News and Events

The numbers don't lie: Medicine Hat College a busy place

September 12, 2013

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

It is a new year on campus at Medicine Hat College with thousands of students, hundreds of employees and even one new columnist. I’m Mark Keller, the director of the college’s communications and development office, and thanks to the community spirit of the News, I’ll be offering perspective on the college every two weeks.

With the semester underway, and change in the air seasonally and perhaps directionally, I thought I’d gather some numbers and see how Medicine Hat College measures up.

Students come first, of course. So far this fall we have 2,436 students registered in their choice of 315 credit courses, down just a bit from the same time last year when 2,500 students were on the books.

Those students might be pursuing one of eight certificate programs — those are one year or less in length — or perhaps they’ve opted for one of the 21 two-year diploma programs. There are also three applied degrees — four-year programs offering six semesters of classes and at least one work term — university transfer programs that lead to degrees across the country, or one of six collaborative degree programs that can be completed 100 percent on campus.

Here’s an interesting thing. The college owns 1,200 computers and has placed more than 3,000 network jacks so it ought to be easy for those students to find hardware to use on campus. 

With full-time students on the young side at an average 20.6 years of age, it can be expected that many are bringing a smart phone or tablet to class. If they do, they’ll be served by 44 wireless hotspots that can support up to 1,000 users on the college network.

And our students do like technology. More than 1,300 individual students had logged into Blackboard, the college’s learning management system, within three days of the start of the semester. The social side of technology is also in play, with 3,772 “likes” on the college’s Facebook page and 2,752 followers on Twitter to whom we’ve sent 1,952 tweets.

When they’re not using technology, it seems the preference is for serious reading. With 1,024 library circulations, Maclean’s magazine has topped even the popularity of People over the past 10 years.

How many employees are there? The answer depends on when you ask. This past August we paid 457 people, but the number will climb when sessional and student positions are filled.

I was stunned to learn that those 600 or so people somehow generated 5,607,775 messages on the employee email system in a single year. It was a relief to read further and discover that only 954,770 of these were ‘real’ messages. The rest probably promised a share of millions if only our personal banking information was made available.

When I take my attention away from email and focus on the real world, it does seem like there are more women than men on campus. In fact, 68 per cent of today’s credit students are female. However, this all depends on where you look. The college hosts eight apprenticeship trades, largely in the T Wing, where the gender balance is 98 percent male.

We issued 13,500 cheques last year to pay the bills.

But enough with the numbers.

Medicine Hat College is really a place of promise, purpose and passion and my hope is this column will share those stories with you in the weeks and months ahead. I’d also be happy to tackle questions and comments by email of course, at