In my role at Red Deer College, I have the opportunity to connect with people from across central Alberta. Whether this is at events hosted by RDC or at other activities in the community, I always enjoy speaking with students, alumni, parents, partners and interested citizens. A great many people are connected with RDC, and what I’ve found through my conversations is that they truly care about what’s happening here.
Over the years, people have asked me a variety of questions about our College, and today I’m happy to provide you with a sample of the commonly asked questions and my thoughts on each.
How many students attend RDC, and where are they from?
On any given day, we have about 7,500 students on our campuses. When I look back at our information from 2016-17, I see that 65% of our students came from central Alberta, with 15% from northern Alberta, 13% from the southern part and 7% coming from outside of our province. These students come from across Canada and from 16 countries around the world.
What is all the construction about?
We are fortunate to be in a time of growth and development at Red Deer College, and each new facility taking shape across main campus is the result of many years of careful and strategic planning. It’s hard to believe the preliminary site work for the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre/Centre des Jeux du Canada Gary W. Harris began back in the fall of 2015. Each day, we are moving closer to its completion and, in September 2018, we will welcome our first group of students to this teaching and learning centre. Not long after, the building will be a huge part of the 2019 Canada Winter Games. Our second construction project, the Alternative Energy Lab, demonstrates our commitment to the exploration and demonstration of new environmental technologies. The lab will provide learning and research opportunities for students and businesses to explore alternative energy solutions. Our third project, a new Residence, is under construction and is visible from 32nd Street. This unique facility incorporates solar panels on three sides and includes apartment-style studio suites, access for those with mobility challenges and short-term accommodation for our Apprenticeship students. All three new buildings support RDC’s goal of reducing our carbon footprint through energy efficient technologies.
What can I take at RDC?
We offer more than 100 programs, and these include everything from collaborative degrees, where students can take all of their courses at RDC, to university transfer programs, where they take their first year or two at RDC and complete at another institution. We also offer skilled trades, diplomas and certificates. This fall, we launched two new programs – the Human Resources Management Graduate Certificate and the Instrumentation Engineering Technology Diploma.
What new programs are on the horizon?
Looking ahead, our senior administrators and faculty are always looking for ways to develop new programs that will offer students the real-world information they need for today’s jobs. One example of this is happening right now in the School of Creative Arts, with two proposed cutting-edge programs – the Bachelor of Applied Arts in Film, Theatre, and Live Entertainment, and the Bachelor of Applied Arts in Animation and Visual Effects. Once we have approval from the government, we intend to launch these programs in the fall of 2018, offering students one-of-a-kind opportunities in the ever-growing film and special effects industries.
When will we be able to complete our degrees at RDC?
We continue to work with our government partners to achieve our goal of RDC becoming a degree-granting institution. If people didn’t have to leave to complete their degrees, as I described above, then it would have a huge, positive impact on students, families and even the economy of central Alberta. We will continue to strive to make this goal a reality for our future students.
These questions provide a snapshot of what’s happening here at RDC, and they show how we are always growing and evolving to better serve you, our students and partners and communities. As we continue to grow, I look forward to sharing this information with you – in this column and when we meet in the community.
Joel Ward is President & CEO of Red Deer College
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