Brock University’s Professional and Continuing Studies (PCS) unit is building a roster of qualified professionals to collaborate on non-credit programming and participate in guest speaking opportunities.
PCS aims to expand lifelong learning opportunities for students and the community, and is doing so in part by growing the University’s non-credit programming.
“Learning is lifelong and life-wide. It is for careers, skill-building and upskilling as well as serving curious minds at all stages of life to learn and thrive in the world we live in today and tomorrow,” says April-Dawn Blackwell, Associate Vice-President, Professional and Continuing Studies. “Working collaboratively, PCS aims to increase learning opportunities at Brock by working with knowledge keepers, industry leaders and subject matter experts to expand the high-quality programming we provide through full-time studies and our new part-time and occasional non-credit programming.”
Blackwell says PCS is “excited to be working to fulfil Brock’s strategic goals by engaging with colleagues internally as well as externally to build capacity to serve new learners.”
Expanded programming, she adds, will support social and economic opportunities for local organizations, businesses, learners and community members in their pursuit of lifelong learning and professional growth.
At the core of PCS’s approach is connecting with learner audiences.
PCS partnered with national research firm Academica Group to create open access for input into the types of programming that should be offered by the University. The result was more than 1,000 responses that helped identify key programming and opportunities for learning and development.
Ongoing input from the Brock and Niagara communities on what is needed will continue as PCS evolves its learning opportunities to serve interest and demand.
“We want to create programming that is in demand in the communities we belong to in order to support the ongoing desire to learn and grow,” says Nathan Cheney, Director, Professional and Continuing Studies.
Some of the recommended programming areas highlighted in the Academica report, as well as recent supplementary labour market research conducted by PCS, include:
- Equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging
- Decolonization and Indigenous ways of being, knowing and doing
- Change management
- Strategic planning
- Tourism and hospitality
- Sustainable development goals, ESG reporting,
- Governance practices
- Information and communications technology
- Professional and technical services
- Strategic human resources
“Collectively, we recognize there are training needs to meet gaps in the labour market; fulfil professional and executive development opportunities; and serve our forever curious minds as we advance through life,” says Cheney. “PCS is interested in connecting with esteemed professionals with deep industry knowledge, lived experience and who are willing to adapt to diverse adult learning populations to expand Brock’s non-credit program offerings such as micro-credentials, workshops, learning series and more.”
Blackwell says the expanded programming is “a step towards enhancing Brock’s ability to advance lifelong and life-wide learning, professional development and organizational growth for the regions we serve.”