The Nicola Valley Institute of Technology (NVIT) celebrated its most recent crop of graduates and hinted at new opportunities for students at its Merritt campus graduation ceremony Thursday.
The institute's president, Ken Tourand, said the school is negotiating with the University of the Fraser Valley in Chilliwack to ensure “seamless” transfers from NVIT to the university during the ceremony, held at the Merritt Civic Centre.
“We want them to be able to choose whatever path they want to go,” he said of students.
Tourand noted that the University of the Fraser Valley agreement will join existing partnerships with Simon Fraser University (SFU), Thompson Rivers University (TRU), and Vancouver College.
Under the agreement with SFU, NVIT students can earn a bachelor's degree in criminology jointly conferred by the institute and that university. A similar agreement allows NVIT students to earn a bachelor's degree in social work from the institute and TRU.
The Merritt ceremony recognized a total of 73 graduates. Five of those graduates received a joint bachelor of social work degree, including valedictorian Sarah Ewen.
The institute recognized 70 graduates from its Lower Mainland campus in Burnaby in a graduation ceremony on May 10.
“This year, we have the largest number of students at NVIT,” said Tourand. He said the student body represented 70 per cent of British Columbia First Nations bands.
“We consider ourselves the home of aboriginal education in the province,” said Angela Wesley, chair of the institute's board of governors.
At the ceremony, Tourand highlighted the achievements of instructors and current students.
Tourand told the audience that two NVIT instructors recently completed their doctorates.
In addition, the British Columbia Association for Community Living recognized dean of instruction John Chenoweth and Faye Ahdemar, college readiness and indigenous academic studies instructor, for their efforts to help special needs students adapt from high school to post-secondary education earlier this month.
Tourand also said that two NVIT students are headed to Ethiopia to learn about international trade and business concerns.
Business students Mark Coutlee and Tanisha Suzuki will spend two weeks in Ethiopia from May 30 to June 14 as part of the Ch'nook Indigenous Business Trek Program.
They will give business workshops to Ethiopian businesspeople in the capital, Addis Ababa, and also tour cultural and historical sites in the northern part of the country.
The program's goal is to expand aboriginal students' understanding of international trade and business practices.