Part of Laurier Brantford’s growth and evolution has been the addition of new programs to attract a wider variety of students to its ever-expanding campus. After the addition of RCE and 97 Dalhousie Street, the space was finally available for the two newest programs on campus to set up shop. It’s been a few years since new programs were added to the curriculum, so it is an exciting time for academics in Brantford.
The first of those two programs is the Business and Technology Management program. This new area of study seeks to combine business and technology in a new way to open up new and different opportunities in the business world.
“[A] major short coming in business programming is that very little attention is paid to the use and knowledge of technology so what we did is we sort of used this as the basis for the program to ride,” says John McCutcheon, the Business and Technology Program Coordinator.
There are roughly 62 students currently enrolled in the BTM program, as it is affectionately called by a few staff on campus. The program is similar to other programs in that it still has Contemporary Studies requirements and some Leadership courses that are requirements to progress. However, some new courses have been added.
For example, first year students take an introduction to business course with a technological slant, something that Laurier Brantford hasn’t seen before. After presumably taking many of their CT requirements in the first term, students would then take an introduction to technology, statistics and economics courses to finish off the first year.
As students progress through the program, technology becomes a bigger focus. But the BTM program at Laurier Brantford is a little different than most, and has a component that is new even on the Brantford campus.
“The one thing that is kind of unique about this program that is going to be new to Brantford is that this is a co-op program and students are actually going for 12 months straight,” says McCutcheon.
Students work through a regular term at Laurier Brantford (either fall, winter or spring) and then spend eight months working at an institution where they can put the skills they learned in school to the test.
“Some of the best co-op experiences are when students find out what they like and don’t like. It’s far better that you find out early on that you don’t like a particular field…what it does is it moves some of the trial and error that happens early on in a person’s career to when you are an undergraduate,” explains McCutcheon.
The evolution and development of this program is also sets it apart of from programs similar to it at other universities. Many of the other programs were developed at business schools from a computer science or information technology angle.
Meanwhile, the program at Laurier Brantford was built from the ground up rather than tacked on to the end of another one, and is more focused on the business side of it rather than technology.
Students coming out of Brantford with a degree in the BTM program have a wide variety of jobs available to them, but McCutcheon sees them following one of two paths: some with go into the technology side and some will go into the business and management side.
The other newest program at Laurier Brantford is the Children and Youth Studies program. The program teaches students about childhood and the issues that children and youth that affect them. The courses in this program strive to teach these issues from the perspective of the child rather than from an adult or authority figure’s point of view.
What sets this program apart from the Concurrent Education program offered at Laurier Brantford is that it focuses on other ways to work with children outside of the classroom.
“The idea is that students who would take a variety of courses would be able to get an interdisciplinary look on childhood that could set them up for a variety of professions related to children outside of the classroom,” says Tarah Brookfield, a history and future Child and Youth studies professor.
The program is open-ended in a sense that students have the opportunity to take all kinds of courses related to childhood like humanitarian issues, literature, music and many other angles of study.
“As a historian in the program my role is to provide history courses that show how youth and childhood have changed over the years,” says Brookfield.
In first year, students are introduced to new ways to study childhood. They are shown interdisciplinary ways of study via guest lecturers during the term. As students progress through the program, they can take a variety of courses in many fields, which is what sets the program at Laurier Brantford apart from similar programs at other universities, which tend to only focus on one area of study.
This approach opens a lot of doors for students. “If students don’t know exactly what they want to do with their degree in the beginning, it introduces them to a to a variety of different ways to work with children or studying children,” explains Brookfield.
Students graduating with this degree are typically only partway through their schooling. The program offers a variety of ways to study children, but for the most part requires a more specific degree afterward to help students get the particular job they want.
Some examples of future careers are as a child and youth worker, family lawyer or working in a group home. This can be narrowed down in the third year when students are required to do a community placement where they work with children and put what they learned into practice. The placement isn’t quite a co-op and isn’t a practicum either. It’s more a way for students to figure out where they may want their degree to take them.
As Laurier Brantford continues to grow, there will undoubtedly be more programs added. This provides for a unique experience for students at Laurier Brantford. “The broader the university is,” says McCutcheon, “the richer it is for everyone.”