Photo by MURRAY CRAWFORD/Advocate staff Flanked by Kim Schreiner, Red Deer-North MLA; Barb Miller, Red Deer-South MLA; and Marlin Schmidt, Alberta Minister for Advanced Education, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley speaks with reporters at Red Deer College after announcing the school is on the path to degree-granting status.

Red Deer College faculty ready to build degree programs, excited for university status

Red Deer College faculty ready to build degree programs

Faculty at Red Deer College are excited the institution is now on the path to becoming a university, they say there is a lot of work ahead for them.

Larry Steinbrenner, who teaches anthropology, said a university is something Red Deer really needs.

He attended the University of Lethbridge, which gave him an appreciation for the value of university education with small class sizes.

“A university is a huge force in the local community,” said Steinbrenner. “I think Red Deer College has that potential now, if we can expand and become a university, we can really transform Red Deer.

“I don’t think post-secondary is just about creating jobs, it’s also about creating good citizens, and an educated populace.”

On Thursday, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley announced Red Deer College was now on the path to becoming a degree-granting university. The transition to becoming a university may take a few years and officials were vague on the timeline.

Laura Davis, an English professor at the college, said there is a lot of work ahead to develop curriculum. But a lot of the groundwork has already been laid by faculty.

“We’ve been teaching in collaborative degrees for quite some time,” said Davis. “We’re used to teaching up to the fourth year level already. The difference now is we’ll be able to design our own curriculum, teach our own courses, and design our own degree.”

The college teaches its collaborative degree programs designed by other institutions.

“It’s hard to fathom how much work there’s going to be,” said Steinbrenner. “I’m in a small discipline, but now this opportunity will give us a chance to better develop anthropology and archaeology programs.”

Davis said they have laid some of the groundwork to create degree programs during other times the college has asked to become a university.

“We’ve been waiting for this announcement for 25 years,” said Davis, adding there have been a few other times where the college has asked for it.

“There’s the possibility for different kinds of degrees. I teach in the department of humanities and social sciences, and we’re hoping to get a degree program and get programs in education and other areas. But it will take some time.”

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