What's New at BC Colleges: January 12, 2011

Message from Jim Reed - President, BC Colleges

Welcome to a New Year and this month’s edition of What's New at BC Colleges.  2011 heralds a year of change in British Columbia and with it opportunity. Next month the Liberal party will choose a new leader (and Premier) and a new NDP leader will be elected in April. With new political leadership comes a chance to consider a bold and aggressive commitment to post-secondary education in British Columbia.  A commitment that will help safeguard the economic prosperity of our province.

By 2019, it is predicted that more than 600,000 college graduates will be needed in British Columbia. This - combined with the tsunami of baby-boomers poised to retire - will result in a skills shortage if we continue with the status quo. A skills shortage can only be avoided by graduating more British Columbians with job-ready skills. Increased investment in post-secondary education is a crucial step that must be taken now to avert this imminent skills shortage.

Leadership candidates and those who want to position British Columbia to take advantage of global economic opportunities must consider investment in BC’s colleges as a cornerstone to any policy platform.  Continued and increased investment in our colleges will be key to our future economic success. By supporting accessible, affordable and job-appropriate education, leaders will ensure that we have the skilled workforce needed to drive a sustainable economy; an economy that can support the social safety net we value in this province.

It’s an effort and initiative that has to include all regions of this province. That’s where the strength of BC’s colleges comes in to play.

Colleges are key to regional economic and skills development in BC. With campuses and learning centres in almost 70 communities, colleges have a unique regional perspective and first-hand knowledge of the needs of local industry and employers.  Add in a long history of collaboration with industry, government and other post-secondary institutions, and the result is the creation of programs that meet the unique needs of each region in the province. Ultimately this leads to stronger and healthier communities.

BC’s colleges support and strengthen every community in the province as the primary providers of skills training and education for all, including traditionally under-represented groups such as Aboriginal, immigrant and disabled students. With smaller class sizes and more individual attention, students at BC’s colleges achieve higher completion rates.  Plus, with the ability to transfer between institutions, there is greater flexibility in obtaining the right training and education. The result?  Students get affordable, accessible and job-appropriate training and education close to home.

Within the next decade, British Columbia needs skilled graduates to fill 600,000 jobs. We need to ensure there is capacity for more British Columbians to pursue a college education and graduate with the right skills and training. Colleges will need additional investment and support from government to satisfy this demand. With increased investment, colleges can increase education and training opportunities, modernize equipment and facilities, improve transition rates between secondary and post-secondary institutions, collaborate with universities and other colleges and work with industry and employers to meet the changing needs of BC’s economy. Without it we turn our back on an opportunity to anticipate and address the province’s skills shortage.

We believe it’s time to put college education at the top of the list. The future prosperity of our province depends on the action we take today.

Below are examples of how BC's colleges are partnering, collaborating, creating new programs and adapting to prepare British Columbians with the job-ready skills necessary to power BC's economy today and in the future.

Jim Reed
President, BC Colleges
NWCC names Dr. Denise Henning as next president and CEO
Northwest Community College Media Release, January 10, 2011

The Board of Governors of Northwest Community College(NWCC) is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Denise Henning as the institution’s new president and CEO. She will assume her position on March 1. Dr. Henning comes to NWCC from University College of the North (UCN) where she served as president and vice-chancellor since 2006. UCN, based in The Pas, Manitoba, has two main campuses and 12 regional centres, nine of which are in First Nations communities. “I am passionate about equity and inclusion in higher education and look forward to building relationships at the College and in the communities we serve so that NWCC can continue its journey of transformational change,” Henning said. Read more.

College president has big plans for Douglas
Tri-City News , January 9, 2011 

Douglas College wants to be the biggest college in the province and intends to reach that target in four years, according to college president Scott McAlpine. McAlpine made the rounds of Metro Vancouver city councils in late 2010, touting his five-year strategic plan to make Douglas the "largest and most progressive baccalaureate degree-granting college in British Columbia" by 2015. His last stop was Port Moody city hall, where he presented council his ambitious six-point strategy, laying out how the college plans to appeal to the Lower Mainland's older and foreign-born residents to meet its enrolment goals as the province's largest college. Reaching out to this "non-traditional" college demographic was just one facet of the school's plan. Read more.

Langara Students' Union Building receives Honourable Mention from national design organization
Langara College Media Release, January 7, 2011

Langara's Students' Union Building (SUB) recently turned one year old and now has another reason to celebrate. It received an Honourable Mention from the 2010 Design Exchange Awards (DXA) in the 'Architecture – Commercial' category.  Langara College and the architectural firms of Teeple Architects Inc. and IBI/HB Architects were recognized for their excellent design work on the new SUB. Built to LEED Gold standards, the state-of-the-art building reflects Langara's sustainability initiatives. It boasts several energy saving features, including an innovative geo-exchange heating and cooling system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Officially opened in November 2009, the SUB features a learning and gathering place for Aboriginal culture and history, a Women's Centre, restaurant, café and expanded lounge and study space.  Read more.

Camosun eyes growth on West Shore
Goldstream News Gazette, January 6, 2011

Camosun College is making inroads to the West Shore - expanding course offerings and exploring the idea of a satellite campus. In January, five university-transferable Camosun courses will be offered through the WestShore Centre for Learning and Training. "You get everything you'd get coming to Camosun, except the commute," said Stan Chung, dean of arts and science. "It's the same small class sizes, around 30 students, and the same curriculum." Camosun began offering classes in the West Shore in September. Its initial two classes filled up. "We wanted to put our feelers out and see what type of interest we'd get," Chung explained. "We weren't disappointed." Now talks are underway to establish a satellite campus for Camosun on the West Shore. Tom Roemer, vice president of strategic development, noted one in nine students at the college commute from the West Shore. Read more.

New Paramedic program at College
College of the Rockies Media Release, January 5, 2011

College of the Rockies is offering the very first full-time Primary Care Paramedic program in the East Kootenay starting Monday, March 7. Currently, anyone wishing to take this type of training would have to travel to Kelowna, Vancouver or Victoria. In response to strong demand, College of the Rockies will be offering a full-time Primary Care Paramedic program in March. Dean of Instruction Ron McRae noted: "With the chronic shortage of trained paramedics in the pre-hospital field provincially and globally, it seemed timely to provide this training in the East Kootenay to meet the growing demand. "The program covers the complex skills that enable a paramedic to function independently in the world of pre-hospital care and is governed by provincial licensing bodies. This level of PCP is recognized nationally and internationally," McRae added. Read more.

Stilwell promises $10 million for Revelstoke rescue training centre if elected head of B.C. Libs
The Province, January 4, 2011

B.C. Liberal leadership hopeful Moira Stilwell wants Revelstoke to become a mecca for mountain search and rescue training. Stilwell announced the latest plank in her campaign platform on Monday. She pledged $10 million of provincial money to establish a Mountain Search and Rescue Training Institute on the Revelstoke campus of Okanagan College if she becomes her party’s leader on Feb. 26, which would make her B.C.’s next premier. “Revelstoke is the heart of Western Canada’s winter recreation region,” Stilwell told The Province. Read more.

Power Engineering to be offered at NLC’s Fort Nelson Campus
Northern Lights College Media Release, December 16, 2010

Residents of northeastern British Columbia will be the major beneficiaries of a training partnership between Northeast Aboriginal Skills Employment Project (NEASEP), Encana Corporation, Spectra Energy and Northern Lights College (NLC).  Residents of the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality will have a priority opportunity to complete training in NLC’s Power Engineering and Gas Processing program at the College’s Fort Nelson Campus. The program is slated to start in February 2011, with a mandatory upgrading component for all students. The upgrading will focus on completing the Basic Mathematics and Physical Science Workbook for Power Engineering, and will be completed prior to the start of the regular Power Engineering program. Read more.

Students speak positively about NIC culture program
Ha-Shilth-Sa Newspaper, December 16, 2010

A program at North Island College offered in the small community of Tsaxana near Gold River is challenging students while helping to move them closer to realizing their dreams. Tim Johnson is one such student. He is taking Cultural Heritage Resource Management 120 and 130, while upgrading his English proficiency and getting credits for English II and 12. The cultural heritage courses teach about Aboriginal people around the world, and help to develop an under- standing about cultural tourism products and creating businesses around those products. Johnson has worked in the past with some of Mowachaht's tourism-related business, and he hopes to contribute his newly-acquired skills to one day grow those and other business owned by the nation. Read more.

Seats available for high school students in CNC’s CTC program
College of New Caledonia Media Release, December 15, 2010

There are still seats available in CNC’s Career Technical Centre program, which allows high school students to collect college and high school credits at the same time. The next 10-month CTC program begins in February, 2011. The CTC program is a partnership between CNC and School District 57 that gives high school students a unique opportunity to graduate with not only their high school diploma, but their first-year certificate in technical training. “They will earn dual credit,” said Tim Power, CTC co-ordinator. “They can earn 40 to 48 of their Grade 12 elective credits here as well as their first-year apprenticeship.” Read more.

Positive Space scholarship announced
Vancouver Community College Media Release, December 14, 2010

Students of Vancouver Community College who show leadership in promoting sexual and gender diversity can now apply for a financial helping hand.  VCC's Positive Space scholarship was launched last week with the first award winner to be announced in the spring of 2011. "We want the GLBT community to be supported at VCC and, like all students, feel welcomed, respected and safe at VCC campuses and in our classrooms," says VCC president Kathy Kinloch. Read more.

Selkirk College TRIUMFs in physics research
Selkirk College Media Release, December 7, 2010

Selkirk College has joined forces with TRIUMF—a consortium of 15 universities in Canada whose purpose is to conduct world-class experimental research in subatomic physics and nuclear medicine and to commercialize its spin-off technologies.  Housed at University of British Columbia’s campus in Vancouver, TRIUMF is one of the world’s leading subatomic physics laboratories. It has partnerships and collaborations with researchers from across Canada and around the world.  It usually costs thousands of dollars and about 2 years of advanced planning to book an experiment in TRIUMF’s research facility. One of their latest developments, a new form of superconducting linear accelerator (linac), is budgeted at about $60 million. Read more.

Prince Rupert resident NWCC’s new board chair
Northwest Community College Media Release, December 07, 2010

Long time Prince Rupert resident Rhoda Witherly is the new Chair of Northwest Community College’s (NWCC) Board of Governors, replacing Irene Seguin.  Witherly has been Prince Rupert’s community representative on the NWCC Board of Governors since 2007 and brings a wealth of experience to the board. She was a Prince Rupert city councillor for eight years and was a director with the Skeena Queen Charlotte Regional District. As a community volunteer, she was on the building committee for the Lester Centre for the Performing Arts, has been a director of the Museum of Northern British Columbia, served on several health organizations and chairs the city heritage committee.  Witherly is a past chairperson of the Prince Rupert Port Authority, a past director of Ridley Terminals Inc. and a former panel member on the Urban Transportation Showcase program, a national program highlighting green transportation initiatives. 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.