MRU sees strong demand for programs

Nearly 15,000 students working towards receiving their parchments


A student on a laptop on a couch.

Nearly 15,000 students are working toward 35 majors in 12 bachelor’s degrees at Mount Royal University this fall.


Despite the impact of COVID-19, demand for Mount Royal University’s programs from health and education to business, sciences, arts and aviation remains strong this fall (up one per cent over the prior year). This follows an increase of 30 per cent in registration in the spring and summer terms relative to the same terms in 2019.

“Faculty and staff have gone above and beyond to make sure students' education and experiences, while different, remain exemplary during the pandemic. We also introduced a number of strategies to help students feel more confident learning remotely,” says Tim Rahilly, president and vice-chancellor. “This was really uncharted territory, but it all led to strong enrolment.”

Mount Royal students will begin classes on Sept. 3, with an academic year that will see nearly 15,000 students work toward 35 majors in 12 bachelor’s degrees, not to mention many more pursuing diplomas and lifelong learning opportunities through Continuing Education and The Conservatory.

A summer Getting Ready campaign helped students navigate the digital learning environment with additional support and resources. Director of Student Learning Services, Catharine Lindland, says, “It is really important to help students manage their time and stay motivated. We put in place strategies so students can be successful in this new environment.”

Mount Royal took an exception-based approach to in-person learning, with nearly 100 courses and almost 50 work placements approved to run in person for the fall semester. These were prioritized for students who require hands-on experience to meet learning outcomes and work experience to graduate or meet requirements set by accrediting bodies. Guided by provincial authorities, a number of new processes were put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19 and enhance the delivery of programs.

One of the first cohorts back on campus included 59 massage therapy students in their final year. Describing the two weeks of learning on campus, feedback from one student was that the University spared no effort to ensure safety.

 

change me

The Academic Development Centre may be closed for drop ins, but they've been busy all summer helping faculty prepare for alternate delivery methods.


Faculty have worked tirelessly to prepare for a term mainly using alternate delivery methods. MRU’s Academic Development Centre (ADC) is leading the charge in supporting faculty to make this change.

“We have faculty developers, instructional designers, web designers, educational technologists, administrative support and an academic media team running the gamut of support for faculty to teach and connect with students,” says Christian Cook, PhD, academic director of the ADC.

While the transition to remote learning was made quickly in the spring, faculty had more time during the summer to ensure students get the best education and experience possible during the pandemic. Three professors (in nursing, physics and medieval literature) spoke to this dedication in this video.

Mount Royal is also finding creative ways to provide services and supports remotely. Recreation facilities will re-open for students Sept. 8 with a number of safety provisions to encourage physical distancing and enhanced cleaning of equipment. The Riddell Library and Learning Centre is primarily providing services remotely. The first floor is open to students for access to computers and study space. Residence is also available, following Alberta Health Services’ directives, for a limited number of students who need and want to live on campus following Alberta Health Services’ directives.

A Welcome Back campaign is now providing information for the campus community. Plans are also proceeding for creative and safe drive-in convocation ceremonies in early November.

Find information for students, employees and faculty, as well as services and supports available, at mru.ca/WelcomeBack.

Aug. 26, 2020 ― Peter Glenn

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