Thursday, January 28, 2010

The context of our strategic planning discussion

The discussion has started in earnest on a number of topics and I am keeping up on the various threads as they emerge.

It is important to remember here what the context is for these discussions.

Douglas College was founded 40 years ago as an access-based learner pathway post-secondary education and training institution and remains true to that vision today. We all know that Douglas College enjoys a fine reputation for quality instruction, courses, and programs. Our record of community engagement and service is excellent whether we are talking about transfer to other institutions, our own credentials, our scholarly activity, our international opportunities, our student experience, or a number of other things. We are a major part of the post-secondary landscape in lower mainland B.C. and have alumni in all walks of life.

Yet, the post-secondary landscape has changed, the economy has changed, and society has changed since we were established. I have commented on these changes elsewhere - as have others.

BC is aging, our market share among high school graduates appears to be diminishing, and a strategic plan offers us the opportunity to more closely align to current realities and to position ourselves for future changes and challenges all in the realm of providing the best possible instruction, courses and, in general, education for the students we serve and need to serve.

As a pathway institution, we must consider entrance to Douglas, transition within and between programs at Douglas, and transfer from Douglas to other institutions.

We must, as an access-based institution, carefully consider barriers to entry, progression, and transfer.

Our questions on internationalization, research and scholarly activity, service excellence, aboriginal initiatives, technology, and community engagement need to be taken up by Douglas employees and others as we plan for the future. We need your help to begin to vision Douglas College for the next 40 years.

I thank you for the discussions to this point and look forward to more discussion in the weeks that follow.

1 comment:

  1. Mr. President:

    Douglas College has the slogan of “You can go anywhere from here”. The slogan sadly appealing to me because I born in a British Colony – Hong Kong, the land that was rented. Hong Kong is not my destination but a transfer point. From Hong Kong I can go anywhere – Vancouver, Toronto, Sydney….

    As you say, the post-secondary landscape has changed, the economy has changed, and society has changed. If the last 40 years Douglas College is an institution for university transfer, now is the time for change. Internationalization, new immigrants, aging student, etc., created new opportunity for our career programs.

    Douglas College has lots of high quality career programs, like Sign Language Interpretation, which was featured on Ming Pao (a newspaper of the Chinese community across Canada). We already have a solid foundation for the next 40 years. We should position ourselves in this direction.

    When I landed in Vancouver in 1995, I took the Computer Information Systems Diploma Program at Langara, lead to a great job in the IT field. Ten years later, I went back to the same place for a Library Technician Diploma Program; now work at the Library.

    Like me, many of my classmates earned a degree or diploma before, has years of working experience. Because the economy and job market has changed, we need a place to update skills, or acquire new skills. To us, college is not a transfer point, but the destination.

    I really like to see more and more student treat DC as their destination, proud to be a DC student, and proud to wear a DC T-shirt.

    Albert Ng
    Library Technician – Public Services