North Island College

North Island College (NIC) is honoured to acknowledge the traditional territories of the combined 35 First Nations of the Nuu-chah-nulth, Kwakwaka’wakw and Coast Salish traditions, on whose traditional and unceded territories the college’s campuses are situated. North Island College is a comprehensive community college that focuses on student success. We proudly serve more than 9,000 students annually at our four campuses, our learning centre and through online and in-community learning. NIC was established in 1975 as a primarily distance education institution. It now serves students at Campbell River, Comox Valley, Port Alberni and Mixalakwila campuses, as well as through many in-community programs delivered in partnership with remote communities across 80,000 km2 from Ucluelet on Vancouver Island’s west coast to Bella Coola on the central mainland. We are distinguished by our commitment to student success through strong partnership agreements with universities and colleges across BC, the US and around the world. NIC has been internationally recognized for its technology-enabled distance learning and responsive in-community programs.The College that started out of a portable trailer in Campbell River and a few converted school buses now has an international reputation for distance education delivery and for integrating Indigenous perspectives into the curriculum of nursing schools across Canada. Over the past 40 years, more than 155,000 people have taken a course or completed a program at NIC. From the beginning, NIC’s mandate was to provide post-secondary education across 80,000 km², an area larger than New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island combined. That geography, and NIC’s drive to provide high-quality, cost-efficient education throughout the region, has fueled our accomplishments, sparked innovation and provided industry access to a locally trained workforce.North Island College (NIC) North Island College (NIC), is a community college located primarily on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada on the traditional and unceded territories of the combined 35 First Nations of the Nuu-chah-nulth, Kwakwaka’wakw and Coast Salish peoples. Starting as a distance educational institution in the 1970’s, NIC has grown to a comprehensive post-secondary institution with a range of academic and career-training programs from one-year certificates to four-year degrees and post-graduate studies.Established in 1975, North Island College’s mandate was to provide post-secondary education to 157,000 people spread across 80,000 km2 on Vancouver Island. In the 1970s, Dr. Dennis Wing and a handful of college administrators created BC’s first open college, hiring tutors to guide students through open learning courses in converted school buses, an ex-whaling boat— the Samarinda, and 24 learning centres across the region. Without Internet, satellite, or large-scale computer networks, students had opportunities to learn new skills and complete university degrees. NIC instructors, Dr. Michael Catchpole, Roger Albert, and others took to the airwaves delivering psychology and sociology courses to all of BC on the Knowledge Network while tutors such as Nigel and Adele Bailey drove the bumpy road to Woss Lake to tutor loggers and their families.In the 1990s, Dr. Neil Murphy and a small team of administrators developed infrastructure as NIC’s larger communities demanded local campuses and trades workshops. In 1990, the process of building physical campuses to serve the regions began. The Comox Valley campus on Ryan Road opened in 1992, followed by the Port Alberni campus in 1995, and the Campbell River campus in 1997. Fine arts, health, and trades programs were established to meet local demand, the first student association was formed, faculty and staff organized unions and full-time enrolment grew exponentially.In the 2000’s, Dr. Lou Dryden was tasked with strengthening NIC’s financial stability and forging new partnerships. Dryden established NIC’s first regional Indigenous advisory councils in consultation with 35 First Nations, allowing communities to identify their own program priorities, from bookkeeping and aquaculture to early childhood education. In 2019, Dryden’s contribution to NIC was recognized with the naming of the Dr. Lou Dryden Trades Training Atrium at NIC’s Comox Valley Campus’ Trades Training Centre.In 2009, Dr. Jan Lindsay arrived with a vision of NIC as a premier community and destination college. NIC’s international enrolment grew rapidly, creating new programs and degree pathways for students world-wide and opening doors for domestic students to travel abroad while earning NIC credentials. Under her leadership, the college created new university partnerships and developed research facilities. John Bowman became NIC’s President in 2013. Through his tenure, NIC focused on further expanding the College’s facilities to increase the number of programs it could offer and the number of students it could serve. Of particular note are the $18-million expansion and renovation of NIC’s Campbell River campus, the signing of the agreement to make use of the former St. Joseph’s Hospital site for health and human services programs (NIC @ St. Joe’s) and the renaming of the Mixalakwila campus in Port Hardy. The College is currently led by Dr. Lisa Domae, who became President & CEO on April 12, 2021. Within its 80,000 km² service area, NIC operates four campuses in the Comox Valley, Campbell River, Port Alberni, the Mix̱alakwila campus in Port Hardy and a regional learning centre in Ucluelet. The Comox Valley campus, located in Courtenay, is NIC’s largest campus in terms of physical size, range of programming and number of students served. The campus is also home to the largest number of NIC employees as well as the College’s administrative centre.Amenities include a library and learning commons, Indigenous student lounge, bookstore, cafeteria, student lounge and childcare facilities. The Comox Valley Aquatic Centre, a swimming pool and fitness facility operated by the Comox Valley Regional District, and the nearby Comox Valley campus of the North Island Hospital are adjacent to NIC’s Comox Valley campus.Since opening at its current location in 1992, the campus has been steadily growing to accommodate student need. Additions have included the Shadbolt Fine Art studios (1996), Tyee Hall (2004) university studies and student amenity building, and the Trades Training Centre (2011) which uses 60% to 70% less energy than typical buildings of its size. In 2019, NIC @ St. Joe’s opened at the former St. Joseph’s General Hospital in Comox with classrooms, simulation labs and study space for students in health and human services programs including evening and weekend offerings.A campus highlight for 2020/21 was the announcement of funding from B.C.’s Ministry of Children and Family Development for 75 new licensed childcare spaces at the Beaufort Children’s Centre located on the Comox Valley campus. The College also submitted an updated business case for proposed on-campus student housing to support the need for safe, affordable and accessible housing in the region. Plans incorporate universal design principles including a dedicated family housing building (improving access to education for students with children) and second single student building with non-gender specific room assignments, gender-neutral washrooms and a common area.From the highs of opening the expanded Campbell River campus to the uncertainty that the COVID-19 pandemic brought to the globe, 2020 will be remembered as one of the most challenging years the NIC community has faced. However, the year is also marked by the dedication, hard-work and commitment of the faculty, staff and administration in ensuring NIC students have the support they need.Along with the shift to increased online learning, NIC continued to work on developing new, responsive programming to serve its communities. New trades programming included two new coastal forestry programs, Metal Fabrication Foundation trades training returning to the Campbell River campus, and the introduction of Motor Sport and Power Equipment and Parts & Warehouse person programs. NIC’s Carpentry Foundation Harmonized certificate was expanded to the Campbell River campus and NIC also announced new Women in Construction Trades training – a series of tuition-free sessions, which will provide an overview of various trades programs and skills taught at NIC.A new Community Mental Health Worker certificate was announced in Port Hardy and Port Alberni, which will start in February. An evening/weekend offering of the Health Care Assistant program started in November and new specialty training was launched by NIC’s Continuing Education department, including online Craft Brewing and Malting courses, Small Scale Sustainable Farming and Digital Elevation Expertise.Early 2020 saw NIC host its first-ever Thrive Week. Events were held across all NIC campuses to celebrate community, encourage self-care and promote mental health literacy. Starting in March, NIC student services went virtual to support students learning digitally. Advising and counselling supports moved fully online along with events like the Library & Learning Commons Late Night Against Procrastination. NIC also joined forces with institutions across Vancouver Island for virtual events to support its students. The 2020 North Island Post-Secondary Tour offered new and current students the chance to learn about transfer and pathway opportunities from college to university. The Beyond 2020 – Vancouver Island Career & Connections Fair brought together students, employers, industry partners, alumni and associations to learn about current and future co-op and career opportunities.In October, NIC celebrated the adoption of the Okanagan Charter: An International Charter for Health Promoting Universities and Colleges. The signing of the charter signifies NIC’s commitment to supporting the mental health and well-being of its students. The recognition took place on the first day of NIC’s Mental Health Week, with a series of events and initiatives to support students’ mental health and well-being.NIC students will benefit from more than $1.4 million in donations, thanks to three record-setting gifts to the NIC Foundation. The Mailman Family Foundation’s $1 million dollar gift marks the largest donation in NIC Foundation history. A $285,000 legacy gift from Dr. Allan Duncan Pritchard marked the largest legacy gift and $125,000 from Chan Nowasad Boates was the largest corporate cash gift in NIC Foundation history.

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