McGill SCS is “Taking Care of Business”

2013-2014 Issue 2

SCS Builds Industry Education Programs

The business of education meets the education of business at McGill’s School of Continuing Studies (SCS). The school has reached out to a wide range of industries throughout Quebec to develop new ties. These connections have enabled the School to develop a host of outreach programs for employers, employees and the public.

Community Outreach

"Taking Care of Business"

“Taking Care of Business”

“Amongst McGill’s strengths are our reputation and academic production,” says Alex Megelas, Coordinator, Personal and Cultural Enrichment (PACE). “We’ve been able to identify some significant cultural partners interested in working with us to develop educational projects to present alongside their own offerings.”

With the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA), PACE is developing weekend courses that allow MMFA members, Montreal residents and visitors to the city to discover more about the museum’s renowned art collections. The first course looks at German Expressionism in France.

Offered this fall and winter in English and French, the courses begin with a Friday reception and keynote address to engage and connect participants. Two one-day Saturday seminars follow. The MMFA will host all events.

“We’re not just offering incredible knowledge, but privileged access to the exhibit and MMFA curatorial staff,” says Megelas. Behind the scenes, participants will learn the thinking behind the choice and exact placement of exhibit art and more.

“It’s a wonderful alignment of interests and priorities between McGill and the MMFA that builds on strong prior collaborations.”

The Institut du Nouveau Monde’s annual L’école d’été resonates with Quebec youth as an educational hub for social policy and social action. For the first time, in August, McGill (through PACE) will host this four-day conference.

Involving over 120 animators and presentations, it gives PACE an opportunity to connect with a whole new audience, says Megelas. The conference will connect McGill to more than 500 participating Quebec youths.

PACE will also develop a series of one-credit courses on citizenship and social engagement with the Institut.

Managing Change in the Workplace

McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) employees are facing a huge transition to their new workplace, and “we worked closely with the MUHC to find ways to help,” says Dr. Carmen Sicilia, Director of Career and Professional Development (CPD).

“They have employees moving into management roles; we have the knowledge to help them acquire leadership and management skills.”

CPD designed the Undergraduate Certificate and Graduate Certificate in Health and Social Services Management, a one-year, project-based program in which MUHC professionals from multiple disciplines resolve workplace challenges. Courses focus on change management and communications.

“The return on investment has been immediate,” says Sicilia. “With 47 participants in the first course, you can imagine how many projects came forward and how many real-life dilemmas were solved.”

For example, two participants journeyed to California this year to observe a hospital move. “It was a great opportunity for them to learn what worked and what didn’t – knowledge they can apply to the MUHC transition. They were able to identify which skill sets they really needed,” says Sicilia.

Expanding On-the-Job Language Skills

Quebec’s unique culture demands a multilingual approach to healthcare. Health Canada, through a Health Services Access and Retention Projects initiative, will be working with the Language and Intercultural Communication (LIC) unit to design, develop and deliver a comprehensive, customized English-language training program for francophone and allophone nurses, psychosocial professionals and healthcare receptionists in Quebec.

LIC will collaborate with Instructor Services and Educational Technologies (ISET) to create 24 online courses, eight classroom courses, student and instructor portals, and online evaluation tools for 18 regions throughout Quebec. The project will run over four years, starting this fall.

Mutual Benefits of Industry-Based Training

Workplace internships give SCS students a chance to practice new skills in an industry environment. Industry, in turn, benefits from their fresh ideas, state-of-the-art knowledge and cost-saving services.

Donna McLean is Manager of Internal Communications at Forensic Technology (FT), an international leader in the law enforcement industry. FT’s greatest technological asset, the Integrated Ballistics Identification System (IBIS), helps to solve firearm crimes worldwide.

For more than five years, McLean has welcomed SCS translation students as interns. “Because we are a global company, newspaper articles are often written about us. I like to share these stories and other information with our French-speaking employees.

“It helps to build morale, because our employees can see that what they do every day impacts cities around the world. That’s an invaluable service.”

Professional Development Protects the Public

Concerns about fraud, a lack of education and formal education in the booming condominium industry prompted L’Ordre des administrateurs agrees du Québec (ADMA) to partner with SCS to offer a professional development program in Condominium Management.

Quebec doesn’t regulate condominium managers, and ADMA’s goal is to protect the public from bad management practices and unscrupulous managers who pocket condominium fees.

“We worked very closely with ADMA to develop a four-course program that covers the legal, financial, technical and daily operational aspects of condominium management,” explains Inna Popova, Associate Director, Professional Development and Corporate Training.

She promotes and runs the new program in close collaboration with ADMA. About 80 professionals per year attend the program, offered in both French and English. The certificate is obligatory for ADMA members working in property management.

“This program is a clear example of how SCS addresses needs that exist in both industry and the community,” Popova says.

Such connections foster communication, training, community outreach, new skill development and a myriad of other benefits. They help to cement relationships among McGill students, the public and Quebec workforce and maintain the School’s relevance in a rapidly changing business world.

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