As the world continues to re-open, several trends are becoming apparent with regards to what undergraduates are seeking from post-secondary schools - and what these institutions are providing.
University Canada West is a prime case in point. UCW offers MBA and Bachelor degrees to prepare its students to be effective workplace leaders, and its president, Sheldon Levy, points out that students more than ever want their studies to provide good career placements via co-ops and internships.
He says, “They also want professional designations or credentials that employers recognize, which is why micro-credentials validated by industry are growing in importance as part of university studies: they give students additional credentials within their degree.” UCW’s micro-credentials are focused on technology, business, and innovation, and courses include Blockchain Entrepreneurship, Data and Web Analytics, and Supply Chain Management and Logistics.
University Canada WestStudents also expect career centres to help them with job placements during their studies. On that score, UCW’s Career Development Centre works with students and alumni throughout Canada to provide career and employment preparatory information through the assistance of an online career services program. This program can be accessed when required online, and it can generate numerous documents relevant to positions for which the students and alumni are applying.
UCW is adept at responding to other trends as they evolve. For example, while students want faculty in the traditional sense, they expect faculty members to have a solid academic base combined with real life professional experience. Similarly, they want to learn using the same tools and software employed by business today. “This is why UCW partners with leading business and tech companies: to bring their professional expertise into the classroom so that what we teach—and the hardware and software students use—is current with industry standards,” Levy says.
University Canada WestLevy takes obvious pride in his institution’s ability to bridge the gap between what prospective employers seek and what post-secondary learners want. “We provide a solid education by working with industry partners to ensure the curriculum is current and relevant,” he says. “We develop capstone projects and case studies with industry as our partners, and in many cases we also provide students with employment opportunities while in school.”
Finally, while the composition of first-year full-time undergrads remains basically the same (they continue to come straight from high school), more and more students are taking undergraduate courses for a second degree. “Or, we get college students looking to turn their diploma into a Bachelor’s degree,” Levy says. “So given that students are coming from such diverse situations and pursuing diverse opportunities, universities need to provide multiple points of entry.”