Thursday, 21 May 2015 09:50

MHC staying the course no matter who’s in government

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The change in provincial government May 5 doesn’t adjust the course of the Medicine Hat College’s administration in regards to the institution’s own budget.


 Mike Gillespie, the college’s interim vice-president of academics, said in a recent phone interview they will stay the course in regards to plans they had with the March budget they were initially given while then-premier Jim Prentice was in power.
This announced provincial funding expedited a process of eliminating some programs.
On April 15, the college announced the cutting of four programs including the Education Assistant certificate, the Bachelor of Applied Science Degree Ecotourism and Outdoor Leadership as well as the diploma programs in Global Tourism and Marketing and Massage Therapy. No new students will be accepted. Mount Royal University cut its ecotourism program too.
Gillespie said regardless of any future changes in the budget, the college has a plan for programming and fiscal responsibility.
“We obviously have a strategic plan over the next five-year period and with the changes (including the changes in programming) the board has approved and in alignment with the government’s budget,” explained Gillespie. “It’s too early to say if the (provincial) budget will alter (funding for post-secondary institutions ... Part of our process includes external stakeholders (i.e. area businesses, public) to piece a course where we can better partner with the region. At this point though, we don’t know what impacts the new government will make.”
Gillespie added the college’s new budget will be presented in June. Not that they are expecting any sort of increase, but if there was it would just mean some more flexibility. He said with the elimination of some programs, there was a shift to ensure the college is involved on a regional level.
The presented and current provincial budget has MHC taking a $400,000 reduction in the base grant funding for 2015-16, which equated to the provincial-wide base funding reduced by 1.4 per cent for 2015-16 and 2.7 per cent in 2016-17.

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Ryan Dahlman

Managing Editor