The initial concept behind of the “Story of COGS” was to cover the period of transition between the two book-ends, the birth (NSLSI) and the current institutional framework (NSCC). From an evolutionary perspective, this transition was a time of rapid change associated with changes in science, technology, and the society of the 1980’s.There was considerable enthusiasm and innovation for the application of computing technology within the geographic sciences. Given that Canada possesses a large geography, there were countless opportunities for our graduates.
NSLSI had been founded on the inspiration and energies of two hard working individuals who believed in “learning by doing”. They brought a particular vision and philosophy to the task at hand. Over the decades, as the work became more specialized, the institution added new programs and there was an increased recognition of the role computers were beginning to play in the geographic sciences.
The earlier values were continued under James Doig and John Wightman at COGS and were reflected in the design of the new programs, the recruitment of students and the final placement of the graduates. Student projects were completed with both government and industry; there were good relationships with the universities in the Maritimes. Throughout this period, COGS programs maintained a high degree of autonomy and flexibility and gained an international reputation for its ability to design, develop and deliver high quality technical education.
By the early 1990’s, government recognized that technical training would be critical if the province was to develop its knowledge economy. They started to reorganize the existing network of vocational schools and technical institutes. By 1998, the COGS acronym had been redefined as the Centre of Geographic Sciences, with the school becoming one component of the Annapolis Valley campus of a province-wide Community College. To operate within this system, changes were made at COGS: less autonomy, central coordination of enrollment and placement, reduction in specialized program offerings.
Today, the NSCC is a respected component of the post-secondary education system in Nova Scotia. It attempts to balance the needs for technical training and adult education across the province. It operates thirteen campuses in both metro Halifax and Cape Breton Regional Municipality, and in the rural areas. COGS is one site managed within the Annapolis Valley region. Within this context, it has retained its specialist programming.