Keith Bateman: Early trailblazer of Camosun’s trades and technology programs

Keith Bateman joined Camosun in 1982 as the Director of Science and Technology. Shortly after arriving, Keith attended his first Admin Council meeting, a breakfast meeting in the Cook Training section at Interurban.

When Keith, an ex-Brit, was offered kippers, he knew he’d made a wise decision to come to Camosun. At that meeting, Keith learned that college budgets were to be reduced, a common reality of those times. It was difficult to expand technology programming under such constraint.

At the time, Camosun offered Computing Technology, Electronic Engineering Technology and the first year of Civil Engineering Technology. The second year of Civil Engineering was quickly developed. Keith wanted Mechanical Engineering to be added but knew that would require a miracle. In 1983, the miracle arrived in the form of the Federal Government’s Skills Growth Fund.

Keith prepared a proposal for funds to mount a Mechanical Engineering program that relied on computer applications. A few months later the Federal Government published a booklet entitled Learning a Living In Canada which lauded Camosun for its excellent proposal. B.C., however, allocated the bulk of the grant to Kwantlen College, located in the riding of the Minister of Education.

Keith Bateman in late 1980s

Nevertheless Keith kept submitting proposals and, on the third try, the funds were delivered. The program was first offered in 1985. Keith was keen on developing bridging courses with Engineering programs at UVIc. He soon discovered that the Dean of Engineering also thought it was a great idea.

Although the Electrical Engineering department turned down the idea, Mechanical Engineering embraced it and the first bridging course was developed. Some time later, UVic’s program was evaluated by an accreditation team and the resulting report identified an “outstanding feature” being the bridge it had built with its local college. That prompted a request for a bridge from, none other than, UVic’s Electrical Department and, eventually, Civil Engineering at UBC.

In the late 1980s, Dan Cornish was appointed President at Camosun and proceeded to change the college’s administrative structure. Directors became Deans; Divisions became Schools; and Vice President positions were introduced.

Keith became Vice President, Education and was given the task of developing a reorganization plan that would consolidate the college on two campuses. The proposal created the School of Arts and Science located at Lansdowne and the School of Trades and Technology located at Interurban.

In time, the School of Business was relocated to Interurban which contributed to making the latter a centre for applied programs.

Submitted by Faye Ferguson, CCARE Retiree

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