DEGREE GRANTING - Red Deer College President Joel Ward, seen here unveiling last year’s Notebook Magazine, is optimistic that the institution will be approved for degree-granting status early this year. Todd Colin Vaughan/Red Deer Express

President Joel Ward optimistic RDC will receive degree-granting status soon

Province currently debating the issue, but has assured Ward it’s on the agenda.

Red Deer College is continuing to patiently wait to hear back from the Province of Alberta regarding the status of their hopes to begin degree granting.

The Minister of Advanced Education Marlin Schmidt had previously made his recommendation to the Province regarding degree-granting at RDC and gave December as a preliminary timeline for an answer.

With that timeline now lapsed, President of Red Deer College Joel Ward is now thinking mid-February.

“He did call and say, ‘We are getting close. We just have a little more work to do. Be patient’. So I would expect an answer probably in February,” Ward said.

The Province is currently debating the issue, but has assured Ward the issue is on the agenda.

Degree-granting for RDC is key to keeping students in Central Alberta, according to Ward. Over 56% of Alberta post-secondary students graduate with a four-year degree, something the college cannot currently offer outside of nursing and education, which is offered through the University of Alberta, and business which is offered through Mount Royal University.

“Degree-granting status is really important to us because we are shut out of that market,” Ward said.

“It is similar to being a retail store with four products, but you are only allowed to sell three when most of your customers want the fourth one. That is a challenge.”

If approved, RDC will begin immediately turning their current degrees through other institutions into their own. The school will also work to introduce several more programs in three to five years.

“We already have two new degrees that are before government for approval. We think those will be the first two new ones,” he said.

He added degree-granting could potentially add 50% more students to the institution in three to seven years, which can now be more easily accommodating due to the several capital projects under construction including the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre and the new residence — both of which are scheduled to open in 2018.

Ward added the project will add critical growth to Central Alberta in a variety of ways.

“Our economic, cultural and social growth is impaired due to our inability to provide the educational opportunities that students need in Central Alberta,” he said. “We have made our case; we have the support of all of Central Alberta including students, business and industry, mayors and councils across Central Alberta and the school boards all support us.”

He added RDC is preparing for the best result in February.

“The government has listened and they will have a decision. I’m optimistic it will be a good one, but I really don’t know what the answer will be,” he said.

todd.vaughan@reddeerexpress.com

Like us on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/RedDeerExpress/and follow us on twitter athttps://twitter.com/RedDeerExpress.

Just Posted

Red Deer Chamber Awards recognize outstanding businesses

The 37th Annual Business Awards saw five recipients take home prestigious awards

UPDATE: Aurora Rafer has been found unharmed

RCMP have a man in custody and continue to investigate

The Sadies slide into the City on Nov. 6th

Popular band gearing up for a show at The Hideout

Recreational pot is now officially legal

Here are some things you need to know and how legal recreational pot will affect you in Red Deer

Puff, puff, pass: Cannabis is officially legal across Canada

Alberta readies itself for cannabis sales with 17 stores (for now) and a new provincial website

Mellow opening to B.C.’s only legal pot shop

About five people lined up early for the opening of the BC Cannabis Store in Kamloops.

Jagmeet Singh says marijuana pardons are not enough

Trudeau government will streamline pardon process for Canadians convicted of simple possession of marijuana in the past

Test case challenges a politician’s right to block people from Twitter account

3 people say Watson infringed their constitutional right to freedom of expression by blocking them

After 50 years, ‘Sesame Street’ Big Bird puppeteer retiring

The puppeteer who has played Big Bird on “Sesame Street” is retiring after nearly 50 years on the show.

Britain, EU decide to take some time in getting Brexit right

Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said “we need much time, much more time and we continue to work in the next weeks.”

Parole denied for convicted killer-rapist Paul Bernardo after 25 years in prison

Paul Bernardo plead for release on Wednesday by arguing he has done what he could to improve himself during his 25 years in prison.

B.C. Lions look to cement CFL playoff spot with victory over Eskimos

B.C. can cement a post-season berth in the wild West Division on Friday night with a home win over the Edmonton Eskimos

Canada ban on asbestos takes effect but mining residues are exempt

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna plans to announce the new regulations implementing the ban on Thursday in Ottawa

Harry and Meghan bring rain to drought-stricken Outback town

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan are on day two of their 16-day tour of Australia and the South Pacific.

Most Read