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Red Deer Polytechnic begins new academic year with growing slate of learning opportunities

Date posted:
Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Back to School

Faculty and staff focus attention to continue meeting needs of students, industry and community 

As Red Deer Polytechnic welcomes thousands of students to begin the 2022/2023 academic year, there will be even more learning opportunities and program offerings for learners to pursue in central Alberta. 

This September, students began classes in a variety of new programs: Bachelor of Education Degree, Massage Therapy Diploma, Paralegal Certificate, and an Indigenous Care Aide micro-credential. In Winter 2023 Term, learners will begin their academic journey in three more programs: Machine Learning Analyst Diploma, Computer Programming Diploma, and a Life and Employment Skills for Independence Certificate. These programs showcase the continued growing breadth of credentials and subject matter that will be offered at Red Deer Polytechnic.  

“We are very excited to welcome learners into our new and existing programs, as we begin a new academic year,” says Kylie Thomas, Vice President Academic and Provost. “As a vibrant polytechnic institution, our program diversity demonstrates our institution’s ability to meet the needs of our students, industry and Alberta communities.” 

Enrollment has stabilized after the Polytechnic experienced a decline in students as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Red Deer Polytechnic anticipates about 6,300 students will attend courses, either part-time or full-time, this year in its credit, collaborative and skilled trades programs. International student enrollment has experienced positive growth from last year. Seven per cent of RDP credit learners, which is 300 students, self-identify as Indigenous. Campus Alberta Central, which is a partnership between Red Deer Polytechnic and Olds College of Agriculture and Technology, also provides post-secondary programming in 20 different learning centres throughout rural, central Alberta communities.

Student enrollment is anticipated to grow during the Winter 2023 Term, and applications are still being accepted from prospective students for that semester. This enrollment increase is due, in part, to additional funding provided by the provincial government during the next three years that will permit RDP to expand a variety of its high-demand programs to an additional 700 students. 

“Our learners can expect their post-secondary experiences to be filled with opportunities to participate in applied research, experiential learning, and collaborative projects with industry leaders,” says Thomas. “Our faculty and staff are experts in their fields who are ready to support learners in their studies to help prepare them for meaningful careers. Our graduates will help to address labour market shortages in central Alberta and across the province.”

Several courses and programs are delivered in-person, online, or in a blended format by Red Deer Polytechnic to provide choice and flexibility for diverse learners. Along with utilizing Red Deer Polytechnic’s main campus, students can also take classes for personal interest or to expand their employment opportunities at the J.B. Quinn Centre for Corporate Training within the institution’s downtown campus for Extended Education programs. In addition, the Welikoklad Event Centre (WEC) offers barrier-free theatre seating and digital projection and sound. A creative mural showcasing Red Deer Polytechnic’s brand and breadth of programs will be painted on one of WEC’s exterior walls throughout September by an alum of Red Deer Polytechnic to help add to the vibrancy of downtown Red Deer.

In addition to new and expanded programming, as central Alberta’s new polytechnic, the post-secondary institution is looking forward to building on its past successes as it charts more ‘firsts’ this new academic year, including:

  • As unveiled the past June, the Red Deer Polytechnic Kings and Queens student-athletes will compete in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) with a new visual identity that aligns with the new brand of the institution. 
  • The Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre of Excellence, currently being constructed on RDP’s main campus, will open in 2023. Through the Centre, youth and families in our region will receive a variety of supports when faced with abusive situations, while the Polytechnic can support the Centre through applied research and other means. In addition, students from a variety of RDP programs will complete their practicum experiences at the Child Advocacy Centre.
  • A new RDP logo sculpture has recently been installed outside the Polytechnic’s main campus entrance as a fun place for people to engage with the institution and take their photo. 
  • The institution is pleased to welcome Stuart Cullum as its new President, too.    

“I am very excited to collaborate with students, colleagues, community members, alumni, and industry partners this year – my first as President. We are pleased to return to a more typical teaching and learning environment, when compared with the past two years during the pandemic, and to engage with even more community members and central Alberta businesses,” says Stuart Cullum, President. “Our campuses are energized and open to all students, employees, and community members to take courses, attend events, watch the Kings and Queens compete, use the health and wellness services at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre or a variety of other purposes. We are a premier polytechnic institution located in central Alberta and serving the whole of this province.”

Students began classes in many skilled trades programs on August 29. Red Deer Polytechnic welcomed all new students to attend orientation activities on September 1. Learners in the institution’s credit programs started their courses on September 2.
 
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Photo (l-r): Kylie Thomas, Vice President Academic and Provost; Savannah Snow, Students' Association President; Stuart Cullum, President of Red Deer Polytechnic
     
For media inquiries, contact: 

brent [dot] forster [at] rdpolytech [dot] ca (Brent Forster) 
Communications Strategist – Corporate 
Red Deer Polytechnic 

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