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Archive for December 2016

Raymond Loo Memorial Garden gives Holland College students and staff a place to learn and reflect

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A barren patch of land on Holland College’s Prince of Wales Campus has been turned into an organic garden and Plein air classroom where students and staff can rediscover the therapeutic benefits of nature and take applied learning to a whole new level.

The Raymond Loo Memorial Garden is named after one of the most prominent organic farmers in Prince Edward Island. For more than 10 years, Mr. Loo welcomed students from Holland College’s Transitions program, a career exploration program for high school students, to his farm to learn more about organic farming. When Mr. Loo died of cancer two years ago, Transitions staff wanted to pay tribute to his work and vision for P.E.I. youth by providing students with an outdoor classroom where they could learn about sustainability firsthand by designing, building, planting, maintaining and harvesting an on-campus organic garden.

“Our overall goal is to remember Raymond by carrying on what he started – encouraging students to think about where their food comes from, getting them out in nature and learning what it takes to build and maintain a garden,” said Joan Diamond, Transitions coordinator for the college. “The students’ participation in these activities confirmed our hunch that students really do enjoy learning in nature, despite the fact that they don’t often get the opportunity. Even the students who started out thinking it was ‘lame’, said that they had learned a lot and felt a real sense of contributing in a meaningful way to the community.”

As the project evolved over the spring and summer months, the Transitions team realized that the garden was having a noticeable effect on the campus community as a whole. Students and staff began eating their lunches there, and the college’s youngest students, the children in the college’s Early Learning Centre, began visiting it, too.

The Transitions staff worked with instructors in the Early Learning Centre to facilitate experiential learning with the students in the garden.  Joan Diamond went into the class to talk about sustainability and the importance of knowing where one’s food comes from, and the youngsters planted seedlings indoors to transplant to the garden later.  The children had three planting beds, and the excitement was palpable as they watched their seeds grow. Eventually, they were able harvest and eat them.  They continue to enjoy their afternoon visits to what they refer to as “The Secret Garden”, where they can pick and eat strawberries, blueberries and raspberries.

As the campus community began to use the garden more, Diamond noticed a growing trend of instructors taking their classes out to the garden, and the Transitions team decided to create an outdoor learning space complete with seating, stage and podium.

This garden presents endless opportunities to educate and model environmental stewardship. One garden bed is filled with plants that attract the endangered Monarch butterfly.  This year, the Holland College library partnered with the Bedeque Bay Environmental Management team to facilitate a Monarch butterfly release in the garden.  It was a huge success.  Diamond believes that the best way to encourage a sustainable campus is by creating a sustainable culture through engaging students and staff in activities such as these.

“We want to change the way students think about food and nature, and hope to create and maintain a creative space on each of our main campuses that will allow us to continue this work as part of our Transitions environmental rotation, thus enhancing our program content and at the same time enhancing the experience for all students at each of the campuses,” she said.

The Raymond Loo Memorial Garden was created with assistance from the college’s President’s Innovation Fund.

Holland College Educational Joint Venture in China: partners sharing knowledge and best practices

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More than 15 years ago, the college began developing a concept based on delivering training programs in China in partnership with local Chinese colleges. Chinese colleges recognized the need and value of implementing a hands-on training model that was very different from the traditional teaching model.

By January 2001, a formal agreement and key components of the Educational Joint Venture (EJV) had been reached with the six colleges. Formal agreements were signed in early February of 2001 as part of the Team Canada Trade Mission to China led by Prime Minister Jean Chretien.

The EJV between Holland College and the Chinese partner colleges utilizes a “3+0 in-China” delivery model whereby Chinese students who complete their three years of study in China obtain dual diplomas from their participating Chinese college and Holland College. Individual Chinese students interested in studying overseas may choose to study at Holland College after one year or two years.

Senior Administration

The commitment of the college’s management team to supporting the EJV programs has been key to the success of the partnership. Administrators from Holland College and the Chinese partner colleges visit each other regularly to share best program management practices. Face to face meetings between senior management in Canada and China help to develop an understanding of business practices and cultures, and enhance friendships, thereby ensuring ongoing development and sustainability for the EJV programs.

Holland College Instructors and Teachers in China

As an essential element of the EJV programs, each year Holland College instructors travel to partner institutions in China to deliver core courses to the students. The EJV courses are delivered in English by the Holland College instructors, which gives the students the opportunity to improve both their general and industry-specific English skills. The instructors use competency-based methodologies to familiarize students with the hands-on, skills-based educational model used in Canada.

Reviewing the Programs

Holland College’s commitment to programming and teaching excellence in Canada and China is supported by ISO policies and procedures. A Holland College curriculum consultant team visits Chinese partner colleges every year to conduct program reviews. The review includes campus and learning environment tours, observance program delivery, and meeting with students, faculty, and administration. The annual reviews, along with ongoing communication, enable Holland College and the Chinese partners to learn from each other and address areas for program improvement and modification.

EJV Best Practices Forums

Since not all Chinese instructors have the opportunity to receive training at Holland College, the college provides teacher-training in China regularly. Since 2004, the college has hosted best practice symposiums on partner campuses in China. The symposia create networking opportunities for the EJV instructors and administrators, giving them the chance to exchange their management experiences and best teaching practices.

Canada-China EJV Scholarships

In 2009, Holland College established the Canada-China EJV Scholarship to award to students for outstanding academic performance and community-mindedness. Since its inception, more than 150 students in China have earned this award.

EJV English Competition

All EJV programs start with an English preparatory year to ready students to study in English. In 2010, Holland College and the Chinese partners held the inaugural EJV English Speaking Competitions. The competition encourages students to improve their English; enhances their competency and research skills; creates networking opportunities for Chinese instructors and students; and facilitates the exchange of best practices in English between institutions. Each Chinese college selects two EJV students to participate in the competition.

Plans for the Future

Currently, there are close to 1,520 students enrolled in the Accounting Technology, Automotive Technology, Business Administration Business Manager Profile, Computer Information Systems, Computer Networking Technology, Early Childhood Care and Education, Electromechanical Technology, Golf Club Management, International Hospitality Management, and Marketing and Advertising Management programs in Chengdu Technological University, Zhenjiang College, Hainan College of Vocation and Technique, Xuchang University, Anyang Normal University, Jiangxi University of Science and Technology Nanchang Campus, Shangrao Normal University, Guiyang Vocational and Technical College and Chongqing Zuxia Software Training Institution.

Holland College looks forward to expanding its program offerings with its EJV partners, and forging new relationships with other institutions in China in the coming years.  Plans are being developed to add programs such as Energy Systems Engineering Technology, Human Services, Graphic Design, Culinary Arts, and Construction Technology and Management to the EJV list of offerings.

FAST FACTS

Between 2001 and 2016:

  • 33 Holland College senior management staff and administrators visited China
  • 130 Chinese partner colleges’ senior management staff and administrators visited Holland College
  • 70 Holland College faculty taught in China, 25% are from industry
  • 95 Chinese instructors received instructional training at Holland College in Prince Edward Island
  • 300 Chinese faculty participated in the best practice symposiums held in China
  • 180 Chinese students received Canada-China Educational Joint Venture Scholarship from Holland College
  • In total, 5, 148 Chinese students have been enrolled in 10 different programs at 11 Chinese institutions since 2001
  • All of the students have employment by the time they graduate

Written by Sara Underwood

December 5, 2016 at 1:42 pm