Archive for the ‘Alumni’ Category
By Trish Johnston
The Office of Alumni Relations recently launched Holland College’s first mobile app. The app was designed to keep more than 35,000 alumni connected to the college and to each other.
The app, which was developed by students from the Computer Information Systems (CIS) program, provides alumni with regular updates from the college and connections to other alumni through social media. Accessing Benchmark, the Holland College Foundation magazine, staying current on the Hurricanes Athletics news, and even making a gift to the school, are now easier than ever. Alumni can also register through the app for an electronic version of their alumni card – a card that every graduate should have as the benefits continue to grow.
BJ MacLean, Learning Manager for the CIS program, headed the project in partnership with the Office of Alumni Relations.
“There was a lot of learning involved, but it provided a great opportunity for us to explore this specific technology and go through the software development lifecycle,” said MacLean.
Second-year CIS students Kyle Newcombe and Chris Signouin took on the project under the guidance of MacLean.
“The technology that we used allowed us to develop the app quickly. That said, it was new to us, so we had to do a lot of research, and it didn’t always go smoothly,” said Newcombe. This project has taught me a lot of things, but mainly how important communication is,” said MacLean, noting that Kyle and Chris were highly self-motivated and were able to take on the project as a challenge.
“I was impressed with their ability to learn what was needed to successfully develop a product that met the Office of Alumni Relations’ needs. I am sure they will have ideas to improve and grow the app, which could lead to an enhancement release for students to work on next year,” said MacLean.
“Now that they’ve graduated, Kyle and Chris are moving ahead with their careers as developers, but there will be new students who will benefit from the challenge going forward.”
Sigouin added, “I hope that other students will take the opportunity to build on the app. It was a great experience to work as a team and create something that will benefit others. And, as a new alumnus myself, I appreciate having quicker access to information as well as the convenience of having the alumni card at my fingertips!”
Although developed primarily for alumni, the Office of Alumni Relations encourages anyone who would like to stay connected with Holland College to download the app which is available free of charge on both iOS (iPhone operating system) and Android platforms by searching “Holland College Alumni”
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.
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.
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
Three years ago, Dylan McQuaid’s résumé would have led one to expect that the 20-year-old would pursue a career in business or sports. After several years of playing hockey, the last three in the Maritime Junior A Hockey League and the Island Junior Hockey League, he seemed destined to follow the path of many other former hockey players into the business side of sports. But a combination of circumstances changed his path.
“I started drawing again to distract from the stresses of hockey, which shifted my focus as my hockey career was winding down. At the same time, I noticed that something wasn’t right with my health, including rapid weight loss and fatigue, along with other symptoms,” he recalls.
Following a series of tests, Dylan was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. The diagnosis further sharpened his focus.
“It put things into perspective for me. I thought, nothing’s a given, so I should go after what I want,” he says.
“My aunt was a graphic designer, and she suggested I check out the Graphic Design program at Holland College.”
After investigating his options, he decided to take the college’s one-year Fundamental Arts program before going into the two-year Graphic Design program.
“I didn’t have much confidence,” he explains, “so the Fundamental Arts program helped me to prepare for the Graphic Design program, including helping me develop an understanding of industry terminology.”
Over his three years at Holland College, he demonstrated the characteristics that lead to a successful college experience, and a successful career, and earned him the Governor General’s medal when he graduated last spring.
In addition to his exemplary work ethic and keen design sense, Dylan has a strong belief in community involvement. He participated in many worthwhile causes during his time at Holland College, and even garnered Most Dedicated Player and Hurricanes Scholar-Athlete awards for his role in the Holland College Hurricanes Men’s Baseball team.
Recently, he was named the regional winner in BMO’s Invitational Student Art Competition, winning $5,000 and a trip to Toronto for the opening of a display of the winning works from across the country.
He did his on the job training at Carta Worldwide, a payments processing company, and now has a full-time job as a graphic designer in their Charlottetown office.
“I enjoy working at Carta Worldwide, and I’m strengthening my skills there. Eventually, I’d like to move elsewhere and work at a design firm and continue to learn and improve my design skills.”
Many kids dream of playing professional hockey and making it in the big leagues. They spend countless hours at the rink perfecting their skills, and for some of them, the hard work pays off. But what happens when injuries sideline a promising career?
James Sanford can tell you. Over the course of his 14-year career, he played in several leagues, including the American Hockey League, British Elite Ice Hockey League, Central Hockey League, ECHL, Federal Hockey League (winning a championship with the Danbury Whalers), Ligue Nord-Americaine de Hockey, and in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, where he played for the Victoriaville Tigres and his hometown team, the Moncton Wildcats. He was also a defenseman on Canada’s under 18 team 2002.
But his aspirations of playing in the NHL, seemingly so close to being realized, ended when he sustained a herniated disk in his neck and had to undergo extensive surgery. At that point, he returned home to New Brunswick.
“For the next two years I did dead-end jobs,” he recalled in a recent interview. “You live a certain lifestyle as a hockey player. It’s your whole life. You’re with the same 20 guys every day, so it takes a big adjustment to get acclimated to being back in the regular world.”
Realizing that he was going to have to return to school if he wanted to improve his career options, he decided to apply to the two-year Golf Club Management program at Holland College.
“I always thought that I would like to be a golf pro when I retired from hockey, and I had some friends who had gone through the program.”
The golf program gave him the kind of focus he hadn’t had since quitting hockey, but the adjustment wasn’t easy.
“As a hockey player, you get instant approval and gratification from the crowd; when you get out in the real world, you don’t get that very often.”
Jeff Donovan, James’s instructor for the last two years, said James overcame his reticence early on, and his confidence improved as he developed his skills.
“Sometimes it’s a little harder for people coming back to school when they’re a little older, especially if they have already had a career and are retraining; but James, who was 30 when he came into the program, settled in quite quickly.”
James graduated from the Golf Club Management program this spring and is working at the Bell Bay Golf Club in Baddeck, Cape Breton for the summer. Cape Breton’s golf courses are drawing international attention, making the region the fastest growing golf destination in the world.
“I’m the assistant pro, so I’m responsible for overseeing the golf academy’s programs and the pro shop. I teach, as well. I’m getting to use all the skills I learned in the Golf Club Management program in the day to day operations of Bell Bay. This year, we are hosting the MacKenzie Tour event. I’ll try to qualify, but even if I don’t, I’ll get first-hand experience as part of the organizing team.”
Eric Tobin, Pro at Bell Bay, said James was a natural choice for the golf club.
“I was very pleased when I saw James apply to be my assistant golf professional here at Bell Bay Golf Club. His background with professional sports is something that caught my eye early in my decision to bring him on board. His dedication to hockey in his past career was evident, and I am excited to see this transition to the golf industry. Holland College has given him the opportunity to step into a leadership role after only his second year. The education he has gained at Holland College made him an easy choice for this position. I am looking forward to a long relationship with James,” he said.
James will return to Holland College in the fall to take the one-year Professional Golf Management program.
Jeff Donovan said demand for graduates from the golf programs at Holland College has never been higher.
“This past year we could have placed each of our students three times over. There is a huge demand for young professionals in the golf industry. Employers are contacting the program and looking for graduates who are able to go to golf facilities and handle the day to day business demands and deliver the type of programming that will drive new membership and participation,” he said.
Golf Club Management student Gareth Lewis knew that he wanted to run his own business eventually, but a family tragedy changed his timeline drastically. Last year, his first at Holland College, the 18-year-old’s world was thrown into turmoil when his father died suddenly of a massive heart attack. That, for the young man from Saint John, New Brunswick, brought everything sharply into focus.
“I always wanted to be an entrepreneur, but when my father died, I realized that you should live while you can. I decided not to waste any more time,” he said in a recent interview. “I’d been developing the Just Swing Golf business plan for a couple of years, so I started my own company.”
In September of last year, as he prepared to return to Charlottetown to begin his second year in the Golf Club Management program, Gareth drew upon the money he had saved over the summer and began to develop a line of golf clothing.
It seems as though things fell into place for him quickly. He was awarded a Donald E.M. Glendenning Scholarship by the Holland College Foundation this year. The scholarship is awarded based on a student’s abilities in the areas of leadership, innovation and entrepreneurship, and presentation skills, and provided seed funding for his business.
His vision for his company is simple.
“A lot of the big name brand golf shirts are loose fitting. My friends and I wanted something more tailored, that would look good both on and off the golf course,” he said. “I want to provide functional, stylish, reasonably priced clothing.”
Working with a designer and manufacturer, and drawing upon the knowledge he had acquired in his first year of business courses in the Golf Club Management program, Gareth prepared to roll out his product line. He has just received his second order of products, which are sold on his web site, and hopefully in pro shops around the region.
The products have developed an impressive following so far. Golf pros Brett Wilson and Eric Locke and provincial amateur champion Justin Shanks are all wearing them; and so are Montreal Canadiens defenseman Nathan Beaulieu and Zack Phillips of the AHL Chicago Wolves.
This summer, Gareth will be an assistant pro at Riverside Country Club in Rothesay, New Brunswick, which is also going to carry his clothing line in the pro shop, giving him the perfect opportunity to receive feedback directly from his prospective customers.
In the fall, he’ll return to Holland College to take the one-year Professional Golf Management program, which focuses on developing students’ playing ability, honing their coaching skills, and providing them with the skills needed to perform the duties of a golf pro. It’s the first step on a path that will lead to membership in the Professional Golf Association of Canada, the national body that has gained international recognition for the rigour and quality of its training program.
Jeff Donovan, Holland College golf instructor and Class A professional with the association, says the Professional Golf Management program fulfills key criteria in the path to membership in the PGA of Canada.
“To become a member, applicants must have completed a three-year golf program. Our students complete the two-year Golf Club Management program, and then have the option of returning for the one-year Professional Golf Management program in order to fulfill that requirement,” he said.
When he graduates from the Professional Golf Management program next spring, Gareth intends to focus on becoming a member of the PGA of Canada, continuing to develop his product line, and launching a fundraising golf tournament in honour of his late father.
The Culinary Institute of Canada welcomes guest Chef Warren Barr The Pointe Restaurant, Wickaninnish Inn, Tofino, Vancouver Island
Chef Warren Barr and some of the students he worked with during his visit to the CIC
Although Tofino, B.C. and Charlottetown, P.E.I. are about as far apart as two communities can get and still be part of the same country, there are more similarities than differences between the two island towns, making the 75-room Wickaninnish Inn a natural fit for students and graduates of The Culinary Institute of Canada.
Chef Warren Barr, Executive Chef at The Pointe Restaurant at the Wickaninnish Inn, spent five summers as executive chef at the Inn at Bay Fortune, in P.E.I., before making his way west. He says the experience helped him to define principles of culinary integrity to which he has adhered ever since.
“At The Inn at Bay Fortune, we had a ‘strictly Canadian’ policy, and worked almost exclusively with local and regional farmers and producers. It gives you an accountability for what’s on the plate. As a chef, you develop a respect for the ingredients when you know the individuals who produce them. You’re a lot less likely to be wasteful with ingredients when you understand how much time and effort someone put into growing them.”
During his summers on P.E.I., Chef Warren developed an interest in The Culinary Institute of Canada, and gained an appreciation for the way the chef instructors prepared students for the profession.
“The students and graduates come into the kitchen ready to roll up their sleeves and take on any task that they are given. They don’t have ‘great expectations’ about where they will fit in the kitchen hierarchy. They are prepared to work hard and learn as much as they can from the rest of the team,” he says.
Chef Warren was back in P.E.I. last weekend to discuss employment opportunities with students seeking summer internships and those preparing to graduate this spring. He brought the Wickaninnish Inn’s Human Resource Manager, Melody McLorie with him.
Melody says the CIC’s students have an exceptional level of talent, and the way the semesters work at the college means that they can stay in their internships until the end of the busy season, whereas students from other cooking schools return to the classroom at the end of August, leaving their employers short-staffed for the busy fall months.
The Wickaninnish Inn employs up to 160 staff and provides staff housing for as many as 88.
“Tofino has a population of about 1,800, so finding housing in the summer would be difficult. We’ve purchased several homes in the area, and set them up as staff residences,” Melody explains.
Each house has a staff member who oversees the daily functioning of the house, sort of a residence assistant, ensuring that everything runs as smoothly as possible in these communal living spaces.
Tofino is not for everyone, Melody adds. The town is five hours north west of Victoria, Vancouver Island, and about three hours from Nanaimo, so access to some amenities is limited. But, as Chef Warren points out, if you’re into bonfires on the beach, and hiking around the beautiful Pacific Northwest, it may be just the place for you.
A few weeks ago, we had the pleasure of hosting a very distinguished alumnus of Prince of Wales College, Dr. Lewis Woolner. At the age of 101 (he’ll be 102 next month), Dr. Woolner must surely be one of the oldest, if not the oldest, living alumnus of Prince of Wales College. We thought he might be interested in taking a tour of the Charlottetown Centre, originally the location of the Prince of Wales College. The building was constructed in 1932 to replace the previous building, which burned down in 1931, and would have been about four years old by the time Dr. Woolner graduated.
Dr. Woolner usually gets around with the help of a walker, but with all of the construction work that’s going on in the main entrance and in the old auditorium (which is being transformed into a performance hall for the college’s School of Performing Arts, a partnership with Confederation Centre of the Arts), we deemed it safer to show him around in a wheelchair.
The retired pathologist, who spent his career at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota after earning a medical degree at Dalhousie University, returns to his native Prince Edward Island just about every year to reconnect with his family and his roots. It was an extraordinary experience to watch Dr. Woolner sifting through his memories, and to see his face light up when something struck a chord.
Some parts of the Charlottetown Centre remain almost as they were when the building was first opened. In one of our Accounting Technology classrooms, there is a beautiful set of floor to ceiling cabinets and drawers. This area used to be a physics lab back in the Prince of Wales College days, and so was certainly a space in which Dr. Woolner would have spent a great deal of time.
He remembers walking to the college from West Royalty, where he roomed with his aunt and uncle, and he remembers walking past the 1911 Jail every day on his way here. The wheelchair proved useful, as once he had seen the Accounting Technology classroom and the performance hall, he wanted to go around the outside of the building to see the doorway through which he would have entered on most days, on the Kent Street side of the building.
Finally, we showed him the newer part of the Prince of Wales Campus, the lovely courtyard and the quadrangle bordered by Glendenning Hall, the Centre for Applied Science and Technology, and the Centre for Community Engagement.
The Prince of Wales Campus has been a busy spot since Dr. Woolner’s visit. The first year students were here for an orientation. There were more than a thousand students from campuses and centres across the province in the Centre for Community Development and in the quad and courtyard getting to know each other and soaking up the college’s vibe. The average age of Holland College is about 24, although there are students as young as 18 and there are many mature students as well. They will spend the next year or two honing their skills and acquiring the knowledge they need to enter their chosen fields; most of them will look back at the time they have spent here fondly, and will form friendships that will last for decades. But it’s doubtful that many of them will be back to visit the campus in 80 years! We hope that Dr. Woolner will visit us again next summer.