Joey Coleman: Algoma University College becomes Algoma University

Algoma University College becomes Algoma University

Move over University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Ontario has a new university on the block. The provincial government tabled legislation creating the province’s new university today. The Algoma University Act, 2008, will dissolve Algoma University College and create the new Algoma University.

Located in Sault Ste. Marie, Algoma University College is presently an affiliated college of Laurentian University in Sudbury. The government announcement means students graduating from Algoma will no longer receive Laurentian degrees; instead they will receive their degrees directly from Algoma.

Algoma is not the first college of Laurentian to become its own university. Nipissing University in North Bay was an affiliated college of Laurentian until 1992 when it was granted independence.

David Orazietti, the Member of Provincial Parliament for Sault Ste. Marie said it “is a historic day event for our city, as it would not only greatly improve post secondary education opportunities but symbolizes Sault Ste. Marie’s recent growth and enhanced capacity to support this new institution.”

Sault Ste. Marie Mayor John Rowswell said the new university will play a key role in the economic development of the city. The city recently committed over $200,000 towards the new university.

“Algoma University College is delighted,” said Celia Ross, president of Algoma University College. “The introduction of the charter legislation and the passing of the first reading in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario today is a giant step towards the launching of the new Algoma University. Algoma U students are future leaders that use their education earned here to transform their communities. We will be the university for students who want innovative, community-based hands-on, programs in technology, science, business, and liberal arts.”

Students are unlikely to notice a great difference between being an affiliated college and a full-fledged independent university. Algoma U has been offering degree programs for 41 years and has effectively operated as an independent unit of Laurentian University for many years.

Algoma presently offers undergraduate degrees in liberal arts and sciences. The school also focuses on Aboriginal students. Algoma has a partnership with Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig, a native post-secondary institution, and offers the only BA program in the Ojibwe Language.

Algoma is known internationally as the North American location of Abertay Dundee University in Scotland’s Master of Science (Computer Games Technology) (MSc CGT) program. The program only accepts twenty-four students each year who study at Algoma and earn their degree from the United Kingdom.

Both opposition parties are supporting the legislation tabled today and it’s expected that Algoma University will be fully independent by September.