Alta. ag college adds new ‘rural planning’ major

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Citing a "growing need for environmental and legislative considerations" in rural land development, Alberta’s Olds College has picked up accreditation for a new major in environmental stewardship and rural planning.

The college last week announced the new major — part of the land and water resources diploma program in its School of Environment — has been formally granted accreditation from the Canadian Association of Certified Planning Technicians (CACPT).

The college said the CACPT accreditation gives it the only diploma program in Alberta with this distinction.

"Starting in 2013, graduates will now be recognized by a national body, resulting in increased employment opportunities in a niche market," Doug Peters, dean for the School of Environment, said in the college’s release.

Bob Hoffos, an instructor with the land and water resources program, attended a CACPT professional development conference at Ridgetown, Ont. last month to accept the accreditation plaque from the association.

With the accreditation, an Olds College rural planning graduate will be eligible to become a full member of CACPT and use the title "Certified Planning Technician" (CPT) after his or her name on correspondence.

The new major is also expected to enhance "valuable industry alliances" at the college. "I believe the rural planning aspect of this course is very valid and this program will be a benefit to CACPT," Diane LeBreton, the association’s executive director, said in the college’s release.

"This was a huge step for the college and was significant for myself as a student to be able to come out of this program and pursue a designation," Ben Misener, a second-year rural land use planning student at Olds, said in the same release.

Olds fashion

The college earlier this month announced a major move for one of its other programs: its Fashion Marketing Certificate and Apparel Technology diploma will leave the Olds campus for "brand-new facilities in the heart of downtown Calgary," to be called the Fashion Institute.

Starting in September next year, all first-year fashion marketing and apparel technology students will study at the new Calgary campus.

Over 100 students enrolled last year in the college’s fashion programs. The college said it would urge prospective students to "secure a spot early, as the Calgary campus promises to attract a growing number of urban-centered applicants."