Bermuda Post

Thursday, Dec 03, 2020

Bermuda College 2019-2020 Annual Report

Mr. Speaker,This morning I rise before this Honourable House to table the Annual Report of the Bermuda College for the year 2019-2020, as required under Section 8 (2) of the Bermuda College Act 1974.
Mr. Speaker,

One of the main functions of the Bermuda College Board of Governors is to produce the annual report and audited financial statements of the College. During the academic year 2019-2020, the annual report details several activities, goals and objectives that were achieved by the Bermuda College. The Report highlights encouraging progress the College made against the backdrop of each of the six strategies that steer its five-year Strategic Plan, “Vision 2023: Delivering Success”.

Mr. Speaker,

Let me remind my Houourable colleagues of the six strategies or areas of focus outlined in the strategic plan. These are:

Student Success;
Campus Culture;
Human Capital;
Diversification of Revenue & Partnerships;
Infrastructure; and
Branding and Marketing.

Mr. Speaker,

The past year was the first full year for implementing the Bermuda College Strategic Plan. It was a year of new direction, new initiatives and noteworthy achievements, not least of which was the official launch of the Bermuda College Foundation. Although the Government is pleased to provide close to 80% of the funding needed to operate the College via an annual grant, it was evident as the Bermuda College Board of Governors continued to look future forward, that a significant infusion of funds was needed to modernise and upgrade its aging facilities, develop new programmes, recruit faculty, and increase student financial aid.

Mr. Speaker,

The mission of the Bermuda College Foundation is to cultivate and secure philanthropic partnerships to assist in the development of Bermuda College. Although outside of this 2019/20 reporting period, I would like to mention that the work of the Bermuda College Foundation was clearly evident in the recently announced $3.5 million donation secured by the Foundation from a group of private sector companies to build a Career Development Centre on the College campus. The Foundation’s vision is a fully funded, state-of-the-art College. As Bermuda College continues to operationalize its strategic plan, the launch of the Bermuda College Foundation could not have been more timely. Bermuda College is a national treasure and a vital resource to the Bermuda community, and supporting the Bermuda College Foundation fundraising is significant.

Mr. Speaker,

I will highlight some of the activities undertaken by the College during the past academic year – 2019/20. The Bermuda College continues to maintain high academic standards and rigour so that the qualifications of its graduates will be recognised locally and in the four major jurisdictions overseas: Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the West Indies. In March 2020, notwithstanding the global upheaval that occurred with the arrival of the coronavirus, the Bermuda College was able to submit its five-year interim report to the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), outlining the progress made since its last re-accreditation in 2015, and outlining the areas of focus leading up to its 2025 comprehensive review. We anticipate continued approval of accreditation for the Bermuda College.

Mr. Speaker,

Last year, several new articulation agreements and external partnerships were developed providing broader areas of study, and a wide range of academic disciplines to Bermuda College graduates. The Associate of Science in Marine Science is the newest programme at the College, offered through the Division of Arts & Science. It affords Bermuda College graduates the seamless transition to earn a Bachelors Degree of Marine Science and related disciplines at the University of Rhode Island, East Carolina University and Flagler College in Florida. Similarly, agreements with the New England Institute of Technology (NEIT) provide a natural progression from the Associate Degree in Motor Vehicle Technology to the Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management; and from the Associate of Science Degree in Information Technology to the Bachelor of Science Degree in Software Engineering or the Bachelor of Science Degree in Cybersecurity.

Mr. Speaker,

Both pathways feature joint admission agreements, so that a student enrolling at Bermuda College to begin the associates degree, will be jointly enrolled as a freshman at NEIT. When the student graduates from Bermuda College, he or she moves seamlessly into the junior or third year at NEIT, provided qualifying conditions and grade-point averages are met. Other such partnerships and agreements included Millersville University in Pennsylvania allowing for student and faculty exchanges; St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia, Dalhousie University in Halifax, for the study of mathematics with a concentration in actuarial science; and, Ontario Tech in Toronto for an allied health pathway for Bermuda College graduates.

Mr. Speaker,

The Division of Nursing & Allied Health, added another top-quality clinical partner in the form of Lahey Hospital & Medical Center, affording its nursing students another option for clinical experience during their last semester. Also the Division of Professional and Career Education (PACE) was pleased with its enrolment figures during its first year of offering compliance courses to the Island with over 500 course/module registrations in the International Compliance Association (ICA); the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (ACAMS); and, KIXKO programmes. KIXKO is the company leading the Caribbean Anti-Money Laundering online educator. Over one-half of the students were recipients of the Government Tuition Grant. PACE also entered into a partnership with Global Knowledge (GK) the world’s leading provider of IT skills training, affording local students to receive industry-accredited training via GK’s state-of-the-art virtual classroom technology.

Mr. Speaker,

At the Bermuda College, student success undergirds all pedagogical strategies and initiatives. The following showcase of students are a few examples of the success stories the College is committed to producing. Two students from the Environmental Geography course, Dominique Williams and Daiquin Arorash-Jennings attended the Oceans Plastic Leadership Summit on the cruise ship RCGS Resolute, (Royal Canadian Geographical Society). They participated in lab work, processing samples from daily trawls, and dissecting fish to assess plastic particle consumption. The initiative educates CEOs and executives of large companies that produce plastics to be more environmentally conscious. Both students presented the study’s findings to local key stakeholders on the importance of protecting and preserving Sargassum seaweed for Bermuda.

Mr. Speaker,

Computer Information Systems (CIS) student, Tyler Trott worked with Dr. Carika Weldon in the relatively new science of bioinformatics (the science of collecting and analysing complex biological data such as genetic codes), garnering a summer placement at the University of Oxford for further studies and research. Tremayne Bailey, culinary arts student, became the first to take advantage of an eight-week internship opportunity at two prestigious hotels in Ghana. The result of a partnership between the Bermuda College and the Ace It Foundation, founded by former College lecturer, Mr. Quinton Sherlock.

Mr. Speaker,

Bermuda College, along with its community college counterparts throughout North America, continues to seek to reverse the challenges of declining enrolment. In February, the College undertook an integrated Enrolment Management Strategy exercise, utilising key internal stakeholders in the enrolment process to address the shortfalls – with both short and long-term measures in mind. Institutional enrolment goals were also established.

Mr. Speaker,

In May 2019, the College graduated 123 students, with overall satisfaction with the College increasing by 8% to 84% year over year. Thirty-three (33%) percent of graduates expressed an intent to further their education overseas, primarily to obtain a four-year degree; 22% intended to continue in the jobs they already held; 22% intended to seek employment with their newly acquired skills; 19% indicated plans to remain at the College to pursue an affiliate programme through the College’s institutional partners; and, 4% were uncertain.

Mr. Speaker,

In January, Bermuda College employees participated in the first of three one-day employee conferences scheduled for 2020 as the College focused on its campus culture. The overarching theme of the conference was “Trust and Empowerment” and overwhelmingly positive feedback was received from employees. In addition to the conference, faculty and staff participated in more than 20 professional development activities to assist the institution in the accomplishment of its goals and objectives.

Mr. Speaker,

During the past year, the College also undertook the re-branding of the institution in earnest, and with the assistance of an external agency, and a dynamic re-branding subcommittee, quickly embedded its new logo, colours and tagline into the community landscape. It also introduced its new vision and mission statements, new brand pillars and other branding consumables. Considerable improvements were made to the Bermuda College website, and the heavily-trafficked College Bookstore was also re-branded.

As the Bermuda College reached the end of the 2019-2020 reporting period, it was forced to close its campus and switch to remote learning and working from home. Although the pandemic is not over, the College has fared well to date and looks forward to reporting its successful handling of the pandemic in its next annual report.

Mr. Speaker,

The Board of Governors is mindful of its responsibility to maintain updated audited financial statements and is pleased that its 2019 unqualified audited statements are completed and have been tabled in both House of the Legislature. The audit file for the year ended March 31, 2020, is currently with the Office of the Auditor General. Unbelievably, the College has been advised by the Office of the Auditor General that the audit will take place during the first quarter of 2021. As a result, the audited financial statements that support this reporting period will be tabled once completed.

Mr. Speaker,

I invite this Honorable House to read through the annual report for details of Bermuda College’s accomplishments and successes for the 2019-2020 reporting period. In closing, I want to commend the hard work and commitment of the executive, administration, faculty and staff at the Bermuda College. They have done stellar work in progressing the strategies in the strategic plan, and re-branding and promoting the Bermuda College. I certainly join with them and encourage the general public to take advantage of the courses and programmes offered at the Bermuda College – there are many paths, discover yours!

Thank you Mr. Speaker
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