by Marilyn Luscombe
Nearly a century ago, in 1919, the Carleton County Vocational School officially opened its doors. Since those beginnings, New Brunswick’s college system has grown and evolved to help meet the educational aspirations of learners and the needs of the labour market and economy. Today, New Brunswick Community College (NBCC) is a significant contributor to New Brunswick’s social and economic prosperity. The challenges of limited resources and declining population mean there is no more important time for NBCC to act boldly.
On September 26, NBCC launched Together We Rise, our strategic plan for the next five years, which outlines a vision of success based on three specific goals.
First, by 2022, NBCC will welcome 10,000 learners each year. Opening our doors as widely as possible not only enriches our College, it makes our Province stronger. To do this, we will reach out to under-represented learners and reach beyond our borders.
Secondly, these learners will enjoy an enriched NBCC Advantage. They will be employed and prepared for success; they will also be leaders who contribute to diverse and inclusive communities in New Brunswick and around the world. They will be life-long learners, taking advantage of continuous development opportunities, and innovators and entrepreneurs creating employment and wealth. And, perhaps most importantly, each of them will feel connected to NBCC and New Brunswick; they will feel valued and will have opportunities to add value.
Thirdly, we will build our capacity to grow. By investing in the development of our employees and their talents, we will strengthen our College. Our continuous improvement approach and strong relations with valued partners will increase opportunities for growth and improve effectiveness and efficiency.
To achieve these goals, we have outlined five inter-related strategies. We will be more responsive to both learner aspirations, and to the social and economic needs of New Brunswick, through more flexible programming. We will further the productivity, sustainability and effective delivery of our programs and services. We will invest in and align our talents and resources with our strategic goals while also building mutually beneficial partnerships and collaborations.
Recognizing that we cannot do everything at once, from 2017-2019, we will focus our work on priority initiatives which will provide the building blocks for success. We will increase learner participation by understanding and reducing barriers; by enhancing support services through alternate hours and modes of delivery; and by increasing transitional support for prospective students. Through authentic partnerships, staff and students will increase their learning about Indigenous communities, culture, history and knowledge. We will invest in NBCC employees’ capacity to lead change and respond to diverse learner needs. And we will implement a continuous improvement approach to further our goals.
Our new strategic plan also introduces specific performance targets to help us evaluate our progress and prompt meaningful conversations, reflections and renewed strategies over the next five years.
Together We Rise emerged from many conversations and many thousands of voices. We were inspired by the outcomes established by our Board of Governors, and we were also motivated by the opportunity for NBCC to be an even more positive force in our Province. As a result of over 4300 online and in-person engagements, we have charted our course for the next five years.
But that collaboration is only beginning. It will take strong relationships across the College and within our communities to achieve the goals of Together We Rise. We are building on a solid foundation and with audacious hope for the future. We will be reaching out to invite our partners in industry, in communities and in government to join us in this work. We believe that a stronger NBCC will contribute to a stronger New Brunswick. Together, we can align our shared goals and collective efforts to overcome the cultural, social and economic challenges we face as a Province. Together We Rise.
Marilyn Luscombe is the President and CEO of New Brunswick Community College.