RDC eager to play to its strengths
A name change could be in Red Deer College’s future, increasing the significance of the credentials it bestows to students.
Speaking at a Red Deer and District Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Thursday, college president Joel Ward proposed turning the college into a university of technology and design, similar to how the Singapore University of Technology and Design incorporates elements of technology, management, design thinking and entrepreneurship.
“It builds on the strengths we currently have,” said Ward. “Our strengths in trades and technology in engineering, our centre for innovation in manufacturing and our centre arts and design.
“It creates a type of institution that leads to advanced credentials for learners and gives them an opportunity to move into higher-paying jobs.”
This would see it granting more degrees.
“We think there is a need for a type of institution that can do those kinds of things that currently is not being met here in Canada.”
However, the move to a traditional university is not in the cards, according to Ward.
“I don’t think it would best suit the learners of Central Alberta and this would enable us to become something different and unique and meet a niche and a need that other institutions currently aren’t meeting,” said Ward.
He started his talk in the college’s learning column by talking about the changes post-secondary institutions face. He talked of reduced grants, fewer institutions and the closure of regional campuses, and measuring research value by looking at patents, products and commercialization of items at post-secondary institutions and more reliance on revenue generation.
The Alberta government is taking a fresh look at its post-secondary learning act. Stagnant grants have become a norm, with Ward saying since he’s been president of RDC, grants have ranged from a 7.3 per cent decrease to a two per cent increase, with a zero increase being most common.
Included in discussions are the streamlining of program delivery, including eliminating duplicate programs and collaborating more with other provincial post-secondary institutions.
Unlike some Alberta post-secondary institutions that are looking at the coming changes with disdain, Ward said RDC is looking forward to how it can adapt to these coming changes.
“We’re exploring different opportunities and different models,” said Ward. “We know the provincial government is looking at our sector very carefully and we’re trying to position ourselves to align with the objectives they have.”