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December 6, 2001 Continuing Education teachers have seen a quarter-century of growth



Continuing Education teachers

Standing, Robert Turnbull (Photography, 21 years), Bernard Green (Management, 23 years), Gerry Bates (ESL, 25), Henri Labelle (Hospitality/Tourism, 23), Murray Sang, Juliette L’Hérault (French, 21), Albert Cohen (Tourism, 24). Seated, Adrianne Sklar (English as a Second Language, 23), Lili Ullmann (ESL, 24), Mary Lee Wholey (ESL, 22), Christine Killinger (Tourism, 21), Danielle Leb (French, 20) and Charlotte Serruya (French, 20). Missing for the photo were Phyllis Vogel (ESL, 25) and Harriet Tyberg (ESL, 25).

Photo by Andrew Dobrowolskyj

by Barbara Black

The Centre for Continuing Education has instituted a long-service reception for its teachers, and the inaugural edition was held on Nov. 21 at the Maritime Hotel on Guy St.

For Director Murray Sang, it was a fitting way to honour a group of teachers who have been with the non-credit school for a remarkably long time, almost as long as Cont Ed itself has been around. “The university has a mechanism for recognizing long-service, so it seemed highly appropriate for us.”

Continuing Education, as a separate unit, evolved out of the strong self-help tradition of Sir George Williams University, which began early in the 20th century with night-school classes at the YMCA. Although the birth of Cont Ed is hard to pinpoint, Sang said that it started with the merger of Sir George with Loyola College in 1974.

The unit now specializes in English-second-language instruction and courses aimed at upgrading mid-career professionals in information technology, business, communications and tourism. The Institute for Management and Community Development, which helps community groups develop effective skills, also comes under Cont Ed’s umbrella.

With the move four years ago from a derelict school building to the Faubourg Tower, including a designated entrance on the busy corner of Guy and Ste. Catherine Sts., Cont Ed finally has quarters to fit its professional image.

The instruction in English has grown exponentially, thanks to an increased emphasis at Concordia in recruiting international students. About 1,500 students a year, most of them young people from Asia and Latin America, study English in Cont Ed’s Language Institute, and the interface between the Institute and the university proper is a complex and growing one.

Students who are accepted into degree programs without sufficient competence in English could be required to take remedial courses before starting their degree program; it’s a policy that is under consideration by the university.

Sang said that these language courses can be of immeasurable benefit to newcomers. “Because it’s a non-credit program, we can provide them cultural activities as well as language lessons.”

Continuing Education courses also prove a fertile source of mature, motivated students for Concordia’s degree-granting programs, he added. After their initial experience taking the Centre’s professional courses, many students are infected with enthusiasm for learning — or at the very least, find that they are learners-in-the-making — and express an interest in going on to take a degree.

With 5,000 students (or 15,000 course registrations) a year at present, Continuing Education promises to grow beyond even its new quarters. “We’ve doubled in size since 1990, and now we’re looking for more space,” Sang admitted, but he smiled as he said it.