In July 2013 we reported the results of our audit of Medicine Hat College’s systems to deliver, evaluate and report on its international education activities. We recommended the college improve:
- oversight by the board of governors of significant risks and compliance with governance policies
- strategic and operational objectives and planning
- program management and monitoring of program delivery and quality assurance processes
- controls for travel expenses, including enforcing its travel policy
The college has implemented our recommendations. Management has improved its systems to deliver international programming and manage related risks by:
- increasing the level of awareness and detail in reporting international education activities to the board, thus allowing the board to improve its oversight of the college’s international activities
- redefining goals and targets of international education activities to align with those of the college, allowing for increased monitoring against expected results
- redefining roles and responsibilities of the division
- cancelling its joint venture partnerships in China and improving its contract management practices
- revising its travel and expense policy and improving monitoring
These changes have improved the college’s transparency and accountability for the results of its international education activities. The college stopped admitting new students at its offshore campuses in China and pursued an exit strategy that supports students to complete programs in progress.
Why this is important to Albertans
The Department of Innovation and Advanced Education has identified international education as an important building block for Alberta’s economic and social success. Post-secondary institutions participating in international education activities need to do so with due consideration of the risks involved. The relationships they develop, and the transactions they engage in, must uphold the integrity of the institution. It is important that Albertans are assured that resources in our publicly funded institutions are used effectively within the mandates of those institutions.