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University of Lethbridge Trisha Henschel

Trisha Henschel, Calgary executive director for the University of Lethbridge, says the school has been operating in Calgary for 23 years. Wil Andruschak © Postmedia Network Inc.

Joel Schlesinger © Postmedia Network Inc.

It’s all about flexibility.

That’s the focus at University of Lethbridge when it comes to providing post-secondary education in Calgary.

Yes, Calgary. The Lethbridge institution has been providing higher learning experiences in the city for longer than most people realize, says Trisha Henschel, Calgary executive director for the University of Lethbridge.

“Believe it or not, the University of Lethbridge has actually had a presence in Calgary for 23 years,” she says.

Currently just shy of 700 students, its Calgary campus, located downtown just off of the north City Hall CTrain platform, offers a number of innovative programs designed to be flexible to the needs of learners who are often already in the workforce.

“That’s one thing that really makes us unique, I believe,” says Henschel. “Our focus on the non-traditional learner, specifically the working professional.”

Indeed, many students at its Dhillon School of Business at the Calgary campus are in their late 20s to early 30s, with previous experience in the business world, says Kerry Godfrey, dean of the business school.

“It’s geared more to the mature student.”

Like all programs at the university, a central focus at the Dhillon school is on experiential learning to prepare students to hit the ground running upon graduation.

“What we like to say is ‘Experience is the Dhillon difference.’ ”

At Dhillon, this difference involves active learning opportunities like its Co-operative Education program where students get hands-on, paid experience working with a partner business, learning the ropes while networking and making important  contacts.

More recently, the business school launched the Health Services Management Program, which is run in a partnership with the University of Lethbridge’s Faculty of Health Sciences, also located on the Calgary campus.

This graduate level program aims to help existing health-care workers seek management roles in the sector while also aiding current managers looking to boost their knowledge.

“This is designed to help people moving into those positions, and it definitely involves a lot of that active experiential learning piece,” he says.

Henschel adds the new offering, which blends face-to-face instruction on evenings and weekends with online learning, reflects the common thread of flexibility that runs through all programming, particularly at its Calgary campus.

Although the university offers a full set of programming at its main campus in Lethbridge, Calgary’s focus is mostly on business, offering degrees, diplomas and certificates in management and accounting. As well, students can pursue a bachelor’s degree of health science in the city, and the post-secondary institution even provides two streams of graduate programs: the aforementioned Masters of Health Services Management, and a Masters of  Science in Management.

All of these learning opportunities “are responsive to the needs of our learners, and address the tremendous change that is taking place in the workplace in the 21st century,” Henschel says.

That’s also why the university has partnered with civic organizations involved in the economic well-being of the city, including Calgary Economic Development, to ensure programming is in line with what employers, industry, the public sector, and above all learners, are seeking.

As Godfrey notes, the university provides all the basics one would expect from a premier Canadian university.

“But it’s how we teach the basics, and what we wrap around them with other offerings, that truly deepen the learning,” he says. “That’s the educational experience that I believe really sets us apart.”

This story was created by Content Works, Postmedia’s commercial content division, on behalf of Calgary Economic Development.

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