Business administration students will soon be able to earn a four-year degree in Red Deer without leaving Red Deer.
Red Deer College has partnered with Mount Royal University in Calgary to offer the long awaited four-year Bachelor of Business Administration at RDC’s Donald School of Business.
It is only the third degree the college offers that allows students to take all courses at Red Deer College. The other two are for its education and nursing degree programs which both are offered through the University of Alberta.
The new degree program will start in September.
RDC students typically earn degrees through one of the college’s seven degree completion programs offered through the University of Alberta, the University of Calgary and Athabasca University. At any given time, there are about 2,400 actual students in degree programs at RDC, but 1,900 of them will have to leave to complete their degree elsewhere.
Eventually, RDC hopes to convince the province to allow the college to bestow its own degrees.
Over the years, the college has made several bids for its own degree-granting status to allow students who want to stay at RDC for the entire length of their post-secondary education.
As part of the college’s five-year academic plan, the school is working on adding more degree programs that may include bachelor of science or arts degrees.
Joel Ward, RDC president, said the college will discuss potential college futures including degree-granting status at the board of governors retreat in May.
“We think that’s a critical part of our future,” said Ward. “Our interim strategy was to get (degrees) in house first and then move them over to our own degree. But that implies a different status for the institution as well. It’s very complex. There’s a lot of interest in the community for Central Alberta to have a university.”
Ward said Red Deer College makes a lot of sense but the college will always continue to offer trades and technology, certificates and diplomas. Ward said the college will come out with a definite statement of what the college needs to be in terms of degrees and degree-granting status.
Red Deer Chamber of Commerce president Maureen McMurtrie said it is important that Red Deer as a community offer individuals the opportunity to be locally instructed.
“We’re excited about the economic spin offs with more students in the downtown area,” said McMurtie. “Typically what has happened is students had to leave Central Alberta or had left Central Alberta to continue their business education in the other centres. And we don’t always get that talent back in Central Alberta.”
McMurtie said the students will be trained here and hopefully they will stay and raise their families in Central Alberta so they will not lose trained people to larger centres.
At the end of the four years, business administration students will graduate with an accredited bachelor’s degree from Mount Royal University.
The business administration degree program will first be offered with a general major. In the future, an accounting major and marketing major will be offered. An advisory committee with representation from Mount Royal, college students, industry members and faculty will help to determine the next direction for the program.
RDC college will also add two new diploma programs in September. Automation and Manufacturing Engineering Technology and Electrical Engineering Technology, will be two-year programs.
Patricia Rokosh, RDC dean of trades and manufacturing technologies, said the college is planning to add more depending on industry demand.
“What these two programs are doing is that they are establishing a baseline for us,” said Rokosh. “We will be able to grow other technology programs from here. This is in response to what Central Alberta wants. We want students from Central Alberta to stay here to go to school and then stay here to work.”
The college is now accepting applications for the new programs. For more information, visit www.rdc.ab.ca.