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By Mike Pickford
Georgian College will celebrate a major milestone in Orangeville this year, with the post-secondary institution on the cusp of marking its 10th anniversary in its permanent home.
Georgian's Orangeville Campus was established in leased quarters back in 1988, but it wasn't until 2007 that it purchased a permanent location on Centennial Road. The local campus has been on a steady rise, with enrolment figures and the number of programs offered at the facility both on the up.
Starting out as a self-described “modest” operation in Orangeville, Georgian has evolved from an institution that initially offered a sprinkling of business and health-related programs on a part-time basis to one that today boasts 170 full-time students spread across six programs.
Speaking to the Citizen last week, Catherine Drea, Vice President of Academic and Student Engagement at the campus, noted that Georgian College has witnessed “substantial growth” in the community over the past few years.
“Our program base has seen incredible growth since we initially launched our permanent campus in Orangeville back in 2007 – we've gone from having less than 100 students spread over a few part-time programs to over 600 full-time and part-time students enrolled in roughly 18 programs here in the community,” Ms. Drea said.
Much of that growth can be attributed to the college's “excellent” track record when it comes to communicating with the public and community businesses regarding the programs it offers out of the Orangeville campus.
“The biggest growth area for us over the past number of years has definitely been in our full-time programming,” Ms. Drea said. “We always encourage discussions focusing on bringing more full-time programs to Orangeville. We look very carefully at what the program advisory committee, as well as the community in general and local employers in the area are asking for. There have been several instances where we've added a program as a direct result of communication with the public.”
The most recent addition to the curriculum in Orangeville has been a full-time bookkeeping course, which will launch this fall.
“The whole reason we're rolling out the bookkeeping program is because we've had an indication from the local business sector that there is a need in the area for graduates in that field,” Ms. Drea said. “As I said before, we keep a close eye on and keep in constant communication with local employers regarding programs we may potentially offer.”
Alongside bookkeeping, Georgian College's Orangeville campus currently offers full-time programs in both general and health services office administration, personal support worker, practical nursing and a pre-health sciences pathway to advanced diplomas and degrees. Its campus boasts a state-of-the-art computer lab, six-bed nursing lab, student resource centre and videoconferencing classroom. The institution also operates a career, employment and community services facility at the nearby Edelbrock Centre.
According to Ms. Drea, the local facility prides itself on being more than just a post-secondary institution, with Georgian College committed to participating in a wide variety of different programs for people of all ages.
“I think one of the things people may not necessarily know about Georgian College is that we have a number of other pathways open at the Orangeville campus for different levels of academic and career preparation,” Ms. Drea said. “We offer academic upgrading, we enjoy a number of duel-credit partnerships with our secondary school colleagues and we offer programs for students to get college credits and work towards their development.”
She added, “We really like to think of our operation here in Orangeville as a full-service campus.”
While there are currently no official plans to add to the college's curriculum beyond the full-time bookkeeping course in the near future, Ms. Drea noted the institution would continue its “open dialogue” with local businesses to ensure it keeps on top of public demand.
“It is extremely important to Georgian College that we continue to meet student and employer needs in the community. We are the largest co-op college in Ontario and we enjoy a very, very strong relationship with all of our local employers and communities,” Ms. Drea said. “We will continue to build on those relationships here in Orangeville to ensure that we've providing the very best learning opportunities for all of our students.”
For more information on Georgian College, visit www.georgiancollege.ca.
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