Dr. Lloyd Morin started with Camosun College in 1971 as the Director of Instructional Development and Instructional Research helping to plan course outlines and develop new programs.
In 1978, Dr. Morin was appointed Camosun’s second president taking over from Dr. Grant Fisher who left the college to serve at the Ministry of Advanced Education.
“In the early 1960’s, when I was vice principal of a secondary school in Coquitlam, I was hearing conversations about the feasibility of developing a community college in the Fraser Valley,” remembers Morin. “The college concept was only beginning to emerge in B.C., but I was enamoured by the concepts of such a comprehensive approach to post secondary learning as an alternative to traditional universities.”
“By a series of circumstances, I met Dr. Keith Goldhammer from the University of Oregon who invited me to study with him at U of O. Community colleges were blossoming in the western states – Washington, Oregon and California – so studying there provided the opportunity to learn first hand about this new institution. After two summers of course work I, along with my wife and four kids, moved to Eugene for two years, where I was able to focus my course work and research on post secondary education. With an assistanceship in the Bureau of Education Research and a secondment to the Educational Coordinating Council in Salem I had opportunity to learn about all the public and private universities, four year colleges, and community colleges in the state, and based my dissertation on a detailed analysis of The Organization Set of a Public Community College. I was also able to spend a summer at UCLA studying with B. Lamar Johnson who, at the time, was the guru of the college movement in the USA.
“In 1971 we were back in B.C. when I saw an advertisement in the Vancouver Sun for administrative positions at a new college to be established in Victoria. I applied and was euphoric when I was offered the position of Director of Instructional Development and Institutional Research thus becoming part of Camosun’s original Admin Council headed by Dr. Grant Fisher. My initial tasks were to provide an orientation program for faculty so as to establish some common understandings of the community college philosophy and some practical initial guidelines for development of outcomes-focused course design. I was also charged with developing proposals for new programs. We successfully launched the Applied Communications Program and Legal Services (which later became the Criminal Justice Program).
“I was enthusiastic in promoting the concept of the community college as an accessible institution able to adapt to any education/training needs at any “level.” My indicators of excellence were not the numbers of academic award winners – as valid as those were – but the extent to which we were able to take adults where they were and help them grow and develop. If a person entered with a Grade 4 reading level and left with a Grade 8 reading level and some renewed hope and self esteem, that was a success. Our policy was that for any program we didn’t select only the students with the highest secondary school GPAs, but it was “first come, first served.” As programs expanded it became “first qualified come, first served.” Once justifiable entry criteria were established any who met those were admissible. By including a college-prep option, any who lacked a requirement could achieve it at Camosun. Tuitions were purposely kept low to facilitate access. I believe a full time student paid $125 per semester regardless of program. In addition, the Community Service division opened access to a wide range of special interests. This emphasis on accessibility did not in any way detract from the development of high demand technology and academic transfer programs.
“The other members of that first admin group were: Alan Batey, former principal of the Institute of Adult Studies, as Director of Community Services; Alan McCallum, former vice principal of IAS, as Director of Student Services followed shortly by Lorne Thompson from Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, as Director of Business Programs; Jans Diemer from NAIT and U of A, as Director of Science and Technology. When the person who was offered the position of Director of Liberal and Applied Arts declined and it was too late in the year to start a new recruitment process, Grant asked me to fill in at that position, which I did for one year.
“Jans Diemer and I shared a small room in the Young Building (probably used originally for storage) from which we proceeded to hire faculty and finalize a course calendar – without even a telephone. Lynn Richards in the IAS office took phone calls for us. She made many trips up and down the corridors delivering messages.
“Those were exhausting days – from June to August – preparing for students in September; speaking to service clubs and others in Victoria who wanted to know more about this new institution; hiring new faculty; and developing policies.
“During the first year Grant was required to take a medical leave for a few weeks, and I was asked to fill in for him as acting principal – in addition to my other roles. Fortunately, I was young and enthusiastic.
“Regrettably, 50 years later I am the only surviving member of the first admin council. But I believe Camosun still benefits from the ethos that Grant and that first group developed.
“In those first years, colleges functioned under provisions of the Public School Act. School District 61 was the only district that passed the required plebiscite and referendum to establish a college. The first college Board consisted of the School Board plus three government appointees. Everyone was new to the college idea, so there were some lively discussions about various expectations in those early times. Initially, the Assistant Secretary Treasurer of the School Board provided the required Bursar functions for the college, and the School Board’s purchasing agent also made college purchases. Fortunately these arrangements were short lived.
“As the “meld” of the college progressed with the provincial Vocational School, John Drysdale, the principal of that school, became Camosun’s first Director of Trades Training and the long process of incorporating the programs, philosophy, faculty, collective agreements and facilities of the institutions began.
“The 1970’s had their challenges for new colleges like Camosun. I recall when Jans was trying to make the case for a computer, he was told that we didn’t need one, because BCIT had one we could access. But Jans persisted and eventually we got our first mainframe computer. (The phone in my pocket probably now has more capacity and power, but that was the state of the technology then.) When we sought funding for a library, the Minister of the day said we didn’t need one because we could use the library at UVIC.
“In that first year, the Division of Liberal and Applied Arts incorporated what had been the IAS Native Indian Program, as it was then called, with Chief Phillip Paul of the Tsartlip band as the Coordinator. While the college’s relationships with the Indigenous population has changed and developed over the years, it was definitely not absent in 1971. Many Indigenous cultural leaders and counsellors were involved with Camosun even in its earliest days.
“Grant Fisher was the inspiration behind the development in the province of a College Institutional Evaluation process based in part upon the USA model for institutional accreditation. I worked with Grant and the Council of College Principals to refine the model, and then led Camosun as we became the “test case” for the procedure. In 1976 – 77 the exercise was completed and the final report prepared.
“In 1977-78 I had the opportunity to go to Australia to the Canberra College of Advanced Education on an exchange. I taught in the Masters program for in-service administrators in Canberra. While I was in Australia, Grant announced his resignation and a search committee was established to find his successor. When I returned to Camosun I was encouraged by some to apply for the position. Following the usual process of interviews and conversations I became president in January 1979.
“After many years, the province finally passed the Colleges and Institutes Act, defining college districts for the entire province, and providing for an appointed Board separate from that of the school districts. Camosun’s district comprised: 61 (Victoria); 62 (Sooke); 63 (Saanich); and 64 (Gulf Islands).
“The decade of the 80’s was one of stringent financial controls and cumbersome provincial bureaucracy. Three provincial councils controlled programs and budgets: the Academic Council; the Vocational Council; and the Management Advisory Council. Each made decisions about their assigned program and budget areas, and it was our task to combine all these into a single institutional plan and budget. Finances were always limited. At one stage, all college presidents were summoned to a meeting where we were told to reduce our operating budgets – mid year. Later, a budget formula was established based upon FTE enrolments weighted by program. The formula wasn’t perfect but at least it provided a rationale for allocations which appeared somewhat more equitable.
“We had been fortunate to get approval for the Fisher Building, but faced much local opposition to any further building and to the expansion of any parking on Lansdowne Campus. One neighbour pitched his tent in front of the bulldozer to stop any clearing, and Janet Baird, the Council Chair, and I were surprised to be confronted at the Cable TV studio by hostile neighbours and by the playing of Joni Mitchell’s ”They paved paradise and put in a parking lot.” Because the Lansdowne site is partly in Saanich and partly in Oak Bay, there were always complications.
“In spite of these challenges, good things were happening at Camosun. With the expansion of health programs a new Division was created – Health and Human Services. Joy Vernon was the first Director, followed by Neil Murphy. When Alan Batey retired, Pat Floyd became Director of Community Services, and John Meagher became Director of Liberal and Applied Arts. Jans Diemer became Director of College Resources, and Keith Bateman became Director of Science and Technology. When Lorne Thompson moved to the Ministry, Brian Killip became Director of Business Programs. Lou Dryden became Director of Student Services. Beryl Hastings was Bursar and Director of Admin Services. With the passing of John Drysdale, Harold Kirchner became Director of Trades Training. Together these constituted an Admin team that was the envy of the system.
“They made my job a pleasure, and I relied on them for their sage advice, and their competence in leading their respective areas of responsibility. The fact that many of them later moved on to senior levels of responsibility elsewhere is an indication of their abilities. I still value them as friends, and those of us who are in Victoria meet occasionally for lunch and reminiscing.
“Programs and student enrolments steadily grew. For example, under the leadership of Thelma Brown, Faye Ferguson and Patti Gauche, an innovative Nursing program was developed. Keith Bateman initiated negotiations with UVIC to develop a bridging program from Camosun’s technologies to UVIC’s engineering faculties. We also developed a partnership program with the Victoria Conservatory of Music which enabled students to access the highest quality of music instruction and to proceed to an AA diploma at Camosun tuition rates.
Story by Dr. Lloyd Morin and Faye Ferguson, CCARE Retirees