New programs increase opportunities and access for students

Date posted: 
Wed, 07/11/2018
Dr. Paulette Hanna

In March 2018, Red Deer College achieved one of its greatest milestones when Alberta’s Premier, Rachel Notley, announced approval for us to begin our university journey. In the coming months, we are eager to work with Government to identify how this journey will take shape, including growing our current mix of more than 100 programs to continue to serve the needs of our learners and our communities.

RDC is on our planned pathway to become a comprehensive regional teaching university. For us, this means offering the same breadth of programs and same range of credentials we do now, plus adding our own degrees, to help students realize their career goals.

In our immediate future, RDC will welcome students into seven new programs next school year. These programs will train graduates for successful careers in a range of sectors, from one-year certificates to four-year degrees, providing a snapshot of the types of opportunities we will continue to offer in the future.

We were happy this spring to host the Minister of Advanced Education, Marlin Schmidt, to introduce the Bachelor of Applied Arts in Animation and Visual Effects, RDC’s first four-year degree. This degree is the first of its kind in Alberta, and it will educate students for creative jobs in the emerging field of animation. This program is already full with its first class of students. 

In partnership with the University of Calgary, our College will also offer a four-year Bachelor of Science in Psychology which students can take entirely at RDC. This is an exciting new option as students tailor their education to pursue professions such as Dentistry, Medicine, Pharmacy and Veterinary Medicine.

The new two-year Justice Studies Diploma will also start in September, and is the first of its kind in central Alberta. This program has been developed with support from stakeholders across the justice sector, and it will allow students to combine academic study and career-focused skills. Graduates will be prepared for careers in a variety of fields, from policing to victim services advocates to corrections officers.

Students interested in the field of health sciences can take the one-year Pre-Health Sciences Certificate, starting this fall. This popular program provides a path to give students insight into the roles and responsibilities of a variety of health care professionals. With this foundation, students will be better equipped to determine what path they would like to pursue in health care, and graduates will be eligible to apply to a range of programs in RDC’s School of Health Sciences.

For health care professionals already employed in the field and wanting to attain a credential to enhance their careers, the new Health Care Management Post-Diploma Certificate will allow them to develop skills to become managers and supervisors in the health care industry. This 16-month certificate begins in January 2019, delivered with flexibility in mind for working professionals by combining online instruction supplemented by in-person executive weekends.

Red Deer College also received Government approval to proceed with two new programs in the School of Education. It is anticipated the E-Learning Instructor Post-Diploma Certificate and the Adult & Higher Education Instructor Post-Diploma Certificate will begin in 2019. These programs are geared toward individuals who wish to obtain skills for teaching adults. Individuals who already have a degree, diploma, apprenticeship or Red Seal certificate, in any discipline, will be eligible to apply for these programs. Additional details will be released in the near future.

Seven new programs starting in 2018-19 represent an incredible time of growth for Red Deer College. The breadth of programs and credentials exemplifies our continued commitment to deliver comprehensive programming relevant to our students and our region. As we begin our journey to become a comprehensive regional teaching university, we are proud to already be able to provide more opportunities for people to stay in central Alberta as they learn and grow in their lives and careers.

Dr. Paulette Hanna is Vice President Academic at Red Deer College.

This column was first published in the Red Deer Advocate on Saturday, June 30, 2018.