YORKTON - A plan soon to be submitted to the Saskatchewan Ministry of Advanced Education could lead to the full amalgamation of the Parkland and Cumberland College by mid 2023.
The two regional colleges have been collaborating in certain areas of operations since July 2019, including a shared CEO and president, explained Alison Dubreuil, the Interim CEO/Vice President.
Then in January of this year the Board of Governors “announced interest to merge the two colleges,” she said.
The process toward that merger has been ongoing since January.
Dubreuil said the reasons to move toward a full merger is to ensure the resulting entity can remain relevant to students and partners moving forward, and be sustainable in that effort.
The role of a regional college is always changing in an effort to meet the needs to students, and also local businesses which work with the college to provide education in specific areas to meet business needs, added Dubreuil.
Increasingly the college must be “nimble” and ready to create and provide needed training in very short times, and through a merged college it is believed that can be better achieved, she said.
It’s a case of being better positioned to serve college learning and local communities through shared resources and increased partnership opportunities leading to new programming.
It is through new programming the merged college believes it can attract more students, and by being a large college entity allow staff to specialize, which should enhance retention, said Dubreuil.
“Sharing resources should allow staff to become specialized,” she said.
In terms of staff Parkland has approximately 180, and Cumberland 90, and the merger plan calls for all to be retained, added Dubreuil.
Similarly, the campus locations will be maintained as they are today too, said Dubreuil, eight within Parkland and three within the Cumberland College regions.
The new college will of course have a larger geographic footprint as well.
The process of the merger was really started through the existing coalition since July 2019, said Dubreuil, who added it was almost a trial run for how a merger might work.
Since January the process has been to engage with staff and community stakeholders to allow then input on the merger.
Next will be the formal submission to the province, expected by year’s end, which could allow for approvals to be given leading to the merger being formally implemented July 1, 2023, said Dubreuil.
In the end a formalized merger will help the new entity “better serve its mandate” as it relates to educational opportunities for students, said Dubreuil.