Aurora College preparing for busy year ahead: president

Aurora College preparing for busy year ahead: president
Aurora College Week will be a platform to launch new programming for the school, says president Jane Arychuk.Photo: Meagan Wohlberg.

Every year, the territory’s home for post-secondary education hosts Aurora College Week (ACW), a chance for students to explore their academic community while reflecting on the hard work being done by staff and students alike.

To mark the occasion, Aurora College president Jane Arychuk shared some of the school’s upcoming initiatives and past accomplishments with The Journal.

Long-distance, mobile learning key to success

To kick off ACW, the Business Administration program united the school’s main campuses in Fort Smith, Inuvik and Yellowknife through the launch of its recently installed video conferencing technology.

“Business Admin is getting ready to roll out a new first year for their program for next September using technology new to us,” Arychuk said.

An open house held Feb. 16 brought together college community members from Yellowknife, Fort Smith and Inuvik to demonstrate how the program would operate. With this initiative, students spanning the NWT will have opportunities to partner up with their peers throughout the far-spread regions and teachers will have the chance to share their expertise to a wider range of pupils in an easy-access format.

Several departments have also introduced short, portable classes to get adults from Lutsel K’e to Tuktoyaktuk interested in learning and brushing up on their skills. This includes a major achievement for the school this year, the touring Northern Adult Basic Education program.

“We’ve had great success with our literacy and essential skills courses in communities,” Arychuk said. “We’ve done 51 deliveries of these courses in communities including such things as starting your own business, marketing and office administration. Right now we’re piloting an early childhood care course. These are literacy and essential skills that don’t lead to a certificate or diploma, but they do lead to some skills around a job and also build the essential skills – literacy and numeracy – that people will need to start in these careers.”

In the next few weeks, the Inuvik campus will be sending a mobile trades unit up the ice highway to Tuktoyaktuk where, over the course of several months, emerging workers can dip their toes in the trades.

“What we’re hoping is it’ll be a bridge or a jumping off that they can start in the career at maybe a lower-level job and take an interest and move their way up,” Arychuk said.

Prepping classes for the future

During ACW, the Yellowknife campus will hold an open house to test the waters on a new two-year Bachelor of Education Program, for students with existing bachelor degrees in arts and sciences.

Potential future teachers and current education administrators are invited to stop by the North Slave foyer on Thursday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. to give their input and express their interest in the course.

A long-standing tradition of education

Aurora College is also celebrating two major anniversaries over the course of the academic year. Last fall, a month-long string of presentations and activities acknowledged the 50th anniversary of the Aurora Research Institute (ARI) in Inuvik.

In early April, Aurora will also hold a series of events to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its nursing program, a popular stream that has evolved from a diploma to a degree program over time.

While Aurora’s accomplishments and the academic success of its students remain top priority, Arychuk hopes students will also embrace AWC as a chance to let loose.

“It really changed its focus to just acknowledge the students and fun activities for students that will break up the winter as they gear into midterms and assignments,” Arychuk said. “It’s just a time to have a little bit of a breather and also build some camaraderie and team spirit.”

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