RDC students head back for another year

Red Deer College President Joel Ward said that the beginning of the school year is always an exciting time and this year is no different.

“You can feel the energy in the classrooms, in the hallways, and you can feel the energy that Red Deer College brings to the community and Central Alberta.”

The numbers for this year’s enrolment are not yet in but Brad Donaldson, vice president of academics, suspects they are around the 6,500 mark with 550 of those students enrolled taking classes at the new Donald School of Business.

The new downtown location of the DSB is a welcome addition to the Red Deer College campus and Donaldson said it is advantageous for capacity reasons.

“We were getting to the point where capacity was becoming a challenge but with 550 students moving to the DSB it has freed up some space here which puts us in a position to absorb and bring new students in line with the new programming that will be announced,” said Donaldson.

Student Association President Derric Callan said the year looks great for new and returning students because of the planning that has been done through the summer.

“My goal is to help make campus a bit more sustainable for the future economically, socially and environmentally,” said Callan.

Some of the things planned include diversity days where students are made more aware of social and cultural diversities not only within the college but also in society in general.

Callan would also like to see recycling facilities being made more prominent on campus as well as the possibility of a composting system for the school.

Donaldson added he is seeing a lot of good things happening on campus already and that the number of new students is always exciting.

The student body, Donaldson estimated, is made up of about 60% new students.

“We have some one year programs as well as some students who switch programs into the second year as well,” said Donaldson.

Overall Donaldson said they are pleased with the current enrolment numbers but will have to wait for a final tally as students are still registering at this point.

“Sometimes students don’t decide they want to go to school until the last minute or they don’t know what program to take,” said Donaldson.

Ward said the College is working very hard to get some new degree opportunities for Central Alberta and in the next four years they expect to see between 1,000 and 3,000 new students at the RDC.

“We have two new programs that we have received funding for. These new technology programs will be huge for us. We will also be announcing a new four year degree in Red Deer for the business students,” said Ward.

The new business degree would mean that students could do their entire four years in Red Deer rather than having to transfer out.

Students this year at RDC also didn’t see tuition increases and Ward said he thought that was a very important decision on the College’s part.

“We try to keep the costs down because it’s about graduating students and getting them to work and not having to pay off $20,000 in debt,” said Ward.

He added it will be an exciting year with all of the upcoming announcements for new courses.

“We need new programs to grow this institution. We need new facilities, new residences and there are some significant growth plans for the College.”