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Home » Education » Upskilling & Continuing Education 2023 » New School of Thought? A Faculty for Lifelong Learning
Dianne Tyers

Dianne Tyers

Dean of the Faculty of Open Learning & Career Development, Dalhousie University

Valerie Ryan

Valerie Ryan

Member, Faculty’s Governance Council, Dalhousie University

The traditional post-secondary educational path has become a thing of the past. In its place, many pursue lifelong learning in one way or another. It’s not uncommon that people reskill, changing careers entirely or partially – as the COVID-19 pandemic has led many to do.

To stay up to date in their fields, most employees today are taking the time to upskill. By pursuing professional learning opportunities, they’re able to keep up with current trends.

Continuous learning is in high demand – the speed at which today’s industries are experiencing growth and change is incomparable to any other time in history. Thanks to technology, most businesses are facing ever-evolving requirements and requests. Not only must they keep pace with rapidly developing information, but they also need to stay attuned to progressing socioeconomic factors.


Open Learning & Career Development Values

Pursuing being better through constant learning

dalhousie collaborative five
Working collaboratively to anticipate and respond to community needs

dalhousie accountable three
Committing to action and holding ourselves accountable

dalhousie inclusion four
Demonstrating accessibility and inclusion in everything we do

Suited for your life

Dalhousie University’s Faculty of Open Learning & Career Development has seen these changing industry demands in their own community and abroad. Centered on courses and programs that help learners through various steps of their lifelong learning journey, the faculty offers a variety of non-credential, non-traditional learning opportunities and pathways.

“We have programming that helps people fill in gaps as they’re beginning to build a career, doing a career switch, upskilling, or are looking to transition to university courses,” says Dianne Tyers, the faculty’s Dean. Determined to reduce all potential barriers to education, these programs are available in a variety of flexible scheduling options.

They’re incorporating many new initiatives, such as one to uphold their dedication to equity, inclusion, and accessibility. They’re also emphasizing the importance of mental health in the workplace, and are creating a hub that’ll acknowledge non-traditional educational experiences. Plus, they’re implementing micro-credentials.

Growing together

A way to validate and recognize a smaller skillset, micro-credentials are competency-based and industry-recognized. “We’ve built them with employers in our community to fill the gaps they have,” explains Valerie Ryan, a member of the Faculty’s Governance Council.

A lifelong learning faculty of this kind must regularly evolve and change to keep up with industry, community and individual learning needs. “We’re thought leaders in that we want to remain relevant to Dalhousie students and many others throughout every phase of their career journey,” Valerie adds. “The faculty acknowledges that they’ll need to change along with industry needs, and they have that flexibility.”

At its core, the faculty wants to help their local communities prosper. “It’s really important for us to be looking and reaching outward,” Dianne mentions. “It’s our job to stay connected to our community.”

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