MRU Diversifies World Languages to Better Suit Local and International Demand


For those interested in World Languages at MRU, a conversation with Post Media might have been lost in translation.

Due to the changing demands for Language courses, MRU Continuing Education is strategically diversifying its offerings to be conscious of its impact to both the local and global marketplace.

Mount Royal University’s response to the needs of the student population is to move to a more customized model. As a result, some language courses will no longer be offered in the form of open enrolment registration.

“Where we’ve seen a shift in demand has been in subject-specific language education. Customized courses such as English for Flight Dispatchers or Italian for Travel have been successful ways of implementing the teaching skills of our language experts into tangible industry-specific target markets,” says Jenelle Peterson, Director of Business Development and Marketing at the Faculty of Continuing Education and Extension at MRU.

Those looking for basic language training options can look to our partner institution the University of Calgary, which we’ve worked closely with to ensure that quality language training is readily available in our city. In alliance with Adult Learning, Languages and Liberal Arts at the University of Calgary, the agreement was made for the two institutions to strategize their combined offerings.

Leigh-Ann Duke, former Program Administrator, World Languages at MRU says, “Both institutions weren’t making minimum registration so they had to cancel.”

“We, too, have struggled with enrolment levels in the past few years,” claims Dr. Sheila LeBlanc, Director of Continuing Education at the University of Calgary, “so we wanted to work with MRU to ensure we weren’t competing or cannibalizing each other’s programs. A business decision was made to continue to service the needs of our collective students.”

The University of Calgary still offers open enrolment language classes.

Mount Royal University will add value to these options with customized language training.

Where MRU is seeing a considerable increase is in English language training. In Calgary, there are countless new Calgarians, including many refugee families, to whom these courses have been catered. In addition, there are foreign trained professionals who have the skills of their occupation, but require the language and cultural instruction to successfully integrate into their field here in Canada.

Globally, MRU has become a leader in building relationships with other post-secondary institutions to offer English language training to experienced teachers and professors who are now required to offer their courses in English to meet the demands of the world.

Juan Manuel Lopez is a professor Art and Entrepreneurship at the University of Guanajuato in Mexico. He was one of a ten-student classroom of teachers from the four campuses of his institution who spent the last two weeks at MRU training to offer their courses in English.

“We are receiving students from all over the world,” Lopez says, “We want to offer them a quality education.”

Globally, like the University of Guanajuato, many institutions are required to teach their courses in English to meet the international demand and to further globalize their programs. With customized language training opportunities like this, Lopez notes, “We are able to teach multicultural classrooms.”

This reorganization of MRU’s Languages program has been advantageous for Language instructors at MRU. Peterson explains, “No loss of staff has occurred. Our contract instructors are, in most cases, receiving more hours per customized course, so it’s a mutually beneficial move for both students and staff.”

“We believe we have found a wonderful niche in English training,” concludes Peterson. “All in all, this strategy allows both Mount Royal University and the University of Calgary to run more language courses while remaining service-minded for our students here and abroad.”

Find out more information about Customized Language Training at MRU.

– by JLove

Juan Manuel Lopez (back row, far right) and fellow University of Guanajuato professors learning how to teach in English at MRU




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