Leadership Voices

Conversations on Student Success

Associate Vice-President, Student Success, Brier Albano


In April of 2023, I was very fortunate to take on the role of associate vice-president, student success. I started working in post-secondary in 2006 as a student recruiter travelling across Canada to spread the word of the value of higher education. This first role led to a variety of roles advising, coordinating, managing and directing an assortment of offices across four post-secondary institutions over 17 years.

I would never want to work in another industry. It is intrinsically motivating to see people achieve their goals and for many students, completing a post-secondary education will be one of the successes they remember over their lifetime to prove to themselves that they can accomplish anything.

Leadership Voices Brier Albano

As a post-secondary organization, seeing students achieve their goals is a driving value innate in the people who choose to take on this rewarding profession. Just as our students change, so does their definition of success. It is exciting to be engaged in a career where we are bringing value to the next generation by setting up higher educational structures for not only Gen Alpha (born starting 2010, and first graduating high school in 2027) but also for generations that have not even yet been named.

So, how does one predict the future to find creative opportunities for thriving, achieving students through the lens of a diverse and inclusive post-secondary student population? Well, it’s a bit tricky.

Reviewing the data, Selkirk College students have only been moderately satisfied with their experience here. In the past two years, Selkirk College has missed the 90% ministry benchmark on the twelve indicators of educational satisfaction, and this aligns with declining enrolments. We can also see through the BC Student Outcomes Survey from 2020–2022 that in our certificates show only 67% of graduates were working full-time, and of these only 84% were employed in their field of study. Diploma graduates had 87% full-time employment but with only 71% with employment in their field. When contrasted against our most similar counterparts provincially, it shows Selkirk College is a bit behind when it comes to meeting employment expectations as well.

Full-Time Employment for Certificate and Diploma Graduates in British Columbia

(From the BC Student Outcomes Survey)


Certificate Graduates

Diploma Graduates

Coast Mountain College



College of New Caledonia



College of the Rockies



North Island College



Northern Lights College



Selkirk College



I hear often when I share this type of data, especially when it focuses on employment outcomes, that education isn’t always about getting jobs—and hey, I get it, I have a thesis on medieval nuns! And, of course, whenever we use data, we have to be aware that the systematic exclusion of under-represented individuals means it does not always represent all voices. However, by taking the data we have and recognizing the voices that have been missing to the best of our ability, we know about 38% of our students are attending for personal interest, but the other 49% are looking to upgrade, earn a credential, enter a career, and other more specific job-ready action (and 13% are looking for permanent residency). Retention, graduation rates and employment outcomes matter to our students. Retention, graduation rates and employment outcomes tell us about our student success.

So where does this leave us on the conversation of student success? With a start! Employment outcomes and graduate rates are just one piece of a complex picture. Looking at outcomes and satisfaction alone would be a mistake—it has even been a source of chaos and divisive political policy nationwide (I’m looking at you, outcomes-based funding programs). However, these factors provide measurable, comparable data and it tell us something important: we have opportunities to help our students succeed even more! I’m excited to see what we can do together in the coming years.  

For more information on any of the things I talked about in this blog, check out the References or send me an email.


BC Student Outcomes Survey 

Selkirk College Institutional Research

StrongerBC Future Ready Action Plan