New degrees: Coming soon (hopefully)
If everything goes according to plan, Mount Royal University will be introducing four new degrees for the Fall 2014 semester.
The University has approved plans for new bachelor programs in child studies, health and physical education, broadcast media studies, and interior design.
“The University really has no funds to create new degrees or implement new majors, but they can implement these things so long as we’re using our existing resources,” said Marc Chikinda, dean of communication studies.
The degrees will involve transitioning current applied degrees, university transfer degrees or diploma programs into full four-year baccalaureates.
Three of these degrees — child studies, physical education and broadcast media studies – are proposed to be revenue neutral, meaning no extra cost to the university, to cope with the Redford government’s current cuts to the post-secondary system.
However, the proposed new bachelor of interior design studies will not be revenue neutral.
The university believes a four-year program in interior design will be feasible because it will be the only institution offering an accredited four-year bachelor degree for the subject in Alberta.
“Currently we’re eight semesters, two of them work terms, over the span of three years,” said Helen Evans Warren, chair of interior design and art history. “It creates a lot of stress for our students. We are the only accredited degree in Alberta, but we are not considered a full degree because of our two work terms,” Evans Warren said.
In addition, the proposed degree is being requested alongside an online “bridging program” that will offer Albertan students in two-year diplomas in interior design an opportunity to transfer into the third year of the new degree at MRU.
Chad London, dean of health and community studies, said students in his faculty have been requesting the ability to complete their full four-year programs at MRU for years.
“Our students don’t want to come here for one or two years and then be forced to leave to complete their degrees,” London said. “They want to walk across the stage here.”
Broadcast media studies
Proposed new major within the existing bachelor of communication studies will offer MRU the distinction of being the only Canadian institution west of Ryerson University in Toronto to offer a four-year broadcasting degree.
Chikinda said that adding the two years “will allow us to add in some additional courses in theory, intercultural communications, diversity studies, and the business of broadcasting.”
Students entering the current broadcasting diploma will have an option of transitioning into the full bachelor’s program when it is implemented. However, to help fund the transformation of the two-year program into a four-year program, total intake into broadcasting is proposed to decrease from the current 50 to 35.
Health and physical education
The proposed bachelor of health and physical education will combine three of MRU’s current applied degrees within the department of physical education and recreation studies into a new four-program major. The current ecotourism and outdoor leadership, and sports and recreation management applied degrees, along with MRU’s athletic therapy university transfer, will be joined by a new degree in physical literacy.
London said it would broadly prepare students for work in health and fitness related professions.“Of the four majors, it will be somewhat more general in its approach,” he said.
The proposed bachelor of child studies will roll current students in the applied child studies degree into the new full bachelors program.
“It gives our students the added value of a full degree, allowing them to go on to graduate school or professional school without question,” London said.
The proposed new degree will also allow diploma students in child and youth care counseling and early learning and child care the option of proceeding onto the third year of the bachelor program.
The university is expecting to hear back regarding government approvals by the summer of this year, with full implementation of the degrees tentatively scheduled for fall 2014.