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[Institutional Update] North Island College

General News and Updates

As we enter the fourth year of our strategic plan 2020, planning for 20-25 is already underway. President John Bowman and the planning committee have identified four key aspects that sub-committees will focus on this year.

Last year, for the first time, NIC ran a full 14-week summer session at the Comox Valley Campus in addition to the regular intersession courses. The response from students was very positive and the summer session will run again this year.

The Practical Nursing Program is implementing a new delivery method for the fall. A cohort of nursing students, 10 in Campbell River and 10 in Port Alberni will have a dedicated Interactive Television (ITV) channel for the delivery their courses in a 2 year program. This will not only allow students to enroll annually (instead of every 2 years) from their communities, it will also allow both Campbell River and Port Alberni to have yearly access to PN graduates and make it easier for nursing students to find placements.

Highlights from Aboriginal Education at NIC

Aboriginal Leadership Certificate

In September 2018, NIC welcomed the first cohort of students to begin the newly developed Aboriginal Leadership Certificate. The Aboriginal Leadership certificate is designed to give students practical tools and knowledge to work at management and administrator levels of Aboriginal organizations. The cohort- based program is primarily done online with on-campus gatherings each semester that will rotate through the region. The Certificate was created with input from local Indigenous communities.

Adult Basic Education Language courses

NIC has developed 5 Provincial level ABE language courses in Kwak’wala and Nuu Chah Nulth languages. Language revitalization efforts in the area have been important to Nations; implementing a provincially articulated language course is an important next step. Students will be provided with a culturally relevant course option which they could use as credit towards their Adult Graduation or as personal enrichment. For many, this may be the first time they have seen themselves, or their culture, reflected in a course and curriculum in an educational setting.

Aboriginal Scholars

Indigenous students at all North Island College campuses will be able to access improved support to complete their education, thanks to a $50,000 donation from RBC and the RBC Foundation to support and expand NIC’s Aboriginal Scholars program. Since 2016, Campbell River and Comox Valley students in the pilot program have worked with Aboriginal education advisors to set and achieve their goals. The support of RBC will help NIC intensify and expand the Aboriginal Scholars program so more students in Port Hardy, Port Alberni, Campbell River and the Comox Valley will have the opportunity to develop individual achievement plans, while accessing services and supports to meet their diverse needs.

Aboriginal Advisors and Elders in Residence

Each year, Aboriginal Advisors serve as the first point of contact for new and returning Aboriginal students, helping to guide students through the admissions and registration processes. Advisors provide ongoing support throughout the year, often assisting students to maintain communications with their sponsoring agency. With Elders in Residence now located at each campus, our team of Aboriginal Advisors and Elders in Residence have been developing new, updated schedules of gatherings that will be hosted throughout the year in each of our Aboriginal Student Lounges. The Elders provide support and advice to all areas of the College, including students and employees. The Elders are members of the NIC Faculty Association and are respected individuals who ensure Indigenous ways of knowing and being become part of the College community.

Campus Construction

NIC’s Campbell River campus is undergoing a $17.6-million expansion project, thanks in part to funding from the provincial and federal governments via the Strategic Investment Fund (SIF).

The project will create almost 10,000 m² (105,000 sq. ft.) of new and renovated space which will include:

  • a new Heavy Mechanical building
  • an Aircraft Structures building
  • a trades and Aquaculture building
  • a student commons

Last June, the Board of Governors approved the draft business case for the construction of Student Housing at the Comox Valley campus, which has now been submitted to the provincial government for their support. The proposal is calling for 168 student beds including some for families.

(submitted by Terri Bateman)