Thursday, September 6, 2012

Welcome to 2012-2013 at Douglas College!

September is here! It’s a great pleasure to welcome students, faculty, staff, administrators and Board members to the start of a new academic year.

This Fall, more than 11,000 students are pursuing their educational and career goals at Douglas College.

That happens to be a record for Douglas College, which is wonderful news.

Our enrolment makes us BC’s largest degree-granting college, and fulfills the first part of our Vision 2015, which is to be the largest and most progressive baccalaureate-degree granting college in British Columbia. (You knew I would work that in!)

But what’s more important is how those 11,000 students feel about their educational experience at Douglas College.

Fresh survey data* show that 84 out of 100 students rated their experience here as good or excellent. And 95 students out of 100 said they would recommend us to their friends and family members.

So students appreciate the quality of our academic and career-based programs and our teaching as well as the high level of student support.

The “progressive” part of our Vision 2015 is aspirational – it’s about how we continually change and evolve to create a stimulating, smart, creative and engaging learning environment. Equally, it’s about how we create a work environment with those qualities.

I’m seeing those qualities expressed in many recent and upcoming initiatives and events – too many to list, though I'll mention a few that come readily to mind:

I met 17 students and two instructors from Wales who studied at Douglas College for three weeks this summer, as part of a reciprocal field school partnership. Among other things, they focused on First Nations culture and heritage, and spent time building valuable relationships with Douglas students and faculty members who then travelled to Wales for three weeks. The visit was well orchestrated by Language, Literature and Performing Arts Dean Meg Stainsby and team of Douglas instructors. This bilateral partnership is a great example of the College’s international outlook: we are hosting students and faculty from abroad as well creating opportunities for our own students to travel and study in places like Wales, Uganda, Zambia and Belize.

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We’ve introduced new program offerings that give students more choices and more flexibility to create educational and career pathways. Beginning this fall, students can take post-degree programs in sales and accounting. Later this month, we’ll launch the Peter Legge International Institute for Sales Excellence, which will offer educational programs and services, such as customized industry training. And earlier this year, in partnership with Capilano University, Langara College and Vancouver Community College, we began offering a Bachelor of Performing Arts degree for students and working professionals with a significant background in the arts. More new programs are in various stages of development.

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The massive job of moving our Faculty of Child, Family and Community Studies to the Coquitlam Campus has been successful, thanks to the extraordinary commitment of so many people in the faculty, and the incredibly hard work of people in our Facilities and I.T. areas. Enrollment this fall in the faculty’s many destination programs is strong, and we are confident that CFCS will thrive in Coquitlam. Next fall, when the relocation is complete, the Coquitlam Campus will have grown by more than 850 students.

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Douglas has been designated as a “receiving institution” in the BC transfer credit system. This change will make it easier for students to move to Douglas College from other universities and colleges in BC.

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Over 1,300 new students attended five orientation events this summer, hosted by the Office for New Students, with help from about 20 faculty volunteers. The feedback was extremely positive, and hundreds of students signed up for clubs, events and the Douglas Facebook app. The ONS will host 50 students on a Fall Leadership Retreat, and many of them will be invited to participate in College life as Student Ambassadors.

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Our Human Resources department hosted a wonderful orientation event that amplified the enthusiasm of the 60 new faculty and staff members who have chosen to pursue the idea of "Do what you love, be good at it" here at Douglas College.

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It’s always a great pleasure for me to meet and talk with students and employees. I’m constantly impressed by the talent, passion and great ideas I encounter. That’s why this month I’ve introduced open office hours at each campus with an invitation for any faculty, staff or students who would like to talk with me. The schedule is here. I hope you accept that invitation.

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That’s a lot! And it’s just a glimpse of everything that’s happening at Douglas College. I know that with your participation, we’ll have many accomplishments to celebrate in 2012-2013. I wish everyone a successful and rewarding year!

Scott

*Those data are from the 2012 Community College Survey of Student Engagement. It's a U.S.-based survey of community colleges, with participation from a few Canadian institutions. About 800 Douglas students participated in the survey.

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