Persevering with schooling divisions range from establishment to establishment throughout the nation and whereas there are numerous variations between them, there are much more similarities that bind them collectively. Over the course of this two-part interview collection, three non-traditional division leaders from universities throughout Canada share their insights on a number of the commonalities and variations that make this area so distinctive. Within the first installment, Ian Allen, Heather McRae and Carolyn Younger mentioned the crucial significance of relationships between non-traditional divisions and primary campus.
Within the conclusion of this two-part interview, Allen, McRae and Younger discover a number of the challenges dealing with Canadian persevering with schooling divisions, and talk about the position of associations just like the Canadian Affiliation of College Persevering with Schooling (CAUCE) in fostering non-traditional innovation all through the nation.
The EvoLLLution (Evo): In Half Certainly one of this interview, you all mirrored on a number of the options that set your divisions and universities aside, and recognized the distinctive challenges that your groups have encountered through the years. After listening to your colleagues’ responses, what stood out to every of you as one thing you’d like to include into the operation of your personal division?
Carolyn Younger (CY): I might adore it if our division didn’t should pay lease, just like the School of Prolonged Studying at UNB. One of many realities for Western Persevering with Research is that we pay lease, each for our area in downtown London and in Trois-Pistoles. In reality, we’re paying present business market charges at our London facility. That’s all the time an enormous hit to our price range, and I’m conscious that lots of my colleagues throughout Canada have comparable fashions. However, like UNB, we function beneath a price restoration mannequin. Paying for area places various strain on us.
One of many issues that I additionally like about UNB is it has a longtime historical past inside the college and is acknowledged as an institutional precedence. The college appears to have a really robust stake within the success of the School of Prolonged Studying, and you may see that within the variety of its programming. I additionally observed that MacEwan equally acknowledges its Faculty of Persevering with Research as an institutional precedence, which empowers it to interact in alternatives for innovation.
With the ability to exit and join, each with the group and internationally, is one thing that I would love to see at Western Persevering with Research.
Ian Allen (IA): There’s lots of onus on whoever is heading a unbroken schooling unit to push the agenda to make it possible for it’s an institutional precedence. Having stated that, the significance of continuous schooling is considerably depending on the higher echelon of management at any specific establishment. I’m very lucky that each my VP Educational and the President have a whole lot of time for persevering with research. We get loads of help from each workplaces in that regard.
Nevertheless, with that recognition comes a good bit of duty. We have to make sure that we’re creating an fascinating mixture of packages which are related to quite a lot of credit score and professional audiences. We have to be sure that we’re dwelling as much as our finish of the discount, which is to contribute to the web return for the establishment.
From my perspective, issues like stackable credentials usually are not one thing that we’ve had numerous success with, however this stuff take time. We’re definitely pushing in that regard, and the relationships we’ve created with schools and college management are essential to our success. For those who don’t have buy-in, an concept isn’t going to go anyplace. We have to make them see the good thing about constructing a partnership with us. We have to make them perceive what a unbroken schooling unit can do for them. They’re the house owners of the mental property, however we will make that content material accessible to a a lot wider viewers.
Heather McRae (HM): Like UNB, we don’t should pay lease at MacEwan, which is a very good factor. We’ve a conservatory of music inside the faculty, which incorporates 40 studio halls, an countless variety of live shows halls and over 100 pianos. That takes up a whole lot of area, and we definitely wouldn’t need to should pay lease! So, it’s an excellent factor that that’s supported by the college.
When it comes to UNB, one of many issues that I’ve typically seemed to Ian for steerage is the event of on-line programs: Easy methods to set up the helps wanted for on-line programming, and learn how to differentiate my operation from the numerous others across the nation. As I’m situated in the identical metropolis as a completely on-line college, I actually do want to have the ability to be clear about defining our area of interest market inside on-line program supply.
I really like the outline of the diplomas that Carolyn shared when it comes to their emphasis on the workforce. These are the sorts of issues that I’m hoping to construct at MacEwan, notably across the know-how sector.
Evo: What sorts of challenges do you see standing in the best way of those broad improvements happening at your organizations?
CY: This isn’t distinctive to Western, however an actual problem that any persevering with schooling unit faces includes its relationship with schools. Schools are very eager to develop enrollment, particularly with the probability of great cutbacks in greater schooling budgets from the provincial authorities in Ontario. We’re not the one ones dealing with this problem round competitors from the schools, and which will influence whether or not or not the schools would contemplate partnering with us.
At Western Persevering with Research, we’re a small staff. All in, we’re 12 individuals, so for me, a extra distinctive problem pertains to resourcing. We’re working very exhausting, utilizing frugal innovation, to satisfy calls for for brand spanking new, workforce-relevant programming, however there hasn’t been any vital funding in our division. We’re simply actually counting on what we’ve in our reserve after our bills. That’s not an entire lot of cash.
IA: I’d identical to to construct on one thing that Carolyn stated. A unbroken schooling unit could be very numerous and requires the talents and attributes of many various personalities—from builders to net designers to help employees who’re taking care of college students relating to PLA or credit score advising. We convey a really combined bag of expertise to the desk.
Nevertheless, one of many issues that I’ve discovered through the years is you’ll be able to’t be all issues to all individuals. It’s necessary to be choosy about what you determine to tackle. To Carolyn’s level, I actually consider that my employees are a number of the hardest working individuals on campus. However you’ve acquired to be sensible when it comes to the place you allocate your assets, and just remember to care for your individuals. They’re the spine of your group, and also you need to be sure that no matter you’re selecting to do matches with the general mission or mandate of your establishment. You want to have the ability to focus in your mission and develop new programming, however you could have to take action in such a means that you simply’re not burning everyone out inside a yr or two.
HM: Within the very brief time that the Faculty of Persevering with Schooling at MacEwan has been up and operating, we’ve had some spectacular successes. However they’ve additionally led to excessive expectations from the college. Now we’re making an attempt to handle these expectations, notably given a number of the modifications that we’re going to be dealing with. A few of these challenges are exterior to the college: Modifications in laws; capped tuition charges; and modifications within the kinds of packages that result in alternatives for work permits for worldwide college students. All of this stuff are impacting what we will do and the way we will do them. So, it’s one thing that we have now to be continually conscious of, and talk these modifications to others. That’s a part of the managing expectations as nicely.
Evo: How necessary is your involvement in CAUCE to staying abreast of what’s occurring within the Canadian postsecondary area?
IA: CAUCE, each as a corporation and when it comes to the relationships it helps us construct, is paramount to our success. I can’t rely the variety of occasions that I’ve reached out to people throughout the nation to study new improvements in on-line studying and improvement. The varied committees they’re concerned in is such an essential useful resource for studying about greatest practices, success tales and failures. You need to be sure that CE models can reside on the sting between the actual world and the world of academia. That may be a area the place there’s a number of alternative for fulfillment, however there’s additionally room for lots of issues to go sideways.
So, for me and for my group, I don’t know what we’d do if CAUCE not existed. It’s a terrific place to attach with like minds, in order that you understand that you simply’re not on this world all by your self.
HM: CAUCE is a lifeline for me. It’s been a tremendous networking operation and I’ve been capable of encourage others in my group to take part in CAUCE committees and tasks. Friendships develop throughout the nation. You study new concepts and approaches, and, as Ian stated, you share the great and the dangerous. That’s useful when it comes to studying about totally different institutional priorities, the place to observe for potential pitfalls, and what to search for when it comes to alternatives and tendencies.
I’ve spoken to my colleagues throughout the nation about totally different sorts of know-how purposes that we might use in Edmonton. The chance to share and brazenly talk about a few of the challenges and alternatives in such initiatives is one thing that I actually worth. I definitely assume that it’s made a distinction in my profession.
CY: I’m going to reiterate precisely what Ian and Heather stated: CAUCE is a lifeline. It has been important to Western Persevering with Research, and I feel when you actually need to perceive greatest practices and innovation, you’re not going to study it by isolating your self inside your personal establishment. It’s a must to be a part of a nationwide affiliation to actually perceive what individuals are doing within the area.
To offer you a really particular instance, I drew on the CAUCE community once we have been in search of a brand new scholar info system. I despatched out a gaggle e mail and obtained nice info from my colleagues about what they have been utilizing and the way they have been utilizing it. So, I do know CAUCE has helped me immediately and I’m very grateful for it.
As executives, we have to have a nationwide voice. There’s a lot literature about steady studying popping out proper now from authorities and employers, and it’s all concerning the significance of upscaling and reskilling. And so, we now have an necessary position to not solely convey what we do now, however what we will do for this nation sooner or later. The range of programming—whether or not it’s French immersion, skilled improvement, Indigenous programming—has by no means been extra related and on this time of change. It’s going to solely develop into extra essential. We now have wonderful potential as an awesome useful resource for our federal authorities round creating new insurance policies for lifelong studying.
This interview has been edited for size and readability.