N.W.T. presents implementation plan for Aurora College to become university

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The government of the Northwest Territories released its implementation plan on Thursday for how Aurora College will transform into a new polytechnic university.

The opening of the new university is scheduled for 2025. Between now and then, more responsibilities will transfer from the government to the university's board of directors, which is scheduled to be re-established in fall 2022.

Most of the details about what courses the school will offer, and where the main campus will be, have yet to be determined.

However, the government's plan outlines four areas in which the university will specialize: skilled trades and technology; earth resources and environmental management; northern health, education and community services; and business and leadership.

Social sciences

Yellowknife mayor Rebecca Alty has criticized the plan, asking the government to expand the sorts of classes it will offer to include the social sciences.

Chris Joseph, the N.W.T. government's director of Aurora College transformation, acknowledged that northerners did identify social sciences as a priority during the stakeholder engagement process, but says the main goal for the government is getting jobs for northerners.

"It's very much an institution to support social and economic development, but within that, ensuring that northerners are first in line for jobs in [the] Northwest Territories, addressing labour demand that ensures our businesses and industries are successful in the N.W.T."

Joseph said the scope of the university may change over time to include other specializations.

The government also created a new website where people can learn about the process and offer input.