Selkirk College’s new president is ready for the arrival of the fall semester

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The summer calm will soon be broken at Selkirk College as students arrive for the fall semester, bringing a new air of post-secondary excitement to campuses and learning centers across the region.

President Maggie Matear has been at the helm of the college since late May. Settling in and getting comfortable with his new role over the past three months, Matear looks forward to welcoming students and staff back to a learning environment full of promise.

There’s something about the energy that a building full of students brings,” says Matear. “People who enjoy being in the post-secondary sector feed off of that energy, so we’re all looking forward to September. There is excitement about starting a new chapter of learning and achievement for students and staff. »

Matear assumed the leadership position of the college after an extensive nationwide search to replace outgoing president Angus Graeme. She began her post-secondary career 30 years ago as a community adult educator, teaching and coordinating training programs in remote Indigenous communities. Since that time, Matear has worked primarily in rural communities in an impressive range of positions that include management consulting, strategic planning, stakeholder engagement and organizational development.

Fueled by core leadership values ​​of respect for those around her, excellence and kindness, Matear takes an inclusive approach to her new work.

One of my challenges will be how to leverage all the great initiatives that have brought us this far,” says Matear, who came to the college after serving as vice president of academic services, finance and administration at Yukon University in Whitehorse. “It’s about ‘standing on the shoulders of giants’ and going further, instead of coming down and going in a different direction.”

During the transition in June, Graeme toured the region with Matear to meet with staff at various locations and leaders of the communities served by the college.

What I really appreciate is the time community leaders have dedicated to Selkirk College,” says Matear, who has held leadership positions in economic and community development settings while serving on a wide range of boards. directors of non-profit organizations. “I met some very busy people – mayors, superintendents, school board superintendents, First Nations representatives, non-profit CEOs – all were happy to meet us. Arranging these meetings was not difficult and it speaks volumes about the reputation Selkirk College has developed as a true community partner. It was invigorating to find out, and I look forward to continuing to meet all those people who truly believe in the potential of where they live.

Post-pandemic priorities focused on learner success

Uncertainty related to COVID-19 still exists in Canada, but this September will mark the first full return to activities on the Selkirk College campus since the pandemic upended the world in March 2020. New challenges have arisen that encourage greater emphasis on what post-secondary education can contribute to local economies. The fight against labor shortages and the need for more skilled workers begins in the classrooms, laboratories, studios and workshops of Selkirk College.

The degrees and transferable skills you get at community college are just as important as they always have been,” says Matear. “There are more opportunities in the job market today, but if you want to move forward or change sectors, it is important to be equipped with educational tools and a base of transferable skills. We ensure future-proof careers so that people have this foundation to build on throughout their lives.

With more than 70 program offerings and planning for up to 2,500 students for the upcoming academic year, Selkirk College offers a range of academic, vocational, professional and technical pathways. The pandemic era has seen a slight decline in enrolment, mostly among international learners. As the federal government continues to work through the backlog with applications from international students, the college expects more arrivals from around the world to increase the number in the coming months.

International students bring different skills, ideas and ways of being that help us all learn to see through different lenses, and that’s important in an increasingly globalized world,” says Matear. “This continues to be a priority at Selkirk College, but it must be done in a way that ensures we have the right supports and services for students who come to Canada looking for new experiences and opportunities.

Outside of the classroom, Selkirk College staff worked hard to put the finishing touches on the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Plan which will be released later in the fall. By formalizing goals and objectives to ensure that post-secondary education is welcoming to all, the plan will position the college as a leader in this area among rural institutions.

Close to Matear’s heart and part of his work in the past, indigenization at the post-secondary level will continue to be a priority at Selkirk College. Under Graeme’s leadership, the college launched its Indigenization Plan 2019-2024 end of 2019. With a framework in place to support truth and reconciliation goals, Matear is pleased to arrive at an institution where students and staff embrace the work needed to bring about change.

There is a real will and openness to do the work of reconciliation,” she said. “It’s a leader’s dream to see this because getting people on the same page is the hardest part. I feel like we are well positioned and Selkirk College can be a leader in this regard.

Like students looking forward to the first day of classes, Selkirk College’s new president marks the days until an exciting new chapter of learning begins.

Selkirk College is a remarkable destination. It’s completely unique and it’s set in an absolutely stunning location,” says Matear. “Most importantly, what happens here every day changes lives by providing better opportunities for the future. I am so happy to be part of it.

To learn more about Selkirk College, visit https://selkirk.ca/

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