Medicine Hat College has often hosted election forums but this year we seem to have made the somewhat intriguing step from simply hosting the debates to actually being part of the discussion.
Though our new role as part of the election topic has been a bit surprising, it is pleasing to see and hear people reflect on the current and future impact of the college. While it isn’t my place or intent to step into the debate, I’m hoping it will be helpful to add some background and context to the discussion.
A good starting point may be the range of programs we offer.
The provincial government’s framework defines six types of academic institutions. We’re defined as a “Comprehensive Community Institution,” which provides us with a broad range of opportunity including apprenticeship, academic upgrading, certificates and diplomas.
To touch directly on some election-driven Twitter comments, that mandate also includes degrees. MHC offers applied degrees to students; a relatively new credential which merges three years of formal study with another year of related work experience. When these students graduate their parchments carry our logo.
Students may also complete four-year baccalaureate degrees right here in Medicine Hat, thanks to collaboration with other schools like the University of Calgary and Mount Royal University. Students in these programs can do all the work on campus, but the parchment they earn carries the name of our partner.
Students may also begin numerous degrees here before transferring to complete the program with a partner. This collaborative approach is part of what it means for MHC to be part of the network of provincial institutions collectively known as Campus Alberta. Working together to benefit students is a key part of the Campus Alberta concept.
Other aspects of the election discussion have touched on the economic impact of MHC and it is easy to confirm that the college does have a positive impact on the local balance sheet.
According to an economic impact study completed in 2007, the area served by MHC received about $145 million (2007 dollars) in regional income every year due to the actions of students and the college. Taxpayers might also be assured by the report which notes a nine percent return on every dollar invested at the college.
That counts as significant impact by most people’s reckoning so it isn’t surprising to see community-minded leaders consider ways of building and leveraging future contributions. I’m confident that college wants to maximize our impact, too.
So, thank you candidates for talking and thinking about education. MHC wants to work with you for the sake of a strong community.
Feel free to email me if you’d like to learn more about the college.
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