Conestoga news

August 12, 2008 2:24 PM

Build it and they will come

Conestoga College hoping to grow with more local offerings

There has been plenty of excitement about a new university campus in our city but an established community college campus in Stratford has some good things of its own going on.

Conestoga College has significantly expanded its course activities this fall at the Youngs Street campus, more than doubling options available just this past spring.

Potential capacity also has more than doubled, so Conestoga College officials are hopeful more people will take advantage of the myriad of services offered at its city campus.

More continuing education courses are being offered this fall and the college is in the process of getting full-time post-secondary programs launched at the Stratford campus, said Andrea Leis, director of school of career and academic access.

There are now 41 continuing education courses, up from 21 in the spring, which range from computer classes and work skills to team success building and human relations.

The college continues to offer career and academic access programs, including academic upgrading, the job connect program and career counselling.

A strategic visionary committee has been working away at increasing awareness of the campus while discussing how it can continue to grow and best meet the needs of the community. It’s the old adage, “build it and they will come,” said Jennifer Trimmell, Conestoga College’s marketing and development manager for continuing education.

The college may have been an overlooked part of the Stratford community, but that is changing with the addition of a visionary advisory committee.

Stratford mayor Dan Mathieson, who has led the charge for a university campus in Stratford, said offering post-secondary education to citizens in the city is of the utmost importance. Post-secondary education was identified as a key factor in driving the economy at the Southwest Economic Assembly in May, an annual gathering of political, business and academic leaders, Mayor Mathieson said. The mayor praised the work of Conestoga College president Dr. John Tibbets.

“Dr. Tibbets has a great vision for where he wants to take the community college and he sees Stratford as a strong marketplace.”

Invitations have been sent out for membership in a community advisory group that will offer suggestions to move the college forward.

“The idea is to build and grow,” said Ms. Trimmell.

Ms. Leis said the college has increased visibility through public workshops, road signs and a specific page in the college’s continuing education calendar. The commitment to offer more, however, is a two-way street that must be embraced by potential students, said Ms. Leis. The college will need registrants for programs in order for them to continue and for more to be offered. The space is there: capacity for continuing education programs has increased to 963 spaces from 398 in the spring.

Anyone who wishes to participate in the college’s community advisory committee can contact Ms. Leis at 519-748-5220. An initial meeting is scheduled for Sept. 11 from 3-4:30 p.m. at the Stratford campus, 130 Youngs St.

Originally Posted By Paul Cluff, The Beacon Herald