It’s that time of the year again when all of our campuses are bustling with back-to-school activities.
From Welcome Feasts to student orientations, the halls and common areas are all busy. As we settle in for the winter season we are excited to see so many fresh faces on our campuses.
The 2018-19 academic year is shaping up to be a big one and it seems that a common theme of renewal is weaving its way through all of our campuses.
In Prince Rupert, we have introduced a new cohort of business students – the first time this has been offered in that community. The ACE program is doing well this year and we are offering more university credit courses than in previous years.
In Smithers, we have also offered new courses for local and international students. We have 40 students on campus, a new business cohort and thanks to hard work of our facilities team and working with the Town of Smithers, we were able to open temporary student housing in Smithers last year to ensure that students from outside of Smithers have accommodations available. This helps us build capacity to offer new programs in the Smithers area.
The Hazelton campus is also seeing a lot of activity with more than two dozen students enrolled in career and college preparation courses and many students taking advantage of University Credit video conference courses which allow them to pursue their studies from their home communities.
In Haida Gwaii we saw a class of Construction Trades Helper complete last summer with most of those students transitioning to paid positions in their community. This January we are intending to offer a local Health Care Assistant program.
The Terrace campus has been a busy place this year – even in the summer months we saw more students on campus. Field school students were on and off campus this year packing a semester’s worth of studying into a few short weeks, with some amazing outdoor locations bringing their classroom work to life. The first cohort of third year Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art students started this summer, learning the finer points of jewelry making, followed by carving and marketing over the course of the academic year.
The Terrace campus has also seen a lot of movement with the opening of Waap Amgam – the House of Cedar trades and student commons. The $18.4 million renovation of this facility took 18 months to complete and it means that trades students are working in seismically upgraded classrooms, complete with modern equipment and environments that emulate the shops our graduates and apprentices will encounter once they are in the workplace. . I’d like to recognize all those folks who worked to make this project a reality – many of whom were at Coast Mountain College before my tenure as President began four years ago.
But Waap Amgam is more than a trades facility. It has fast become the hub of activity on the Terrace campus. It features beautiful tall windows with lots of natural light, comfortable chairs and couches, long tables for group study, bookable study/project rooms study nooks throughout the building
When the library on the Terrace campus experienced an unexpected flood in August 2018, our facilities and library teams worked fast to identify a space in Waap Amgam to develop an alternative for the 2018-19 academic year. Located in the bright commons area of Waap Amgam, the House of Cedar Pop-up Library offers library resources, print materials, computer terminals, on-line resources, access to printing and assignment and reference help. We’ll be using this academic year to renovate the existing library space and ensure it becomes a modern space that will meet our students’ needs.
From a global perspective, the Terrace campus has been busy. We have three students now following international study pathways at universities in Finland and VIA University College in Denmark. One of our business instructors, Evan van Dyk, participated on a faculty exchange to the Lapland University this summer and came back with new experiences and ideas to share in the classroom.
We also have many new international students on the Terrace campus from 11 different countries including India, Nigeria, Bahamas and Mexico, just to name a few. The international program is creating an opportunity for students at Coast Mountain College to really gain global perspectives in their classes and experience cross-cultural sharing.
This is just scratching the surface of the exciting activities taking place this year. A new name, a new brand, new programs and buildings – it is an exciting year to be at Coast Mountain College.
We look forward to another year of creating adventurous pathways for our students, which truly, transform lives.
President and CEO, Coast Mountain College