The post-pandemic adventure at Alexander College continues.
With the easing of pandemic restrictions, we were able to offer more courses on campus for in-person attendance and to schedule student and staff events in person on and off campus. A record number of students enrolled in classes and we continued our commitment to community engagement.
Events at our new campus
Our Burnaby campus (opened September 2021) started the 2021-2022 academic year with many Covid restrictions still in effect. In the 2021 Fall term, we had offered limited in-person instruction with continued online delivery for many courses. The 2022 Winter term (January – April) featured 30% in-person classes and during the Spring Term 46% of classes were held in person.
The student orientation for Winter term was held virtually, followed by in-person student orientation events held for the Spring and Fall terms.
The obligatory mask mandate ceased as of May 16th and masks became optional. Masks were still required for students and faculty in labs since they work very closely together.
With great enthusiasm and joy, we resumed on- and off- campus events, field trips, cultural activities, and celebrations. Student clubs and teams resumed and recognition of notable national and international days took place on and off campus.
On March 3rd, the Instructional Support Centre and library celebrated a faculty achievement by hosting a book launch to acknowledge the publication of Dr. Sebastian Huebel’s Fighter, Worker, and Family Man: German-Jewish Men and Their Gendered Experiences in Nazi Germany, 1933-1941 (University of Toronto Press, 2022).
Halloween, Vaisakhi & Diwali were celebrated with parties attended enthusiastically by students and staff.
Career Fairs were held in June and September with great success. Several hundred students attended each one and many students were hired on the spot.
Our pledge to enhance sustainability remains strong with the Green Committee providing leadership for the college. There were demonstrations and contests featuring sustainability practices during student orientation at the start of each term.
A new Vancouver campus is in the works
In February, we applied for permission to start renovations for a replacement Vancouver campus. The new campus site is located at 570 Dunsmuir Street. The Dunsmuir location provides expanded capacity for science labs by meeting all of the teaching and learning needs for lab science programs and for future Health Sciences programming.
Applications for admission and subsequent registration reached record highs for the Fall 2022 term.
By Fall, 79% of classes were offered by face-to-face delivery. Final exams for all courses (including virtual classes) were held in person.
All the lab science courses in the fall term featured face-to-face lab sessions.
We introduced three new Associate of Arts Degree concentrations in the following areas: Associate of Arts in Business and Psychology, Associate of Arts in International Relations, and Associate of Arts in International Business.
History student conference. The first student History conference, War and Memory, was held in the library the day before Remembrance Day (November 10th). Students presented their research papers featuring forgotten heroes.
Faculty Professional Development days were in person again.
The spring pro D-Day was a mixture of pedagogically focused sessions and department focused sessions. Our plenary speakers were Dr. Qing Liu and Dr. Daniel Chang (SFU) who focused on pedagogical strategies to enhance dialectical skills. There was also a presentation from Health and Wellness on how to deal with students who are threatening self harm. The bulk of the day was focused on developing pedagogical strategies within the individual departments so that topics were disciplined focused. One of the highlights of the day was actually being able to get outside together and enjoy picnicking in the park.
The theme of the fall pro D-Day was “Teaching to Learn and Learning to Teach”. Dr. Candy Ho (KPU) was the plenary speaker and she talked about the value of transferable skills. The day included a strategy session on transferable skills and a session on the ethical use of social media in teaching.
December featured the launch of the AC Indigenous Scholarships. This award is for people of Indigenous ancestry, including First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples. There are two scholarships equivalent to 60 credits, including books, that are available each year.
Convocation (in person at last!)
We had a large in-person “catch-up” convocation ceremony at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in June to which we invited all the students who had graduated at virtual events during COVID pandemic restrictions.
Fall convocation was held on October 28th at the Metrotown Hilton. Mayor Mike Hurley was the plenary speaker. Nearly 500 students and guests attended.
In the fall of 2021, Alexander College committed to a one million dollar donation to the Burnaby Hospital Foundation for new medical equipment. The full amount of the donation will be fulfilled by 2024. In December, the College donated $25,000 to Burnaby Hospital to buy ventilator equipment.
January – Alexander College donated $200,000 to the Richmond Hospital.
September 30th – AC observed the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation with presentations and activities for faculty, staff, and students.
Our Student Refugee Program accepted two new refugee students in the fall. These students are active in the community and are adjusting to living and studying in Canada.
In the fall, AC Cares had two GoFundMe drives to in support of Ukrainian hospitals and Ukrainian refugees in the Lower Mainland. The College administration matched and doubled the amount raised by staff donations.
In December, AC Cares sponsored a Blanket Drive that netted 50 blankets from the college community.
Founding President Retires
It was with a sense of gratitude and sadness that the Alexander College community acknowledged Dr. Marv Westrom’s retirement as President at the end of 2022. Dr. Westrom joined Alexander College in 2004 and oversaw the growth of Alexander College from its beginning with 56 students to over 4000 students today. He was central to the setting up of the Board of Governors and the academic council (SASC) and for overseeing and setting standards for academic excellence and student success.
We wish him a healthy and active retirement. We are grateful that he will be still involved in the College Board of Governors.