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2019 a year of growth for NIC

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North Island College is looking to build off an eventful 2019.

The year included the launch of new programs and expanded seats in high-demand offerings such as health care assistant and early childhood care and education. 

NIC also opened a new learning space in Comox, received a new name for its campus in Port Hardy, celebrated a milestone anniversary in Port Alberni and welcomed students to the newly renovated campus in Campbell River. 

The college also looked to the future, with community consultations and regional forums as it prepares its next five-year strategic plan.

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“There were so many things that made 2019 a remarkable year for NIC and the communities we serve,” said NIC president, John Bowman. “I’m incredibly proud of the work that has been put in by the entire college community to support students across the region and we wanted to share some of the highlights from the past year.”

Highlights included:

  • January 2019: NIC kicked off 2019 with expanding its Kwak’wala Indigenous language course to the Campbell River and Comox Valley campuses. NIC also launched online advising booking, so students can easily book an appointment with an advisor to discuss their educational goals.
  • February 2019: NIC hosted its annual open house, with more than 1,000 Grade 11 students coming to its Comox Valley and Port Alberni campuses to explore what NIC has to offer. NIC also announced its Culinary Business Operations diploma and advanced diploma programs, which combine ITA apprenticeship training with front-of-house and business skills.
  • March 2019: The NIC Foundation offered a record $534,000 in scholarships and bursaries to NIC students. NIC also continued to expand opportunities for students to go global with their learning, adding an additional 35 new countries to its study abroad options.
  • April 2019: NIC was gifted a Kwak’wala name for its campus in Port Hardy. Mixalakwila means “maker of what’s been dreamt about.” NIC also acknowledged the legacy of former NIC President Dr. Lou Dryden through naming the atrium of the Comox Valley Trades Training Centre in his honour.
  • May 2019: NIC received provincial funding for Wildfire Crew Training, which ran in Campbell River and Port Alberni, training a new group of firefighters to protect the province through wildfire season.
  • June 2019: NIC’s Bachelor of Business Administration program marked a milestone with its 150th graduate since the degree began. NIC also announced the expansion of its Market Gardener training, which launched in Port Alberni in 2019 and will be expanded to the Comox Valley in 2020.
  • July 2019: NIC had a busy summer with expanded summer camp programming for kids. The ever-popular Lego Robotics camps expanded to include Level 2 camps and NIC’s science labs were home to a group of ‘mad scientists’ who spent the week exploring chemistry, physics, biology and coding with hands-on experiments.
  • August 2019: NIC asked the public to help shape its future years through an online strategic planning survey. Feedback from the community, employees and students will be incorporated into Plan20-25, which will guide NIC’s work for the next five years.
  • September 2019: NIC kicked off the academic year and welcomed trades students to their new shops at the expanded Campbell River campus. The $17.6 million renovation included 105,000 square feet of new and renovated space including a new teaching kitchen and bistro, library and bookstore spaces and a new student commons area. NIC also celebrated the grand opening of its new learning space at the former St. Joseph’s General Hospital in Comox. NIC recognized milestones for its ElderCollege partners. Comox Valley ElderCollege celebrated its 20th anniversary with a plaque dedication and donation to the NIC Foundation to support students. Campbell River ElderCollege marked 15 years of lifelong learning. 
  • October 2019: NIC launched Early Assist, a mental health and wellness program to help connect students to supports and help them succeed. NIC’s Aboriginal Scholars program expanded to all campuses, providing one-on-one support for students as they work toward their academic, spiritual, emotional and/or physical goals.
  • November 2019: The Port Alberni campus celebrated its 25th anniversary with the opening of a time capsule that was sealed at the grand opening of the Roger Street campus in 1994. NIC culinary alumna and one of Canada’s next star chefs returned to Campbell River with other members of Culinary Team BC for a special dinner as part of their practice for the Culinary Olympics. 
  • December 2019: NIC announced the return of its tuition-free land-based learning program Awi’nakola, which will run at the Mixalakwila campus, starting in January.

Next year is shaping up to be another busy year at NIC as the college finalizes its strategic plan, celebrates the official grand opening of the newly expanded Campbell River campus and continues to develop its Computer Information Systems certificate and Indigenous Language certificate, along with training opportunities responsive to the needs of communities in its region.

“As we look back on the past year, I am always impressed by the commitment of our faculty and staff to continue to create pathways to learning and empowering individuals to achieve their full potential,” Bowman said. “We have many exciting things planned for next year and for the next five years as we continue to work to provide accessible education throughout our region.”

For more information and a complete list of news stories throughout the past year, visit

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