Continuing education at the University of Calgary dates back to the 1960s — even before the university gained autonomy. Over the decades the demand for continuing education has grown steadily. Today, Continuing Education remains focused on meeting the needs of our community and offers over 1200 courses and seminars for professional and personal development.


  • 1945

    The University of Calgary originated in 1945 when the former Normal School became a branch of the Faculty of Education of the University of Alberta.

  • 1964

    The first non-credit programs are offered in Calgary through a branch of the U of A Department of Extension.

  • 1965

    The University of Calgary Division of Continuing Education is formed. Its mandate is to bring the resources of the university within the reach of as many Albertans as possible. The division encompasses the Evening Credit Program, the Summer Session Program, and the Extension Program, which includes non-credit evening classes in a variety of subjects.

  • The first Director of the Division of Continuing Education is Dr. F. Terentuik.

  • 1966

    A total of 114 full and half courses are offered in the 1966 Summer Session in the faculties of Arts & Science, and Education, and the Department of Physical Education. 1,645 undergraduates and 52 graduate students enrolled in 2,515 courses making the average class size 20.4 and a student-to-instructor ratio of 21.5

  • In the Evening Credit Programme, 1966 – 67 session, 49 full and half courses are offered in the faculties of Arts & Science, Education and Engineering. In addition to Calgary classes, some courses are offered in outside centres, including Brooks, Didsbury, Drumheller, Lethbridge, Lundbreck and Vulcan. A total of 813 students (806 undergraduates and seven graduate students) registered in 841 courses. The average class size was 16.6.

  • The non-credit Extension Programme consists of general interest courses, continuing professional education courses, and seminars, conferences and lectures. General interest courses of 10 to 20 lectures in all subjects represented at the University are offered in terms beginning September or October and in January. The fall term consisted of 40 courses with a total registration 1,077. The spring term consisted of 31 courses with a registration of 1,041.

  • 14 courses are offered for people working towards certificates in Management Development, Personnel Administration and Banking. The total enrolment in these courses was 560. These courses are planned in close cooperation with the Department of Economics. Intensive three-week, day-long courses, typically offered in the summer, were organized for professionals wanting to update their training. 10 courses were offered for 232 students. Examples of these courses are Modern Mathematics, Modern Concepts in Chemistry, the School Library and Computer Methods in Reservoir Engineering.

  • 39 conferences for outside groups handled by the unit. Groups include National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (100 delegates), The Calgary Local Council of Women (200), The Computer Society of Canada (200), Second Century Week (1000), Tenth International Conference on Cosmic Rays (325).

  • Continuing Education celebrates its first 15 certificate program graduates.

  • 1968

    One of several extension courses offered in the spring of 1968 is: "What is a Computer?" The course is for people who are considering taking further courses in computer programming, or just want to know what a computer is, and what it can do.

  • 1972

    A total of 79 extension courses are offered.

  • 1976

    80 students graduate with certificates. That's approximately 500 certificate grads in total.

  • 1977

    The Division of Continuing Education becomes the Faculty of Continuing Education, taking on new responsibilities for distance education, teaching and research in the field of adult and continuing education, and collaborating with other educational agencies. The faculty begins exploring the use of cable television for distance education.

  • Dr. R.S. Chapman becomes Dean of the Faculty of Continuing Education

  • Continuing Education's first non-credit travel study group, an archaeological field trip to Greece and Egypt, departs November 28 and returns December 22 with University of Calgary professor, Dr. Peter Shinnie, accompanying a group of some 35 people.

  • 1978

    The first English as a Second Language (ESL) program is offered by Continuing Education. This was the Summer Language Bursary Program supported by the Council of Minister's of Education Canada for Francophone students.

  • 1979

    The French Centre becomes part of Continuing Education. Formerly housed in the Faculty of Humanities, it is intended as an area for students of French to practise their oral skills.

  • 1982

    Almost 500 extension courses offered; more than 10,000 registrations received.

  • 1983

    Dr. A.B. Hamilton becomes Dean, Faculty of Continuing Education.

  • On-Campus evening credit courses become the responsibility of individual faculties, as part of the 'extended-day' concept. The Faculty of Continuing Education focuses its credit offerings on off-campus credit, and spring and summer session credit courses.

  • The Otsuma Girls High School from Japan is Continuing Education's first international ESL client.

  • 1986

    182 students graduate with certificates. That's approximately 1,700 certificate graduates to date.

  • 1987

    Almost 1,100 extension courses are offered; more than 23,000 registrations received.

  • 1989

    Dr. David M. Kirby is the new Dean, Faculty of Continuing Education.

  • The FLAG program, later renamed FLIP, the French Language Instruction Program, moves within the umbrella of the French Centre from the Faculty of Education where it has resided since 1979. The program provides French instruction in university credit courses.

  • The first open enrolment international ESL program is held in the summer with 2 students.

  • 1991

    Management Certificates, a Continuing Education program area, teams up with the faculty's first corporate partner, Shell, making management courses accessible downtown.

  • 1993

    Dr. Tom Keenan becomes Dean, Faculty of Continuing Education

  • 1994

    The faculty announces the Master's of Continuing Education (MCE) program specializing in workplace learning. The new program offers a groundbreaking format, utilizing online distance delivery, which combines "computer-mediated" communication and intensive three-week spring study sessions on campus.

  • The Centre for Distance Learning and Interactive Technologies is launched through the Faculty of Continuing Education to serve students across Canada.

  • 1995

    The first course for the newly launched Teacher Assistant Certificate is taught by teleconference to 13 Alberta students.

  • Credit transferability is approved. Now, a completed certificate with additional courses will be given degree-credit status if the student can meet undergraduate requirements.

  • 1996

    270 students graduate with certificates. That's approximately 4,200 certificate graduates to date.

  • 1996

    The Faculty of Continuing Education is on the World Wide Web.

  • 1997

    The faculty makes headlines across Canada for innovation in education as it launches Weekend University, which offers degree-credit courses on Saturdays. Weekend University is part of Special Sessions.

  • Administration of field school programming is centralized in the new Credit Travel Study Office in the Faculty of Continuing Education, Special Sessions. Faculties and academic departments across the campus now turn to the CTS office for support in the development and administration of their international group programming.

  • The Object Oriented Software Technology (OOST) Program is launched through Continuing Education. The diploma program is a fast track, 10-month training program that focuses on skills and knowledge that enables graduates to successfully work and compete in the e-business and object oriented software development fields. (Over the next few years, the successful program expands to two other Canadian universities, but is eventually dismantled in 2005 following a downturn in the IT industry.)

  • 1999

    The Avid Learners' Academy is established, opening the doors of selected university credit classes to the general public on a non-credit basis.

  • The first online course is offered in November via the WebCT platform. It was Learning Online, a course that prepared students for the first set of business courses that were to be offered online in the upcoming winter session of 2000. The first business courses offered online were: Business Management, Marketing Principles, and Using the Internet for Business.

  • 2002

    The Faculty of Continuing Education launches a project to work even more closely with on-campus units, and off-campus partners, to "raise our sights" to even higher levels of lifelong learning excellence.

  • 2003

    The same year the University of Calgary graduates its 100,000th student, Continuing Education graduates its 7,000th certificate student. Continuing Education offers 11 Management Certificate programs, three Adult Learning Certificate programs, an e-Learning Certificate, a Teacher Assistant certificate, computing Certificates in several specializations within the Software Developer and Software Management umbrella, Web Designer and Web Developer certificates, a French Language Studies Certificate, a Spanish Language and Culture Certificate, three specializations of the Visual Design Certificate, and an Environmental Management Certificate. Several designation programs are also offered in partnership with several professional organizations.

  • 820 credit courses are offered through the faculty's Special Sessions office generating 18,166 registrations.

  • The faculty's first online conference in e-Learning is held in August attracting over 200 delegates world-wide.

  • 2004

    John Humphrey, PhD, is made Acting Dean, Faculty of Continuing Education. Humphrey is a professor in the Department of Classics and Religion and has a history of teaching courses and leading travel study programs for the faculty.

  • The University of Calgary Board of Governors approves the motion to change the Faculty of Continuing Education to University of Calgary Continuing Education — an academic unit. In this new structure, which takes effect on July 1, Continuing Education will continue to adhere to university policies and processes and is led by a director who reports directly to the University's provost and vice-president academic. John Humphrey continues as Director of University of Calgary Continuing Education.

  • The Master's of Continuing Education program moves to the Faculty of Education.

  • 2005

    More than 21,000 registrations are received from some 17,000 students enrolled in 1,378 non-credit courses offered between April 2004 and March 2005.

  • The Special Sessions office receives more than 21,000 enrolments for 1000 courses in Spring/Summer Sessions, Credit Travel Study, and Weekend University.

  • 1,068 registrations are received for the English Language ESL Program. (220, regular session; 483,summer; 365, evening classes)

  • This year's Continuing Education graduating class is the largest ever, including 413 lifelong learners who have earned certificates in a wide range of programs including: 12 Management Certificate programs, Adult Learning, Career Development, Teacher Assistant, Visual Design, Web Designer, Software Development, and Systems Management.

  • The Real Estate Development Certificate is offered through Continuing Education, in partnership with the Faculty of Environmental Design.

  • Scott McLean, PhD becomes Director of Continuing Education.

  • 2006

    University of Calgary French Centre celebrates its 30th anniversary serving French students.

  • 457 students graduate with certificates. That's approximately 8,000 certificate graduates to date.

  • 2007

    Continuing Education purchases a new registration system from the Toronto-based company, Destiny Solutions. Once fully implemented, the OneCE system will provide a rich online experience that enables self-service for students, including real-time online registration and web-based access to profiles, courses, and financial information. The system will add efficiency to the administration of Continuing Education from the development of courses and certificate programs, through to delivery.

  • 2008

    In July, The new OneCE web-based registration system goes live, a milestone that promises to revolutionize the administration of Continuing Education courses and program for students and staff.

  • 2009

    The responsibility for the provision of degree-credit courses through Special Sessions is transferred to the University's Student and Enrolment Services.

  • 2010

    In October, Continuing Education settles into the new University of Calgary Downtown Campus. Continuing Education is the first of several UCalgary offices and services scheduled to move into the new location. Approximately half of Cont Ed's staff (35 people) relocate to the second floor of the new building at 906 8th Avenue SW. In November, Business and Professional Programs conducts the first Business Seminars and courses held at the new location. This marks the beginning of a new level of convenience for students and corporate clients in the downtown core.

  • 2011

    Continuing Education Director, Dr. Scott McLean, receives Distinguished Researcher Award from CAUCE. This award is in recognition of his contribution to continuing education and adult education in Canada.

  • 2013

    Continuing Education registrations continue to grow. In the 2012/13 academic year, 20,750 student registrations are received in 1223 courses. Approximately 50% of all courses and enrolments are held at the Main Campus; approximately 25%, at the Downtown Campus; close to 20%, online; and, 5% at locations off campus.

  • Continuing Education's Project Management Fundamentals Certificate is recognized by the Project Management Institute Southern Alberta Chapter when the program is selected as a finalist for its Professional Development Provider of the Year Award.

  • As it has for seven years in a row — Continuing Education boasts a record number of certificate graduates. In June, close to 650 adult learners are awarded University of Calgary Continuing Education certificates.

  • 2014

    In the 2013/14 academic year, 490 (semester) + 245 (intensive) international students enrolled in the English Language program. They came from Japan, China, Korea, Colombia, Turkey, Venezuela, Chile, Mexico, Libya, Kazakhstan, and Saudi Arabia. A new program for working professionals continues to grow with groups coming from China to improve their English and, at the same time, expand their business and leadership skills. Since the first program in 2009, 342 individuals have participated in the promising English for Professionals program.

  • 2015

    The University of Calgary welcomed Sheila LeBlanc, DBA, as the director of Continuing Education in July 2015.

  • 2016

    In April, the majority of Continuing Education staff relocate to the Energy Resources Research Building in Research Park next to the main University Campus. The English Language Program staff carry on in their location on the 11th floor of the Education Tower, and two people staff the Seminar Centre downstairs in the Education Tower.

  • 801 lifelong learners graduate with Continuing Education certificates in the 2015/2016 academic year, bringing the total number of Continuing Education certificate grads to more than 13,000 in the University's 50-year history.

  • To commemorate the University's 50th Anniversary, the Lifelong Learner's Award is created. The award will be presented annually at the June graduation ceremony to the student who has completed the greatest number of course hours over the previous ten years, and has completed, or is currently enrolled in at least one certificate program. The first recipient of the award has successfully completed five certificate programs in a decade — a testament to her commitment to lifelong learning.

  • 2017

    Instructor Vivian Hansen wins Award for Continuing and Professional Education from the UCalgary Teaching Awards program.

  • 2018

    Continuing Education partners with UCalgary Career Services to deliver courses and job internships, to prepare recent grads from Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba for the digital revolution. It is part of a federal Youth Employment program called Digital Skills for Youth.

  • A new online Occupational Health and Safety certificate program is launched which includes two certificates laddering to a diploma.

  • Instructor Marina Fischer wins Award for Continuing and Professional Education from the UCalgary Teaching Awards program.

  • 2019

    Continuing Education welcomes the first cohort of graduates from the Patient and Community Engagement Research (PaCER) program.

    The PaCER grads were among the adult learners who were awarded their parchments, bringing the total to over 15,000 graduates since Continuing Education's inception in 1965.

  • Continuing Education was selected as the winner of two Design and Marketing awards from the Canadian Association for University Continuing Education (CAUCE). Two more marketing awards were received from University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA), an American association engaged in adult education. The winning marketing pieces were designed to attract new adult learners to Continuing Education.

  • 2020

    Continuing Education responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by executing a fast and complex response plan for both domestic and international students. As a result, for the first time in the history of Continuing Education over 80% of course sections in the domestic programs were delivered online in both synchronous (live) and asynchronous formats. In addition, the English Language Program with international students shifted from 100% in-person classes to online delivery.

  • Continuing Education successfully delivered the EDGE UP (Energy to Digital Growth Education and Upskilling Project) training program in collaboration with Calgary Economic Development.

  • Continuing Education and the Schulich School of Engineering won the Non-Credit Programming Over 48 Hours award from the Canadian Association for University Continuing Education (CAUCE). The winning program was the Bioengineering Summer Institute. Continuing Education also was also selected as a winner of a Design and Marketing award as well for their 'Questions' campaign.

  • 2021

    The first Digital Badge credentials are awarded.

  • Continuing Education and the Schulich School of Engineering wins the International Award for Excellence in Innovative Programming from the Learning Resources Network (LERN), an international association of lifelong learning programming, offering information and resources.

  • In collaboration with Microsoft, Continuing Education provides free training for over 9,000 individuals. Over 2,000 of these students went on to obtain a Microsoft certification.

  • Continuing Education is selected as the winner of the Non-Credit Programming Under 48 Hours award from CAUCE. The winning program was the Alberta Education Superintendent Leadership Certification.

  • Dr. Christina White receives a Graduate Thesis or Dissertation award from CAUCE in recognition of her distinct contribution to Canadian-based university adult education.

  • Continuing Education wins two Marketing awards from CAUCE.

  • Continuing Education launches a virtual chatbot named Hana. This artificial intelligence software converses with website visitors via text chat using natural language processing to mimic conversations.

  • 2022

    The number of programs offered by Continuing Education surpasses 60. This includes four new technology programs: Applied Data Science and Big Data, Cloud Computing Fundamentals, Microsoft Dynamics and Power Platform Fundamentals and Network and Linux System Administration.

  • Continuing Education receives the first cohorts of International Professional Programs (IPP) students from over 10 countries. The International Professional Programs are full-time, professional development certificate programs that provide skills sought by employers.

  • The Pre-pathways to Education for Indigenous Students in Southern Alberta (PEISSA) program is launched. It is designed to support Indigenous students in gaining admission to a undergraduate program at the University of Calgary. This funding is graciously provided through the UCalgary Students Union Quality Money Grant.

  • Continuing Education wins the Operations Revolutionary Practice Award – Program level from LERN, in recognition of taking an innovative approach to navigating the rapidly changing environment, developing cutting-edge practices, and finding impactful ways to support internal and external customers.

  • Continuing Education wins three marketing awards from CAUCE and an Excellence in Marketing award from UPCEA.

  • Instructor Ivy Young wins Award for Continuing and Professional Education from the UCalgary Teaching Awards program.

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