A lot has changed since MacEwan was founded in 1971. In just over 50 years, the post-secondary institution has transformed from a college offering classes in elementary school classrooms and a former grocery store to one of the country’s most innovative universities.

The decision to locate MacEwan’s campus downtown wasn’t just an accident or happenstance, but a deliberate choice based on a bold vision.

An ambitious, upstart post-secondary institution, MacEwan wanted to approach teaching and research differently. Only so much learning can take place in the classroom, after all. MacEwan wanted to offer students a uniquely valuable academic experience by breaking down ivory towers and lessening the distinction between “town” and “gown.” It wanted to create opportunities to integrate students into their surrounding environment so they could apply their academic knowledge in the real world, in real-time.

In an ever-more fast-paced, uncertain and globally connected world, this approach is giving students the skills they need to succeed. Last year, MacEwan unveiled Teaching Greatness, its strategic vision to guide the university’s evolution over the critical next five plus years. The plan commits the university to strengthening its competitive advantages, including flexibility, versatility and work-integrated learning experiences.

“MacEwan’s downtown campus is one of its greatest assets. Being located in the heart of Edmonton’s business community allows us to share knowledge in ways that are adaptable, engaging, memorable and personal,” says Dr. Annette Trimbee, MacEwan’s president and vice-chancellor.

Interior rendering of planned new building
MacEwan University has plans to construct a seven-storey, 375,000 square foot building. 

“We have a proven track record of connecting students, employers and the wider community, and that’s something that appeals to scores of Albertans and others from across the country and around the world.”

The university’s success is evident in its growing student body. In the 2020/21 academic year, the university had just under 20,000 full-time and part-time students. This number has continued to grow and it’s little wonder why: MacEwan offers quality education that delivers real-world results, including good-paying jobs after graduation and industry connections.

The institution has undoubtedly come a long way in 51 years, but it’s far from done. The university has plans to help address the skills shortage that threatens Alberta’s economic future. To help ensure the province has the skilled talent it needs, MacEwan is planning to increase enrolment by an average of five per cent per year by 2030, a 60 per cent increase from today.

It’s an ambitious goal, but the university knows it can meet it. That’s not to say, however, there won’t be challenges. One, in particular, is space. MacEwan has the least space per student among Alberta’s big institutions, roughly about a third less than other post-secondary institutions in the province. Thankfully, there is space to grow.

MacEwan has plans to build a new business building. The university owns the land and a plan has been drawn up. MacEwan wants to construct a seven-storey, 375,000 square foot building located adjacent to the Centre of Sports and Wellness building on the corner of 109 Street and 105 Avenue. Featuring a bold, contemporary vision that embodies MacEwan’s ambitions for the future, it will provide room on campus for 7,500 more students.

Beyond allowing MacEwan to expand its business programs, the new building will serve as an innovation hub for downtown Edmonton, enabling the institution to increase collaboration with industry and community partners. Even more so than before, MacEwan will be able to connect students to the learnings and experiences they need to succeed.

It will do something else, too – help revitalize Edmonton’s downtown. For a city’s core to thrive, it needs people, lots of people, living, working and playing. Vibrancy is best fuelled when people, particularly young people, are drawn to the city’s heart to enhance its cultural, social and economic diversity with their entrepreneurism, creativity and innovative ideas. By bringing thousands of more students into the core every day, the new business building will enhance MacEwan’s ability to do just that.

As Alberta moves beyond the pandemic and the pressure to develop the workforce needed to succeed in the evolving global economy mounts, MacEwan is uniquely positioned to deliver. No post-secondary institution can better address Alberta’s critical skills shortages than MacEwan. The university has the vision, the track record, and the talent to help drive diversification and enduring prosperity.

“Our graduates come out job ready, seamlessly integrating into their workplaces. While these young women and men could work anywhere across Canada – and potentially the world – many choose to stay in Edmonton,” says Dr. Trimbee.

“And why wouldn’t they? Having learned in the heart of the city, they know our city, with all its strengths and attributes, better than just about anyone.”

MacEwan Means Business
Read about the plans for a new business building.
Interior rendering of planned business building LEARN MORE
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