Spotlight: NIC Emeritus recognized as ambassador for education

NIC Emeritus Patricia Corbett-Labatt (left) inspired students around the world to continue their education and is credited by her students for fostering a new generation of educators on the North Island.

Patricia Corbett-Labatt received NIC’s Emeritus designation in 2015 in recognition of a career spanning almost 40 years — but her contributions continue to reverberate throughout the community.

NIC Emeritus recipients must have demonstrated excellence in various fields such as teaching, research and professional practice, and made significant contributions to both the college and educational communities and to the success of students.

Corbett-Labatt joined NIC in the early 1980s, serving and teaching in her hometown of Port Hardy, now home to NIC’s Mixalakwila campus.

She retired in September 2014 but remains a valuable and recognized voice in the region for NIC.

“I like to think of myself as an ambassador to the college in Port Hardy,” she said. “I tend to be the ‘education person.’”

Corbett-Labatt started her career at NIC as a general tutor for adult upgrading, mathematics and science courses, eventually transitioning to part-time faculty, then to full-time.

During her tenure, she and colleagues from NIC pioneered some of the province’s first online courses. Together with other faculty, she developed online Grade 11 and 12 math equivalency courses, as well as a first-year statistics course and math for elementary educator courses.

A majority of her students were Indigenous, and many wanted to pursue teaching careers of their own.

In response, she developed a first-year equivalent First Nations Math for Elementary Education course to ensure her students had the credits to pursue their teaching dreams.

During her tenure, Corbett-Labatt lobbied her department to purchase a tablet computer – then brand-new technology – to record videos demonstrating how to solve complicated math problems. She then edited the videos and uploaded them to NIC’s Blackboard Learn platform for her students to reference.

The online delivery and new approach were a hit with students.

“There were people from all over the world taking those courses,” she said.

After decades of service in education, Corbett-Labatt continues to give back to Port Hardy. She is currently serving her second term as a councillor for the District of Port Hardy.

She also chairs the Mount Waddington Health Network, comprised of representatives from local governments, First Nations, non-profit organizations, service clubs and community members working collaboratively to address issues affecting social determinants of health in the region.

She also stays in touch with students online and on occasion, a former student will reach out for help on a math problem.

Corbett-Labatt said her Emeritus designation from NIC is an important reminder of the power of community.

“We serve a large region, but we are a small group of staff and faculty and we are all connected,” she said. “And that’s a special thing.”

To learn more about NIC Emeritus designates, visit: