CityU Offers Education and Connection
These Canadian graduate programs in counselling and education take a student-centered approach.
When Irene Donaldson went looking for a Master of Education program, she was very strategic. The coordinator of inclusive learning services at Wolf Creek Public Schools was completing her degree while balancing a full-time job and family responsibilities, and she needed a learning environment that suited her.
Donaldson researched carefully and chose a program with content that fuelled her passion: CityU’s MEd with an emphasis on leadership. CityU Canada, which has campuses in Calgary and Edmonton as well as in Vancouver and Victoria, offers graduate programs in both counselling and education. Donaldson knew her program’s cohort delivery method would suit her learning style and she liked the schedule, which brought the class together every other week on Friday and all day Saturday. “It provided chunking of content, face to face delivery, and the support of other students that I needed for the way I learn,” Donaldson says.
While online delivery can work for some learners, Donaldson says it was the connection and support of the CityU community of students and instructors that made all the difference. Arden Henley, Vice President and Principal of Canadian programs, says the personal, individualized, student-centered approach that appealed to Donaldson is at the heart of the CityU Canada experience, as is instruction by practitioner scholars. “A practitioner scholar is someone who remains engaged in their field on a practical and theoretical level,” Henley says. “Our instructors are people who you see presenting at conferences, giving workshops and publishing papers, as well as being practitioners. They’ve got to keep learning and it’s important to them to give back.”
Course delivery appropriate to the lifestyle and learning of students, paired with content that is relevant to professional practice, has helped CityU attract a loyal following in Canada. In Alberta, where the university has operated since 2001 (it was established in Canada in 1984), Master of Counselling courses are taught face to face on Saturdays in Calgary and Edmonton and full time on weekdays in Calgary. In addition to preparing graduates for professional practice, the Master of Counselling degree provides the required Master’s-level coursework required to become a registered psychologist in Alberta. Many CityU graduates are now practicing psychologists.
Master of Education courses are based on a cohort model, delivered on weekends and school-district based, meaning courses are adjusted to reflect the specific needs and demographics of particular areas where students are employed.
Kristen Miller, vice principal at St. Matthew Catholic School, a Pre-K to Grade 8 school in Red Deer, says the student-centered, individualized approach had the unexpected benefit of expanding her professional network. “Our cohort was like family. We’re all great friends now,” Miller says. “We work in different districts but keep in touch and continue to share what we’re doing, which has extended the value of our learning far beyond graduating from the program.”
Miller continues to apply the knowledge she gained from the program, which included a variety of courses that deepened her understanding of the education system. “With this knowledge, I feel confident in leading a team. I have developed a clear understanding of what makes an effective leader,” she says.
Henley says he has spoken to many employers of CityU graduates over the years to find out why the university’s students are so successful finding employment. “The most frequent answer is very consistent across the two Canadian provinces and the cities of Edmonton, Calgary, Victoria and Vancouver: CityU graduates know what to do on Monday morning,” Henley says. He hears that CityU graduates not only know about counselling and education leadership, but they also know how to do the work involved.
In addition to its responsibility in preparing graduates for professional practice, the university believes it has a responsibility to contribute to community and address issues such as diversity and ethics. That’s why CityU in Canada was one of the first universities to incorporate the stories and recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in its curriculum, designed and instructed by Indigenous scholars.
Visit the cityuniversity.ca or the CityU campus to learn more.
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