July 14th, 2024

College getting new status and new name


By Lethbridge Herald on June 25, 2024.

Lethbridge College has announced it has received polytechnic status and will be known as Lethbridge Polytechnic to reflect the institution’s growth and ability to expand its programing. Herald photo by Alejandra Pulido-Guzman

Alejandra Pulido-Guzman – LETHBRIDGE HERALD – apulido@lethbridgeherald.com

Lethbridge College has received polytechnic status and will be known as Lethbridge Polytechnic to reflect the institution’s growth and ability to expand their programing. 

Brad Donaldson, president and CEO of Lethbridge Polytechnic, said Tuesday the change recognizes the growth of the institution in terms of meeting the economic needs through both education and research.

“Polytechnic is defined differently under the Alberta legislative requirements, which gives us more autonomy on what we can offer. It solidifies our position as a provider of apprentice training, so becoming a polytechnic identifies who we are,” said Donaldson. 

He added that it also gives the school greater latitude and ability to continue to provide and to serve those needs for the community. 

“We will continue to offer our programs, but we will look at other programs that were not previously offered because they weren’t needed,” said Donaldson. 

He explained that with the growing need for artificial intelligence, the technology changes in the agricultural sector and all the support services around that, those are areas where they will continue to be focused on. 

“That and always making sure programs are what is needed for students in the community that’s hiring them,” said Donaldson. 

He explained that having more autonomy around deciding what programs and credentials they offer is important to be able to meet the ever increasing needs of the hiring community. 

“In 1957 when Lethbridge Community College was established, it was the first community college in the country. Over the years it became Lethbridge College in recognition of the evolving space of post-secondary and that became Lethbridge Polytechnic,” said Donaldson.  

“Over the course of its lifespan it is shown the ability to respond as an institution to reflect the needs of the students, but also reflecting programming and opportunities that are being created for workers and graduates in the community.”

When asked about the name change and how that will impact the fall graduation, Donaldson explained that those who completed their programs prior to the announcement will be recognized as the last graduating class of Lethbridge College and those who graduate next spring will be the first graduating class of Lethbridge Polytechnic. 

Michael Marcotte, board chair, said the change to polytechnic is something that has been in the works for a few years and it has finally come to fruition. 

“It’s been a long journey, we’ve been working on this for about five years, so to finally get here today it’s a great day for Lethbridge College and a great day in our continued story of success,” said Marcotte. 

He said he believes the new status as polytechnic opens a lot of pathways to work more collaboratively with other institutions and this was reflected in a statement from Digvir Jayas, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Lethbridge. 

“The university appreciates the open and transparent approach Lethbridge College has undertaken over the past year in pursuing this designation – and specifically the way Lethbridge College president Brad Donaldson and his team have engaged with us on this matter,” reads the statement.  

In addition, Jayas said this approach led to the University and College signing an MOU in January that guides both institutions and ensures that the new polytechnic status does not lead to duplication in program offerings. 

“This is an important benefit to taxpayers and to the future sustainability of both institutions. It also will set the stage for an even stronger partnership between our institutions.”

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