Memorial University’s Division of Lifelong Learning is proud to announce a new university-level certificate in regional policy and development, specially tailored to meet the needs of the province this week.
“This program embraces the essence of the Division of Lifelong Learning and the value of industry experts collaborating with the university in program design,” said Karen Kennedy, director of the Division of Lifelong Learning.
Created and proposed in partnership with the Harris Centre and the Newfoundland and Labrador Regional Economic Development Association (NLREDA), the program’s first students will begin classes in September 2010.
While some of the elective courses will be located at Memorial’s St. John’s campus, many of the courses will be offered online, reducing the need for individuals to travel for training in regional policy and development issues. In-province training will also be an option.
Aimed at those working, or interested in working, in regional policy and development, the program will be a strong professional development opportunity for a wide range of individuals, from those employed with regional economic development boards and municipalities, to those with not-for-profit agencies, social enterprises or in government.
With a broad range of required and elective courses spanning seven Memorial departments, the program will help students make informed decisions related to regional policy and development, focusing on various key topics including strategic planning, management, economic development and others.
Throughout the planning of the certificate, there was a continued emphasis on ensuring the content of the program would be relevant to the actual day-to-day experience of those working in regional policy and development. As a result, three of the six core courses that all students must complete to earn the certificate have been designed in direct consultation with the Harris Centre and NLREDA.
“For the Harris Centre, this has been a great partnership with the Division of Lifelong Learning, our faculty colleagues and NLREDA. Capacity in regional policy and development will be significantly improved as a result of this certificate program,” said Dr. Robert Greenwood, the Harris Centre’s executive director.
There is also a significant hands-on portion to the course – all students must complete an intensive community field placement to add context to the class work, and give them a chance to put their new knowledge into action.
“We think this is an excellent program,” said Ted Lomond, executive director of NLREDA and a chief architect of the program. “We see it as developing capacity provincewide, as it provides REDB staff, professional municipal administrators and government employees with access to a program that is specific to economic development and, just as important, geared to the specific needs and challenges of Newfoundland and Labrador.”
While the immediate aim of the program is to offer students a relevant and practical grounding in regional policy and development issues, the program is expected to have a significant positive effect on a provincial level. It is expected the program will increase the number of individuals with training in regional policy and development in Newfoundland and Labrador, and create a greater pool of skilled candidates to tackle regional policy and development issues in the future.
“The program increases future capacity as it affords Memorial students an opportunity to consider economic development as a career and it gives arts and business students a tool to specialize in the field,” Mr. Lomond said.
"This certificate addresses a key need in Newfoundland and Labrador.” Dr. Greenwood said. “And very likely beyond.”