.

Pilot mining program at NWCC goes national

Northwest Community College Media Release, March 29, 2011

A work readiness mining program for Aboriginals will soon be offered across Canada as a result of a successful pilot project recently completed at Northwest Community College (NWCC) in cooperation with the College’s School of Exploration & Mining (SEM). The program was offered in partnership with the Mining Industry Human Resources Council (MiHR), the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), and Skeena Native Development Society (SNDS). Mining Essentials: A Work Readiness Training Program for Aboriginal Peoples teaches students basic skills needed to enter the mining industry. The program is unique in that skills are taught using workplace examples and traditional knowledge methods. It also combines industry recognized standards with hands-on learning experiences. Read more.

VCC believes in second chances

Vancouver Community College Media Release, March 28, 2011

Most people struggling with addiction issues on the streets of Vancouver's Downtown Eastside don't think much about going to college. But there is proof that second chances can lead to extraordinary accomplishments."Alan" spent three years living in the Downtown Eastside doing drugs and stealing to support his addiction. Today, he’s a straight A student at Vancouver Community College and ready to pursue his lifelong passion for computer programming. His success is thanks to a program that offered chronic offenders a chance to go back to school and turn their lives around. VCC offered six placements as part of the Downtown Community Court Education Program. Read more in The Province.

Video link helps Haida Gwaii students get needed training

Northwest Community College Media Release, March 28, 2011

Residents of Haida Gwaii know all too well that the elements can and will foil best laid plans. And Northwest Community College (NWCC) students here are no exception. But thanks to the technology of videoconferencing, Early Childhood Education (ECE) students from Haida Gwaii were able to take a needed 3-credit course despite inclement weather cancelling ferry service on the eve of the course offering in Terrace. The course – ECE 142 Environments – is required for the basic ECE certificate and was delivered in a two-weekend intensive format March 4-5 and March 11-12 with 14 students in Terrace and three students at the Village of Queen Charlotte Campus on Haida Gwaii. Read more.

Camosun welcomes new Dean in School of Trades and Technology

Camosun College Media Release, March 28, 2011

Along with his most recent career change, Eric Sehn will be adjusting to a different lifestyle, as he trades Fort St. John, where overnight temperatures can drop well below -30, for Victoria, just in time for the annual flower count. On February 28, Eric Sehn joined Camosun as the new dean of trades and technology. Although new to Camosun, Sehn is no stranger to the responsibilities that accompany the role of dean. After 13 years at Northern Lights College, Sehn brings a wealth of experience to Camosun, including campus principal and dean of academic and career technical programs. He holds a Masters of Education with a specialization in adult, community and higher learning (distance delivery) from the University of Calgary. Read more.

NWCC welcomes a new Dean of Instruction & Health Services

Northwest Community College Media Release, March 25, 2011
Northwest Community College (NWCC) has hired Gerald Gauthier to the position of Dean of Instruction and Health Services, effective April 4. Gauthier brings to the position an educational background in psychology and more than 20 years of senior post-secondary educational administration from a number of institutions, as well as a wealth of knowledge from the private sector. His multi-dimensional skills and strengths fit well with the vision and mission of Northwest Community College. Gauthier is passionate about making a positive difference in our community. His colleagues shared that he has the ability to unify and bring people together toward a common goal; the ability to motivate and prepare people for new challenges in a safe and supporting environment; and the ability to create opportunities where people may grow, develop and demonstrate their own leadership skills. Read more.

College Board decides not to increase tuition next year

College of New Caledonia Media Release, March 25, 2011

The CNC Board of Governors voted not to increase tuition by two per cent for next year, during its regularly scheduled meeting in Quesnel on Friday.The increase would have represented about $119,000 to the College’s budget for 2011/12. Read more.

New Advanced Education Minister visits NWCC

Northwest Community College Media Release, March 24, 2011

The Hon. Naomi Yamamoto, B.C.’s newly appointed Minister of Advance Education, toured Northwest Community College’s (NWCC) Terrace Campus March 24. Yamamoto, the MLA for North Vancouver-Lonsdale since her election in 2009, met with the College’s President Denise Henning and its Board of Governors Chair Rhoda Witherly, plus other NWCC governors and administrators before a 90-minute campus tour. Read more.

School District 59 students experience Dual Credit options

Northern Lights College, March 18, 2011

More than 240 Grade 9 students from across School District 59 converged on Northern Lights College on March 16 for the annual Dual Credit Day event. Dual Credit Day provides students with the opportunity to experience their choice of three program areas available to secondary school students for Dual Credit study. The event was held at NLC’s Dawson Creek and South Peace campuses. Participants selected from numerous program areas, including: Aircraft Maintenance Engineering, Applied Business Technology, Automotive Service Technician, Carpentry, Cook Training, Cosmetology, Early Childhood Education and Care, Esthetics, Health Care, Heavy Duty Mechanic, Plumbing, University Arts and Sciences, Visual Arts, Welding, and Wind Turbine Maintenance Technician. Read more.

Dr. Moira Stilwell opens Langara’s Math & Science Open House

Langara College Media Release, March 17, 2011
Langara was pleased to have Dr. Moira Stilwell, MLA Vancouver-Langara, open the Math & Science Open House yesterday. The event is held annually at the College to promote science and math courses at the post-secondary level, and to educate students about careers in those specific industries. In particular, this year is special as the government of BC named 2010/2011 the Year of Science. “We are proud to provide funds for the Math & Science Open House at Langara as part of the Year of Science," said Dr. Stilwell, also Parliamentary Secretary for Industry, Research and Innovation, to the Minister of Jobs, Tourism, and Innovation. "Science is about creative spirit and inspiration – about developing new knowledge – and the ability to turn knowledge into new and improved goods and services demanded by the global marketplace. We know that young workers who understand Math and Science have the brightest futures." Read more.

Selkirk initiates composting program

Selkirk College Media Release, March 14, 2011

Selkirk College has started a composting program at its Castlegar campus with the installation of a new Earth Tub. According to the 2009 State of the Environment Report, produced by School of Renewable Resources Chair Derek Marcoux, up to 2.9 tonnes of waste (generated yearly) at the college is compost which could potentially be diverted from landfills. The Earth Tub, that is as big as a hot tub, will play a main role in the reduction of waste and is part of a pilot compost recycling program for the campus—one that the college hopes to replicate at its Nelson campuses. Read more.



BC Colleges is a consortium representing BC’s 11 public, community colleges serving almost 200,000 students annually with campuses in close to 70 communities throughout British Columbia. BC’s colleges offer a comprehensive range of programs from university studies and baccalaureate degrees to career, technical and trades education. All of BC’s colleges offer programs that are designed to be accessible, affordable and responsive to the evolving needs of BC communities and industry. For more information, visit our website.
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