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Concordia’s Centre for Continuing Education: ‘The quality of our teachers sets us apart’

Qualified instructors deliver 200 courses on everything from Photoshop to French conversation skills
January 9, 2017
By J. Latimer

Instructor Selvin Cortez with Patrick Marzouk. | Photography by Alaa Youssef

Robert Soroka
’s students in “CEHR 1150 - Human Resources Essentials” at Concordia’s Centre for Continuing Education (CCE) fall into two categories: There are those seeking an entirely new career and those who want to be more marketable in their current field.

“Across the board, they want to bump up their skill set,” says Soroka, who’s also a part-time faculty member at the John Molson School of Business (JMSB).

“Nobody’s doing it just to get a piece of paper.”

According to Soroka, this sense of purpose is typical in classrooms at CCE, where instructors deliver 200 courses every year. Registration is now open for the winter 2017 schedule of courses and programs.

Many of the courses are part-time, twice a week for two hours in the evening, to accommodate people working during the day. However, some courses are intensive, meaning four or five full days a week, or all-day Saturday. Typically, programs last 10 weeks.

“The quality and variety of our teachers is what sets us apart,” says Catherine Vigeant, assistant director of marketing and business development at the CCE.

“They have advanced degrees, they work in their field and they often own their own companies.”

Avoir et être: parlez français

One of the CCE’s most popular programs offers six levels of French conversation.

Bernard Lévesque has been teaching it on nights and Saturdays for 17 years. Over time, he has seen a dramatic shift.

“We’ve had an explosion of university students signing up,” says Lévesque. “Previously, it was mostly local people, workers and professionals from the business community. Now we have many international students, as well as faculty — from Ireland to India.”

Lévesque notes that he and the other French teachers are constantly refreshing their course material to stay relatable.

“We’ve added content about environmentalism, the LGBTQ community and, recently, the American election. We want to be with the times.”

CCE’s French courses are recognized by the Quebec government’s Programme de l'expérience québécoise (PEQ).

“They attract a very motivated, hard-working, diverse group of students,” adds Vigeant.

Master Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign

Another hot CCE program is the intensive Diploma in Graphic Applications in Desktop Publishing.

“It’s particularly popular with students from the Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science and JMSB to complement their other course work,” says Vigeant.

Instructor Selvin Cortez agrees, adding that the classroom demographic shifted over the eight years he has been teaching at CCE. He’s noticing more younger students.

“We’re getting 19 and 21 year-olds who want a career opportunity,” he says. “They want to know what’s ‘in,’ what the current trends and techniques are. They ask, ‘how do we design for a mobile device?’”

Cortez focuses on getting everyone ready for the marketplace, intertwining design theory and practice with the most common applications — including Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign.

“We have great success stories,” says Cortez. “One of our students was hired as a junior graphic designer, and by 2 p.m. on her first day of work, she was promoted and given a raise. They quickly realized she had the talent and skills.”

Take the leap

Vigeant and her team at CCE are busy expanding their offering, working on the launch of a new program. It’s called Leap Year.

“It will be an intensive, all-day program that combines English language courses with a professional career program — such as human resources, say, or public relations,” Vigeant explains.

“It was developed primarily for international students who want to work on their English at the same time as they take courses in their field.”

Check the CCE website for upcoming details.

Register online for Winter 2017 courses and programs at Concordia's Centre for Continuing Education. The registration deadline is January 20.


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