A new meaning for two Sask. Colleges
Canada Day will have a new meaning this year for those attending and working at Cumberland College and Parkland College. The two regional colleges will be officially merged on July 1, 2023 as they received the provincial government’s approval in January, 2022.
In a press release, Ray Sass, Cumberland and Parkland College Board of Governors Co-Chair explained that “by merging Cumberland College and Parkland College, we will be stronger together. This will position our merged college to be more robust and provide the opportunity to offer more programming to recruit and retain more students.”
Students will benefit by having more program options to choose from and more innovative delivery methods and technology.
Parkland College offers eight campuses and training centres located in Yorkton (2), Melville (2), Fort Qu’Appelle, Esterhazy, Canora and Kamsack. In north-eastern Saskatchewan, Cumberland College has campuses in Nipawin, Melfort, and Tisdale.
Alison Dubreuil, interim president and CEO said, “We will be better positioned to serve our learners and our communities through shared resources, increased partnership opportunities and development of new programming.”
Dubreuil has been a part of the two colleges coalition which began in 2019 and included a shared CEO/president and a shared board of governors with the purpose to identify opportunities to remain catalytic, relevant and sustainable.
“We know the post-secondary landscape in Canada is increasingly competitive and we want to ensure we remain relevant and attractive to students,” said Dubreuil. Adding innovation and change is required to meet the changing needs of our students, communities and local employers.
Changing labour market demands in the Saskatchewan economy were also behind the coalition. “By expanding our offerings and developing new and specialized programming, we will be more nimble [and ready] to respond to meeting employer and community needs,” said Dubreuil. “Developing new programming takes a great deal of time, money and specialized skill. By merging, we believe we will be able to have a quicker turn around and ensure we deliver when the demand and need is there.”
Students will start to see benefits as soon as this fall. The merger will be offering a Medical Laboratory Assistant program at their Yorkton campus, and the communities will also see the return of the Primary Care Paramedic program at their Nipawin campus and Professional Firefighting at their Melville campus. Dubreuil added students may also see benefits as “we may be able to expand existing programs to different campuses, allowing us to provide specialised training to a larger geographic area.”
Both colleges are committed to providing a wide-span of quality education options to rural and remote students. Programming options vary from adult basic education, to customized corporate training courses, to post-secondary certificates, diplomas and degrees in health, trades, agriculture, business, and beyond. The success of each college is largely due to the strong ties to their communities and partnerships with local businesses and organizations.
The new name and logo for the merged colleges is currently in the works but will reflect their shared values including innovation, inclusivity, relevant and responsive centres for adult education, according to Dubreuil.