Education advisor role at COTR filled after five-year absence

Katie Andruschuk busy in new position

The College of the Rockies (COTR) Invermere campus has a new education advisor, filling a role that has been vacant for the past five years.

Katie Andruschuk took on the position in October. Ms. Andruschuk, who has a background in post-secondary education, says while it has been a steep learning curve, she was able to train in Cranbrook with their student service coordinators, and has found great support from education advisors in the other satellite campuses of the COTR. All other satellite campuses currently have an on-site education advisor.

Ms. Andruschuk is excited to help students within and outside of the college to achieve their academic goals.

“I’m a lifelong learner myself and I have a passion for education and community,” explains Ms. Andruschuk. “I consider myself community-minded, and want to bring opportunities to people who live here.”

Ms. Andruschuk is available for help to current and prospective students at the College of the Rockies. But more than that, she can help any individuals seeking to further their education, whether it be high school students, adults looking at finishing high school or continuing their education, or even students planning to attend a different college and needing some guidance.

“It’s whatever will make the student successful,” explains Ms. Andruschuk.

Educational advisors can assist in career exploration and program planning, help individuals navigate the post secondary system, and discuss program and course opportunities.

“For students who are hesitant to return to school, an Educational Advisor can help you develop a return to school plan that will guarantee your success,” reads the COTR website.

For the past five years, Invermere students have been able to remotely access the education advisor service through phone or email, or to drive to another campus such as Cranbrook or Golden. But to have an advisor back in Invermere has been a dream for Michelle Taylor, acting campus manager in Invermere.

“There was a disconnect,” says Ms. Taylor. “Having the service here in Invermere makes it so accessible to students here.”

Ms. Taylor says since taking over the role, Ms. Andruschuk has jumped in “with both feet,” and has been able to help a number of students already. For example, in the current Health Care Aid (HCA) training program at the Invermere campus, she was able to connect a student with language services, and provide that student’s cohort with some test taking strategies.

If the role is so important, why was there a five year gap since it was last filled? Ms. Andruschuk says the role has had a cyclical need, with fluctuations in student numbers. But, the Invermere campus is launching a new two year hospitality management diploma this year and the college saw more of a need for an on-site education advisor.

“There’s a definite need for it with the start of the diploma program,” said Ms. Taylor.

Right now, the role is a temporary one-year contract. However, says Ms. Taylor, “If the demand is there and the service is being used, that’s a strong case for an education advisor needed to continue moving forward.”

The Invermere campus currently has 17 full-time students in the HCA program, while students in continuing education courses fluctuate. The Invermere campus offers specialized courses including First Aid and safety, transportation, business, computer, and other specialized training. They have offered language courses including English, Spanish, French, and Ktunaxa, sushi making, and much more. It varies based on what requests come in for classes, both from those who want to teach and those who want to learn.

“If you have a special passion and are skilled at it, give us a call,” says Ms. Taylor.

Starting this year, there will be 24 students taking part in the two year Hospitality Management Diploma program. Watch the Pioneer for more on this program soon.

If you would like to meet with Ms. Andruschuk, phone the Invermere campus of the COTR to book an appointment. Call 250-342-3210.

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