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  • Writer's pictureCCE

Creating Access for All: Students Benefit From Regional College Partnerships

As the Dean of the Centre for Continuing Education, Christie Schultz sees great value in connections. “Hearing first-hand how our connections have impacted students’ lives is the best reward,” says Schultz. This past April she met Jeremy Roberts, a University of Regina alum, while celebrating the signing of an MOU and a mutual commitment to partnership and access to education with Great Plains College in Swift Current.


Front of Great Plains College

 

“Jeremy was so passionate about his learning journey with the College and the U of R,” recalls Schultz. “For me, his experience reinforced the impact our relationships with the colleges can have. I’m so proud of the work we do in our own Flexible Learning Division and at the U of R,” says Schultz. “This is where a certificate, a diploma or a degree can become a reality for so many across our province.”

 

Reflecting on his path to the U of R, Roberts admits he didn’t have his sights set on earning a university degree after graduating from his small town high school outside Swift Current. “I took a low paying job when I graduated. I soon realized if I wanted to make more money, I needed to go back to school. I hadn’t done well in high school so I wasn’t confident about taking that next step.”


With some encouragement from his high school teacher who thought he had an aptitude for business, he enrolled in nearby Great Plains College. “There’s a lot of comfort in staying within your hometown environment. Everyone knows you and is rooting you on.”

 

But for Roberts, his college experience only sparked a greater interest in education. “I was doing really well and my professor planted the idea of working towards a degree through the University of Regina. That wasn’t something I had ever considered.”


"We’re passionate about working with our faculties to make even more U of R programs accessible to these students." - Terri Allard

 

The partnerships CCE has with colleges across the province makes the transition to the U of R easier for students in smaller communities says Terri Allard, Program Manager of CCE’s Flexible Learning Division. “To be able to stay in your community while starting out on their post-secondary educational journey is sometimes essential to removing critical barriers for students. It means they can save on expenses, build confidence and really excel in their familiar environment.”

 

After taking courses at Great Plains College, Roberts applied the credits he had earned towards his Business Administration Degree and transitioned to the University of Regina campus. “Working on my Bachelor’s degree was flexible. I could take courses online and in the evenings as well as in person. It was a really good experience, but I think if I were to have moved to Regina without my previous college experience, I would have been overwhelmed.”

 

“Transitioning to the U of R from a college is something we focus on a lot,” adds Allard. “Students receive a U of R orientation at the college and can book a tour when they do come to campus, even if they aren’t technically first year students. Plus,” she says, “students taking U of R courses at the colleges are already our students, so they can easily register for on-campus, online or further courses at their college with ease. We’re passionate about working with our faculties to make even more U of R programs accessible to these students.”


Jeremy Roberts Headshot
"I never would have thought of myself in this way but I have a real passion for the College and what it did for me...Now I can help other students find success and that is such a good feeling." - Jeremy Roberts

 

Moving to Regina and being part of campus life also translated into benefits Roberts hadn’t anticipated. “For me, one of the best things about being at the University was being exposed to an amazing diversity of opinions. Growing up in a small town means you often spend time with other like-minded individuals, but here I met people from other countries who have many different perspectives. I’ve also been able to expand my social circle and make lasting connections.”

 

When working with the colleges in the regions they serve, Allard believes our connections are key. “We talk to the colleges on a continual basis and rely on them to help determine what the needs of their community are. For instance, one of our partners, Northwest College, wanted to offer multiple pathways into a degree in Social Work at their campus. In partnership with the Faculty of Social Work, CCE has created a path towards a Bachelor of Social Work degree that includes the opportunity to earn the Liberal Arts Certificate and Diploma along the way. There are now 48 students from that community enrolled in the program. We’re open to exploring whatever the colleges, and the students they serve, need – whether that’s a pathway to a degree or a certificate or even just a single course.”

 

Creating a clear path towards post-secondary education for all students is at the heart of the ongoing and long-term partnerships that have been established between CCE and the colleges.

 

As one of many students who has travelled that path, Roberts now works as a consultant for Indigenous Customer Care for SaskPower in Swift Current. In the last two years, he has taken on another role for which he is ideally suited. “I am the Vice Chair of the Board of Directors at Great Plains College. I never would have thought of myself in this way but I have a real passion for the College and what it did for me. To go from being a student who hadn’t identified a career path to being on the board is such a full circle moment. Now I can help other students find success and that is such a good feeling.”


 

Learn more about Flexible Learning Options at the U of R.


Looking for a flexible U of R program?

Many of CCE's Undergraduate Certificate programs are offered online and can fit into your busy schedule.

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