Ward: Exciting changes as RDC begins new academic year

On Sept. 6, Red Deer College will welcome – and welcome back – all of our new and returning students. The 2017-2018 academic year is the 54th year that RDC will provide post-secondary education to learners from Central Alberta and beyond. Our long-standing place in the community is something we take great pride in.

When students arrive on our campuses, they are bringing with them hopes for the future – both for their short-term future in the coming year and for their longer-term career goals. We also have hopes for and diligently plan for these same things. By providing diverse, relevant programming and having a wealth of resources available for our students, we ensure their time at the college is productive and beneficial.

And we also plan for a future that is filled with opportunities and advancement for our learners and our communities. An example of this happened just a few weeks ago, when Red Deer College held the official groundbreaking for our Alternative Energy Lab. This lab, which will be complete in the spring of 2018, is a huge step forward in alternative energy and innovation. The lab will be used for teaching, demonstration and applied research. It’s all part of our Alternative Energy Initiative, which is possible thanks to the Government of Canada’s Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund grant, with matching investment by Red Deer College.

Through this Initiative, we will generate energy, offsetting our campus electricity usage by about 67 per cent. By planning ahead, RDC is increasing our sustainability, and we are being good environmental stewards, now and in the future. When you add this to the innovative, applied learning that the new lab will provide for more than 1,000 students each year and the increased opportunities for local industry and researchers, it is definitely a win-win for our region.

In addition to the tremendous learning opportunities that the Alternative Energy Lab will provide for students in the future, RDC is also excited to offer two new programs starting this fall. The first is the Instrumentation Engineering Technology Diploma, a two-year program that starts Sept. 6.

This field is rapidly changing and expanding into virtually every industrial and commercial sector, so present and future demand for technologists is high. RDC has developed our program in collaboration with local industry stakeholders, which will ensure graduates learn from foundational courses, as well as courses tailored to help them develop skill sets that local employers require.

Our second program, the Human Resources Management Graduate Certificate, is a new credential in Alberta, and RDC is proud to offer this innovative learning opportunity starting Aug. 28. What’s unique about this program is it is open to anyone who has a degree, from any post-secondary institution.

If people are already working in the HR field or if they want to transition into it, this program has been developed for professionals who work full-time. Its flexible delivery is primarily online, with four executive weekend sessions delivered at RDC’s Donald School of Business. In just 12 months, students will earn a graduate certificate, and they will be prepared for a Chartered Professional in Human Resources designation.

These two programs are great examples of how Red Deer College is contributing to the Central Alberta. We’re listening to the needs of our students and our business partners from across the region, and we’re evolving to meet these by creating applied learning opportunities that position our graduates for success.

Joel Ward is President &CEO of Red Deer College

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