What's New at BC Colleges: February 10, 2010

Message from Jim Reed - President, BC Colleges

With glowing hearts we are ready to host the world. Millions of people will soon witness the beauty of our province, the warmth of our citizens and our ability to execute an unforgettable Olympic experience. BC’s colleges are proud to be part of the Olympic dream. Our students and staff are organizers, workers, Olympic artists, torch bearers, Olympians and of course, flag waving fans! Congratulations to everyone who has given of their time and energy to help make the Olympic dream a reality.  Read more about our Olympic involvement!

Welcome to our 3rd issue of "What's New at BC Colleges".  Below are some interesting stories compiled from our member colleges during the past month. If you are interested in receiving the report you can sign-up directly on our website.  We welcome your feedback and would be happy to hear from you.  Please feel free to e-mail us at

Jim Reed
President, BC Colleges

Healing Perspectives - A groundbreaking new Indigenous radio show
Camosun College Media Release, February 5, 2010

When Trevor Day first enrolled in the Indigenous Studies Circle Seminar at Camosun College, the last thing he expected was to find himself hosting Healing Perspectives, Village 900’s newest weekly radio program. Now, Trevor and his classmates have teamed up to forge a groundbreaking new show. Healing Perspectives airs at 7pm on Tuesday evenings, and again at 9am on Sunday mornings.  Despite Trevor’s busy school schedule, he makes the time to gather diverse groups of people and co-ordinate the weekly recording sessions. He also made time to take us behind the scenes to explain what the show is about, and how it all began.  “It (the Talking Circle Seminar) was taught by Ruth Lyall last semester, and I found it to be a very powerful experience. I had never participated in a circle before, and I was surprised at how comfortable I felt speaking in front of a large group.”   Read more.

Selkirk Pursues Environmental Sustainability
Selkirk College Media Release, Feb 5, 2010

Selkirk College, along with other educational institutions in North America and the world, is actively pursuing environmental sustainability in all facets of its locations, hoping to reduce its overall impact on the environment. Last year, the Environmental Sustainability (ES) Committee at Selkirk College hired Renewable Resource Instructor Derek Marcoux, along with two students, Suzanne Fordyce and Jeremy Prahl, to provide a “State of the Environment” report which would provide a benchmark set of data, marking the current status of environmental conditions at the campuses located in Castlegar, Trail and Nelson, BC. Areas of energy, emissions, waste, transportation, water, biodiversity, products and services and environmental compliance were researched and included in the study.     Read more.

Government funding for Northwest Community College 2010-2011
Northwest Community College President's Report, Feb 4, 2010

While cuts to discretionary funds continue, the Ministry has worked hard to secure the operating budgets for colleges and institutes for the next three years. Our funding for cyclical maintenance and repairs (referred to as an Annual Capital Allowance or ACA) took a hit however, and will be reduced by 74 per cent. This is a significant reduction for a college that is struggling to maintain 40 year old buildings. Rather than a fund of $824,696 (April 1, 2009), our ACA budget for 2010-11 has been reduced to $214,297. This cutback occurs on the heels of last summer’s reduction of over $200,000—a cut that hurt but was substantially less painful than the one experienced by school districts that lost all of their ACA funding in 2009.  Budget information is still being analyzed for its overall impact. (page 3 of PDF).   Read more.

Double Digit Enrolment Growth at NIC
North Island College Media Release, Feb 3, 2010

Registrations at North Island College have increased by 19%, when compared to figures from the same time last year, while the number of students has increased by 13%. According to Lisa Domae, Vice-President, Student and Educational Services, enrolments have increased across all of North Island College’s major program areas with particularly strong growth in the Academic, Trades, Technical and Tourism, and the Health, Human Services and Applied Business Technology divisions.  NIC is also seeing increasing numbers of students accessing its Adult Upgrading courses as a pathway to university transfer and career oriented studies.  The only area where NIC has not experienced growth is in Apprenticeship training.  “This is a lingering effect of the economic slowdown as employers are less able to take on apprentices,” explains Domae.  “On the flip side, enrolment in our Foundation Trades programs continues to climb as students seek to obtain skills needed for economic growth.”    Read more.

College enrolments continue to climb
Okanagan College Media Release, Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Okanagan College continues to experience growing enrolments at each of its campuses and in many of its program areas.  January enrolment statistics show approximately 5.7 per cent more students – 5,504 – attending the College’s campuses than in January 2009. That represents an increase of 298 more students than the 5,206 registered in 2009.  The students are also taking more courses this semester than they did last year; course registrations are up 10.8 per cent overall from the previous year.  Read more.

CNC’s funding to be cut by more than $1 million
College of New Caledonia Media Release, January 29, 2010

The College of New Caledonia is going to have significant financial challenges to resolve, board members heard Friday as more than $1 million in provincial funding cuts are expected for the next year.  Advanced Education and Labour Market Development Minister Moira Stilwell stated in a letter to the college that its Annual Capital Allowance (ACA) will be reduced in 2010/11 to $374,697, which is $603,938 less than the amount provided in 2009/10 and $1.1 million less than the 2008/09 allocation. ACA funding is used for the costs associated with facilities maintenance, repair, replacement and upgrading of building systems, such as lighting and heating.  Read more. 

Operation Phoenix legacy project: VCC helps give a chance at a new life
Vancouver Community College Media Release,  January 27, 2010

Vancouver Community College has joined with the downtown community court and The Province newspaper in a project that organizers hope will help make a difference in the community, particularly the Downtown Eastside.  VCC -- one of three schools involved -- will provide education and training for six individuals referred through Judge Thomas Gove at the community court, where a problem-solving approach tries to address the health and social problems often underlying crime.  "Some of these folks would benefit from learning a trade that would lead to good employment," Gove says in The Province, which on Sunday announced the initiative in wrapping up its Project Phoenix series covering the Downtown Eastside.  It's a natural fit for the college and its programs, notes Deanna Rexe, VCC's interim vice-president of strategy and enrolment. Read more.

Successful ESL training expanded
Northern Lights College Media Release, Jan 25, 2010

More immigrants and refugees in communities across British Columbia will have access to free English language training programs with this year’s $2-million investment in the English as a Second Language Settlement Assistance Program, announced Moira Stilwell, Minister of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development.  “Developing strong English language skills is the best way for new British Columbians to fully participate in all the social and economic opportunities that our province has to offer”, said Stilwell. “We will continue working with our public post-secondary institutions and our community partners to ensure ESL training is available in communities across the province.”  The English as a Second Language Settlement Assistance Program (ESLSAP) is an innovative way to provide access to language training to recent immigrants and refugees in regional and more remote communities. Funding allows for a co-ordinator to recruit and provide standardized training to volunteer tutors and match those tutors with immigrants who want to improve their English language skills. Tutoring is focused on the learner’s goals and functional language skills that can vary from reading a menu to functioning successfully in a workplace. Read more.

2nd Annual Rethink Scholarship Launched
Langara College Media Release, January 25, 2010

Rethink Communications and Langara College are once again offering an $18,000 scholarship to Langara College's two-year full-time Communication and Ideation (CID) program to aspiring art directors and designers. The CID program focuses on developing creative thinking to produce big ideas. The program is a modern holistic educational approach to the graphic design, art direction, advertising and creative industries. To enter the contest, submit a black hard cover sketchbook containing interesting ideas showcasing your creativity. Winner will be selected by Rethink according to the following criteria: clarity, relevance, fresh thinking, as well as quality of ideas, craft, and execution.  Read more.

Five public post-secondary institutions sign agreement
College Media Releases, Jan 24, 2010

The five public post-secondary institutions providing education and training to British Columbia’s Southern Interior are joining forces to collaborate on new training opportunities and services. Leaders from the College of the Rockies, Selkirk College, Okanagan College, University of British Columbia Okanagan and Thompson Rivers University recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that links the institutions to create better integration of the learning opportunities and services for citizens of the Southern Interior.  Together, the five institutions serve a population of more than 720,000 people in the interior, and collectively educated more than 73,000 students in 2008-09. Selkirk College accounted for over 12,000 students; almost 5,000 were registered in full time programs and another 7,000 enrolled in continuing education courses.  Read more.

College becomes Partner #50 with the East Kootenay Conservation Program
College of the Rockies Media Release, Jan 21, 2010

College of the Rockies and the East Kootenay Conservation Program have joined together to benefit conservation in the Kootenays. The College has the distinction of being the 50th organization to partner with the EKCP.  "We are very pleased to be working with the EKCP to help sustain a healthy environment in this special area of the world," said Dr. Cooper. "Our faculty, staff and students care very much about the water, the land and the things that live here and we recognize the importance of a healthy environment to a healthy economy. "This partnership also fits very well with our new Environmental Studies certificate program which offers a diverse education in environmentally-focused arts and sciences courses," said Dr. Cooper. "We also have a new Bachelor's degree in Sustainable Business Practices that we expect to offer as early as fall 2010."  Read more.

Douglas College gets access to federal research funds
Douglas College Media Release, Jan 13, 2010

Expect to see more research come out of Douglas College, now that it is eligible to compete for and administer funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).  NSERC, with an annual budget greater than $1B, promotes and supports ‘discovery research’ and encourages Canadian companies to participate and invest in post secondary research projects. Achieving NSERC eligibility status is a very significant step for Douglas College, says Dean of Science and Technology Thor Borgford.  “It recognizes the enormous potential that Douglas College and its faculty have to contribute to the prosperity of Canada through research and innovation. It gives my faculty the opportunity to apply for NSERC funding and sets the stage for the College to develop research programs in pure and applied sciences and engineering,” says Borgford.  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 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.