An eager class of second year business administration students at Okanagan College’s Penticton campus is now going to be able to take the third year of their bachelor’s degree in town.
Okanagan School of Business dean Dr. Heather Banham was visiting the students on campus and discovered an overwhelming interest in completing the full bachelor of business degree —especially if the third year of the program was made available in Penticton.
Many of these students are completing their two-year diploma in business administration and others were registered in the bachelor of business administration (BBA) program but were expecting to take the third year of their program in Kelowna. Banham knew that all of those wanting to continue on to their bachelor degree faced the prospect of commuting or relocating to the Kelowna campus.
So when 20 students in the class of 25 shot their hands up, she knew she had to do something.
“As a learner-centred organization it makes sense for us to put a professor on the road, rather than have a whole number of students travel up to Kelowna,” Banham said.
The result is a pilot program starting this fall that will allow business students to move onto their BBA degree by taking their third year at the Penticton campus.
For 38-year-old Trina Carroll, a mother of nine-year-old twins, it’s a dealmaker.
“I’m thrilled to be able to receive my education here,” she said. “The cost of relocating me and my children would just be unrealistic for two years. And if I commuted, I’d be looking at increased child care, fuel costs and mileage on my car. It doesn’t fit into the budget I have, being on student loans.”
It also means Carroll won’t have to give up her Enactus Okanagan College volunteer work with the MOMentum program, or her new job as a project manager working with Nikos Theodosakis of Theo’s Restaurant.
“This solves a lot of things for me,” she said.
Penticton regional dean Donna Lomas said the reality for many students is that the work they have is in the South Okanagan. Giving that up to move or commuting really isn’t a viable option – and the result is some students choose to simply complete their diploma and leave it there, rather than continuing with the four-year program.
“I have to give full credit to the Okanagan Business School for being able to seize on this opportunity,” Lomas said. “The college is responsive to the community needs and the Penticton campus is growing.”
Lomas is also keen to communicate with business administration diploma graduates in the Penticton region as this may provide them with the opportunity to return to the College to take their third year.
“It’s all good,” Lomas said. “with classes for the third year of the BBA program available here costs for the students are reduced, and it allows them to continue with their part-time work, and continue with their education.”