McGill's Centre for Continuing Education to Become the School of Continuing Studies

Published: 21 April 2011

There’s a great deal of excitement in the air at the former Centre for Continuing Education (CCE) these days. That’s right – former. After much study and discussion, CCE will become the School of Continuing Studies (SCS)/École d’éducation permanente on May 1. As well, all the major program units will be renamed and one new unit will be born (see below).

According to Dean Judith Potter, both the name and nature of continuing education at McGill are changing for a number of substantial reasons. “We are stepping up our collaborations with McGill’s faculties and schools to help them provide enhanced professional development opportunities for their clienteles, which is consistent with McGill’s desire for excellence in all academic and research areas. As well, the new names more clearly reflect who we are today and where we are headed as we reach out to diverse communities of learners in local, national and international contexts.”

The Evolving Nature of Continuing Education

Many of the changes at CCE are related to the explosion of knowledge and the reliance on continuous learning for strong economies, healthy societies and fulfilled lives. “Before making these changes, we consulted with other leading universities in the U.S. and Canada and had a good look at their continuing education approaches. As well, we did in-depth market studies locally to learn more about our own clientele and their learning needs.”

While re-examining many aspects of continuing education at McGill, it became apparent that CCE’s moniker no longer fully captured everything that was going on at 688 Sherbrooke St. West and environs: “Today, we are actually more akin to a ‘school’ – in the McGill academic-unit sense – than a centre. As well, ‘Continuing Studies’ is more inclusive and reflects the breadth of our current and projected programming,” says Potter. “It also aligns us with the predominant nomenclature used at other prominent North American universities.”

Ongoing Improvements on Many Fronts

Within CCE, the past few years have seen some significant program-level changes, which the new names also seek to reflect. “We have revitalized major programs and added many new options, especially within the two largest academic units: the former Career and Management Studies, and English and French Language Programs. Their new names (Career and Professional Development, and Language and Intercultural Communication) are a more accurate reflection of these new directions.

“As well, we’re actively improving the quality of our services on all levels,” says Potter. To accommodate the many new programs and courses and a larger and more diverse clientele, the new integrated Client Services unit has longer opening hours and increased service options. Workshops, instructional design support and other resources for instructors have also been expanded. There are new workshops available to help students with study skills and assist them along their diverse career paths, and a new scholarship and bursary program is under development.

Increased Visibility On and Off Campus

In line with the Dean’s mandate to raise the profile of continuing education at McGill are two high-profile initiatives. “One of the biggest recent developments for us is opening the new McGill Writing Centre (MWC).” The MWC is a pan-university initiative that will help improve written communication at McGill and beyond, consolidating numerous writing courses, workshops and related services for undergraduates, graduates and the continuing education community.

“Another positive development is our joining McGill’s Capital Campaign. We are aligning our fund-raising and ‘friend-raising’ goals with the wider university community. This makes a lot of sense because many of our students and alumni are also McGill alumni, so there’s much common ground as we connect with them. Our alumni have shown considerable interest in our new programming and some are contributing to various projects and initiatives we have under way to help current students, such as donating for bursaries and student awards.”

Clearly, CCE’s transformation into the School of Continuing Studies is the culmination of much hard work and many positive changes: “We have new academic and personal development programs, increased student registration, a talented and committed team, a new visual identity and greater community awareness of our offerings,” says Potter enthusiastically. And the outreach activities will continue: “It’s an exciting time. More and more people are going back to school, taking refresher courses and changing careers. Our revitalized organization is more committed than ever to help them meet their personal and professional goals.”


Highlights of Academic Unit Name Changes

  • Career and Professional Development / Développement de carrière et perfectionnement professionnel (replaces Career and Management Studies / Études professionnelles et de gestion): CPD will continue to offer a wide variety of credit programs and courses, while adding a range of stimulating short courses, workshops and webinars for working professionals.
  • Faculty Partnerships and Summer Studies / Partenariats universitaires et études d’été (replaces General Studies / Études générales): Tasked with raising the profile and activity level of continuing education throughout McGill, this unit works closely with the faculties to help them reach new audiences and communities of learners. This unit also coordinates summer programs and courses.
  • Language and Intercultural Communication / Langues et communication interculturelle (replaces English and French Language Program / Programmes de langues anglaise et française): Over the past two years, this unit has revamped its intensive language programs by integrating many cultural elements. As well, it has expanded its offerings to include non-credit and customized language courses and will extend its reach to include other languages this fall.
  • Translation and Written Communication / Traduction et expression écrite (replaces Translation Studies / Études de traduction): As well as offering accredited translation programs, this unit’s portfolio now encompasses the McGill Writing Centre. It will also deliver many workshops and one-on-one tutoring, and will provide fee-for-service offerings for the business community.
  • Personal and Cultural Enrichment / Programmes de perfectionnement personnel et culturel (new unit): After piloting a successful series of stimulating events in 2010, PACE will be officially launched as a unit focussed on learning for individual and societal enrichment. The flagship subunit of PACE is the McGill Community for Lifelong Learning / Les communautés d’apprentissage continu de McGill (the renamed McGill Institute for Learning in Retirement, MILR).
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