Calgary a key U of L market

The University of Lethbridge plays a unique and significant role in providing thousands of Calgarians access to a personal, high-quality, comprehensive educational experience. Additionally, faculty at the U of L conduct research that is both relevant to the Calgary economy and to the quality of life for Calgarians.

With that in mind, Calgary MLAs listened with great interest to a recent presentation made by U of L vice presidents Dr. Andrew Hakin and Nancy Walker.

Hakin highlighted the U of L's evolution as a comprehensive University, while also detailing the institution's emphasis on providing access to post-secondary education. The Calgary numbers are compelling.

In Fall 2009, the U of L was the choice of 2,680 Calgarians, which accounts for one-third of our total student body. The number of students at the Calgary campus hit an all-time high with 524 students enrolled. Last year, 278 students from SAIT, Mount Royal, the University of Calgary and Bow Valley College transferred to the U of L.

Hakin detailed the U of L's strategic plan and how its key elements focus on a continuing commitment to all students.

Questions from members of the Calgary caucus suggested that many of them were already engaged in the issues of the post-secondary sector, while some comments showed a direct understanding of the U of L's strengths and advantages.

Justice Minister Alison Redford commended the U of L on the work it is doing in neuroscience, highlighting discoveries that are being made at the Canadian Centre for Behavioral Neuroscience and the influence they have on government policy.

MLA Manmeet Bhullar, a former Parliamentary Assistant for Advanced Education and Technology asked how changing demographics might affect enrolment at the U of L.

While the number of 18 to 24 year-olds living in southern Alberta will decrease over the next decade, Hakin sees the city of Calgary as a real opportunity of growth for the U of L.

Aboriginal Affairs Minister Len Webber was interested in the state of student housing on campus, learning that the U of L is working towards increasing the number of beds on campus and that success in creating more spaces will enhance the student experience.

The U of L recognizes Calgary as a key demographic and that building and maintaining links to the city are vital as the University moves forward.

Richard Westlund is the University's director of government relations