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Aboriginal education advocate to lead College as Director of Student Services
Okanagan College Media Release

An Okanagan College employee and member of the Westbank First Nation who has spent the past decade focused on supportingJames Coble Jan 2014 students and providing leadership in Aboriginal education has been selected as the College’s new Director of Student Services.

James Coble joined the College in 2001 as an education advisor and Aboriginal mentor. In 2006 he took on responsibility for the Aboriginal Access and Services department, a position he held for eight years. Coble has spent the past nine months in an acting role as Manager of Student Services, where he provided transitional leadership to the department.

Coble holds a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Victoria and a master’s degree in exercise psychology, also from UVIC. He is currently pursuing his Doctor of Education with a specialization in leadership in post-secondary contexts from the University of Calgary.

During his decade with the College, some of Coble’s key accomplishments include securing nearly $500,000 in grant funding for Aboriginal programming and student support, initiating and coordinating new Aboriginal student centres, and most notably, leading the department of Aboriginal Services through a period of record growth. Okanagan College’s Aboriginal student population has grown by more than 240 per cent over the last seven years – the fastest rate of any post-secondary institution in the province.

“James has been a tremendous asset to Okanagan College, our students and the wider College community and will continue to be in this new role,” explained Charlotte Kushner, Vice President of Students. “He has demonstrated a great capacity for leadership and a dedication to students that has resulted in significant growth and success of our Aboriginal students. He is a pleasure to work with and is highly valued by his colleagues.”

In addition to his service to the College, Coble is a Board member of the Westbank First Nation School Board, a Commissioner of the Westbank First Nation Economic Development Commission, and is Co-Chair of the UBC Okanagan/Okanagan College Aboriginal Council.

“I’m really looking forward to working more closely with the team in Student Services,” explained Coble. “We have a great group of employees whose dedication to students really comes through. I feel my experience in Aboriginal Services will be of benefit to the College. My focus has always been on providing personal attention to students to ensure their success and I have seen the positive results of that approach.”