What's New at BC Colleges: March 14, 2012

Message from Jim Reed - President, BC Colleges

This month as I reviewed the many articles and news releases from our 11 member colleges three words stood out - Competition, Recognition and Support.

 It's fair to say that the competitive spirit is alive and well at BC Colleges. This Spring our students are participating in events such as business and market research competitions, regional Skills BC events and competitions designed to improve healthcare practices in Canada. Some of these events lead to province-wide and, in some cases, national events. Good luck to all of the competitors. You do a tremendous job representing BC Colleges.

Recognition: This month many of our instructors were recognized for their excellence and leadership.

  • Frances Greenslade, an author and Engish Teacher at Okanagan College, was recognized for her book, Shelter, which was recently nominated for the prestigious Ethel Wilson B.C. Book Prize.

  • Vancouver Community College instructor, Joe Geluch, and the company he co-founded, Naikoon Contracting Ltd., won a 2011 Georgie Awardfor best single-family detached home up to 2,000 square feet and under $350,000. His winning home has a Built Green Gold designation, boasting such features as a 4,100 litre rainwater collection tank, Energy Star appliances, a high-efficiency fireplace, and solar energy capabilities.

  • Nine Selkirk College faculty and staff members were recognized as some of the best in their field across the country with nominations for awards from the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD).

  • Langara College Vice-President Academic and Provost, Dr. Martin Gerson, was honoured with an international award for leadership. Dr. Gerson is the recipient of the 2012 Idahlynn Karre International Exemplary Leadership Award by The Chair Academy, a collegial organization dedicated to advancing academic and administrative leadership skills in post-secondary institutions worldwide. Congratulations to all the winners.

Support: Support is definitely a two-way street.  Our colleges supported many and many, in turn, supported our colleges.

  • Selkirk College and University of Victoria Nursing students are improving the health of Kootenay-Boundary residents by offering free "Health Fairs for All Ages" throughout the region.

  • Two North Island College international students are helping UNICEF Canada raise funds to install water pumps in communities around the world where there is a lack of clean and safe drinking water.

  • Camosun students are hosting a Sustainability Day to share ideas, celebrate achievements and spark solutions for sustainable living

  • Students from Selkirk College’s School of Industry and Trades training recently helped make the Castlegar community stronger by helping with aHabitat for Humanity West Kootenay project.

  • North Island College’s carpentry foundation students designed, built, stained, and helped deliver a new garden shed and playhouse to 265 elementary students in Port Alberni.

What goes around comes around.  This month alone we saw the following companies and groups support BC Colleges:

I would like to thank the many individuals and companies that support the college system in BC. Your support means that we can continue to offer the training and education necessary to provide the job-ready, career oriented graduates that BC needs now and in the coming decade.

For a full list of this month's news,  please check out  "In the News" on the BC Colleges website. Below are news highlights from each of our 11 member colleges. As always, I welcome your feedback, you can reach me by e-mail.

Jim Reed, President BC Colleges

Douglas College Presents Research on Eco-friendly Pest Control
Douglas College Media Release, March 12, 2012

Douglas College will present its research on non-chemical, ecologically friendly approaches to pest control in B.C. agriculture at a free public talk Thursday, March 22. What's eating you? Biological control of insect pests in B.C. greenhouses takes place at 3pm in room 2201 at the New Westminster Campus and will be presented by Rob McGregor, head of the college's Institute of Urban Ecology. McGregor will discuss research done over the past two years at Douglas College on organisms which may be effective in controlling pests in B.C. vegetable greenhouses that produce tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers."A brown lacewing we are working with is a voracious predator of aphids on greenhouse peppers," McGregor says. "This insect may also be a useful product for blueberry farmers.There's an aphid in blueberries that needs to be hit early in the season in order to prevent the spread of disease, and this insect might be just the thing for that." Read more.

Camosun Students Host Sustainability Day
Camosun Media Release, March 7, 2012

Camosun students invite you to celebrate the college’s 7th annual Sustainability Day, Thursday, March 15, 10am to 2pm in the Fisher Courtyard, Lansdowne campus. Hosted by the Camosun Students for Environmental Awareness, the Camosun College Student Society and the goBEYOND Campus Climate Network, the day is a province-wide initiative to share ideas, celebrate achievements and spark solutions for sustainable living. Event organizer Luke Kozlowski says everyone is welcome to drop by for free food, coffee, interactive games, environmental displays and a chance to win free surf lessons in Tofino! Several guest speakers and educators will share their expertise about sustainability ideas and issues. Keynote speaker is Guy Dauncey from the BC Sustainable Energy Association. Read more.

Advanced Certificate in Renewable Energy Technology Launching May 2012
Selkirk College Media Release, March 6, 2012

Selkirk College is addressing the increased demand for new renewable energy technical and design skills, with their new Advanced Certificate In Renewable Energy Technology launching in May 2012 at the Castlegar Campus. This intensive six-week program will build on an individual’s existing education and experience, to provide a solid foundation in renewable energy technology system design and planning. “Careers in renewable energy technology require a varied skillset” states School Chair Derek Marcoux. “Our program will cover a wide variety of renewable energy technologies and energy conservation strategies, for working professionals and individuals desiring to enter the sector.” Read more.

CNC Board Approves tuition increase
College of New Caledonia Media Release, March 2, 2012

The College of New Caledonia’s Board of Governors voted in favour Friday of raising tuition by 2% for the 2012/13 academic year. The move is estimated to generate about $100,000 for the college, which is working on eliminating a more than $2 million projected budget shortfall for next year. “It will help somewhat, but we still have a lot of work to do,” CNC President John Bowman said. “A 2% tuition increase will work out to about an additional $5 per course or about $50 per year for full-time students, depending upon their program of studies.” The college is working to resolve a potential $2.3 million budget shortfall for the 2012/13 fiscal year, due to rising costs and declining income from tuition revenue and status quo government funding, which was outlined in the provincial budget last month. Read more.

VCC teacher wins prestigious homebuilding award
Vancouver Community College Media Release, March 2, 2012

Neighbours of the Watercolour House in North Vancouver's Central Londsdale district have good reason to be 'green' with envy. Built by Naikoon Contracting Ltd., a company co-founded by VCC instructor Joe Geluch, the custom-built home won a 2011 Georgie Award for best single-family detached home up to 2,000 square feet and under $350,000. Hosted by the Canadian Home Builders’ Association of B.C., the Georgie Awards on Feb. 25 recognized the best of the best in residential home construction. Read more.

Great-West Life donates $100,000 to Penticton campus
Okanagan College Media Release, March 01, 2012

One of Canada’s leading insurers, Great-West Life – together with its subsidiaries, London Life and Canada Life – is contributing $100,000 to Okanagan College to encourage sustainability training. “Okanagan College has built one of the most innovative and sustainable post-secondary facilities in the world and will soon be training the next generation of tradespeople in sustainable building practices,” said Great-West Life’s Dave Kent, Regional Director, Sales and Marketing Centre, BC Region. Read more.

Drill core shack donation brings new training opportunity to NWCC
Northwest Community College Media Release, February 29, 2012

Northwest Community College's (NWCC) School of Exploration & Mining (SEM) will be able to offer Drill Core Technician training at remote work sites and on contract thanks to the donation of a portable core shack and equipment. NWCC SEM is grateful to its industry partners Callinex Mines, Canadian Helicopters, Cyr Drilling and UTM Exploration for their matching $4,550 donations, along with generous in-kind donations from IRL Supplies and Castle. Dave O'Leary, NWCC Vice President of Institutional Advancement, says he was very impressed by the collaborative nature of the donation. "This is a perfect example of industry working together to support the training that is needed to address the severe skills shortage in our region," O'Leary said. "The donors are to be commended for their innovation and cooperation."  Read more.

Endowment for Langara Scholarships Grows to $500,000
Langara College Media Release, Feb 27, 2012

Food service company Chartwells has announced that it will grow its endowment for scholarships and bursaries at Langara College to $500,000 by 2020. The commitment will nearly double the endowment currently in place, and will see an increase in awards for students grow from an annual distribution of $5,500 to $10,000 over the next eight years. The announcement was made at a ceremony on February 27th.  Two new awards were established through the endowment: the Chartwells Nursing Excellence Awards and the Chartwells Awards of Excellence. Company president Ross Munro was on hand to distribute the inaugural Nursing Excellence Awards to students Kate Hunc and Frances Huang, who have achieved near perfect cumulative grade point averages in their program. Read more.

Shell Donation Benefits Students in Northeast B.C.
Northern Lights College Media Release, February 26, 2012

Students at Northern Lights College and in northeastern British Columbia in general are the beneficiaries of a $35,000 donation by Shell Canada Limited. The donation was received by the Northern Lights College Foundation and will be used to support Northern Opportunities. From the donation, $25,000 will be used for continued program development and special projects and $10,000 will be used to provide scholarships to Dual Credit students in the Oil and Gas Field Operations program at the Fort St. John Campus. Shell’s contribution to Northern Opportunities is their initial contribution to the partnership. The funds will be used for continued program development and special projects. Read more.
NIC Students Create new Play Space for Port Alberni Elementary School
North Island College Media Release, February 23, 2012

North Island College’s carpentry foundation students designed, built, stained, and helped deliver a new garden shed and playhouse to 265 elementary students in Port Alberni last month. The project demonstrates the hands-on skills learned in the program, provides students with a connection to the community, and builds their sense of pride every time they see children using their creation. Every year, carpentry foundation students offer their construction skills to non-profit and public organizations, looking to build small projects in the community. This year, Maquinna Elementary School principal Debra Stoutley responded with a unique request. The school’s teachers were looking to fill a void in the school yard, where trees once stood. They asked for a garden shed near the existing children’s garden to replace the trees and inspire young imaginations. Read more.

$10,000 for new College of the Rockies' award
College of the Rockies Media Release, February 21, 2012

The United Commercial Travellers (UCT), formerly the Associated Canadian Travellers (and more casually known as 'the Cavepeople' in regional parades), has donated $10,000 to College of the Rockies for a Robert Field Memorial Bursary. The bursary will support local students, with financial need, who are continuing in a full-time health program at COTR, preferably the Bachelor of Science in Nursing or Licensed Practical Nursing programs. Read more.


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 .