Portage College began in 1968 as part of the federal government’s initiative to research basic adult education. It was originally named as NewStart and offered instruction in areas as diverse as academic upgrading trapping wild fur management and oilfield management. In 1970, the government had stopped funding and as a sign of protest, the founders, students, and the community stood up for adult education in the region with a 26-day sit-in. The sit-in worked and a new name was given, Pe-Ta-Pun, meaning New Dawn. From then until now, the College has seen a few name changes to finally becoming Portage College.
The college continues with the determination to change the lives of the students. Portage College has seven unique campus locations spread across northeast Alberta. These colleges are situated in the boreal forest which is home to a diverse environment to live and learn in. It offers over 30 certificate and diploma programs to give students the ability to choose their own path through education.
Portage College Programs with Multiple Instructional Modalities
As a student— we all are looking for an overall educational experience where we are provided with the right balance of theoretical and practical knowledge. Striking the right balance, Portage College offers an educational experience that is personal, unique, and flexible. If you are a student who is looking to start a university degree or thinking of a hands-on practical career in the trades, Portage College has you covered. It excels in designing and delivering programs responding to the learning needs of the students and local employers.
Understanding the needs of the market, Portage utilizes leading-edge learning technologies to offer programs in multiple instructional modalities, including traditional face-to-face, off-site video-conferencing, and distributed self-paced learning. The College’s blended learning offerings, mobile trades training units, outreach programming, and service to small cohorts demonstrate its ability to make both instruction and learning supports readily available to students at times and places convenient to them.
Offering Endless Opportunities
Portage College is where adventure meets passion and transcends the classroom in an environment that is as unique and diverse as you. The college works closely with High Schools to offer dual credit options. These opportunities give school students a head start for career training as well as provide credits towards post-secondary before arriving at college. The college also has university transfer agreements in place with many different post-secondary institutions across the province and the country, including the University of Alberta, the University of Calgary, and MacEwan University.
Portage College and the University of Alberta have partnered to offer the Aboriginal Teacher Education Program (ATEP), available to students in Portage College’s rural region. This partnership allows students to achieve a Bachelor of Education degree without leaving their home community. Furthermore, Portage offers a Bachelor of Business Degree in partnership with NAIT. Students can attend courses at the Cold Lake or Lac La Biche campus. This gives students the opportunity to complete a Bachelor of Business degree granted by NAIT without having to relocate to Edmonton.
Unique Programming Highlighting Region and Culture
Along with academics, it is important for universities to conduct cultural events and programs helping students to connect with each other. These activities also boost up the students’ moral levels and help them to perform better academically. Moreover, the Portage College region is very diverse with culture. The region it serves comprises of Indigenous, Lebanese, White Russian, Ukrainian, and many other various cultures. The college has annual events like Round Dance, Metis Week, and various cultural days to stimulate the morals of students and introduce them to these various cultures.
Speaking of culture, Native Arts and Culture is a unique program provided by the college where you will learn traditional and contemporary Aboriginal art forms such as beading, carving, footwear, sewing, and hide tanning as well as the cultural and historic significance of these art forms.
A Resilient in Ever-Changing World
Nancy Broadbent, President, and CEO of Portage College come from a small town. She completed her high school with approximately 100 grade twelve students and then ventured off to the big city to complete her university degree in Business. Later, she chooses to pursue a master’s degree that was online in order to balance working and caring for her young family. Remembering one instance from those days, she says, “While it was tough to have my back to my kids as I read my textbooks and completed assignments, I was very fortunate to have the support of my husband on my journey.” Now that there are so many opportunities to learn every day, she is grateful to have access to online learning whether it is to partake in full-credit courses or listen to world-class experts in a small lecture. Furthermore, Nancy explains the key competencies that students need to master in the changing world. She says, “Resiliency for the ever-changing world we live in comes from confidence in our ability to adapt. I think we all need to realize that learning is continuous. We need to continuously feed our hunger for knowledge by taking advantage of the world at our fingertips.”
Welcoming International Students
In 2014, Portage College became a Designation Institution with Citizenship and Immigration Canada International Student Program. Since that time, it has seen a significant increase in the number of inquiries from international students. Portage began fielding outdoor ACAC soccer teams in 2019-2020. Included in the original proposal was made to attract international student-athletes. Portage has an approved tuition reduction in place for hockey players and soccer players (approved in June 2018) which reduces the triple tuition rate for international students to normal domestic tuition for athletes.
Portage College ensures you feel like a part of the college community with excellent faculty and small, intimate class sizes. It invites both national and international students through the application process is different for both students. The student meeting all the requirements are admitted to the college and in case, if they don’t meet requirements, they can get upgrading through college and transfer easily into the program of their choice.
Offering an excellent college program to its student, the College continues to have the lowest tuition fee ranking in Human Services and Practical Nursing in Alberta and the third lowest in Business. Students are able to access scholarships and bursaries. The Awards Committee continues to work towards ensuring the College bursary program is continually enhanced in order to assist those with financial need.
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