University welcomes first-ever dean of the School of Continuing Education

May 9 2014

Having just finished reading Malcolm Gladwell’s David and Goliath, Dr. Heather McRae (above) says one lesson from the book she found to be very important is that a person cannot make a decision in isolation.

“You need to understand the context, you need to understand some of the other information and data that goes along with it,” says Heather, MacEwan University’s first-ever dean of the newly created School of Continuing Education. “I see that as being very important in continuing education – that we are not a standalone school. We need to work closely with all of the other faculties and schools. We need to be embedded in their thinking as well. That way we’ll all succeed.”

Heather joined the university in April. Her CV includes roles in the Faculty of Extension at the University of Alberta, and in continuing education departments at the University of Victoria and Okanagan University College. She has a doctorate from Simon Fraser University.

“I’ve worked in a variety of organizations – small, medium and large institutions – and I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to bring best practices as well as new ideas to MacEwan University,” she says.

She explains that continuing education in Canada has seen a lot of development over the past 20 to 30 years, but the current emphasis is on professional development. Post-secondary institutions and businesses are looking to collaborate to create training and educational opportunities that assist people in the workplace.

As she dives into her new role, Heather says that she and continuing education staff will look at strategic planning and consider how best to position continuing education at MacEwan University.

“What drew me to this role was that it is a founding dean position,” says Heather. “It’s an opportunity to bring together different ideas and experiences, along with the culture and the pillars of MacEwan University, to create a unique entity that is very much embedded within the university, but at the same time creates a sense of excitement in terms of innovative programming in support of students and the local community.”

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