With the start of the fall 2021 term at Redeemer came significant changes to its academic structure, including the new discipline-specific School of Business and School of Education.
Professor Susan Van Weelden now serves as dean of the new School of Business. She believes the launch of the school enhances the credibility of Redeemer’s strong business offerings.
“Over the years, even small universities and community colleges in Canada have transitioned to this structure,” she says. “A School of Business has become the norm for post-secondary business education. Redeemer’s recent alignment with that norm better reflects the nature of the education we provide to business students. It also signifies a stronger institutional commitment to recognizing the unique characteristics of business as a professional program within the broader liberal arts and sciences university.”
Van Weelden says the business student experience remains hands-on, giving Redeemer graduates a professional edge as they embark on their careers. Numerous client projects, use of the case-study method, internships and co-op work terms emphasize experiential learning. The student experience is community-focused, where students often work in teams to bring together diverse strengths and perspectives, and where faculty provide coaching and mentoring.
“I am confident that the School of Business will improve enrolment in Redeemer’s business program,” says Van Weelden. “Over the 33 years that I have been talking with prospective students, the fact that they would not be going to a School of Business was a major deterrent—as, of course, was the fact that they would receive a bachelor of arts degree instead of a bachelor of business administration degree (BBA). In both instances, Redeemer’s lack of alignment with the post-secondary marketplace caused students to wonder about the quality of the education they would receive and whether it would be recognized by employers, professional associations and master-level programs. Now, we can convincingly present Redeemer’s School of Business and BBA degrees as credible options for business education.”
Now, we can convincingly present Redeemer’s School of Business and BBA degrees as credible options for business education.
The opportunities are slightly different for Redeemer’s new School of Education. Since the bachelor of education program, a second degree program at Redeemer (where students have a previous degree completed or are intending to complete it), has been capped at about 60 teacher candidates per year for a number of years now, the emphasis for the launch of a School of Education is less about an opportunity to increase enrolment.
“The new school structure and having a dean of the school is certainly a recognized structure within the sector,” says Dr. Phil Teeuwsen, dean of the new School of Education.
The teacher candidate cap was a result of education programs across the province making a move to balance out the number of teacher candidates with the number of teaching jobs available in the market. But it also stayed in keeping with Redeemer’s desire to keep class sizes small and for professors to build relationships with their students.
“It maintains what we want to do in terms of a personal student experience,” says Teeuwsen.
The school structure and having a dean of the school is certainly a recognized structure within the sector.
With the new legislation that allows Redeemer to grant new degrees, Teeuwsen is excited to see where the education program can go under the new school structure. “The School structure provides an umbrella to explore what an ECE (early childhood education) or a master of education program might look like,” he says.
Teeuwsen says the focus of the education program remains the same. “It’s an initial teacher education in a Reformed Christian environment that seeks to serve schools and teacher candidates by providing a dynamic and holistic teacher education program. We’re still focused on that. It’s a unique teacher education experience in Ontario.”
The updated academic structure eliminates Redeemer’s academic divisions and departments, while consolidating and replacing the remainder with Areas.
The new Schools of Business and Education are overseen by deans, while the new Areas – Arts, Humanities, Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and Social Sciences – are overseen by associate deans reporting to a new associate vice-president and dean, academic.