Cuts coming to Northwest Community College

Budget pressures and lower enrolment means the college is on the verge of cutting the number of university credit courses it offers

  • Apr. 2, 2015 8:00 p.m.

Northwest Community College's Terrace

Northwest Community College is on the verge of cutting the number of university credit classes it offers at its main campus locations of Terrace, Prince Rupert and Smithers.

And, in Smithers, it could mean the end of face-to-face classroom instruction.

The result will also mean fewer university credit instructors being employed at the college.

College communications director Sarah Zimmerman said no decisions have been made but that the college needs to respond to budget pressures and lower enrolments specifically in its academic programs.

“What we’re trying to do is minimize the impact,” she said of everything from offering early retirement incentives and voluntary severance packages to instructors to combining classes where it makes sense to do so.

A number of instructors have already been given notices of at least partial layoffs in accordance with union contracts, said Zimmerman.

Zimmerman was responding to an April 2 release by the Northwest Community College Students’ Union which indicated college officials were about to cut up to 40 university courses – 15 in Prince Rupert, 6 in Terrace, and 14 in Smithers.

Since there are only 14 courses being offered in Smithers, it would mean the end of classroom instruction there, said the union.

“The one place locals can start a post-secondary education in our region is Northwest Community College,” said students’ union chair Steve Verblac in criticizing the college’s plan.

Trades and other programs, so far, have not been affected.

Zimmerman did not confirm nor deny the numbers released by the students’ union but said in places such as Smithers, alternatives to direct classroom instruction are possible.

“To say that we won’t be offering instruction in Smithers isn’t true. We’re going to ensure there are options for our students,” she said.

The college already offers classes through closed-circuit viewing in which students in one community are taught by an instructor in another community.

What the college must do is match its course offerings with the enrolment it has and with the needs of its students, said Zimmerman.

There has been a drop in academic program enrolment, a circumstance that could have been caused by the demand for workers on large scale industrial projects in the past several years.

But with large projects such as Rio Tinto Alcan’s aluminum smelter rebuilding project winding down, there might be renewed interest in going to college, said Zimmerman.

She said an exact budget picture isn’t available but that a proposed spending plan will be put to the college’s board this month in Smithers.

“At that point the board will then develop its plan,” she said.

Any course offering reduction and loss of employees is difficult, Zimmerman added.

“This is not an exercise anyone takes pleasure in doing,” she said.

 

 

 

 

 

Just Posted

College buys a yurt to boost student success

Round tent-like structure part of college instructional shift

Soup kitchen sees “groundswell of community support”

Donations toward looming tax bill push non-profit back in the black

Terrace husband and wife honoured for saving each other’s lives

BC Ambulance presented each a Vital Link Award for separate incidents of CPR

Council supports lobby for fair share of cannabis tax revenue

The City of Terrace is throwing its support behind a West Kelowna… Continue reading

Airport registers modest passenger increase

Manager anticipates further growth in 2018 as expansion project nears completion

Airport registers modest passenger increase

Manager anticipates further growth in 2018 as expansion project nears completion

B.C. woman who forged husband’s will gets house arrest

Princeton Judge says Odelle Simmons did not benefit from her crime

Women’s movement has come a long way since march on Washington: Activists

Vancouver one of several cities hosting event on anniversary of historic Women’s March on Washington

Liberals’ 2-year infrastructure plan set to take 5: documents

Government says 793 projects totalling $1.8 billion in federal funds have been granted extensions

Workers shouldn’t be used as ‘pawns’ in minimum wage fight: Wynne

Comments from Kathleen Wynne after demonstrators rallied outside Tim Hortons locations across Canada

John ‘Chick’ Webster, believed to be oldest living former NHL player, dies

Webster died Thursday at his home in Mattawa, Ont., where he had resided since 1969

World’s fastest log car made in B.C. sells for $350,000 US

Cedar Rocket auctioned off three times at Barrett-Jackson Co., netting $350,000 US for veterans

Bad timing: Shutdown spoils Trump’s one-year festivities

Trump spends day trying to hash out a deal with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer

RCMP nail alleged sex toy thief

Shop owner plays a role in arrest

Most Read