University education is not just for the typical university-aged student.

People of all different ages, academic levels, and work backgrounds are seeing the benefit of starting or continuing their post-secondary education.

The University of New Brunswick’s College of Extended Learning (UNB CEL) is a centre for lifelong learning, offering programs for kids and teens, adults, and courses designed for the 50 plus market.

“Our role is to think beyond the traditional mission of the university in order to better respond to the continuing education needs of the people of New Brunswick and beyond,” said Mr. Henderson.

The college was established to focus the university’s resources and talent toward continuous and lifelong learning.

“Many university students are what we call non-traditional students. They are working adults, parents, military personnel, professionals, and retirees,” said Lloyd Henderson, newly appointed executive director at UNB CEL.

UNB CEL has two key responsibilities: to provide better access to university education and training for non-traditional students; and to establish relevant programs and services to meet labour market, social, or cultural learning needs and desires.

Providing better access means many things. First and foremost it is to provide university programs and services beyond the bricks and mortar of the campus, at flexible times and formats, so that New Brunswickers can fit learning into their busy schedules.

“UNB courses and programs are offered in communities around the province so that those who are unable to get to campus can still get the education they desire,” said Mr. Henderson.

UNB professors travel to communities such as Miramichi, Moncton  and Bathurst to deliver courses in a classroom setting. Courses are also offered through audio and video conference in various communities. The certificate, bachelor and master of adult education are all offered by distance through a combination of audio conference and online courses.

UNB CEL also has a variety of courses and programs offered entirely online, which makes credit courses in an assortment of subjects and levels available to the wider community. UNB’s online programs include a Certificate in Health, Safety, and Environmental Processes; a Diploma in Technology Management and Entrepreneurship; and a Master of Education. An online Certificate in Leadership Studies is in development and will be ready for 2011.

Accessibility also means preparing the learner for university level learning.

Potential learners may have left secondary school before finishing, or did not take the courses required for entrance into a specific program. Working with each individual, UNB CEL’s staff will help to create a unique learning plan that gives the learner the background necessary to pursue their educational goals. 

“Providing relevant programs and services is what really defines what we do,” said Mr. Henderson. “We do this by partnering with appropriate organizations, faculty, and/or other institutions of higher learning, pooling our resources and capitalizing on each of our strengths.”

An example of such a partnership is the autism intervention training (AIT) program. There is a high incidence of autism spectrum disorder in children throughout New Brunswick. CEL partnered with the New Brunswick Department of Social Development, the Autism Society of NB, and UNB’s department of psychology to develop the AIT program and trains clinical supervisors and autism support workers who work with these children.

“We are very proud to be a part of this program which is improving the lives of children with autism and their families all across New Brunswick,” said Mr, Henderson. 

“The area of professional development programming is a key focus for UNB CEL, providing working adults with a variety of options to assist in changing or advancing their careers in formats and schedules that allow them to learn while they continue to work.”

A new program this year is the Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) Technician Training Program. UNB CEL has partnered with AMEC, an international engineering company, to offer the first program of this kind in Canada.

There is also a BBA in Aviation, which was created to meet the Canadian aviation industry’s demand for commercial pilots who possess management and business skills.

These are just a few examples of what UNB CEL offers.

For more information on UNB CEL’s programs and services click here or call 506 453-4848 or toll free 1 866-599-4646.