A part of Lacombe that has changed its name throughout the ages is looking to do so again.
Canadian University College (CUC) has operated under six different names since its inception in 1907.
Now, the institution is looking to change its name once again and clear up some confusion by dropping the word ‘college.’
CUC President Mark Haynal said the title University College does not have a consistent definition within Canada and can be confusing to some students from outside of Alberta, not to mention other countries.
“It’s to benefit our students,” said Haynal. “That university college name sometimes causes people who are thinking about coming here to pause.”
Haynal added troubles related to confusion about the institution’s name don’t end once students are enrolled either.
He said when students leave to go to graduate schools or are looking for employment, the confusing name can cause other issues.
“People look at their resume and say, ‘So you graduated from Canadian University College, what is a university college?’ So they have to explain that,” said Haynal.
Here in Alberta, a university college is one of six different types of post-secondary institutions funded by the Alberta government, said Haynal.
He added university colleges are faith-based post-secondary institutions that are publicly funded and grant bachelor’s degrees that have the same approval process as they would anywhere else, such as the University of Alberta or University of Calgary.
A number of focus groups have been set up to help come up with possible names for the school, said Haynal.
He added CUC wanted to make sure everyone connected to the school had some opportunity for input into the decision.
“We wanted to make sure that all of our various constituencies and supporters felt like they had the opportunity to participate in this historic event of changing our name.”
Haynal said CUC has already met with a number of focus groups to gather ideas for possible names and is planning to meet with two more before finalizing its list of possible names.
Once the groups are complete, research will be done to make sure there are no issues, like legal or linguistic concerns with the names and CUC will then form a cabinet who will present one name to the board for a vote.
Should that vote go through, Haynal said CUC will be ready to reveal its new name. Otherwise, the process will begin again.
To facilitate these focus groups, CUC contracted with architect Brenda Beck who has worked on hundreds of projects with universities across Canada, said Haynal.
He went on to say that Beck also has a great deal of experience facilitating such group discussions.
Beck has already met with members of CUC staff, students, alumni and friends, the board of trustees and the citizens of Lacombe.
The last two focus groups will be held in the Greater Toronto Area, a region where a large number of CUC students are from.
One will be with the governing board of all Seventh- day Adventist institutions in Canada and the other will be with a group of alumni.
Haynal said the turnout for the Lacombe citizen focus group was less than hoped for with only seven or so members of the public attending, but the conversation was still worthwhile.
“It was a good discussion and I’m glad that some citizens did participate,” said Haynal. “We want any good ideas we can come up with. Who knows who will have that good idea we are looking for.”
It was important for the citizens of Lacombe to have some input into the CUC name change as CUC is, “Anxious to contribute to the City of Lacombe being known as a university town.”
Haynal went on to say that having a university in Lacombe adds a lot to the experience of living here and so CUC wants to sustain that relationship.
“Having a university present adds to the cultural life of the (community) and the academic opportunities of the (community).”
Haynal said CUC is planning to present a name to the board mid-November.
He added CUC has some major events coming up next summer and wants to ensure that any new signage, logos and other necessary changes related to the name change are complete by then.