What's New at BC Colleges: December 3, 2010

Message from Jim Reed - President, BC Colleges

Welcome to this month’s edition of “What’s New at BC Colleges”.

In my last message, I mentioned that I was at the BC Colleges' inaugural "Advance 2010+ Creating & Powering the Future" conference. The conference was a resounding success.  Most importantly we left the two days with some concrete initiatives for BC Colleges for both the short and long term.

At the conference, BC's 11 public colleges committed to a culture of collaboration with each other, with other post-secondary institutions, with business and industry, with communities and with the Province.  By working together with other key stakeholders, BC's colleges will be able to effectively respond to the emerging and changing requirements of BC’s labour market.  This is a crucial area as reflected in the governments recent release about the looming skills shortage.

I am convinced that this commitment to collaboration by our colleges will translate into bold actions and concrete results.  Colleges are collaborating on programs that will increase participation rates, ease transition between secondary, post-secondary and the workforce and make transfers between institutions seamless. These are the kinds of initiatives that will help us to prepare British Columbians for the jobs of tomorrow.

Below you will learn how Royal Roads and Camosun College are partnering to support British Columbia's growing tourism sector, how students planning to attend the University of Victoria may now begin their studies with North Island College and move to Victoria when they are ready, and how an innovative new training partnership between the College of the Rockies (COTR) and the Kootenay Boundary Community Services Co-operative (Co-op) will bring even more high quality training opportunities to residents living in the east and northeast areas of the Columbia Basin.  These are just three examples of the collaboration currently happening at BC's colleges.  There are so many more examples at each of our colleges and certainly more to come.   You can read all of this month's news on our website at In the News.


I would like to extend my congratulations to Dr. Jan Lindsay, President of North Island College, on her appointment to the ACCC Board as the representative for BC and the Yukon. Dr. Lindsay was nominated by Dr. David Ross, President of Langara, who also sits on the board. And, as always, I welcome your feedback.  You can reach me at


Jim Reed
President, BC Colleges

Douglas pioneer in using QR codes in advertising
Douglas College Media Release, November 30, 2010

In an effort to explore new methods for interacting with students, Douglas College today launched an advertising campaign that features QR codes.  A QR - or "Quick Response" - code is a type of barcode that can be read by smart phones or some mobile feature phones with cameras. The information encoded can be text, a URL or other data. "Smart phones are changing the face of marketing," says Dave Taylor, Director of Marketing and Communications at Douglas College. "Today, potential students don't have to wait until they get home to find out more about the college. With smart phones they can get more information instantly."  The current Douglas College ads contain QR codes that, when scanned, take users instantly to the college's Facebook page or to a television commercial showing what the college is like.  Read more.

College and Regional District announce lease agreement to develop $7.8-million community sports facility
Okanagan College Media Release, November 30, 2010

At a joint press conference on Tuesday morning, Okanagan College and the Regional District of the North Okanagan announced a new lease agreement that will allow the partners to move forward with plans to turn 10 acres of College land into a $7.8-million multi-use sports facility that includes an Olympic size rubberized track, artificial playing field and field houses for use by community groups, School District 22 track meets and municipally-hosted events.
The project will need to be approved throughout a series of stages before development begins. The first stop includes approval by the Council of the District of Coldstream, as the proposed project falls within its jurisdiction. With approval from the District, the partners can then apply to the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) for non-conforming use status – the 10 acres on the College site is currently in the Agricultural Land Reserve but has not been used for agricultural purposes since the ALC was established in 1973. If approved by the ALC, the final decision on the project would be made by Greater Vernon residents via a referendum. Read more.

ACCC releases report on colleges' success with Aboriginal graduates
Association of Canadian Community Colleges, November 30, 2010

Colleges have a high success rate in providing advanced skills and relevant training for Aboriginal learners.  Unlike graduation rates from either high school or university, the percentage of Aboriginal people with a college certificate or diploma is on par with the non-Aboriginal population. And the percentage of Aboriginal people in post-secondary education who attend colleges (42%) and technical institutes (20%) is significantly higher than universities (16%). Read more.

Colleges focus on hot areas in IT -Students get the opportunity to do real work in their fields
Globe and Mail Report on Colleges, November 29, 2010

When Lukas Blakk arrived at Seneca College as a student in 2005, she knew little about open source software. She had enrolled at the Toronto-based college expecting to get a programming job in a bank or perhaps start her own business. But Seneca's School of Computer Studies has close ties to the open source software community. Once introduced to the field, Ms. Blakk says, "I immediately steered in that direction and never looked back."  When she graduated from Seneca in 2009, that choice took her to California, where she now works full-time for the Mozilla Foundation, the open-source initiative behind the Firefox web browser and Thunderbird e-mail software. To read more about the Report on Colleges.

Liberal leadership candidate Moira Stilwell eyes student-loan overhaul
The Province, November 29, 2010

B.C.’s student-loan model might be in for an overhaul if MLA Dr. Moira Stilwell becomes the province’s next premier.  As premier, Stilwell said she will reduce the interest rate for student loans to stimulate the economy and develop a skilled and educated labour force. “At the current rate of prime plus 2.5 per cent, the student-loan interest rate is the highest in Canada,” she said Monday.“I believe it should be reduced to no more than prime plus one per cent.”Read more.

Research projects prevent injury in ski and trucking industries
Selkirk College Media Release, November 29, 2010

Selkirk College recently received two large grants on behalf of faculty member Delia Roberts to conduct research projects focusing on injury prevention and performance enhancement for the ski and trucking industries.  Roberts, who holds a PhD in Medical Science from the University of Calgary and teaches in the School of University Arts and Sciences at the college, was successful in her application for a $105,000 operating grant through WorkSafeBC’s "Focus on Tomorrow" research program. Read more.

Ferreras recognized for contribution to Vancouver's music scene
Vancouver Community College Media Release, November 26, 2010

Dean of VCC's School of Music, Dance and Design Salvador Ferreras was recognized Nov. 25 as one of Vancouver's artistic shining lights.  Recipient of the 2010 Mayor's Arts Award for music, Ferreras was hailed not only for his musical ability as a percussionist but also for his work as a promoter, educator and administrator.  "Sal Ferreras is one of Vancouver's great initiators and collaborators – whether he's working with the Persian-based Safa or the Latin-inspired Southern Cross, whether he's playing in a large-ensemble orchestra or band, or working with writers, directing the very popular Literary Cabaret for the Vancouver International Writers Festival,” said master of ceremonies Bill Richardson. Read more.

Accelerating Innovation through Colleges and Institutes
Association of Canadian Community Colleges, November 26, 2010 - Douglas College (pg 7 and 28), Vancouver Community College (pg 6)

ACCC released its 2010 showcase of college applied research and innovation projects today. Accelerating Innovation, Colleges, Institutes and Polytechnics: Applied Research for Economic and Social Development highlights 86 projects that have provided concrete results for businesses and community organizations across the country. From temporary emergency shelters for Haiti hurricane victims to improved methods of filling chocolates, Canada’s 150 colleges, institutes, and polytechnics are undertaking exciting and innovative research to meet the immediate needs of their communities.Read moreRead about Douglas and VCC in the report. 

CNC unveils official Scottish tartan.  CNC board members got their first look at the college’s official tartan Friday, during their board meeting.
College of New Caledonia Media Release, November 26, 2010

CNC instructor Sheldon Clare created and registered the official tartan with The Scottish Register of Tartans and the pattern was unveiled during the board’s regularly scheduled meeting.  “I have often piped for the CNC Convocation and it seemed appropriate to me that the College of New Caledonia should have a tartan of its own considering the area received its name from explorer Simon Fraser,” said Clare, a bagpiper who teaches English at the college. Read more.

New Strategy Addresses B.C.'s Looming Skills Shortage
Ministry of Regional Economic and Skills Development Media Release, November 25, 2010

By 2019, British Columbia will have over a million job openings. Ensuring the province has the skilled workers in place to fill these jobs and flourish economically is the key goal of a new provincial strategy titled Skills for Growth: British Columbia’s Labour Market Strategy to 2020, released today by Regional Economic and Skills Development Minister Ida Chong.  “If we want to maximize our economic potential, B.C. not only needs a highly skilled workforce, but also one with the right skills to match market demands,” said Chong. “Skills for Growth outlines our strategic approach to ensuring we have enough workers, with the right skills, in every region of the province.” Read more.

New President selected for NLC
Northern Lights College Media Release, November 17, 2010

The Northern Lights College Board of Governors is pleased to announce that Laurie Rancourt has been selected as the fourth President of Northern Lights College.  The resident of Sudbury, Ontario, was named the successful candidate for NLC’s Chief Executive Officer position, after a five-month search undertaken by the College’s Board of Governors.  Rancourt will replace D. Jean Valgardson. Valgardson, who is retiring, has been NLC’s President since 2005. Her contract concludes in 2011.  Rancourt’s first day as President of NLC will be Feb. 21, 2011, while Valgardson’s last day will be Jan. 28. Read more.

Camosun and Royal Roads University advance tourism education benefits'
Camosun College Media Release, November 17, 2010

In the spring of 2010, Camosun College, North Island College, Royal Roads University, the University of Victoria and Vancouver Island University signed a memorandum of understanding. The purpose of the agreement is to provide a broader range of learning opportunities and supports to residents and communities of Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and the BC Coastal region through the development of an integrated and synergistic educational strategy.  On November 3, Camosun president Kathryn Laurin and Royal Roads University president Allan Cahoon took another collaborative step, and signed a transfer agreement that will result in complementary tourism educational programming for students of both institutions.  "The Royal Roads and Camosun College partnership responded to the call from government and the private sector to work more collaboratively and effectively in support of the expanding opportunities in British Columbia's growing tourism sector," said RRU president Allan Cahoon. Read more.

Heading to UVic? Start with NIC
North Island College Media Release, November 16, 2010

Students planning to attend the University of Victoria may now begin their studies with North Island College, secure in the knowledge that they have been admitted to UVic and that they may choose to move to Victoria when ready.  North Island College and the University of Victoria (UVic) are pleased to announce the recent signing of a dual admission agreement. Dual admission allows students to be simultaneously admitted and enrolled at both NIC and UVic toward achievement of a baccalaureate degree. Benefits of dual admission include a single application fee, no transcript fees, the possibility of enrolling in courses at both institutions, and the ability to take advantage of all the social and academic resources UVic has to offer.  Read more.

BC committee recommends province reinstate annual capital allowance
Provincial Media Release, November 16, 2010

In a new report on budget consultations, BC's Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services recommends the provincial government begin restoring the annual capital allowance allocation for PSE institutions back to pre-2009 levels. The committee also suggests the province reduce financial barriers to higher education by lowering the interest rate charged on student loans, and by establishing a provincial system of upfront needs-based grants targeted at people who are having difficulty escaping the cycle of poverty. Another recommendation is to examine the feasibility of establishing an engineering program at the University of Northern British Columbia that is appropriate for the northern region. Read the report.

NWCC connects with next generation of students
Northwest Community College Media Release, November 12, 2010

Every fall, the Council of Forest Industries (COFI) Forest Education Program, in partnership with local forest companies, hosts natural resource management career awareness camps to encourage local students in Grades 10-12 to consider forestry related careers. The camp took place Oct. 14-15 near Houston and Smithers.  As it has for a number of years, Northwest Community College (NWCC) had a presence at the camps, with University Credit instructor Rick Budhwa and Regina Saimoto, Campus Principal for NWCC Smithers and Houston campuses, staging workshops related to fisheries and archaeology to 40 high school students from Houston, Smithers and Hazelton. Rob Maurer of NWCC’s School of Exploration & Mining (SEM) also helped out by providing information about SEM to the high school participants.  “This camp is an excellent opportunity for high school students to learn about a number of careers related to forestry and natural resource management by participating in hands-on workshops delivered by local experts,” said Saimoto.Read more.

Studio 58’s Kathryn Shaw named one of BC’s most influential women
Langara Media Release, November 9, 2010

Kathryn Shaw, Artistic Director of Studio 58, was named as one of BC’s 100 most influential women by the Vancouver Sun on October 30, 2010, capping a year of accolades.  Earlier this year, Shaw won the Association of Canadian Community Colleges’ (ACCC) Bronze Teaching Excellence Award for 2009-2010 as well as the Greater Vancouver Professional Theatre Alliance’s (GVPTA) Career Achievement Award. In 2005, she was voted into the BC Entertainment Hall of Fame.  In response to the most recent news, Kathryn responded, “It is a great honour for me to be listed as one of BC’s 100 Women of Influence by the Vancouver Sun. This announcement was a complete surprise and I am somewhat taken aback to find myself in the company of such luminaries as Diana Krall, Sarah McLaughlin, and 97 other outstanding women. I hope my “influence” will continue to inspire our theatre artists of the future. My thanks to those at Studio 58 and in the theatre community who have given me such fantastic support over the years.” Read more.

New Training Partnership Benefits Non-Profits
College of the Rockies Media Release, November 9, 2010

An innovative new training partnership between the College of the Rockies (COTR) and the Kootenay Boundary Community Services Co-operative (Co-op) will bring even more high quality training opportunities to residents living in the east and northeast areas of the Columbia Basin.  In early 2009, the Co-op entered into a three year partnership with Columbia Basin Trust to strengthen community social services throughout the Columbia Basin. "Some of our strategies include professional development of social services staff and developing rural models of service delivery," says Helen Lutz, Member Services Coordinator with the KBCS Co-op in Nelson. "By partnering with College of the Rockies, our ability to develop training opportunities for the community social sector has been enormously strengthened." Read more.

New program brings Elders’ wisdom as a teaching tool
Northwest Community College Media Release, November 5, 2010

Northwest Community College (NWCC) has kicked off a unique program that brings Elders to College campuses in an effort to connect with students and enhance and complement existing resources available to them.  The Elders in Residence program was designed for students by the College’s House of Learning & Applied Research (HLAR), in consultation with Elders. The Elders will enhance the efforts of NWCC student services members, such as First Nations Access Coordinators, Educational Advisors, Learning Assistance Specialists, Accessibility Coordinators, Program Coordinators, and Campus Principals/Managers.  The initiative was launched and celebrated Oct. 20 with a chowder luncheon — cooked and served by Aboriginal culinary arts students and organized by NWCC Student Services. As part of an annual luncheon that brings together students and sponsors, it also gave a chance for Elders to meet them. Read more.

Royal Roads, Camosun to sign program transfer agreements
Camosun Media Release, November 3, 2010

Graduating students from Camosun College's hospitality and tourism-related diploma programs will now be able to complete a bachelor's degree through Royal Roads University's Faculty of Management as a result of a transfer agreement being signed at Camosun's Lansdowne campus today at 2:30 p.m.  Under a new memorandum of understanding between the School of Tourism and Hospitality Management at Royal Roads and Camosun's tourism-focused business diploma programs, students can transfer two years of credit to Royal Roads and complete the Bachelor of Arts in International Hotel Management through either a two-year online, or 12-month on campus program equal to years three and four of a university degree. The agreement extends to Camosun students who have successfully completed diplomas in Business Administration–Tourism Management, Golf Management or Hotel and Restaurant Management, allowing them to transfer directly into the third year of the International Hotel Management program.  Read more.

BC Colleges is a consortium representing BC’s 11 public, community colleges serving almost 250,000 students annually with campuses in close to 70 communities throughout British Columbia. BC’s 11 colleges offer a comprehensive range of programs from university studies and baccalaureate degrees to career, technical and trades education. All 11 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, visit our website.