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Avid hiker takes post at college
Program overhaul planned at Aurora's School of Business and Leadership

Shawn Giilck
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, July 18, 2013

Trevor Clarke is here to give people the business.

NNSL photo/graphic

Trevor Clarke is the new head of the School of Business and Leadership at Aurora College. He arrived in Inuvik last month and is looking forward to improving student success rates. - Shawn Giilck/NNSL photo

The new head of the School of Business and Leadership at the Aurora College campus in Inuvik has a long background in the sector. He also combines that somewhat stolid background with a sense of adventure and a love for hiking that's taken him all over the world.

"A sense of adventure is a large part of it," Clarke said, pondering what prompted him to relocate from Edmonton to the North. "Things just worked out, and it's an exciting opportunity. I just sort of decided to follow my instincts."

Clarke said he's "done some travelling in the North," so the itch to explore has "always been there.

"I've driven the Alaskan Highway, gone up to Dawson City, hiked in Kluane, visited Yellowknife, hiked in Iqaluit for a couple of weeks and walked in Iceland.

"I've done a fair bit of walking (hiking) with my wife," Clarke added. "I used to run marathons too, and I might get back in to that.

"And I've been in education for a good part of my career. Education is kind of like a disease," he said. "Once you get it, you're never cured."

His position is the equivalent of being a dean, he explained, and does not involve any teaching.

He arrived in town at the beginning of June when the Midnight Sun was hitting its peak.

"So far, I'm thinking Inuvik is always in the sunshine," he said with a smile, anticipating the huge change in store for him come winter.

Clarke said the new position has come with a huge learning curve, but he is slowly settling into the new routine.

He said the office administration program is the busiest and most popular offering at the school, along with business management. He has focused in on the B.A. program as having the most need for an overhaul, since enrolment has declined precipitously.

Clarke said he is very familiar with the challenges faced by the Northern education system, which he said are not tremendously different than those of the south.

Graduates of all stripes, he said, are not as well-prepared for post-secondary education as they used to be, and lack the skills they were once expected to have.

Colleges and universities, to compensate, have to make upgrading and testing basic core competencies a priority.

A talent for both language and math skills is at the heart of the skill set needed to succeed, Clarke said, and that is a tough combination to find.

Improving student success rates, he said, is one of his primary jobs.

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