Sault university expands business programming: School of Business and Economics launched last July.

Author:Kelly, Lindsay

When Algoma University announced in July it was establishing a School of Business and Economics, faculty members were unprepared for just how popular its new programming would be.

During the first intake of students this past September, executive director Nadine Landon was hopeful to enrol 20 post-graduate students and 12 more studying their Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree. But the school very quickly blew past those expectations.

More than 100 post-grads and 28 BBA students are now enrolled at the school's Sault Ste. Marie and Brampton campuses.

"So we're dealing with a much larger intake and everything that goes along with being prepared for that large intake: student services, physical space, faculty, classrooms," Landon said. "We hadn't anticipated the numbers we received."

But for the university, which has offered business studies as a pathway since 2010, formalizing its popular business programming is the culmination of a long-term vision.

Cathy Denomme, director of the School of Business and Economics, said the move gives the business school more self-direction, enabling it to introduce new programs and provide students with greater experiential learning opportunities.

"It's what every faculty would dream of doing," Denomme said. "It's kind of like a rite of passage--if you have good, solid programming, then you can become a school of business and economics."

The university is also offering a program that simultaneously earns Indigenous students their Certified Aboriginal Financial Manager designation and the Advanced Certificate in Accounting and Finance credential, a program that's jointly offered by the Aboriginal Financial Officers Association Canada and the Chartered Professional Accountants Canada.

Or students can earn an Interdisciplinary Certificate in Indigenous Public Administration, which is a result of discussions with Algoma's Anishnaabe Initiatives Division and the political science department to create a one-year management certificate for Indigenous learners who will be working on reserve.

"We're working with them for their needs," Landon said. "This is something (the Indigenous communities) have asked for."

The school will also be fostering closer ties with industry. This January, the university will launch its first continuing education training session to 250 employees of the Algoma Steel plant.

Eventually, Denomme hopes to establish an entire suite of business-related programming, starting with...

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