Since 2014, North Island College has recognized the outstanding service of retired employees through the designation of Emeritus. Emeritus recipients must have provided a minimum of 10 years of service to NIC, 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. As Emeritus Designates, individuals play an active role engaging in college activities and the community.
Brent’s career at NIC spanned nearly 30 years, starting as a history instructor. He was an early adopter of newer teaching models, including blended learning. He went on to become NIC’s first distributed learning coordinator, helping to integrate new teaching and learning models to improve access for students across the region. Brent retired in 2017, but continues to work with NIC to assist with curriculum review and program development.
Janet joined NIC in 1989 as a counsellor/advisor in Campbell River. She was instrumental in developing NIC’s student services model and in helping to establish NIC in Campbell River. Janet was committed to ensuring NIC was responsive to the needs of the community. She would hold recruitment events, go out to high schools and hold events for workers needing to retrain. She embodied NIC’s commitment to access and to serving the needs of all students in our region.
Frank was fundamental in developing NIC’s Mobile Application Development certificate and the Web and Mobile Application Development diploma. His tireless research and determination to create up-to-date and relevant curriculum set the standard for future instructors to produce hands-on, functional training that is always on the cutting edge of the technological changes in the industry. He was known for his commitment to mentoring students, helping them with job applications, working freelance or starting their own business.
In her 26 years at NIC, Susanne taught in both the fine arts and the interactive media programs. She was responsible for creating NIC’s first Graphic Design diploma and the initial four interactive media programs. She was committed to her students, ensuring they were always given the opportunity to learn the most up-to-date, industry-relevant curriculum in order to ensure their opportunities in their field. Susanne’s understanding of strong links between students and industry led her to establish the Interactive Media advisory committee, which connects the programs to current industry needs. She also initiated the graduation showcase and guided students to Vancouver and Victoria on tours to meet industry professionals.
Mary Pat Thompson
Mary Pat joined NIC in 2004 as an instructor in the Educational Assistant/Community Support program in Port Alberni. She was a driving force behind the inclusion of Indigenous focus in curriculum. She invited Indigenous speakers and scholars into the classroom and led the development of FNS-160: First Nations Traditional and Contemporary Education, which uses Indigenous ways of teaching and learning to address historical and contemporary issues. Thompson’s work and advocacy led to a redesign of the entire program, to include a stronger, more multi-cultural and anti-oppressive emphasis.
Derek Hanebury provided 29 years of innovative, student-centered teaching from 1988 to 2017, primarily at NIC’s Port Alberni campus as an English instructor and chair of NIC’s Student Success Committee. In 2013 he won the NISOD Award for teaching excellence and played a key role in NIC’s implementation of education technology in the teaching and learning process, including the Knowledge Network, Interactive TV and online delivery.
John Marton taught psychology at NIC’s Comox Valley campus from 1993 to 2015 where he strived to improve students’ critical thinking skills. His dedication led to Canada’s first federally funded applied research involving paid NIC students. The achievement paved the way for additional grants and, in later years, NIC’s Centre for Applied Research, Technology and Innovation.
Mickey Bliss significantly contributed to the success of trade students at NIC’s Campbell River campus from 1992 to 2016. He developed NIC’s first Electrical Foundation and Electrician Apprentice programs and, as department chair, assisted with the growth of NIC’s Electronics Technician and Industrial Automation programs. Mickey also helped develop curriculum and innovative uses of educational technologies, winning the 2015 NISOD Excellence in Teaching Award.
Cathy Clark retired from NIC in 2016 after making significant contributions to NIC’s student success and development, the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree and nursing scholarship at the Comox Valley campus. She was instrumental in creating NIC’s Global Learning Initiative, and as part of the initiative, organized multiple instructor-led practicums to Nepal, providing students with a rich global health experience.
Nick Robinson served NIC for 36 years where he displayed teaching excellence in a variety of business administration courses as well as in numerous publications and on committees. Known as the ‘godfather’ of NIC’s School of Business, Robinson’s hands-on approach to learning introduced students to international trade opportunities and projects, connecting them with partner universities and students from around the world.
Christine Hodgson’s 18-year commitment to NIC led to increased enrolment, retention and student engagement in the math & science department. Some of her roles included department chair, acting dean of academic programs and manager of the North Island Aquaculture Resource Centre. Christine was known for her contribution to the success and development of NIC students and her colleagues, as she strived to present numerous career development opportunities for faculty.
Paul Whyte started his 30-year career in 1984 at NIC’s Port Alberni campus as a political science instructor. From there he became the acting centre director of the Gold River region, and eventually chair of the humanities & social sciences department for the entire college. Paul developed and taught political science and philosophy, and as chair, helped grow the department and the number of courses it offered.
Patricia Corbett-Labatt worked as an adult upgrading and mathematics instructor at NIC‘s Mixalakwila campus in Port Hardy for 37 years. She helped develop Indigenous education programming at NIC, pioneered NIC’s distance teaching methods and inspired students around the world to continue their education. Patricia is credited by her students for fostering a new generation of educators on the North Island.
Colleen Hanley was an integral part of NIC for 22 years, starting in Port Alberni and moving to the Comox Valley campus in 2003. Her work as associate director of NIC International helped ensure international education flourished at NIC, while making the community aware of the critical role of internationalization and inter-cultural communication in the college community. Colleen developed partnerships with the Immigrant Welcome Centre, School District 71 and local municipalities to facilitate annual international welcome events and was instrumental in the creation of NIC’s Global Learning Initiative.
Alan Burgess taught ceramics, drawing and sculpture at NIC for three decades before retiring in 2014. As the first chair of NIC's fine art & design department, Alan was instrumental in the development of Fine Arts and Design programs, the creation of the Shadbolt Studios, the development of ceramics courses and programs and NIC’s ongoing partnership with Emily Carr School of Art + Design. Burgess is active in many cultural groups on Vancouver Island where he continues to create professional opportunities for students.
Jocelyne Van Neste-Kenny
Jocelyne Van Neste-Kenny retired in 2014 after serving 14 years at NIC as an instructor, department chair and dean of health and human services. She is credited for moving the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from a two-year transfer program to a four-year degree at NIC’s Comox Valley campus, and was instrumental in NIC’s $2.75 million program development agreement with Island Health and NIC’s health and social service programs on Hornby Island, Ahousaht, Port Hardy and more.
Lorna Crowshaw supported and inspired students, staff and administrators at NIC’s Port Alberni for 35 years where she worked as a student support staff member, supervisor, and assistant registrar. Lorna was known as a “champion” of student success, and was widely respected for her knowledge and dedication to students, as well as for her excellent organization of graduation, orientation and open house events.
David Maclean’s 32 years at NIC were spent serving the college as an instructor, department chair and artistic mentor within the fine arts department and the artistic community. During his time at NIC he played an integral role in the design and implementation of the Fine Arts diploma program, and was renowned as an art educator with a deep knowledge of the cultural history of the program.
Bill McPherson retired from NIC in 2012 after teaching Welding and Metal Fabrication at the Campbell River campus for 19 years. During his time there Bill helped develop and teach curriculum for the Metal Fabrication, Welding and Transportation & Aircraft Manufacturing Technician programs. After his retirement, Bill continued to tirelessly work on program materials to support both students and his colleagues at NIC.
Summer McGee served NIC for 20 years as an instructor and pioneer of the human services program. She helped create a diploma alternative for the program, laddering options to child and youth care degrees, and was highly regarded in the fields of education and social work for her vision and leadership in the human services department. Summer’s dedication to student success in her program was well known, and was backed up statistically with high key performance indicators and student satisfaction ratings.
Roger Albert’s 29 years at NIC’s Comox Valley campus were highlighted by his outstanding service as a teacher, his leadership as department chair of sociology and his trailblazing work with educational technologies. Roger pioneered the use of satellite delivery of instruction at NIC through the Knowledge Network and ITV, receiving the 1997 Innovation in Teaching Honorable Mention Award. In 2012, his final year at NIC, he received the NISOD Excellence in Teaching Award.