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Providence Receives Infrastructure Grant

“Shrinking Our Footprint, Expanding Our Reach”

Vic Toews presenting the grant to Providence

The Honourable Vic Toews, President of the Treasury Board and Member of Parliament for Provencher, announced on Thursday that Providence College and Seminary will receive over $550,000 in funding from the federal Knowledge Infrastructure Program.

In making this announcement, the Honourable Mr.Toews said, “These investments will create jobs for people now, while providing the infrastructure that this province and Canadians need to grow for years to come.”

The Knowledge Infrastructure Program is a two-year, $2 billion federal economic stimulus measure to support infrastructure enhancement at post-secondary institutions across Canada. This investment is made in Providence for the development of Interactive Distance Education (iDE) classrooms, and to continue Providence’s shift to renewable energy use.

Dr. David Johnson, the Provost of Providence College and Seminary, commented on how the grant will empower Providence. "The ability to offer a broader range of distance education options and the use of wind generated power will help Providence maintain its leadership in establishing an environmentally and economically sustainable educational community. This grant helps us build the infrastructure we need to thrive in the 21st century."

“Shrinking Our Footprint”

With the help of this grant, Providence will create a small wind farm on its campus, reducing the electricity it draws from Manitoba Hydro by roughly 50%.

“This will be the third step in Providence’s ongoing project to reduce our carbon footprint,” said Dr. August Konkel, President of Providence. “We took the first step in 2008, with the installation of a new 95% efficient boiler in the Hanna Centre. The second step was installing geothermal heating in our new Reimer Student Life Centre in January of this year. This wind generated electric power is our third step, and it is scheduled to be operational in late 2010. As a Christian institution, we are called to be good stewards of God’s earth. This federal infrastructure grant will help make us a leader in carbon emission reduction in higher education in Canada.”

“Expanding Our Reach”

Equally significant, the federal infrastructure funding will also enable Providence to develop iDE in both its college and its seminary.

“This funding has the potential to transform who we serve and how we serve them,” said Dr. Johnson. “We have been offering distance education for a number of years through our seminary. This funding will enable us to deliver live, interactive distance education. It will also enable us to increase the number of courses we offer through distance education, particularly in our college.”

Interactive Distance Education (iDE) makes it possible for distance education students to participate live in the classroom. With iDE, students can see and hear what is happening in class, in real time. They can also be seen and heard in the class by the professor and the other students, enabling distance education students to participate fully in the learning experience.

Initially, two classrooms will be refurbished, making it possible to deliver some classes through iDE in Fall 2009. A full slate of iDE-capable courses is planned for Fall 2010.

The total project will cost approximately $1.1 million, of which Providence will be responsible for half.

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