York University launches new School of Continuing Studies

By Christine

Above: From left, York Vice-President Academic and Provost Rhonda Lenton, Tracey Taylor-O’Reilly, founding executive director of the School of Continuing Studies, Certificate in Dispute Resolution graduate Sabrina Agricola, and York President and Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri unveil the school's new logo

The University’s new School of Continuing Studies, one of the largest in Canada, offers a mix of high quality continuing professional programs and York University’s renowned expertise in English language training and academic preparation for international students offered by the York University English Language Institute (YUELI).

University officials joined faculty, staff and students of the new school for the launch.

“Our new School of Continuing Studies will help York to achieve its vision of building strong links with the community, creating life-long learning opportunities for part-time, mature and returning students,” said Rhonda Lenton, vice-president academic and provost. “It will also play a pivotal role in recruiting international students to York, and supporting their language and academic preparation needs in particular. The goal more generally is to expand career-relevant courses and programs, to enable students to take Continuing Studies to bridge into degree programs or alongside degree programs to enhance professional development and career readiness.”

The event featured the unveiling of two new innovative student-centered certificate programs that will offer students not only specialized knowledge in their field, but core, foundational business skills that employers require. The certificate programs in the new School of Continuing Studies are designed differently than other universities. They are offered in cohort format, allowing students to move through the programs together and have a deeper educational experience. Courses will be offered using a number of instructional methods that utilize the latest technologies. Students will experience a blend of eLearning, technology-enhanced learning and in-class sessions and many of the school’s programs are designed to meet the competing life demands experienced by working professionals.

Two new Human Resources Management Certificate programs begin next fall, with both full-time and part-time options. The unique design will give students not only core Human Resources competencies, but opportunities to develop the business and communication skills that are required to excel and progress within the field. The certificates have been re-imagined with the student and employer at the apex and are geared to developing future employees who can make a difference.

Tracey Taylor-O’Reilly, founding executive director of the School of Continuing Studies

“Students will learn the foundational competencies of the field of human resources management, but we know that isn’t enough for graduates to get hired, be effective in complex roles and progress in their careers,” said Tracey Taylor-O’Reilly, founding executive director of the School of Continuing Studies. “Employers want graduates that can understand their business, propose strategic human resource solutions and effectively make their case to decision makers. Our programs are for people who want to excel or move into future leadership roles in the field of Human Resources Management.”

A full-time post-degree Human Resources Management Certificate program – the first of its kind in Canada – will enable students to earn a certificate in eight months and still have time to work. International students who have already completed a degree in their home country can receive second-language education prior to and throughout the certificate program to ensure their success.  Graduates are able to apply their program toward a second degree at York by extending their studies for another year or more.

Working professionals may choose to take a part-time certificate. A two-year program with summers off, it will be offered online initially and then in a blended learning format, combining online work with executive-style weekend classes.

Sabrina Agricola, a graduate of the Certificate in Dispute Resolution, initially trained as a law clerk and has worked with a number of large firms. Her 10 years of professional experience sparked an interest in dispute resolution. Agricola enrolled in the Dispute Resolution Certificate in the University’s School of Continuing Studies. “I took the Certificate in Dispute Resolution part time through York University. It was an absolutely amazing program,” said Agricola. “I learned so much, not only about conflict resolution but also communication and its value. It was incredible.

Sabrina Agricola

“I knew some mediators in the business who told me that if I was going to take any program, then I should take the program at York University because it is interactive, the instructors are experts and it is scheduled in a way that gives you time to work and do everything else you need to do. As a graduate, I fully agree with those mediators and thank them for recommending the program to me. The online components were very interactive and we had discussions with our classmates throughout the course. The instructors were very well educated and patient, which is important. In continuing education, you have different people and different ages and different learning capabilities and you have to be sensitive to all of the individuals in the class. York University is, from what I have experienced, top notch in every aspect.”

York’s new School of Continuing Studies will complement continuing education opportunities offered through York’s professional schools, including Osgoode Hall Law School, the Schulich School of Business, Glendon College and the Faculties of Health and Education.  Through the school and its Faculties, York is one of the largest providers of continuing and executive education in Canada. The School of Continuing Studies offers programs the areas of: business, health and social services, degree preparation, English as a second language, and English for academic purposes.

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Originally published on YFile, January 13, 2015.