The Cowichan Campus of Vancouver Island University is fulfilling its promise of offering students higher education closer to home.
Since the building opened its doors five years ago after a move from its previous location by the Cowichan River, the number of students attending classes there has increased by 17 per cent, from 1,092 to 1,280, according to Karen Leeman, Associate Registrar.
She that the rapid growth means the building is a busy place, days, evenings and even weekends.
New programs the campus can offer at the new building, along with the expansion of a dual credit program with the Cowichan Valley school district plays a role in the increase, said Warren Weir, Cowichan Campus academic administrator.
New programs have included hairdressing, applied business technology, and welding, which was made possible by the opening of the Cowichan Trades Centre in 2013, plus the Bachelor of Education program.
More students are enrolling in the programs that were offered before the move as well, and the Cowichan Campus’s close relationship with the school district has grown the dual credit enrolment by about 700 per cent since 2010, said instructional director Keith Chicquen said in a press release.
“As a recruitment device, it’s been very effective,” he said of the dual credit program. “These students are much more likely to attend VIU if they’ve already taken some courses here. Trades and technology programs have been particularly popular with dual-credit students. The 2013 addition of the Cowichan Trades Centre has helped boost this enrolment by 150 per cent.”
Schools superintendent Rod Allen, said this teamwork provides some remarkable learning opportunities for students.
“These sorts of programs make it easier for students to transition to post-secondary. VIU is an outstanding educational partner for our district.”
Watch for the pilot of a triple credit program this fall at Chemainus Secondary School, in which VIU will teach Criminology 131 and the district will simultaneously teach Law 12 to these students. Students will receive an additional four university credits on their high school transcripts, as well as credit for both courses.
Weir said he expects even more growth soon, as the school district is closing its adult education program.