Restructuring non-credit programs underway at U of S

By May of next year, students enrolled in non-credit professional development and community education programs at the University of Saskatchewan will be taking class through the college that offers related degree-credit programming. 

Patti McDougall, vice-provost of teaching and learning, said work has started on moving non-credit programs into colleges as part of organizational changes announced in the spring for the Centre for Continuing and Distance Education (CCDE).

"The university has been examining for some time whether there are other models of delivering non-credit programming that might fit well for our campus at this time in our history other than a central structure like CCDE or the Extension Division before that," said McDougall. "Tremendous value exists in positioning non-credit programming and staff more closely with the work of colleges where degree-credit programming is housed and where research activity thrives."

The U of S has a long history of offering professional development and community education to the people of the province, she continued, a commitment that has distinguished it in the area of continuing education. "The university views itself as part of the local community and recognizes that universities matter to local and professional communities."

Non-credit offerings will continue uninterrupted as work proceeds on transitioning various programs. In fact, the first move is complete with the Business and Leadership Program now housed in the Edwards School of Business. Another move will see seniors programming relocated to the College of Arts and Science. McDougall said the transition is being made in consultation with the organization Saskatoon Seniors for Continued Learning.

McDougall said that over the coming year, she will work with the Colleges of Education, Engineering, Agriculture and Bioresources, and others "to identify novel ways of offering non-credit programming from within a college environment.

"With close alignment to the academic mission of a college and thoughtful attention to financial sustainability, our non-credit programs will be offered in a highly effective and efficient manner providing expanded opportunities for those audiences for whom these programs are so important."

The university is developing mechanisms to ensure the continued quality of the current non-credit programs, she said. This includes providing services like registration support to colleges running non-credit programs as well as ensuring a web presence so that community members have a central way of finding out what non-credit activity is available.

McDougall added the two remaining units of CCDE—the U of S Language Centre and the Distance Education, Off-Campus and Certificate Program—will remain in her portfolio.

Other changes are underway in Educational Media Access and Productions (eMAP). As of Sept. 1, the equipment services unit moved into Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Client Services while the new media unit is now part of ICT Web Applications. Both groups moved intact, she said, while a third eMAP unit—Media Production—will continue to report to her office.

"In the case of new media, the move brings together staff charged with meeting the online needs of the campus. As the university looks to enhance its web presence, bringing together the two web services groups makes good sense. And combining equipment services with computer technologies in ICT will make future integration and support much easier."

A third reorganization is taking place in conjunction with the University Library. McDougall said she is working with Vicki Williamson, dean of the University Library, to move student-learning programs operating within the University Learning Centre (ULC) into the Library's organizational structure.

"Most of the programs are physically located in the Murray Library," she said, "so this restructuring will help clarify roles and responsibilities, and bring a stronger focus on program delivery and the student learning experience."

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