Jessica Devries works on creating new programs for Algonquin.

Interdisciplinary studies in human-centred design is among six new programs the college is rolling out in 2019.

The program will offer is a one-year graduate certificate program that will pay the student while getting an education.

Jed Looker, a professor who works in the faculty of arts media and design, came up with an idea for a user experience program.

There are three ways students can go through this new program:

1. Students can have classes at the college and go through a co-op;

2. Students can have classes at the college then do an applied research project in industry;

3. Students can start from the beginning by working at Shopify.

“So, their coursework is at Shopify, their project is integrated through the work they are doing and they also do a co-op at the end and are employees getting paid right out of the gate,” said Jessica Devries, chair of academic development.

According to Margaret Cusson, dean of academic development, right now Algonquin is only partnered with Shopify. After this program launches in 2019 this relationship is expected to expand to other companies.

But it is not the only program being launched in 2019. The five other new programs rolling out in the fall include:

  • Accounting and financial practices, a one year Graduate Certificate program. Students learn “Through financial scenarios and practical exercises, students develop in-depth knowledge of financial accounting, managerial accounting, taxation, audit and finance, and acquire the skills, terminology, concepts and tools required in the field of accounting,” the website states.
  • Bachelor of automation and robotics is offered as a four year degree program. It focuses on “engineering principles, professionalism and methodologies providing the foundation for a successful career in the engineering field. Beginning with a solid foundation in the fundamentals of mathematics, technical writing, dynamics, electronics, computer programming, optical systems and materials science, students acquire the attributes necessary to succeed in this dynamic and emerging professional field,” the website states.
  • Business agriculture: A two-year diploma program that teaches students how to properly run a business in the agriculture industry. “students examine agricultural techniques through a business lens.”
  • Business fundamentals: This program is a 28-week certificate program that is for any student wanting to get a basic understanding of the world business to either get an entry-level job or a starting point to continue education.
  • Cardiovascular technology: as stated on Algonquin College’s website, “This two-year intensive Ontario College Diploma program prepares students with the essential knowledge and technical skills required to perform electrocardiograms, exercise tolerance tests and ambulatory monitoring in the role of a cardiovascular technologist.” It is a two-year diploma program.
  • Therapeutic recreation: This program is a one-year certificate program. It will teach students how to enhance life for those who suffer from health issues, both physically and mentally. across the lifespan from children, youth, adults to seniors.

“We typically launch anywhere from eight to 10 programs every year; it is just a common cycle because labour markets change and there are just different requirements,” said Cusson. “You’ll see that we suspend some programs and roll out new ones and that is to maintain currency with industry or organizations needs.”

Algonquin has academic curriculum consultants who work with subject experts to help create the best possible learning plan for students. Then Cusson and her team facilitate the program.

“We create programs that meet the needs of our students and our local community,” said Devries.

Cusson and other Algonquin staff come up with new programs and curriculums, not only from looking at job markets but in large part from student feedback through surveys.

“We do I very deep dive on that (survey data) and it then becomes part of our business plan,” said Cusson. “So, if we see issues and they give us that feedback, it then becomes part of our work the following year.”

The college has a degree strategy that was designed six years ago. When the college came up with this strategy, they tried to foresee required credentials in certain fields and as a result, Algonquin started creating new degree programs.

In 2012 Algonquin only had seven degree programs and now they are on track to having 15.