Mount Allison is situated in the tiny, historic ship-building town of Sackville, N.B., (population 5,300) and features an even tinier student body (a modest 2,200), so incoming students may anticipate a more, shall we say, remote experience at the university. In reality, the school is quite cosmopolitan. Even with the isolating impact of COVID-19, the 180-year-old institution has doubled down on an ambitious expansion of its academic programming for the 2020 cohort, upping its degree and certificate count to 48.
Most, if not all, of Mount Allison’s new programs were clearly designed to prepare its grads for the multi-hyphenate-loving job market. Introduced in November 2019, the bachelor of commerce (aviation) pairs business studies with training at the nearby Moncton Flight College. A new bachelor of arts program featuring a joint major in “geocomputing” combines the theory and practice of computing and geography. The program also keeps an eye on the significant environmental problems of our day. In social studies, a new women and gender studies degree created to meet popular demand will focus on identity and culture. A team of interdisciplinary faculty members will lead it.
Unique to Mount Allison is its embedded certificate program, which can be taken concurrently with a student’s degree. It allows the extra-curious to explore more specialized areas of interest outside their majors and prepare for various professional paths. (New additions for 2020 include data management, theatre arts and community-engaged learning certificates.)
A professorial seal of approval from Mount Allison goes a long way in the post-grad and professional world, and the school has a well-established track record for one-to-one career support and mentorship opportunities. Mount Allison’s Office of Experiential Learning and Career Development, which opened in 2018, runs regular professional development workshops and scours industries for internship and funding opportunities. On the research side, it’s common for students to leave Mount Allison with an illustrious co-publishing credit to their names.
Mount Allison offers a particularly promising canvas for fine art buffs: a new partnership with the Yukon School of Visual Arts gives Yukon students advanced standing in Mount Allison’s bachelor of fine arts program and enables them to complete their B.F.A. and a visual arts certificate in four years. And, amidst pandemic restrictions, the campus’s renowned Owens Art Gallery has launched new, virtual events such as You Are Here, an interactive exhibition of works inspired by spaces around Sackville.
The university is also serious about protecting and enhancing student life. A plethora of academic and accessibility offices (with online capabilities) are dedicated to intersectional experiences. These offices support, among others, Indigenous and first-generation Canadian students and have Black student advisers and diversity educators. Navigate MtA, a student-to-student wellness support program that’s new this fall, promotes help-seeking behaviour among its student body, as well as mental health initiatives provided by its comprehensive Wellness Centre Services. For Mount Allison, creating a tightly knit community isn’t just a numbers game.