Continuing Education continues to evolve

Growing the mission of the College of Continuing Education

- November 22, 2011

Andrew Cochrane, dean of the College of Continuing Education. (Danny Abriel photo)
Andrew Cochrane, dean of the College of Continuing Education. (Danny Abriel photo)

Continuing Education at Dalhousie is mixing it up.

Long established as a centre of excellence in the area of adult learning, a new model promises to remake the College of Continuing Education into an institution that plays a new and different role at Dalhousie.

With a goal toward being even more integrated and relevant to the Dalhousie mission, the college will shift its structure to include a Pathways Division and a Professional Development Division.

Opportunities for growth

The Pathways Division will build on many of the college's current strengths—like its English as a second language program (ESL) and the very successful Transition Year Program (TYP)—by adding in a university prep program that would serve 700 students with writing skills and in areas like biology, physics, pre-calculus, and academic math. It would also involve university initiatives that have already served 50 academically at-risk or dismissed students in the Faculty of Engineering, helping first-year students on academic suspension improve their study skills for re-admittance.

The Professional Development Division will explore “in-career” workforce education – what Andrew Cochrane, dean of the college, calls the “mids” (mid-career, mid-life, mid-family, mid-mortgage), along with technical training.

“Our future builds on the strengths of our past, with these new directions for the college coming as a direct outgrowth of the practice of extending the university's impact by identifying specific niches where we can make a difference,” says Mr. Cochrane. “Over several decades the college has established at Dalhousie a reputation for engagement with various communities, sectors, professions and individuals.”

As continuing eduction programs have changed substantially over the years, Mr. Cochrane points out that reinvention is key to keeping the Dalhousie College of Continuing Education timely and relevant.

“In addition to providing extensive professional development opportunities the college has pioneered pathways and transition experiences for students who may not come directly to university from high school,” he notes. “[At the same time], we will continue to provide relevant and timely opportunities for those looking to advance in, or change careers, through our Professional Development Division.”

Supporting student success with Pathways

The largest change is in the Pathways Division. Pathways will provide a "space" for the college to provide a coordinated approach with courses and programs that prepare and support nascent students in their desire to succeed at Dalhousie.

“Through collaboration with other units at Dal, we are building a ‘continuum of service’ to best serve the needs of students through their entire experience with Dal,” adds Mr. Cochrane. “The common ground for students on all of these paths—ESL, TYP, university prep—is their desire to be successful Dalhousie students.”

And while these changes will substantially grow the mission of the college, the evolution is ongoing. Now settled into new space in the Mona Campbell Building after years spent in downtown offices, there are plans for other new initiatives as the college continues their consultations across campus with faculties and support units.

The College of Continuing Education is on the move and changing to become an ever-stronger force in increasing accessibility and opportunities for the Dal community.


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