What's New at BC Colleges May 1, 2013

In this newsletter I want to talk about the role colleges play in communities throughout BC. More than any other post-secondary group, colleges have a reach that extends to communities in every region of our province. In fact, our 11 member institutions operate in more than 60 locations throughout BC. Our broad reach means greater accessibility for students but it also means colleges play an important role in the communities we serve. Colleges are an integral part of each community and, in many cases, the community hub. We take our community capacity building role seriously. Our colleges provide programs, activities, resources and support to strengthen the skills and abilities of people and communities in all areas of the province. Our ultimate goal is to build strong and vibrant communities in every region of BC.

The breadth of the community building that occurs is well demonstrated in this month's What's New at BC Colleges. This month alone Selkirk College is hosting a conference exploring new ways that digital technologies like smart phones are being used in the field, Okanagan College is hosting a session to introduce their new Sustainable Construction Management Technology program, Northwest Community College is hosting the Exploration & Mining Expo and Northern Lights College and the Saulteau First Nations hosted a successful Education and Career Fair. All of these activities are open to the public and this type of community outreach occurs weekly at all of our campuses.

Our colleges are always looking for ways to actively partner with their communities. Great examples of this outreach are demonstrated this month by Douglas College through the launch of its new Community Connections initiative and Vancouver Community College and its new partnership  with the Vancouver School Board to help Aboriginal students succeed in school.

On another note, with the Provincial election campaign underway college stakeholders are continuing a dialogue with candidates about the provincial priorities. Today in the Vancouver Sun I discussed how colleges are key to to meeting BC labour market demands and addressing the widening skills gap. I encourage you to find out more about how college education is critical to the future economic and social health of communities throughout BC. Our economy needs workers who are equipped with the right advanced skills to contribute to increased workforce productivity. My advice to those responsible for guiding BC’s future is to think of advanced education and skills training as an essential investment that contributes to the prosperity of every region of the Province. You can visit our website for further details on the college perspective and learn how new investment in college education and advanced training will make a positive contribution to the economic and social well-being of British Columbia.

Below are links to some of the top news articles from this month. Read on to learn more about the accolades, projects, collaborations and announcements from our 11 member colleges during the past month. For a full list of this month's news, please check out  "In the News" on the BC Colleges website. As always, I welcome your feedback, you can reach me by e-mail.

Jim Reed, President BC Colleges

College of the Rockies Continues Commitment to Sustainability
College of the Rockies Media Release, April 29, 2013
College of the Rockies has recently become a member of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). Through membership in AASHE, the College will receive support in advancing its sustainability initiatives throughout the institution and in the community. Read more.

Selkirk College Presents New Ways to Use Digital Technologies in the Field: Environment & Geomatics Workshop
Selkirk College Media Release, April 29, 2013
On Wednesday, May 15, 2013 Selkirk College will host two days of presentations, panel discussions, hands-on demonstrations, opportunities for networking with experts. New technologies are changing the way that research on aquatic, terrestrial, and human ecology is carried out. Increasingly, people are taking smartphones, tablets, and other devices into the field to increase their productivity. Citizen science and social media are effective ways to increase data collection and collaboration.  Read more.

College offers insight into program, careers in Sustainable Construction Management Technology
Okanagan College Media Release, April 26, 2013

As home builders, home buyers and community developers lean more deeply into realizing the possibilities of sustainable construction practices, those tasked with turning ideas into reality are in need of a new skill set to help meet the expectations of building green in the 21st Century. Okanagan College has developed a new program to train construction professionals in this field and is hosting an information session at its Penticton campus on Tuesday, April 30 at 4 p.m. to shed light on the Sustainable Construction Management Technology (SCMT) diploma program and the opportunities that exist for graduates. Read more.

Three from NIC Receive International Excellence Awards
North Island College Media Release, April 26, 2013
Three North Island College employees, who epitomize the best in community college education, have been selected to receive prestigious National Institute for Staff and Organization Development’s (NISOD) Excellence Awards. Instructors Kerri Lowey and Derek Hanebury, and Student Services’ Lori Boray will be honoured at NISOD’s International Conference on Teaching and Leadership Excellence, held in Austin, Texas at the end of May. Read more.

Douglas College creates win-win for community and students through new Community Connections initiative
Douglas College Media Release, April 25, 2013
Douglas College is aiming to strengthen its ties with local organizations through the launch of its new Community Connections initiative. With this new initiative, Douglas is looking to create more partnerships with local not-for-profits and businesses that will give students more opportunities for practicums, work experience and to do community-based research. Read more.

CNC students set to travel to Costa Rica for field school
College of New Caledonia Media release, April 23, 2013
A group of CNC Natural Resources Environmental Technology and biology students are taking their learning on the road to Costa Rica next month for a unique two-week field school. It’s where they’ll compare the natural resources of the central American country to those of B.C. The eight students are enrolled in a brand new three-credit course, Forestry 251, and will attend lectures at the Instituto Technologico de Costa Rica near the city of San Jose. Read more.

Langara Nursing Instructor Honoured for “Excellence”
Langara College Media Release, April 18, 2013
Suki Grewal was recognized by the CRNBC for her outstanding efforts in advocating for the health of British Columbia’s South Asian community. She was recognized at a ceremony in Vancouver on April 18, where she was joined by her family, members of Langara’s nursing faculty, and a group of visiting students from the Royal College of Nursing in Batala, India. Read more.

VCC: New partnership aims to help Aboriginal students succeed in school
Vancouver Community College Media Release, April 17, 2013
It’s a commitment to access, opportunity and empowerment – from Kindergarten to college. Vancouver Community College (VCC) and the Vancouver School Board (VSB) have teamed up to improve education and career opportunities for Aboriginal students.  Read more.

Camosun students’ eco-research helps Town of Esquimalt
Camosun College Media Release, April 15, 2013
A team of Camosun students recently took first-place in a Capital Regional District climate change learning competition, “Ready, Set, Solve.” The annual contest hosted by the CRD challenges post-secondary students from Camosun, the University of Victoria and Royal Roads to develop creative, innovative approaches to solving real-world problems. This year 18 teams participated; nine included students from Camosun. Read more.

Exploration & Mining Expo
Northwest Community College Media Release, April 8, 2013
Celebrate BC Mining Week with Northwest Community College at the Smithers Campus Thursday, May 02, 2013.  Find out about Geology, The Mining Cycle, NWCC Careers in Mining and more. Read more.

2nd annual NLC and Saulteau First Nations Education and Career fair a success
Northern Lights College Media Release, April 5, 2013

The on-location event was open to the public, and hosted by Northern Lights College (NLC) for Aboriginal peoples interested in pursuing post-secondary training. Lunch was sponsored by NLC This was a great opportunity for our members to connect with various companies and education institutions working in the territory. The Education and Career Fair will undoubtedly give our membership a chance to make informed career decisions as prospective employees," said Audrey Norris, SFN director of education. Read more.

BC Colleges is a consortium representing BC’s 11 public, community colleges serving almost 200,000 students annually with campuses in over 60 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.