Harris wants to see RDC land university status

  • Jul. 8, 2015 3:25 p.m.

Councillor Paul Harris is looking for City support in Red Deer College’s bid for university status.

RDC is seeking Polytechnic University status in order to offer its own degrees, as well as to continue to offer professional, career-focused programs in the arts, social and related behavioural sciences, health and wellness, engineering, education, and trades and technology that engage students in active, applied learning and research essential to the future of society, business and industry.

“I think that it’s time. Red Deer College has thought about being a university ever since it started and there has been a lot of discussion over the last decade specifically. Now that we have a change in government and a government that supports education and fair education and education that is not really costly, I think now is the time,” said Harris. “Let’s start talking to the province to make that change. It’s pretty simple – they just need to do it.”

Harris brought forward a Notice of Motion during Monday’s meeting in hopes that other councillors would support the bid. “I would like council’s endorsement because if we endorse that then we become strong partners as they go to the government.”

He added there would be many benefits for the community if Red Deer College was to successfully become a Polytechnic University.

“For the community as a whole – the education sector is a big part of our economy and a thriving community. Thriving communities really have a strong university/college presence. By making this shift we are going to both increase the economic opportunities in the City as well as improve the quality of life for people.”

In Harris’ Notice of Motion it stated Red Deer College’s current contribution to economic growth through past graduates and current operations is $327.4 million in 2011-2012, and would be significantly higher with a Polytechnic University.

In the Motion it also said currently only 17% of eligible high school students in the local region remain here to pursue a post-secondary education, compared to Calgary (33%), Edmonton (32%) and Lethbridge (28%).