Kent MacDonald says co-ops can range from formal credit opportunities to working with businesses under Algonquin’s applied research program, which invites businesses to give research opportunities to students to solve a defined problem.
With the current level of business opportunity participation at 70 per cent, Mr. MacDonald says the target is achievable for the college.
“It allows (students) to get out of the official environment and build experience within the community,” Mr. MacDonald says.
“That commitment is important to us: when you come to Algonquin College, you will leave here having that focus.”
Mr. MacDonald, previously Algonquin’s academic vice-president, assumed the role of president this year. He took over from Robert Gillett, who led the college for 17 years.
Mr. MacDonald’s previous accomplishments include adding approximately 25 new academic programs since 2008, a period that was also marked by college enrolment increasing by more than 19 per cent.
Current enrollment for all students (part- and full-time) is 16,366, up about five per cent over last year.
International student enrolments are projected to increase as well in the wake of new agreements with institutions in Saudi Arabia and soon, Kuwait, to offer Algonquin’s education overseas. It’s probable students from those countries will come to Algonquin as well, Mr. MacDonald said.
With so many new students coming in, Mr. MacDonald added there will be a long-term need to upgrade the buildings and infrastructure on campus.
For the moment, Algonquin is staving off that need by offering more “hybrid” education to its students, meaning using a combination of online and in-classroom courses.
“We continue to know that we turn away thousands of students every year,” Mr. MacDonald said.
“I’m working with government and (university) advisory committees to prioritize what are the next capital investments,” he added, but declined to give details as it is still early in the consultation process.