FAQs - University Journey

Comprehensive regional teaching universities offer a range of credentials – from certificates to autonomous degrees – in professional, career-focused programs in the arts, creative arts, social and related behavioral sciences, health & wellness, business, engineering, education and trades and technology. This model engages students in active, applied learning and research essential to the future of society, business and industry.

RDC wanted to evolve in to a comprehensive regional teaching university because it would allow us to continue offering a full spectrum of credentials including apprenticeship, trades and technology, certificates and diplomas, as well as degrees that meet the demand in our region. This university model best serves the educational needs of central Alberta learners. Simply, we will do everything we do now, plus grant our own degrees. The term “university” is equally important as it signals credibility, prestige and autonomy for degree level programs. 

RDC wanted to evolve in to a comprehensive regional teaching university because it would allow us to continue offering a full spectrum of credentials including apprenticeship, trades and technology, certificates and diplomas, as well as degrees that meet the demand in our region. This university model best serves the educational needs of central Alberta learners. Simply, we will do everything we do now, plus grant our own degrees. 

Central Alberta is currently the most populated region in our province without reasonable access to a university. The title “university” in Alberta is an indication of the quality of the institution, and the credibility of its degrees, in part because of the extensive quality standards that are set by the Government of Alberta and its Campus Alberta Quality Council. 

Under the comprehensive regional teaching university model we would continue to offer a full spectrum of credentials including apprenticeship, trades and technology, certificates and diplomas, academic upgrading, and continuing education programs, as well as degrees that make sense for our region. Simply, we would do everything we do now plus grant our own degrees.  

The credibility of degrees offered in Alberta is assured through the normal process of accreditation provided by the Ministry of Advanced Education and by the Campus Alberta Quality Council. 

Each degree offered by our institution will require the same scrutiny as all other Campus Alberta institutions through the Quality Council. 

Transfer programs will continue to be offered as not every degree will become available. We will also work to maximize transferability between our degree programs and those at other Alberta post-secondary institutions, in keeping with the Campus Alberta philosophy of maximizing mobility and pathways for Alberta students. 

Collaboration has definitely had advantages for our students, most notably access to degrees. Nevertheless, degree content and outcomes are set by the degree granting partner and RDC has not been unable to tailor these university programs to respond more specifically to our regional needs. In addition, we have no meaningful influence over the future direction of these programs or even if the programs will still be offered. We also lack the autonomy to increase the number of degree completion opportunities in central Alberta. 

So while the current collaboration degrees are excellent options for many of our students, we have consistently heard from our communities that RDC needs to be able to offer our own degrees, tailored to meet the needs of central Alberta and our learners. 

Because of the value our students place on class sizes, our intention is to keep them small. In the event that class sizes must change as a result of the transition, we can guarantee our focus will remain on creating and maintaining a high quality teaching and learning environment.  

While there are additional costs associated with both providing and obtaining a four year degree, it is expected that tuition will remain comparable to what students are paying in the current collaborative degree offerings, as well as remaining comparable and competitive with other institutions.  

The change to university status will mean that RDU will continue offering everything we do now, plus granting our own degrees. 

As an example, if you were enrolled in one of the collaborative degree programs, such as Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the time of the change in status, you would continue to complete your studies at Red Deer University without any disruptions. 

If you were studying one of our trades or diploma programs at the time of the change in status, you would continue to complete your studies at RDU without any disruptions. The only difference would come at the completion of your program, as your certificate or diploma would be issued under Red Deer University instead of Red Deer College. Your instructors, class offerings, schedule and entry requirements would all remain unchanged.  

On March 1, 2018, Premier Rachel Notley and Minister of Advanced Education, Marlin Schmidt, announced that Red Deer College has been given approval to offer our own degrees and begin the journey to become a university. The transition is expected to take three to five years.

It is important to note that the transition to a university will take place over three to five years. Once granted the new status, very little will change in the short term. 

We will begin the process to offer the degrees that have an established history of successful enrolment, delivery and graduate employment:

  • Bachelor of Education
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Bachelor of Business Administration

Over time, we will grow to offer additional baccalaureate level degrees that make sense for central Alberta and our learners. 

RDC has excellent teaching and learning facilities, along with expanded living spaces, that are continually being upgraded to enhance our learner-centered environment. The RDC Library already supports collaborative degrees through learning resources available on campus and accessible through RDC’s membership in the NEOS library consortium. 

The state-of-the-art Gary W. Harris Centre for Health Wellness & Sport officially opened on August 22, 2018, providing additional teaching and learning spaces, and much needed athletic facilities. RDC reached another important milestone on February 7, 2019, with the grand opening of the Alternative Energy Lab. This dynamic lab is a flexible learning and research space with a range of technology to support the latest in alternative energy innovation.

On May 9, 2019, RDC's new five-story Residence officially opened at a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Its 145 studio suite design combines the privacy of independent living with socializing and collaboration of a Residence environment. Contributing to RDC's Alternative Energy Initiative, 545 solar panels were installed on the roof. 

RDC has ample land for eventual expansion of degree programs but in the short term, RDC will require no significant additional infrastructure to deliver the initial degree programs. 

RDC’s faculty complement is strong. RDC faculty teaching in the degree programs in Nursing, Education and Business Administration have significant professional experience as well as graduate degrees, including some doctoral degrees. There will be a need to increase the number of doctoral degrees among our faculty in our degree programs. 

RDC has a well-resourced faculty professional development program aimed at growing the capacity of faculty in all dimensions including teaching skills, research and scholarship, and the acquisition of higher credentials. 

With respect to scholarly activity at RDC, both policy and culture are guided by the Boyer model which is in alignment with the expectations of the Campus Alberta Quality Council.

RDC is already active in research and scholarship, and university status will expand this activity, with emphasis in the areas supporting curriculum and the economic, cultural and social development of Red Deer and central Alberta.

Community consultation has been an important and ongoing aspect of RDC’s work to become Red Deer University (RDU). Through those consultations, we consistently heard that we must be able to offer more of our own degrees, tailored to meet the needs of our region and our learners, along with what we currently offer, including certificates, diplomas, skilled trades programs, collaborative degrees and degrees.

The following organizations are among those who have formalized their support for RDC to become RDU:

  • The City of Red Deer
  • Red Deer County
  • Village of Alix
  • Village of Elnora
  • Town of Bentley
  • Red Deer Public Schools
  • Town of Eckville
  • Town of Carstairs
  • Clearwater County
  • Studon Electric & Controls Inc.
  • Town of Penhold
  • Red Deer Alberta Health Services
  • Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce
  • Town of Innisfail
  • Town of Stettler
  • Village of Big Valley • Students’ Association of Red Deer College
  • Ron Orr, MLA Lacombe Ponoka
  • Camrose County
  • Wolf Creek Public Schools
  • Visual Arts Alberta – CARFAC Board
  • Town of Trochu
  • Wetaskiwin Regional Public Schools
  • Chinook’s Edge School Division
  • Lacombe County
  • Red Deer Catholic & Regional School Division
  • Westerner Exposition Park Board
  • Red Deer Primary Care Network
  • Town of Bashaw
  • RDC Alumni Board

On March 5, 2019, Red Deer College reached another important milestone. The Government of Alberta accepted the recommendation from RDC's Board of Governors and announced that Red Deer University (RDU) would be the post-secondary school's name of the future. We are so proud of the support of our community in helping us gain approval to transition to a university. Our name is one key milestone, and once we have completed the remaining transition requirements, we will officially become Red Deer University. As we stated in 2018, it is expected that the transition journey will be three to five years.

Students were encouraged to provide input by contacting the RDC Students’ Association at 403.342.3200 or by dropping in to the SA office in room 2010 (next to the Train Station). RDC students, faculty, staff, and members of the surrounding communities were able to offer feedback and partake in public sessions that were valuable in many areas, including to help shape the new name and branding process. 

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