Northwest Community College’s April 15 board meeting allayed concerns and charted new initiatives.
According to communications director Heather Bastin, the NWCC will not close down the Houston campus nor will the college reduce course offerings.
“We’re going to keep the campus open, and we are proud of our Houston campus, and that’s not on the agenda at all,” said Bastin.
Houston’s board representative Tom Euverman corroborates that he heard NWCC president Ken Burt and board chairman Herb Pond refute these allegations.
Bastin added that NWCC will cycle its programs through the region to ensure maximum interest.
“If we were to, say, offer carpentry here in Houston this semester, then we wouldn’t offer it next semester, but we might offer it two years from now again to capture that interest,” she said. “Not a case of reducing programming, just simply circling things through.”
Bastin also said that workplace skills training will continue in the Houston campus, noting that FoodSafe is regularly scheduled.
Bastin cautions that the NWCC needs to meet a minimum enrolment for a course to proceed.
Euverman said the challenge now lies in getting the community to support the college.
“We have to try to, as a community, work to keep the numbers increasing rather than decreasing. I understand that’s a two-way thing – there has to be more offerings to improve the numbers,” said Euverman. “From the community’s perspective, when offerings are made, then there’s enough support there to continue the programs that are offered.”
Coun. Dawn Potvin, who attended the meeting, said she has no new concerns stemming from that meeting. She previously expressed her worry at the campus closing after hearing of layoffs and the reduction of courses there.
Her tone changed this time, stating that her concerns have been discussed.
“It was very well, again, basically it was mostly about dialogue and opening communication between the Houston community and the Houston campus with a regional aspect, and we hope to see them again — once a year would be great,” she said.
Bastin also named four highlights of that meeting including the swearing in of the NWCC’s First Nations council chair, Barb McRae, as a board member.
NWCC also passed a budget for just over $300,000 to support a three-year initiative to attract international students to the region.
They have also formalized a policy that allows the NWCC to grant credits for people with work or previous learning experience.
The futures committee, which focuses on recommending initiatives to the board, also met for the first time.