The five public post-secondary institutions providing education and training to British Columbia’s Southern Interior are joining forces to collaborate on new training opportunities and services.
Leaders from the College of the Rockies, Selkirk College, Okanagan College, University of British Columbia Okanagan and Thompson Rivers University recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that links the institutions to create better integration of the learning opportunities and services for citizens of the Southern Interior.
Together, the five institutions serve a population of more than 720,000 people in the interior, and collectively educated more than 73,000 students in 2008-09. Selkirk College accounted for over 12,000 students; almost 5,000 were registered in full time programs and another 7,500 enrolled in continuing education courses.
“Selkirk College was established over 40 years ago with a commitment to meet the post-secondary educational and training needs of the communities it serves. This agreement represents an extension of that original commitment. These institutions working together can provide their communities with access to a much broader range of program and service opportunities” says Marilyn Luscombe, President of Selkirk College.
In the short time since the MOU was signed, institutions have already begun to introduce joint initiatives. Selkirk has partnered with College of the Rockies (COTR) out of Cranbrook in the delivery of a Health Care Assistant program where COTR offers the online portion and Selkirk the practicum placement and tutorial support.
When recruiting outside the Kootenay region, the Marketing and Recruitment departments of Selkirk and COTR are jointly promoting the Kootenays as ‘Your Education Destination’ by informing interested students of programs offered at each other’s institution. In other words, if COTR doesn’t offer a particular program but Selkirk does, COTR will recruit for Selkirk, and vice versa.
Selkirk College and Thompson Rivers University (TRU) have put a number of course transfer agreements in place and continue to explore additional opportunities. Finally, The Writers Project, a joint undertaking which involves all of the MOU signatories along with University of Calgary and Eastern Washington University, facilitates the smooth transferability of writing courses between the seven institutions.
With the signing of this MOU and the launching of initiatives such as those described above, it is clear that post secondary institutions in British Columbia’s Southern Interior recognize that both students and institutions are best served through cooperative efforts.
First published on January 24, 2010