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Nonprofit Management Certificate Benefits from MRU Research

Marlene Mullins

We spoke recently with Marlene Mulligan, an Advisory Committee member for the Nonprofit Management Extension Certificate.

Q: Tell us a little about your background and your role at Mount Royal.

A: I’m on the Advisory Committee for Continuing Education’s Nonprofit Management Extension Certificate. I work as Director of Development at Propellus. I’ve been with that organization for three years, since Volunteer Calgary and Central Point for Nonprofit Management came together. I’ve been with them through the acquisition and creation of Propellus, which exists to strengthen charities and nonprofits in Calgary, and before too long, across Alberta. Before that I did corporate community investment for Chevron. I represented their national portfolio from Alberta to Newfoundland.

Q: In your role on the Advisory Committee, what is your passion?

A: I get really excited about being involved in solving problems that are systemic or affecting a large part of our community. With the Nonprofit Advisory Committee, it’s about having conversations to ask: What are the major challenges that the sector is facing? What are the biggest problems that not-for-profit organizations are grappling with? And then, what are we doing about it? In an economic downturn the pressure on nonprofits can intensify as the demand for services increases while support from the private and public sectors decreases.

It’s about what the community’s needs are — what’s already happening and what else could be happening. It’s about exploring new solutions that all nonprofit organizations can benefit from. Those solutions are reflected in our instruction.

Q: Why is MRU a great place for this kind of learning?

A: Thinking forward, there’s a really interesting opportunity for the Continuing Education program in this area because of a couple of assets MRU has. One is the Bachelor of Business Administration – Social Innovation and Nonprofit Minor through the Bissett School of Business and the other is the Institute for Community Prosperity, which connects learning, research and change leadership to build community and strengthen the common good.

There’s some crossover between those two areas in terms of leading social entrepreneurship and social innovation. It’s great how they have modified the Business Administration degree to include components of nonprofit organizations, so they are developing future leaders and managers for any type of organization.

There is already transferability for some of the Continuing Education courses into the degree program. And there’s also a new Community Investment Extension Certificate launching this fall in partnership with the Institute for Community Prosperity.

I think that very naturally the Continuing Education programs will benefit from new curriculum development and new ideas and research that happens at these other points in the organization, so I think that’s a real strength for this program. It strengthens how Mount Royal can serve the nonprofit sector not in Calgary but across Canada.

— photo by Krystal Hurt

Project Management in Construction Builds Needed Skills

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When Valentyna Naboka came to Canada from Ukraine ten years ago, one of her first stops was Mount Royal’s Languages Institute for the ESL program.

“When I came I didn’t know English at all – I didn’t even know the alphabet. It was a great program, great teachers,” Valentyna says. “Within two months I started to talk a little bit. I studied very hard.”

Valentyna took the year-long piping drafting course at SAIT. “Once I graduated I got myself into oil and gas. I started as a draftsperson first and then I moved into design, doing 3D modelling. It was mostly gas plants or well sites.”

ce_blog_pm_construc_valyentia_group_2015In 2012 she had the opportunity to put her skills to practice on a construction site. “I thought it was a lifetime opportunity because I was part of the project on the design side and then I got an opportunity to go in the field and actually build what I designed,” she says. She remembers the thrill of seeing her designs come to life. “The very first time I was allowed to step on the ladder and walk on the platform, it was just unforgettable. It was really cool to actually touch what you used to see on the screen or on drawings.”

She had found her passion. “I enjoyed construction a lot. With the designer experience and now field knowledge, I thought companies can benefit from such a wide range of skills. After I finished the construction I started as a project manager, but I had no education in project management. I felt like my field experience and the variety of knowledge helped, but I still had these missing holes that I didn’t know anything about. I spent a lot of time searching for a program that is specific to construction. MRU’s Project Management in Construction program came up. What caught my attention was the subjects that were chosen for the program.”

“I got into the program and so far finished three courses. Three more to go and then I’ll get my certificate,” she says. “My long-term goal is project management or construction management. I think what I’m learning right now, it’s filling up the gaps that I had before.”

Valentyna is taking a mix of classroom and online courses. “The first one I did in the classroom. I found there was a huge amount of information to process so I thought I’ll give online a try. I loved the online course a lot because I’m not from Calgary, so for me to travel is a lot of inconvenience. And then I can study at my own pace. If I didn’t get something I can read it over again until I actually get it,” she notes.

She lives in a small village near Sylvan Lake in central Alberta. “It takes me about 2 ½ hours from Sylvan Lake. And from the town it’s another 15 minutes north,” she says. “I’m doing my house on my own. It’s funny, when you start your own project you learn a lot. The renovation I’m doing is a huge project – I ripped everything apart and now I’m redoing everything including the bathrooms. I learned a lot, how to purchase materials, how to plan, how to schedule.”

— by Karen McCarthy
— photos by Krystal Hurt and Tracy Elliott

Back to School to Build Your Career

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Why should schoolchildren have all the fun this time of year? New pencils and notebooks are for everyone! As summer holidays draw to a close, many families focus on getting ready to return to the classroom in September.

It’s also a great time for adults to return to the classroom (whether it’s a real classroom or an online course) to polish up their career skills. Continuing Education classes are gearing up in September, so now is the perfect time for adult learners to choose their fall courses to earn a credential, take a course for personal interest or even prepare to switch careers.

Registration is ongoing and classes start throughout the fall months. Some courses last all semester while others take place over a few weeks, a weekend or even one day. There is a learning opportunity to fit even the busiest schedule.

New programs being introduced this fall are:

Check out our complete list of programs or check the following program categories for a course that meets your needs or interests:

Our program staff would be happy to answer your questions. Look for contact information at the bottom of each program web page.

Hoping your employer will help to fund your training? Tell them about the Canada-Alberta Job Grant so they can have 2/3 of the cost covered.

Once you’ve chosen your program you can register online, by phone, in person, by fax or by mail. (No carrier pigeon, though.)

Once you’ve registered, download our Welcome brochure for information on books, campus amenities and more. Or visit our FAQ web page.

Happy learning!

— by Karen McCarthy