09:09 AM

In the news: Mohawk's Dean of Action

The following note was sent by Paul Armstrong, Dean of Urban & Community Studies, to all staff at Mohawk Brantford this afternoon.

As you are aware, we continue to look at opportunities that will enhance all learning opportunities for students. The Faculty of Community and Urban Studies will continue to implement opportunities for students to support community and social sustainability through student outreach, field placement and community projects. The majority of these initiatives require a vibrant urban setting to implement.

The Brantford Expositor sent me a list of questions which I answered for them. The article has been written based on the answers I provided. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.   


Brantford Expositor: When did you receive notice that your application for funding through the Federal Economic Development Agency was rejected? 


Mohawk College: We have not yet received written notification, so any specifics as  to why the application was rejected have not been disclosed.  As you are aware, Laurier just received their notice on the Colborne Street YMCA/Laurier project and it is my understanding that there were thousands of applications that were not funded. 


Expositor: That must have been pretty disappointing. You said back in November that you had been getting good feedback on your application. Were you surprised when it wasn't approved? 


Mohawk: As we discussed, the overall Expositor project was contingent on all levels of government participation.  We continued to negotiate with the City over an agreement that would allow the first part of the project to unfold.  Without that agreement, the federal and provincial money was secondary.  As time elapsed, the timelines that were required for the spending of the federal funds became restrictive.  From the  beginning, we knew that the timelines were very aggressive and that any slowdown would potentially impact the overall project implementation.  Our inability to reach a final agreement with the City in time to meet all the other funding deadlines certainly contributed to us not moving forward on this particular project. 


Expositor: You had also been seeking funding from the provincial and municipal governments. Is that now on hold? 


Mohawk: As mentioned above, the entire project was contingent on all levels of government participating.  Any future development plans will require all levels of support as well.


Expositor: Are there any other funding options? 


Mohawk: As mentioned by Phil McColeman in the Expositor yesterday, he is exploring other funding opportunities for Mohawk to move downtown, but there have been no formal funding sources announced at either the federal or provincial levels.


Expositor: Peter Vicano was in here yesterday unveiling drawings for The Expositor's new building. He said there is still some hope that Mohawk will move into the building. Do you feel that's the case?


Mohawk: The Expositor building is still the desired location for our downtown campus location.  We have invested significant resources in the development of the project and if funding was available, this would

still be preferred.


Expositor: You mention that the school will, for now, continue to look for enrolment growth opportunities at the Elgin and Odeon locations. Can you elaborate on that? Do you have plans to add programs, etc.?


Mohawk: We have launched both the Educational Assistant and Social Service Worker programs in downtown Brantford this January.  We are actively pursuing collaborative degree programs in the area of Urban Studies with Laurier and Early Childhood and Learning with Nipissing.  We successfully launched a full class of Office Administration at Elgin Street this January and will be growing enrolment in the Health Wellness and Fitness program that started in Fall 2009.  Overall enrolment looks good for all Brantford programs for 2010/2011 but the focus will be to try and responsibly grow enrolment in existing programs with a smaller number of new program offerings.


Expositor: You also mention that Mohawk will continue to investigate how it can move from Elgin Street to an urban location. There are rumours that if the campus is unable to get funding to move downtown, it will consider leaving Brantford. Is that true? Are you still looking at potential locations in downtown Brantford? 


Mohawk: The college is committed to implementing the vision of the Faculty of Community and Urban Studies in a vibrant urban setting.  Our number one priority is to implement that vision for our students in Brantford, however, if it is not achievable in Brantford, then in fairness to our students, Mohawk must investigate other opportunities.  The one thing we know for sure is that we need move from Elgin Street in order to provide our students with the best educational experience possible.