What's New at BC Colleges: March 11, 2011

Message from Jim Reed - President, BC Colleges

BC Colleges congratulates Premier-designate Christy Clark.  We are looking forward to working with Premier Clark and her Executive Council to strengthen the post-secondary system in BC.  Over the coming decade BC will face significant labour market challenges in both urban and rural areas.  With campuses in close to 70 communities, BC's colleges are uniquely positioned to support the regional economic health of the province.  Students can be educated close to home, with family support nearby. After graduation, many college students choose to stay and work in their local community further strengthening the area.  As we face the economic challenges ahead it is crucial that we collaborate to ensure we can meet the demand for well-educated, highly skilled, job-ready graduates in all regions of BC.

It’s been an incredibly busy time at BC’s 11 public colleges.  Each month I try to select articles to provide a glimpse of what’s happening at colleges throughout the province.  This was a challenge this month. Not only were there more articles than usual but, the scope of the coverage was very diverse.  To get the full news picture please visit "In the News".

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

Jim Reed
President, BC Colleges

Langara receives $148,500 in grants for online initiatives

Langara College Media Release, March 10, 2011
BC Campus’ Online Program Development Fund (OPDF) has awarded Langara College two grants. The first grant valued at $105,000, shared with the College of the Rockies, Douglas College, and Camosun College, will be used to collaboratively develop upper level BBA courses for online delivery. The second grant valued at $43,500, shared with the College of the Rockies and the University of Northern British Columbia, will be used to develop a situated learning environment with mobile technologies. Read more about the BC Campus Fund

New funding for innovation: Camosun bridges research and community:“Camosun” and “innovation” are becoming even more entwined.

Camosun Media Release, March 4, 2011
“We are on the leading innovative edge,” says Dr. Tim Walzak, Director of Camosun’s Centre for Applied Research and Innovation (CRI). “And our new SSHRC status is federal confirmation of that fact.” The college has just been granted eligibility to access research funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). Combined with the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) funding Camosun has been able to access over the last three years, Camosun is set to leverage huge opportunities. These funds will not only enhance the student experience during a leaner economy, but also support new levels of innovation within the greater community. Read more.

Aboriginal learners pursue health care jobs

Vancouver Community College Media Release, March 3, 2011

They have grown wings to fly. Vancouver Community College celebrates the success of a program designed to encourage Aboriginals to train for careers in the health care sector. The Aboriginal Gateway to Health Careers program guided three separate groups of classmates through a 16 week exploration of careers in health care. Since the program's successful conclusion, many students have moved onto further learning opportunities in fields like nursing, early childhood education, counselling, and health administration. "We were caterpillars when we began," said third cohort valedictorian Kelly Lawson. "We have been able to attain all we need for the next stage of our educational lives and we have grown our wings to fly." 'Transformation' was the theme of Lawson's celebratory address to her classmates, in which she paid tribute to all their accomplishments. Read more.

Northwest Community College (NWCC) welcomes Dr. Denise Henning as its new president and CEO on March 1, 2011.

Northwest Community College Media Release, March 1, 2011

Dr. Henning comes to NWCC from University College of the North (UCN) in Manitoba where she served as president and vice-chancellor since 2006. Dr. Henning is recognized as a leader in post-secondary education. Faculty, author and administrator, she’s researched such topics as Aboriginal graduate student persistence and completion, Aboriginal women's issues, and reducing traditional barriers to success for Aboriginal students in mathematics, science and literacy. Dr. Henning’s experience and strengths will be a welcome benefit to NWCC, which counts Aboriginals as nearly half its student body and is already a recognized leader in Aboriginal education. Read more.

Douglas College enhances opportunities for community partnerships

Douglas College Media Release, March 1, 2011

Douglas College has been approved by the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) to apply for research grants to support applied research and innovation with partners in the community. CFI grants are awarded for innovative research projects. One example is the College-Industry Innovation fund, established in December, to support business innovations.  "Achieving CFI eligibility status is a significant step for Douglas College and has involved the work of many people," says Kathy Denton, Vice President, Academic, at Douglas College. "If we are successful in obtaining CFI funding, we can increase research infrastructure in the College and create opportunities for faculty and students to conduct applied research to meet the needs of our community partners."  Read more.

COTR’s Nation Rebuilding program starts in September

College of the Rockies Media Release, February 28, 2011

A new partnership program between College of the Rockies (COTR) and the Ktunaxa Nation in southeastern BC is helping to develop the next generation of Aboriginal leaders. Nation Rebuilding: Planning for Indigenous Government is geared toward adult Aboriginal learners from a variety of backgrounds. The one-year certificate program helps prepare them for work in First Nations communities and intergovernmental environments as leaders, managers, staff and consultants. Dean of Instruction Dr. Laura Cooper noted, "This program has resulted from COTR's close working relationship with Ktunaxa Nation in the development and delivery of meaningful and relevant education. When the students have completed this program they should have the knowledge and applied skills to assist with planning for governance.  Read more.

Trades Training Facility Brings Opportunity to Valley

Media Release Ministry of Regional Economic and Skills Development, February 25, 2011

A new $8.2-million Trades Training Centre at North Island College (NIC) has officially opened its doors to students and faculty, providing the North Island’s apprentices an educational opportunity that is not only closer to home but at one of the best-equipped trades training facilities in the province. “Our government has invested in innovation and infrastructure to improve the quality of life for Canadians and set the foundation for economic prosperity,” said the Honourable John Duncan, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, MP for Vancouver Island North. “This investment created jobs for people at a critical period while improving the infrastructure that North Island College will need for years to come.” “This is a very impressive and vital facility that will benefit apprenticeship students, employers and residents of the Comox Valley and North Island both now and in the future,” said Don McRae, MLA for Comox Valley. “This is also one of the greenest buildings in the valley, and I commend North Island College for their commitment to environmental sustainability.” Read more.

Western Coal contributes $15,000 to Aboriginal Gathering Space project in ChetwyndNorthern Lights College Media Release, February 25, 2011
A $15,000 contribution from Western Coal Corp. will help to furnish the new Aboriginal Gathering Space being constructed at the Chetwynd Campus of Northern Lights College (NLC). During a presentation ceremony on Feb. 22, Keith Calder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Western Coal, explained that providing support to this new facility was one that made sense to his company. “When you go off to school and enter into a new environment, it can be quite intimidating. To have a place that can act as a sanctuary can make a big difference,” Calder said. “Being able to get together and support one another in a comfortable environment allows you to succeed, and this Gathering Space will promote the degree of success that young Aboriginal students have at Northern Lights College.” Read more.CNC board approves five-year strategic planCollege of New Caledonia Media Release. February 25, 2011
CNC’s board approved a new strategic plan Friday that defines the College’s priorities, goals and guiding principles for the next five years. CNC’s Strategic Plan, 2011-2015: Our Charter of Expectations and Commitments outlines six priorities and 18 goals the College will be following in support of its mission, mandate and vision.  “The strategic plan is intended to identify what will be significantly different, changed and improved over the five-year planned period. It cannot, and does not, touch on every aspect of the College’s operations,” CNC President John Bowman said in the report. Read more.Kayfish and Styffe to lead College BoardOkanagan College Media Release, February 14, 2011
Lance Kayfish has been re-elected to a one-year term as Chair of the Okanagan College Board of Governors, while the South Okanagan’s Tom Styffe was chosen as the new Vice Chair. Kayfish and Styffe were elected at the Board’s regular meeting in January. Kayfish has served on the College Board since 2007, became Chair in 2010, and is a risk management expert with the City of Kelowna. He holds baccalaureate degrees in both commerce and political science. Styffe joined the College Board in January 2010 and was appointed to a one-year term. He was reappointed in December and replaces Yvonne Pinder as Vice Chair. Read more.Teck serves Selkirk studentsSelkirk College Media Release, February 7, 2011
A new partnership between Teck Metals Ltd. Trail Operations and Selkirk College called “TeckServ” has created an annual fund to provide support for Selkirk College students to undertake local community-based research projects.  The funding is intended to support students to work on research projects that are part of community and economic development initiatives at the community or regional level. Teck has provided $75,000 in funding to support these projects. This funding adds to Teck Resources Ltd.'s ongoing commitment to Selkirk College, its students and the communities in the region.“The objectives of the 'TeckServ' program are to provide students with the opportunity to develop as citizens and to build confidence, competence and capacity while serving their local community,” says Regional Innovation Research Chair George Penfold. Read more.Make post-secondary education a priorityOp Ed, Jim Reed, Times Colonist February 6, 2011
It's time to consider a bold, aggressive commitment to post-secondary education in British Columbia. B.C. is transitioning toward a knowledge-based economy and it's predicted more than 600,000 college graduates will be required in the next decade. This will result in a massive skills shortage, one that 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 avoid this crisis. Read more.BCCP_VERT_RGB.jpgBC 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.