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Want to keep in touch with Holland College? There’s an app for that!

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app-iconBy 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.

 

staff-and-students

(Left – Right) CIS instructor B.J. MacLean discussing the app with CIS students Kyle Newcombe and Chris Signouin.

“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”

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

Holland College student trades hockey stick for paint brush

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DylanThree 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.”

 

Written by Sara Underwood

November 21, 2016 at 9:28 am

Atlantic Police Academy instructor dances for Hospice PEI

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When Rick Blouin attended a local fundraiser a couple of years ago, he never suspected that he would end up as a contestant in the popular Dancing with the Stars event, but he’s spent the last few weeks preparing to do just that with his dance partner and trainer, Tricia Boland.

Rick, a police inspector at the Atlantic Police Academy, said he first became aware of the competition when he and his wife went to one of the Hospice PEI’s fundraisers a while back.

“We attended the Dancing with the Stars event a couple of years ago, and had a great time,” Blouin said. “After the competition was over, we all got up and danced, and I really enjoyed it. So when they contacted me about being part of the event, I thought it would be fun.”

Fun, but not easy. During the first few practices, he spent a lot of time looking at his feet and counting off the steps. Now, he and Trish glide around the floor effortlessly. Oddly enough, his passion for martial arts probably helped him prepare. Both require concentration and coordination, although probably there are fewer toes stepped on in martial arts.

Rick, who comes from South Rustico, and his wife and children operate a hobby farm in Grand River. He said the funds raised from Dancing with the Stars support the work of Hospice PEI, a cause close to his heart.

“Our family has experienced far too many young family members pass too soon, so I was pleased to be able to support Hospice PEI,” he said.

Rick’s goal is to raise $1,000. Each dollar donated equates to one vote in the competition. To donate to Rick’s Hospice PEI Dancing with the Stars page. Tickets have sold out for the event, which takes place October 22 at Rodd Royalty Inn.

Written by Sara Underwood

October 12, 2016 at 10:01 am

Golf Club Management grad leaves the ice to hit the greens

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James, behind the counter at the Bell Bay Golf Club pro shop.

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.

Written by Sara Underwood

June 9, 2016 at 10:28 am

Golf Club Management student takes an entrepreneurial leap

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Gareth Lewis Just Swing

Gareth Lewis, wearing some of his Just Swing golf attire.

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.

 

Written by Sara Underwood

April 27, 2016 at 8:25 am