UNBC Partners with Grande Prairie Regional College to Offer Master of Education

November 21, 2005 for immediate release
Educators and administrators in the Grande Prairie area may soon have the opportunity to complete a Master of Education degree through the expansion of a partnership between Grande Prairie Regional College (GPRC) and the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC). Representatives of the two institutions today signed an agreement to help meet the ongoing educational needs of teachers and/or administrators in northwestern Alberta.

The UNBC group consisted of President Charles Jago, Vice-President Academic Howard Brunt, and Dennis Macknak, the University’s Director of Regional Operations. They participated in the signing of the partnership agreement with GPRC President Jim Henderson, and GPRC Vice President Academic Doug Hart.

Pending Government of Alberta approval of the program, the MEd will be offered at GPRC beginning in September 2006. The focus will be on Educational Leadership but studies will include core courses on research plus some elective courses. The program, delivered on alternate weekends to accommodate working professionals, will take approximately 3 years to complete.
Dr. Darwin Eckstrom, Superintendent of Peace Wapiti School District, has been an enthusiastic proponent of this agreement.  “Offering the Master of Education program here  ties in nicely with succession planning for our district,” Eckstrom says.  “The next wave of educators and administrators will greatly benefit from this opportunity to be involved in this close-to-home program.  We will be able to have input from the start of the project and design a master degree in leadership that will meet the unique needs of our educators and students in a northern rural environment.”

This unique arrangement builds on the 2004 commitment by Alberta and B.C. governments and post-secondary institutions to work together to provide more choices and opportunities for students living in the provinces' northern communities.

“The issues facing northern communities are often similar, regardless of the province, and the Master of Education is relevant to the educational leadership issues facing all of our communities,” says UNBC President Charles Jago.

It’s expected that courses in the program will be taught by UNBC faculty, GPRC faculty, and community members, with curriculum consistent with that of UNBC.

“It is extremely gratifying that cooperation between our two institutions has led to this program,” says Jim Henderson, GPRC President.  “This clearly demonstrates that collaborative pathways work, and that our new approach to increase cross-border co-operation is bringing added opportunity for the people of our region.”

For more information about the Master of Education, see www.unbc.ca/education.

Rob van Adrichem, Director of Media and Public Relations, UNBC - 250.960.5622