Red Deer College does not expect to become a university after all.
Representatives of the post-secondary institution, including president Dr. Peter Nunoda and board of governors chair Guy Pelletier, said they anticipate RDC will become a polytechnic institution instead of a university, during a media conference call Friday afternoon.
“Given our conversations with the Ministry of Advanced Education, we anticipate RDC could become a polytechnic institution under the Alberta 2030 framework from the post-secondary system review,” said Pelletier.
“While this would be a different name than expected, in that we would not be a university, it would still allow our institution to serve students with our full complement of existing credentials plus our own degrees.
“That was, and continues to be, our goal to best serve students and surrounding communities.”
Pelletier and Nunoda acknowledged some may be disheartened if RDC does not become a university, but say they are hopeful that the positive opportunities and outcomes of a polytechnic model would soon become apparent.
Earlier on Friday, Minister of Advanced Education Demetrios Nicolaides said university status would “place important and necessary programs at risk,” such as the trades because they do not fit in a university mandate.
Nunoda said the polytechnic designation would be the best way for RDC to offer degrees while retaining a range of credentials that includes trades programming.
“As an institution, we are very supportive of the polytechnic model because it offers a unique designation that would allow us to support our students, partners, industry and community members,” Nunoda said.
“For me, the most important thing is what we will be able to achieve. As a polytechnic, we would be able to partner with government and industry to produce highly employable graduates that meet the ever-changing needs of the labour market.
“We would be innovative, allowing students to integrate work-integrated learning into their studies for all programs. Plus, we would be able to offer our own degrees while keeping trades programming, and that is an absolute win for this entire region.”
The concept of a polytechnic institution fulfills RDC’s future goals, and the college will now await the final decision from the Government of Alberta at the conclusion of the post-secondary system review, RDC said in a statement.
Once this occurs, RDC, in partnership with government, will officially announce its new model to students, employees and community members.