07/06/2012 09:58 EDT | Updated 09/05/2012 05:12 EDT

10 out of work as northern education program moves from Brandon U to UCN

WINNIPEG - Seven professors and three support staff at Brandon University are out of work after the northern education program officially moved to University College of the North.

The move last weekend saw the Brandon University Northern Teacher Education Program shift into the faculty of education at UCN.

Scott Lamont, Brandon University vice-president of finance, said all 10 had the option of changing employers.

He said four other education professors did choose to leave and become faculty at UCN as of July 1.

Lamont said some of the 10 who were officially unemployed as of last Friday were old enough to retire, and may have done so.

UCN has two main campuses in The Pas and Thompson.

Brandon University's faculty association lamented the passing of a program which saw professors travelling throughout northern Manitoba for the past 38 years to educate about 650 northern teachers.

The program graduated its final class of new teachers at BU’s convocation last month.

Advanced Education Minister Erin Selby was not available for an interview, but an aide said that the switch is a natural transition which should see UCN graduating a significant number of new teachers in the spring of 2014.

“The education of teachers in the north is a natural fit for UCN,” said Selby’s aide. “These programs are running out of a variety of communities where students from northern communities can earn a degree or enter the integrated stream to earn their education degrees through UCN close to or in their home community.”

UCN is running a deficit of about $5 million.

Last week, the UCN governing council chose interim president Konrad Jonasson to be the permanent president over candidate search finalist Helen Allen, who had a far longer list of academic credentials.

Jonasson spelled out in a recent interview that UCN is looking for aboriginal scholars from the north, who understand the north and are committed to staying in northern Manitoba.

(Winnipeg Free Press)