By Carys Mills
With skyrocketing enrolment numbers, the Chang School proves that continuing education (CE) is where the money’s at.
The Chang School of Continuing Education is the largest of its kind in Canada. Annually there are over 65,000 enrolments, compared to the 25,000 undergraduate and graduate students at Ryerson.
“We all fantasize that we’re the cash cows of the university and that everyone else is on our backs, but I can tell you, it ain’t so,” said Alan Shepard, provost and vice-president academic, at a board of governors meeting on March 30.
“The most profitable unit, if I may say so, is the Chang School of CE,” he said.
Julia Hanigsberg, the current interim dean, said the Chang School is a “for-profit business.”
“We turn millions of dollars over to the university every year,” Hanigsberg said.
She said some of the profit from the Chang School programs goes to faculties with enrolment in related courses, with the remainder going to the provost for distribution.
CE also serves the university as an “incubator” for new programs, said- Hanigsberg. Retail management and midwifery started as CE programs before becoming full-time programs.
The option of evening and online classes is appealing to full-time students. During the 2008 winter term 3,500 of the 14,000 total enrolments were full-time Ryerson students.
The Chang School also experienced an enrolment increase of about seven per cent for the upcoming spring semester, said Hanigsberg.
The yellow advertisements seen throughout Toronto are specifically for the Chang School and not for Ryerson. President Sheldon Levy said the intensive Chang School marketing is necessary to attract and inform students about the school that not coming directly from high school.
“It’s both a recruitment strategy and an accessibility strategy,” said Levy.