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College permanently suspending digital media, tourism programs

The Digital Media Production program and Tourism, Travel, and Eco-Adventure program have been permanently suspended at Confederation College due to declining enrollment.
The Digital Media Production Program at Confederation College is being permanently suspended, along with the Tourism, Travel, and Eco-Adventure program. (File).

THUNDER BAY - Declining enrollment and challenges faced by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in Confederation College being forced to permanently suspend two programs.

This week, Confederation College announced the permanent suspension of the Digital Media Production program and the Tourism, Travel, and Eco-Adventure program.

“We’ve been working diligently trying to increase our enrollment numbers, but a number of factors we have to look at with each and every program, we ended up settling on the enrollment issue as still being a significant challenge for us and as a result we made a decision to permanently suspend these two programs,” said Neil Cooke, vice president of academic at Confederation College.

According to Cooke, both programs have seen a steady decline in enrollment for the past several years.

The Digital Media Production program, which was temporarily suspended and reintroduced in 2018 had an enrollment of 28 students and in the last three years that number has been trending downward.

“The loss of two programs is always sad for us. These are two programs that have done well. But unfortunately we don’t have the enrollment numbers we need to continue to sustain them,” Cooke said.

“We were hoping in those programs we would be taking in between 28 and 32 students and we just aren’t anywhere close to that and haven’t been for a number of years.”

A developmental plan has been created for students currently enrolled in the two programs to ensure they will be able to complete their studies. Faculty and staff at the college working in these programs will be redeployed to other areas.  

“I know this is a sad day for them,” Cooke said. “They put their heart and soul into these programs. They are great people and have been providing great students to the industries they serve for many years. I’m sure it’s disappointing.”

Cooke added that there is always the possibility of these programs returning to the academic calendar at Confederation College but with enrollment declining so steadily in previous years, he does not expect any changes in the near future.

Confederation College set a record for enrollment in the spring of 2019 but that has all changed since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, with enrollment falling by 27 per cent in the last year.

Cooke said despite these challenges, he does not foresee any additional program suspensions at this time.

“We will continue to work with all the other programs and hopefully our enrollment numbers continue to maintain steady levels or improve,” he said.  

Doug Diaczuk

About the Author: Doug Diaczuk

Doug Diaczuk is a reporter and award-winning author from Thunder Bay. He has a master’s degree in English from Lakehead University
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