Assistant professor Rob Higgins shares a human skeleton with students during the Earth Challenge held at TRU Williams Lake April 11. Higgins and science professor Martin Lettinga are both being reassigned to the TRU campus in Kamloops this fall.

Assistant professor Rob Higgins shares a human skeleton with students during the Earth Challenge held at TRU Williams Lake April 11. Higgins and science professor Martin Lettinga are both being reassigned to the TRU campus in Kamloops this fall.

Science department changes at TRU Williams Lake

Thompson Rivers University in Williams Lake will continue offering sciences courses, just not a major in science.

Even though Thompson Rivers University in Williams Lake has lost two of its science professors to TRU in Kamloops, the campus will continue offering academic courses, campus executive director Ray Sanders said Tuesday.

“We have eliminated science as a major because we didn’t have enough people who majored in it, but we are still offering arts and sciences courses.

“There are a lot of rumours out there that we’re only going to offer trades and that’s just not true.”

Sanders said with four science majors it wasn’t economical to retain professors Martin Lettinga and Rob Higgins.

“Our big problem is the province cannot paint us with the same paintbrush as you can universities in an urban area,” he explained.

In bigger places, even in Kamloops, universities can combine multiple sections, increase class size and eliminate sessional courses and save money, he suggested.

At the campus in Williams Lake there is one session section of everything.

“It’s not just me, it’s UNBC to some degree, certainly colleges in the north,” he added.

The campus is, however, looking at adding a whole series of applied agriculture programs including ranch management and augmenting the human services program with some youth and child worker options.

“Our strongest programs are health care programs so of course we need to offer science courses because they support nursing,” Sanders said.

Ten international students will be enrolled in the Licensed Practical Nursing program, mostly coming from India, he said.

As a result, there’s a strong network amongst the Indian community in Williams Lake.

“There are about 700 people in the city of Indian descent, and they are very excited,” Sanders said.

“This will be a test case with TRU World to see how we do on a small rural campus.Afterwards the hope is to bring in a “whole lot more.”