Thompson Rivers University representatives discussed the local campus’ status and future at a Rotary Club of 100 Mile House luncheon on June 26.
Dr. Ray Sanders, executive director of the Williams Lake campus, gave a detailed presentation and along with Robin Bercowski, TRU community co-ordinator for 100 Mile House, fielded questions from the two dozen or so members and guests in attendance at the Happy Landing Restaurant.
Basically, the message from the Kamloops-based university is it’s trying to accommodate as much as possible the needs of the people its satellite campus and programs serve in the South Cariboo.
However, finding qualified instructors and the small number of students in the area are challenges TRU faces locally.
“It’s impossible to offer anything substantial when you don’t have a group of people,” Bercowski said.
She added TRU is offering block learning – where students complete one course at a time, either online or face to face – as a way to meet the needs of individual students and basically do “whatever is necessary” to deliver specific courses.
“We’re doing our best with the block learning. I think that will be a good step with people actually staying in their communities and getting their degrees or whatever they’re looking for.”
Twelve local students graduated in the spring from a health-care assistance program offered by TRU, and the school is currently working with 14 students in an adult basic education program at Canim Lake.
What the university mostly does locally is offer first aid training and industry certificate courses, such as food safety certificates and Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS).
Bercowski said there’s a huge need for those courses locally, and she wants people to contact her about other interests they have with respect to training and education.
Sanders and Bercowski also talked about the closing of the GROW centre, a School District #27 program that provided a tutor and resource materials to help students earn high school level credits, and what the university can do in its place.
“I’ve put in a request to Kamloops to see if we can get some sort of support to fill that gap,” Bercowski explained.
“They are working on that to see if there’s anything we can offer. It’s not like we’re just leaving it swinging in the wind. We are trying, but I can’t really say if it will happen.”
She noted Williams Lake offers a GROW program with a tutor, and TRU offers independent study programs with tutors students can speak with over the phone.
“We’re here and we’re not going anywhere,” Bercowski said of TRU’s status in town. “We’re working very hard to keep the needs of 100 Mile met.”