What's New at BC Colleges October 2013

Message from Jim Reed – President, BC Colleges

Welcome to the October edition of “What’s New at BC Colleges”. I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend with friends and family.

I would like start this month's newsletter by welcoming a number of new college board members. College of the Rockies recently announced three new members: Faculty Representative Dr. Betty Mosher of Cranbrook; and student representatives Luis Rodriquez and Serena Petrushevsky. Also at College of the Rockies, elected to the position of Chair is David Handy of Creston and to the position of Vice-Chair is Ken Hoeppner of Golden.

At Okanagan College, Charity Gerbrandt, Principal Creative Lead at the Disney Interactive studio in Kelowna, has been appointed to the Board of Governors. I look forward to working with the new members at both Okanagan College and College of the Rockies.

I am pleased to announce that one of Okanagan College’s longest-serving employees – President, Jim Hamilton – will continue in his role until 2017. Jim has served as the college's President since late 2004; he is already the longest-serving president in the BC College system and is an invaluable member of the BC Colleges’ board. I'm glad you will be continuing in your post Jim.

This month I thought I would focus on two of BC Colleges' key pillars; affordability and accessibility.

Firstly, affordability. Colleges are the most affordable post-secondary pathway in BC. A college education can be up to forty per cent less expensive than a university education. This month, two colleges are taking the price of education completely out of the equation by offering free training programs. Okanagan College launched free retail and hospitality skills training for qualified students and North Island College is offering a free Landscape Horticulture and Retail Training program in Port Alberni.

Secondly, accessibility. Our colleges work hard to be accessible for all British Columbians. Recently a student at Douglas College, Wes, who uses a wheelchair and whose fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination are compromised, shared how Douglas's Centre for Students with Disabilities makes his time at college easier. “The people at the centre are phenomenal,” Wes says. “They make sure I get extra time to write my tests, and I’m allowed to type all my exams because I can’t write very well. They’ll bring in a scribe to help me take notes and make sure I get assistance doing the hands-on work in science labs.” This is the type of action that ensures a college education is accessible for everyone.

Finally, I would like to share an opportunity that is available to Aboriginal Post-Secondary Students. The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) offers a Skills Award for Aboriginal Youth. This award is given to an individual who demonstrates strong academics, commitment to their field of study and to the revitalized forest products industry, and a commitment to the Aboriginal community.  I would like to see Aboriginal college students apply for this award.  The details can be found here. Applications must be received by November 30, 2013. Please share this link and help get the word out about this great opportunity.

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

Camosun Receives Close To $800,000 For Health And Human Service Programs
Camosun Media Release, October 11, 2013
The Honourable Amrik Virk, Minister of Advanced Education, was on campus today to announce close to $800,000 for Camosun for additional student spaces in the college’s popular Health Care Assistant and Mental Health and Addictions programs. Read more.

Selkirk College Shows Growth In New Programs And International Enrolment
Selkirk Media Release, October 9, 2013
Bolstered by a new pharmacy technician course and more international students on campus, September numbers point towards an increase in enrolment at Selkirk College.
Selkirk College’s 2013 fall enrolment numbers are showing an increase in the number of students. Read more.

Okanagan College Offers Tuition Free Retail And Hospitality Skills Training For Qualified Students
Okanagan Media Release, October 9, 2013
To help businesses staff up for the holidays, and assist those struggling to find work, Okanagan College is offering a Retail and Hospitality Customer Service training program starting in Vernon on October 21. This eight week, full-time program will provide students with the “knowledge and confidence required to provide service excellence across the retail and hospitality industries,” says Okanagan College, Program Coordinator, Jen Hamilton. Tuition is free for qualified individuals who are out of school, unemployed and not collecting EI benefits. Read more.

NLC Aircraft Maintenance Engineering (AME) Students Benefit From Hughes 300 Helicopter Donation
Northern Lights College Media Release, October 9, 2013
AME students at Northern Lights College will be the major beneficiaries of a generous donation by the Dwyer family of Valleyview, Alberta. In a special ceremony on October 4 in the Aerospace Hangar at the Dawson Creek Campus, approximately 50 staff and students gathered to recognize six members of the Tim Dwyer family who were in attendance, and to thank the family for donating the Hughes 300 helicopter to the NLC fleet of aircraft. Read more.

CNC Anthropology Students Get New Skulls
College of New Caledonia Media Release, October 9, 2013
CNC’s Anthropology students now have the rare opportunity of experiencing human evolution right in the palm of their hands, thanks to some new Hominid Bone Clones at the college. The skulls give students tangible items that accentuate the changes that occurred to the human skull through the evolution process. Read more.

VCC: Action To End Campus Violence
Vancouver Community College Media Release, October 8, 2013
The Honourable Dr. K. Kellie Leitch, Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women, along with Wai Young, Member of Parliament for Vancouver South, announced a project that will engage students in addressing violence against women at Vancouver Community College. Read more. 

Centre For Students With Disabilities Earns Praise From Douglas College Student
Douglas College Media Release, October 3, 2013
If you’re concerned about coming to Douglas because you have special needs, Wes’ story might help ease your mind. As a student who uses a wheelchair and whose fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination are compromised, Wes, who is in General Studies, looks to the Centre for Students with Disabilities when he needs assistance. Read more.

Langara And University Of Auckland Create Partnership
Langara College Media Release, October 2, 2013
This summer Langara College was pleased to sign a Letter of Understanding (LoU) with the University of Auckland to foster academic collaboration and cooperation between the two institutions. The agreement paves the way for Langara graduates to pursue a variety of bachelor’s degree programs at the New Zealand university. Read more.

NIC Offers Free Landscape Horticulture And Retail Training In Port Alberni
North Island College Media Release, September 30, 2013
Looking for free employment skills training in Port Alberni? Whether you’re looking to work inside or outdoors, North Island College’s Employment Skills Access (ESA) programs can get you back to work. Read more.

Successful Mining Field School At NWCC Attracts Students Nationwide
Northwest Community College Media Release, September 18, 2013
Thirty-three students from across Canada gathered at Northwest Community College (NWCC), Smithers Campus from August 26 to 30, 2013 to participate in a field school about metal leaching and acid rock drainage (ML/ARD), the major environmental and reclamation challenges faced by the mining industry. Read more. 

College Of The Rockies' Kootenay Farm School Offers Creative Education For Grassroots Agriculture
College of the Rockies Media Release, September 2013
The local food movement is flourishing and the demand for sustainably-raised food continues to grow. But lack of knowledge and training in how to successfully operate a farm is keeping many would-be-farmers from pursuing small farm dreams. College of the Rockies is taking a bold stand to help make sustainable farming more accessible.  The Creston Valley campus' new Kootenay Farm School is being designed to bring people together to discover, teach, and support agriculture on a human scale. Read more.

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