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Opportunities Abound

"On Campus" by Dr. Ralph Weeks

November 24, 2011

As seen in the Medicine Hat News

As I reviewed the topics I’ve covered in recent columns it struck me that I’ve been guilty of perhaps painting a one-sided picture of your college.

I am quite proud of the progress we’ve made with degree completion and our credit programs and I’ve written a lot about those opportunities. I’d be remiss, however, if I failed to provide equal attention to the many opportunities we provide in the world of non-credit programs.

To start with, I should explain that ‘non-credit’ refers to typically short courses that are not intended to be part of a credential like a certificate or diploma. At your college, the array of courses runs into the hundreds, and the students we serve number in the thousands each year.

You probably recognize these courses in the format of the Continuing Studies calendar that is distributed in the community a couple times each year. Take a look through when you have a chance. I’m pretty sure that one common thought – that non-credit courses are just for fun – will be dispelled.

Certainly, we do offer courses that are designed to enliven your recreation and leisure time, but you’ll also find courses aligned to business and career development. Continuing Studies also blurs the line between the worlds of credit and non-credit programs by presenting programs that lead to employment opportunities.

Another significant segment of our non-credit instruction occurs in the Conservatory of Music and Dance. Each year, over a thousand students enrol in classes that promise to enhance their artistic and performance talents. The common myth about the Conservatory is that all the students are young, and that they’re all engaged in the classics.

In fact, the age of students reaches upward to adults my age, and the range of artistic opportunity is just as broad. The feature that makes our Conservatory unique is the depth of experience and education of our faculty, regardless of the age of the student or the subject of the class.

When I consider the numbers, your college serves about the same number of people in the non-credit world as we do in other areas. That makes me happy, because learning is a valuable lifelong pursuit, and I’m glad to see such great interest in the community.

If you’re looking to learn, we’re here for you. And if you have a unique subject to teach, maybe you can become involved and share your perspective, talents or experience as a Continuing Studies instructor.

Learn more online at, where our Continuing Studies calendar is easily accessible. We look forward to seeing you at MHC!