What's New at BC Colleges: June 12, 2012

Message from Jim Reed - President, BC Colleges

It’s an exciting time of year for colleges and students throughout BC. Convocation ceremonies dot calendars throughout the province as thousands of students are recognized for their dedication and hard work. Some celebrations have already occurred and many are scheduled during the coming weeks.

When I read about the terrific things happening throughout the college system in BC, I'm struck by the transformative power of a college education.  Colleges offer quality, career-oriented education and training and position our graduates to meet the demands of the constantly evolving knowledge-based economy.  It truly can be life changing.

The power of education is demonstrated through stories like Sarita Cabrera Mendo's. Sarita moved to BC from Mexico with a dream of working in accounting.  When she arrived she couldn't speak English. Sarita is this year's winner of the Lewis Rosenbloom Scholarship for an English as a second language (ESL) student at Vancouver Community College. Speaking from the podium she said, “When I came here, I didn't know any English. Today I speak much better, it’s a little broken sometimes, but I can read and write very well. Thank you, VCC.”

At Okanagan College more than 1,600 students were recognized at convocation ceremonies held at the Kelowna campus. One family has a special reason to celebrate. Two Salmon Arm sisters graduated with top honours for their outstanding academic achievements. Both women received their diplomas in Business Administration and both plan to pursue careers in accounting. 

Eight students have become the first graduates of Langara’s Bachelor of Recreation Management (BRM) Program – the only two-year degree completion program of its kind in Canada. The unique BRM degree combines recreation courses and business courses together into one program to build on students’ understandings of community, recreation, business, and management theory.

Our colleges are also making strides to ensure students can attend college regardless of where they live. The Tourism and Recreation Management program at College of the Rockies is being offered entirely online starting in September. This will not replace the face-to-face program at the Cranbrook Campus but will offer students a new opportunity to study on their own time from anywhere.  And, Camosun's unique E-PPRENTICE Flexible Learning for Professional Cook Training, received the Association of Canadian Community Colleges’ 2012 Gold Program Excellence Award. Camosun was recognized for its innovative distance delivery of the Professional Cook apprenticeship program, signalling a possible revolution in how trades training is delivered in British Columbia.  While on the topic of ACCC awards, BC's Charmaine Waters, Vancouver Community College, received the ACCC Silver Award of Excellence for Student Leadership and Kyleen Myrah, Okanagan College, received the Silver Award of Excellence for teaching.

BC Colleges wants to celebrate our current college students, our graduates, our alumni, our instructors and educators and, of course, our 11 member institutions located in almost 70 communities throughout BC. At BC Colleges we are proud to be part of the educational success of our students, helping to put them on a path to a successful future.

Congratulations to all of this year's graduates and good luck in your future. To read all of the news from our 11 member colleges please check out "In the News" at and please read on to discover this month's college news highlights.

All the best for a wonderful summer,
Jim Reed
President, BC Colleges

Salmon Arm sisters earn top academic awards at Convocation
Okanagan College Media Release, June 08, 2012

It’s all in the family for two Salmon Arm sisters who graduated from Okanagan College this past weekend with top honours for their outstanding academic achievements. Fairley received the Governor General’s Collegiate Bronze Medal with a graduating grade average of 95.27 per cent – the highest achievement of any full-time Okanagan College graduate of an associate degree or diploma program this year.Meanwhile, Pickard received Okanagan College’s President’s Award in recognition of her 92.38 per cent graduating grade average. Two such awards go to students with the highest grades excluding the Collegiate Bronze Medal. The two women received their diplomas in Business Administration and both plan to pursue careers in accounting. They were among 1,600 students recognized at Okanagan College’s Spring Convocation ceremonies held at the Kelowna campus. Read more.

Langara’s Recreation Management Degree Program Welcomes First Graduates
Langara College Media Release,June 7, 2012

Eight students have become the first graduates of Langara’s Bachelor of Recreation Management (BRM) Program – the only two-year degree completion program of its kind in Canada. The accomplishment was celebrated at a convocation ceremony on June 6, with the attending graduates congratulated on stage by College President Dr. David Ross. As the program is mainly online it was the first time the graduating students had met in person, and they took the opportunity to celebrate the unique relationships they had developed during the course of their studies. “One of the most memorable highlights from the BRM program would have to be the online discussions in each recreation class,” said graduate Courtney Cohen. “Throughout the semesters you connect with your classmates online, in structured discussions, but you also get to give personal examples, which allows the online learner to relate to each student on a personal level.” Read more.

West Fraser Mills Ltd. signs partnership with CNC Quesnel
College of New Caledonia Media Release, June 5, 2012

West Fraser Mills Ltd. signed an education partnership agreement with CNC Tuesday, which will lead to local training opportunities for West Fraser employees as well as increased access to programs for students in north-central B.C. The agreement means CNC’s Quesnel campus will become the “College of Choice” for West Fraser Mills employees.“We will collaborate with West Fraser Mills on designing and delivering programs to meet industry-related needs such as millwrights,” said Doug Larsen, CNC Quesnel Regional Director.  “We will also provide continuing education courses and credentials designed to accommodate industry needs and employee growth.” Read more.

Douglas College awards highest honour to New Westminster eye doctor
Douglas College Media Release, June 6, 2012

A New Westminster eye doctor who has provided free surgery and eyeglasses for thousands of needy people around the world has been selected as the recipient of Douglas College's highest distinction - Honorary Fellowship. For more than 25 years, Dr. David Neima has volunteered in Mexico, China, Vietnam, Uganda, Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo, where he has trained surgeons, helped equip clinics, performed free eye surgery and provided glasses to people in need. He also monitors and raises funds for eye camps in India, where more than 45,000 cataract surgeries have been performed. For the past 12 years, he has run free eye screening clinics at Sikh temples in the Lower Mainland for new immigrants. Read more.

College of the Rockies' Tourism Management goes online
College of the Rockies Media Release, June 5, 2012

The Tourism and Recreation Management program at College of the Rockies is being offered entirely online starting in September. This will not replace the face-to-face program at the Cranbrook Campus but will offer students a new opportunity to study on their own time from anywhere. “The major advantage for students is that they do not have to leave their jobs in order to obtain the certificate or diploma in tourism and recreation management,” noted Grant Unger, instructor and program coordinator. “They can study full time or part time, which makes it more attractive to people working in the industry for promotion or advancement purposes. It may also be of interest to international students." Read more.

E-PPRENTICE program takes gold: Camosun's revolutionary program tops at ACCC national conference
Camosun College Media Release, June 5, 2012

Camosun College's trail-blazing program, E-PPRENTICE Flexible Learning for Professional Cook Training, received the Association of Canadian Community Colleges’ 2012 Gold Program Excellence Award at a national conference held in Halifax, May 29. College president Kathryn Laurin accompanied principle instructional designer Jen Stein to the Halifax conference to accept the award on behalf of Camosun. Camosun was recognized for its innovative distance delivery of the Professional Cook apprenticeship program, signalling a possible revolution in how trades training is delivered in British Columbia. "The most powerful thing about this program is the integration of practical and technical training that connects geographically dispersed learners in the workplace with master teachers at Camosun," says Stein. "The result is a dynamic virtual learning community unique to the E-PPRENTICE experience. Because the technical training takes place over a period of months instead of intensive six-week class-bound sessions—the norm for traditional trades training—students have the time to learn and apply new skills in the workplace, under the guidance of sponsor employers. Ultimately, this program helps apprentices truly engage with their learning." Read more.

Colleges play key role in B.C.'s new International Education Strategy
Vancouver Community College Media Release. May 30, 2012

Vancouver Community College, a cosmopolitan post-secondary institution with more than 23,000 students, has an important role to play in British Columbia's new International Education Strategy, which opens doors for more international students to study in B.C. “VCC’s internationalization strategy has a dual focus,” said Bill Radford, VCC vice-president, community and advancement. “On one hand, we provide students with the skills they need to be successful in an increasingly globalized world. We also aim to recruit students who not only contribute to the international nature of the VCC experience, but who may also choose to stay in Canada to work temporarily or become Canadian citizens down the road.” Read more.

Selkirk College Successfully Opens the Aboriginal Gathering Place in Castlegar
Selkirk College Media Release, May 28, 2012

In June of 2010 Selkirk College marked the beginning of construction on their Castlegar campus Aboriginal Gathering Place with a ceremonial blessing and ground breaking. On May 24, 2012 they celebrated the official opening of the facility with over 100 invited guests in attendance. “The Gathering Place project was initiated over three years ago with a successful proposal to Government. The project has always been grounded in the vision of a better college for Aboriginal learners, about the connection between celebrating culture and access to post-secondary education.” Selkirk College President, Angus Graeme goes on to say, “The Gathering Place is critical to building and strengthening relationships in the wider Aboriginal community that the college serves including partner governments, Aboriginal post-secondary institutions, and community service providers. Today was a very important day for Selkirk College. We’re so honoured to be working with our partners to support more meaningful access to post-secondary education.” Read more.

Camosun given provincial go-ahead to propose renewed trades facilities
Camosun College Media Release, May 23, 2012

The Ministry of Advanced Education has given Camosun the go-ahead to develop a comprehensive business case for the renewal of trades facilities at Interurban campus. The announcement was made this morning by Advanced Education Minister Naomi Yamamoto and Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development Ida Chong in front of a crowd of trades students, faculty and staff in the Heavy Duty shop."Camosun College can now advance to the next phase in its plans to renew its trades program facilities as it prepares to train a new generation of B.C.'s skilled work force," said Advanced Education Minister Naomi Yamamoto. "Responsible investments like this one ensure current and future students have the quality programs, facilities and opportunities they need to succeed in their studies and careers, and I look forward to continuing discussions with the college on the proposed project."Read more.

NIC and VIHA announce Health Partnership and Program Funding Agreement
North Island College Media Release, May 22, 2012

North Island College (NIC) and the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) are pleased to announce the signing of a Health Education Partnership and Program Funding Agreement, which will see VIHA transfer up to $2.75 million in funding to NIC over a minimum 10-year period to support development and delivery of rural health programming to meet the specific needs of this region. Specifically, VIHA will transfer $200,000 annually over two consecutive five-year terms for the purpose of assisting NIC to establish a Centre of Excellence for Rural Healthcare Education to serve as a model for British Columbia.  Following the first five-year term a review will take place to evaluate goals, benefits and outcomes, adjust goals as required, and finalize terms of the second five-year funding period. Read more.

Harper Government Supports Jobs and Growth in Northern B.C. with Mobile Training Program
Western Economic Diversification News Release, May 22, 2012

Today, the Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification (WD), announced federal funding for Northwest Community College (NWCC) to expand heavy equipment operator training across the region.  "Today’s announcement is an excellent example of how our Government is working to create jobs, growth, and long-term prosperity in Western Canada," said Minister Yelich. "Thanks to this investment, we are ensuring our northern communities have access to the essential equipment and programs they need to capitalize on their economic opportunities."  Read more.

One-time funding allocation for programs at NLC
Northern Lights Media Release, May 16, 2012

Northern Lights College will receive $900,336 as part of the one-time $10 million investment from the Province to help 16 public post-secondary institutions provide skills training and prepare workers for jobs in their regions. Find out why this matters.  Read more.

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BC Colleges is a consortium representing BC’s 11 public, community colleges serving more than 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 .