BofG Odds And Ends

chinese speech
St. Clair President Patti France, presenting the keynote address to an educational symposium in China.

“Odds and ends” from the October 27th meeting of the college’s Board of Governors:

• The Board received (and accepted) a report from the administration regarding the school’s new method of reviewing “Program Sustainability and Rationalization”.

Every year, the administration reviews the status of a selected number of its 120-plus programs, to see how they are performing both academically and financially.

This process has become particularly important during the past several years, noted the report by President Patti France and Vice-President of Academics Waseem Habash, because “there has been a shift in demographics provincially, and the system has seen a reduction in domestic (Canadian) student enrolment, impacting weighted funding units (a decline in provincial funding) ... These changes have necessitated a thorough review of existing programs that are facing declining student interest and reduced provincial funding.”

The revised formula will see programs evaluated using such factors as Key Performance Indicator (KPI) survey results (including current student and graduate “satisfaction rates”), a program’s retention rates (level of mid-program drop-outs), the employment rate of graduates, and the program’s “net contribution” (whether it is operating with a financial profit to the college).

Those factors are considered separately, initially. For instance, if a program still has a fairly stable enrolment from year-to-year, and most students and grads express satisfaction with its quality during the annual KPI surveys – but it is, for whatever reason, not contributing a sufficient “profit” to the college – remedial financial plans will be put in place to see if the program can turn itself around. Alternatively, if a program is profitable but its enrolment is declining, a special marketing plan might be developed to address that glitch.

Only when a problematic program is identified and remedial actions to improve its operations do not prove successful will thought be given to eliminating it entirely from the college’s offerings (or, actually, it would be “kept on the books”, but the intake of new students would be suspended).

• Also presented to the Board was a report by France and Vice-President of College Communications and Community Relations John Fairley, providing an update on the past year of community engagement and brand identification efforts.

Four new catch-phrases were added to the college’s marketing efforts last year. In addition to the long-standing “Start Here, Go Anywhere” and “Rise Above The Ordinary” slogans, St. Clair has started using “Take Flight”, “Saints Nation”, “Saints Strong”, and “The World Needs You – See Beyond Today”.

The last slogan, to be emphasized during the 2021-22 recruitment campaign, reflects both the school’s newfound catering to international enrolment, as well as the role its graduates will play in rebuilding a world affected by the COVID pandemic.

In addition to substantial advertising via radio, television, newspapers, trade publications and billboards, the college staged a number of digital and social media campaigns last year. It enjoyed a total social reach of almost two million (number of times that individual users came across sponsored posts), over 15 million impressions (total number of people who had the opportunity to see posted ads), and over 50,000 click-throughs (clicks on a link embedded in an ad to obtain more information).

The report also noted that the college’s main webpage (www.stclaircollege.ca) saw a 25 percent increase in users/new-users last year, and a 22 percent increase in the number of sessions which people spent exploring the website.

• Among the items cited by France in her monthly President’s Report to the Board:

– One-hundred percent of the students in the 2019-20 graduating class of the Diagnostic Medical Sonography program passed their national accreditation core examination – compared to the 88 percent average of all of the accredited schools in Canada;

– As noted in some recent media coverage, local golf courses experienced one of their busiest years in recent memory, as long-time and new golfers jammed fairways to enjoy socially-distanced exercise during the pandemic. The college owned-and-operated Woodland Hills course (Highway 401 and Belle River Road) was among those hard-to-get-a-tee-time courses;

– The S’Aints, a local band fronted by Jody Raffoul and Jeff Burrows, will continue its decade-long tradition of staging a Christmas concert (plus CD release) to support food banks, homeless shelters and other social service agencies in Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent.

Usually staged in Casino Windsor’s Colosseum Theatre in December, this year’s concert will be streamed on-line (date to be announced).

Since its inception, The S’Aints “Sleighing Hunger” project – sponsored annually by the college – has raised over $300,000 for local charities.

“The community obviously needs that sort of assistance more than ever this year, so we’re excited that the concert will be taking place again,” France noted; and

– By video, France recently delivered the keynote speech for the online forum of “Yunnan China – Southern and South-Eastern Asia International Education Cooperation”. It was hosted by the Ministry of Education, Yunnan Province, China. She is one of the first North Americans to provide the keynote address at that annual symposium. The speech was themed “The Pursuit Of Education Knows No Boundaries”. Kunming Metallurgy College is the top-ranked college in Yunnan province. St. Clair’s partnership with KMC is one of the earliest Canadian–Chinese educational partnerships in that area of China.