RDC will proceed with university status: college president

The delay is temporary

There will be more to share on Red Deer College’s university status at the beginning of the new year, says its president.

The delay comes while a system-wide review is done on post-secondary institutions in the province.

“(While the) government takes a look at post secondary education in the entire province, we’re in a space where there is some uncertainty, but I’m still confident we’re going to proceed and this is just a temporary delay,” said Peter Nunoda on Monday.

“I believe the consultants are trying to do the bulk of their work through this summer, and they’ll be moving towards preliminary reporting to the government early fall, and we won’t have a final report until late fall.”

Nunoda is assured institutions such as RDC will have an opportunity to provide feedback to the consultants around how they can be innovative in their education delivery.

The pending university status doesn’t entirely impact the college’s ability to grant degrees. Nunoda said the college is in its final stage of approval for the bachelor of science degree program, with a goal to start in September 2021.

A review will be underway for the degree this summer, after which time delivery can be approved.

The bachelor of education degree is delayed due to the provincial system-wide review.

“So again, like university status, the government has put a hold on that particular degree. However, if we get a green light early in the new year, we will be able to work towards September 2021,” said Nunoda.

The college announced 146 jobs have been impacted as a result of the ongoing pandemic in different areas, from full time to casual positions. Of the total number, 44 people have been temporarily laid off.

That has happened as RDC grapples with a $5.3-million reduction in provincial government funding.

That shortage has been compounded by COVID-19, and the college anticipates a loss in revenue from ancillary services, such as revenue from the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre and residences.

The college also projects a 10 per cent reduction in enrolment in the new school year. Nunoda said those numbers have been accounted for in the budget.

The fall semester will look different at the college, with most learning happening online.

There will be some exceptions to that, said Nunoda, as some programs, such as nursing and trades and apprenticeships, need hands-on learning.

The college will allow students to work in labs or shops in small groups in a controlled environment where social distancing protocols can be followed.

The new school year will also look different for college athletes.

The Alberta Colleges Athletic Association announced its plans recently for the 2020-21 season. It cancelled the fall semester of sports, which includes golf, soccer and cross country running. It is aiming to run those sports in April 2021.

Nunoda said this fall semester, there will be no contact sports at the college, which includes hockey, volleyball, soccer and basketball.


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