Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut February 20, 2014 - 12:04 pm

Arctic College, University of Winnipeg team up for degree program

“What we saw was a need for students in the environmental technology program"

DAVID MURPHY
Second-year students in Arctic College's Environmental Technology Program learn how to use a hydrolab from Jamal Shirley, in red and black plaid, at a limnology field camp at Crazy Lake, outside of Iqaluit, in April 2013. (PHOTO COURTESY OF ETP)
Second-year students in Arctic College's Environmental Technology Program learn how to use a hydrolab from Jamal Shirley, in red and black plaid, at a limnology field camp at Crazy Lake, outside of Iqaluit, in April 2013. (PHOTO COURTESY OF ETP)

Students at Nunavut Arctic College’s environment technology program now have the option of continuing their education at the University of Winnipeg.

The two schools entered into an agreement last week that allows 45 of the program’s 60 credits to be transferred towards a Bachelor of Science degree at the university.

The degree “should greatly enhance their ability to get the kinds of jobs that we want people of the North to have in the North,” said the associate dean of science at the University of Winnipeg, Danny Blair.

Blair worked to make sure Arctic College credits are transferrable to different departments at the university. He said the transfer agreement took a year and a half to complete.

“What we saw was a need for students in the environmental technology program, if they want to expand their career opportunities in the North, they would need a degree,” Blair said. 

“And that really isn’t an option right now at NAC,” he said.

Now, students from ETP may go south and study for another two-and-a-half years to get a degree.

The University of Winnipeg is tied for 13th place in Canada for undergraduate education quality, according to the Maclean’s 2014 university rankings.

The environmental technology program, as it stands now, offers only a diploma program.

That’s not to say a diploma isn’t useful — but Blair said a degree opens more doors in policy development, fieldwork and management opportunities, and jobs in the resource development market, which he said is “going to explode in Nunavut.”

“We need more people to work in industry, work with government to make sure that resource development is done properly and appropriately for the population and the environment,” Blair said.

Program coordinator of ETP, Jason Carpenter, said this is “just another step in higher education” for Nunavummiut.

And that’s good news for the future of Nunavut, he said.

“I think this is just a natural progression, getting a college diploma is becoming more and more common,” Carpenter said.

“I don’t think it’s going to be too much longer where it’s common and normal for a lot of people to go on and do a university degree,” he said.

A degree also allows Nunavummiut to get a master’s degree, and even a PhD. 

And that will lead to people born and raised in Nunavut “actually doing the science and doing the research and producing the knowledge and information.”

“I think it’s really important that eventually happens — make decisions that are in the best interest for people of Nunavut,” Carpenter said.

Carpenter said eventually NAC students will have the option of taking most of their Bachelor of Science degree in Nunavut.

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