The provincial government passed Bill 213 in December 2020, providing new degree-granting opportunities for Redeemer. The bill gives the university the authority to grant a total of 20 possible new degrees including nine masters degrees. In the short term, Redeemer could be offering bachelor of business administration, bachelor of health sciences and bachelor of kinesiology degrees within the next year. A process is underway to make these determinations in line with quality assurance and accreditation requirements, as well as broad academic planning flowing out of the strategic plan. Higher ed trends have shown that students increasingly desire and expect more specialized degrees with niche nomenclature. The post-secondary sector has changed significantly over the past 20 years, with colleges of applied arts and technology in Ontario granting degrees as well. It is critical that Redeemer address these trends and meet the needs of students who are looking for relevant and innovative degrees and programs that connect real-world learning opportunities to transformative, flexible classroom experiences.
Redeemer now begins the important task of evaluating pathways for sustainable new degree programs that will meet the needs of future students.
Redeemer has been granting bachelor degrees since 1998. It gained provincial approval first to grant bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degrees. In 2000, then Redeemer College was permitted to add University to its name. The Ontario College of Teachers endorsed Redeemer as a candidate to grant bachelor of education degrees in 2003.
Since then, and especially in the last five years, Redeemer began to pursue the complex and unconventional path toward the growth of its degree-granting authority. In 2010, Redeemer learned that it would not be able to gain quality assurance and accreditation through the Ontario Universities Council on Quality Assurance, which became a path only available to Ontario’s publicly assisted universities. Discussions with the provincial government brought about an understanding that Redeemer lacked a clear path and that the province was receptive to helping Redeemer resolve this, encouraging relationship-building with the Post Secondary Education and Quality Assessment Board (PEQAB). Redeemer also explored other avenues, such as accrediting agencies in the U.S. like the New England Association, but eventually sought quality assurance with PEQAB, through which, ultimately, it would successfully complete its organizational review in late 2019.
The same legislation that would add degree-granting authority also included the official name change from Redeemer University College to Redeemer University. Using the name Redeemer University will reflect the degrees and four-year undergraduate education already offered and will clear up confusion experienced by employers and student prospects. It will also benefit Redeemer’s students, alumni and others with whom they are engaged.
With these significant milestones successfully completed, Redeemer now begins the important task of evaluating pathways for sustainable new degree programs that will meet the needs of future students.
While much careful consideration and planning lie ahead, there is tremendous opportunity and momentum for Redeemer to step into a bright future where more students can find a relevant program while participating in a Christ-centred university education on a spiritually vibrant campus.