By: Sabrina Bedford
Enrolment at Algonquin’s Perth campus increased this year following a $10 million expansion in 2011.
The new 42,000 sq. ft. building provides an additional 100 new student spaces, raising its total capacity to 345.
Enrolment in the 2012 school year currently sits at 275 students, with the most significant increase being seen in the heritage carpentry program.
Shelley Carter-Rose, the new dean of the Perth campus, said the rise in enrolment depends on many factors, but the new building has had a noticeable impact.
“We know there’s been an increase in our heritage carpentry program,” she said. “We’re thinking there were a lot of pieces to that, but we do think the new building has had an impact.”
A unique quality about the Perth campus is the impact the community itself can have on enrolment, suggests Patrick Murphy, the school’s carpentry programs coordinator. He said the increase in enrolment has been significant, but there are a variety of factors to consider.
“The new facilities are fantastic and a tremendous addition to the program, but I believe there are other forces at work as well,” said Murphy. “The overall heritage carpentry and joinery experience we provide is the main reason for students showing up at our doors. A recent informal survey with first year students indicated that approximately half of the students in this year’s class found out about our program through word of mouth from friends and family.”
In addition to rising enrolment, the new campus allowed Algonquin to begin offering the police foundations program in the fall of 2012. While Carter-Rose said this is a positive step to expanding educational delivery to the campus, they have no immediate plans to offer any more new programs.
“We’re focusing plans between now and next September to work at building enrolment in the existing programs that we currently have, but we’re also doing a couple of things in addition to that,” she said.
While working on getting more students enrolled in their full-time day programs, the enrolment management committee also plans to focus their energy and resources on increasing their 16 continuing education evening programs. They hope to have at least another 16 to 20 evening programs in the winter session.
“The centre for continuing and online learning has a large presence of part-time studies, and that is credited programming, so we’re doing some research now to determine what would be some good part-time deliveries here in Perth,” said Carter-Rose.
Since increasing enrolment within current programs is their main focus, they also plan to tap a market that has, until now, not been a priority.
“We are starting to look at all kinds of strategies and initiatives and one area we haven’t spent a lot of attention or time on is the high school market,” said Carter-Rose.
One of the main priorities with this strategy is to gain a presence in the community, and to inform Perth and surrounding communities – such as Smiths Falls and Carleton Place – about the types of programs that are available.
“I think a lot of people don’t know the programs that we do deliver,” said Carter-Rose. “A lot of people have a mindset that our programs are not diplomas or certificates, so we really need to spend some time working on that.”
For more information on Algonquin’s Perth campus, visit www.algonquincollege.com/perth.