Comox Valley students will no longer be able to complete Emily Carr University’s four-year Bachelor of Fine Arts degree without leaving North Island College (NIC).
NIC announced last week it will discontinue the Bachelor or Fine Arts external program with Emily Carr University of Art and Design (ECU). The Bachelor of Fine Arts program will not accept new admissions this coming September, but there will be a transition period for current students.
Declining enrolment made the program unsustainable, according to NIC’s director of college and community relations Susan Auchterlonie.
Started in 2005, the program allowed students to complete the third and fourth years of ECU’s Bachelor of Fine Arts degree without leaving NIC’s Comox Valley campus, rather than taking the first and second years here, then transferring to a university.
Auchterlonie says about 40 full-time equivalent (FTE) students were enrolled in years three and four of the program near the time it began.
But, “the numbers have been steadily declining,” continues Auchterlonie. “In 2012 and 2013, in years three and four, we had a total of 11 FTEs.”
As per the agreement between the institutions, NIC transfers about $288,000 each year to ECU so the university can offer the third and fourth years of the program at NIC. Discontinuation of the program means NIC can use these funds to focus on its own programming.
“The dollars could be used in other ways that could benefit other programs and other students, and our own fine arts students,” she says, noting the college is in the midst of developing new fine arts programming that will better reflect what students are looking for.
“Needs evolve all the time so you have to continue to change programming, so we’ll see what we can offer now that is of interest to students.”
Meanwhile, NIC and ECU will work with students already enrolled in the program to ensure they complete their degrees.
Auchterlonie notes representatives from both institutions will meet with current students this week, and each student will meet with an academic adviser.
“Both institutions are very committed and are going to work together to develop a transition plan for every currently enrolled student to achieve completion of their program,” she says. “The students in third and fourth year will likely be able to complete here … We’re also working with those in first and second year to ensure that they can complete their intended programs.”
For students in first and second year, that could mean doing a university transfer, she added, noting NIC students transfer to various institutions across the country like Alberta College of Art and Design and Ontario College of Art and Design as well as ECU, to obtain fine arts degrees.
As well, she points out the college offers a variety of other fine arts and design programming, like the fine arts diploma, professional photography and interactive media programs.
For more information about NIC programs, visit www.nic.bc.ca.