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'We didn’t stand still.’ Open Learning & Career Development dean reflects on a transformative year in 2021/22

Posted by Faculty of Open Learning & Career Development on May 27, 2022 in Community Highlights

Posted by Dr. Dianne Tyers on May 25, 2022 in Faculty of Open Learning & Career Development News

Like the unfolding process of new life emerging in spring, the past year has been an evolving and emerging journey for the Faculty of Open Learning & Career Development. Inspired by resiliency found in nature, the Faculty reflects on the teamwork and determination that helped them grow, navigate unexpected challenges and eventually celebrate accomplishments.

By gaining foundational expertise and building a talented team, Dalhousie’s Faculty of Open Learning & Career Development achieved new milestones in 2021/22 and is poised to fully emerge in its new form in 2022/23. See what the Faculty accomplished in the past year in its 2021/22 annual report and read on as the Dean of The Faculty of Open Learning & Career Development, Dr. Dianne Tyers, reflects on the past year and shares her hopes for the year ahead.

Both intentionally and unexpectedly, the past year strengthened our resiliency, challenged our creativity and pushed our innovation. As with so many others, the pandemic continued to test us in many ways, but we dug deep, supported each other and adapted as we served our learners, partners and communities.

We didn’t stand still.

In fact, we introduced new and creative courses and certificates across all of our program portfolios including in Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility. We have made hard choices about the programming that we will upgrade, restructure, replace or stop offering in the months and years to come. The introduction of hyflex learning with our Department of English Language Studies opened up and will continue to open up new delivery opportunities for our Faculty. As well, the Phase One launch of projects in microcredentials, recognition of prior learning (RPL), and DalOpen will all play a part in making our programming even more accessible to a greater diversity of learners.

We took on a number of important funded projects throughout the year including the development of online courses in Intercultural Communication in Higher Education and Internationalization of the Curriculum, an audit of international student services in the university, the identification of technical systems for on-demand training delivery and laying the groundwork for a pathway year program for international students, to name a few.

We not only operationalized new initiatives, we learned a lot in the past year, too. Survey research we conducted in early 2022, in partnership with market research firm, CRi, revealed, among many other things, that online learning is here to stay. Learners are interested in learning experiences that fit their lives, their career pathways and personal interests. That’s why creating superior learning experiences – online or face-to-face – will continue to be a top priority for our Faculty in the coming year. This priority, in addition to thriving financially and improving our processes, will guide all of our work in 2022/23 along with setting new goals that will challenge and excite us.

This past year was a tough one for so many of us, but here we are, with countless milestones and achievements to celebrate at the end of it - including the privilege of serving you, our stakeholders, and working with a team of talented, energized, engaged and supportive people dedicated to making 2022/23 the best it can be.

To learn more about the Faculty and our 2021/22 year, download our annual report. To stay up to on activities at the Faculty, subscribe to our newsletter.