News and Events

Here at the Collage

March 10, 2014

Written by Mark Keller, director of college advancement
Featured in "On Campus" in the Medicine Hat News

I met with a few colleagues last week to discuss what if anything ought to be done to better coordinate the numerous events, occasions, and gatherings that happen on campus.

This discussion was spurred, somewhat at least, by a recent observation that on the same day one campus group was selling pizza to raise funds while another group was giving pizza away just to say thanks.

I’m absolutely in favour of pizza, free or otherwise, but something does seem awry if a slice is complimentary in one hall but costs three bucks around the next corner.

Or is there anything wrong with that at all?

One of the traits of the collage (not a typo) is that we’re unfocused by design. I don’t mean the collage (not a typo) has no purpose or mission, far from it. In fact, our purpose is to provide as many different learning opportunities as we can within the limits of our mandate and capacity.

Because our mandate runs all the way from recreational learning to degrees, the experiences people have on campus can at times seem contradictory.

Some programs, for example, are absolutely aligned to immediate employment opportunities. If you’ve opted to take Power Engineering, the chances are you’re aiming for work in a specific, known field.

On the other hand, you might enrol in university transfer courses that lead to all sorts of degrees that, on the surface at least, don’t seem linked to any particular job at all.

Yet I happen to know that one of my colleagues completed a degree in religious studies. I’d be surprised if she took that program expecting to find a job ‘in the field’ but I’d be willing to bet that the degree developed her capacity and capabilities as a leader.

Looking for more contradiction in our collage? I’ve been involved in discussions about helping students succeed and been reminded, appropriately, that providing ‘F’ grades is as much about success as ‘A’ grades. It’s also true that some programs teach people to design tools while other programs teach people to use tools.

This place really is a collage of people and programs, all with varying goals and different ways of attaining them. It follows that the experience on campus is going to vary from day to day and place to place.

I rather hope that the next time you visit campus you encounter some of the contradictions that make this collage (not a typo) among the best anywhere. And bring some change because I won’t guarantee that the pizza will be free.

Visit to learn more about your college, contact Mark Keller with your questions at or follow him on Twitter @mark_mhc.

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