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CODE gives SFU partnership national footprint


Left to right: Brian Naicker, Judy Smith, Don Burke, Shanthi Besso, and Alan Doree. Image by Greg Holoboff.
August 27, 2014
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By Amy Robertson

The Centre for Online and Distance Education (CODE) is helping give national reach to a partnership between SFU and The Salvation Army.

CODE and the Leadership and Community Building Programs, both part of SFU Continuing Studies, have partnered with Booth College (Winnipeg) and The Salvation Army of Canada to develop and deliver an online Non-Profit Management Certificate that will serve both Salvation Army officers and non-profit professionals throughout Canada.

"The goal is to strengthen leadership in the non-profit sector, building the professional capacity and practice necessary to help effect positive social change in communities," says Judy Smith, a Continuing Studies program director who is managing the program development.

The program launched online for Army officers at Booth College in May 2014. It will begin at SFU in September 2015.

"The implications of offering the program online are profound," says Brian Naicker, the director of CODE, who is leading the team of online course developers. "Offering the program online means that any Army officer, and later, any non-Army employee in the non-profit sector—from Halifax to Whitehorse—can access it. Countless more Canadians will benefit from the expertise of program graduates."

The Salvation Army, Canada's largest non-governmental direct provider of social services, has thousands of employees and is represented in all of Canada's provinces and territories.

Funding is coming from the $3.3-million Salvation Army Development Endowment Fund, one of SFU's largest endowments. The university is mandated to use the endowment to develop programming that will benefit society as a whole.

"There is a clear achievement of those terms of reference," says Naicker. "We're using this program and this partnership for a greater good—a national good."

A contributing factor in SFU's ability to offer the program nationwide is SFU's adoption of a new, open-source learning management system called Canvas.

"The new system helps us achieve SFU's online education objectives of openness, flexibility and malleability," says Naicker, explaining that unlike SFU's previous system, Canvas will allow CODE staff to easily customize courses to serve different students across the country and beyond.

The Non-Profit Management Certificate is the second program to emerge from SFU's partnership with The Salvation Army. The first was the online Restorative Justice Certificate, which launched in 2010. The Salvation Army is involved in ongoing discussions to partner with SFU and CODE on all future online projects.

"It's an honour for us to be involved in this national initiative," says Naicker. "Partnerships like this will help SFU continue to lead the way in Canada's online education landscape."

Read more about this initiative: