Monday, May 28, 2012

University or college? Try both

A Winnipeg Free Press article yesterday has sparked a vigorous debate.

Got the degree … Now what? by Sarah Petz features five graduates from Winnipeg’s three universities and one from Red River College.  Check out the comments section under the story.

The burden of Petz’s piece is that many university graduates are learning that their education does not translate into an immediate job.

I didn’t think that was news, but I guess it is, at least once a year at convocation season.

On the other hand, Pamela Wankling, the RRC grad– from the Creative Communications program, in which I teach journalism – is already working in her field of public relations.

That’s not news, either. Thirty-five of the approximately 70 CreComm students who will receive their diplomas next week (that’s half of them, or 50 per cent, for the math-challenged) are already working in their fields. Many are employed in Manitoba, while others have landed jobs in Ontario and Alberta.

Based on the market demand, instructors are confident that many of these students’ fellow grads will be working in their fields soon.

I can’t resist an aside. To those people who have been announcing that journalism is dead: Think again.

Graduating CreComm journalism majors are grabbing jobs in television, radio, newspapers and online, in traditional companies and in brand-new ones.

That means a college diploma is “better” or more valuable than a university degree, right?

Not really. They’re different creatures.

A university education encourages critical thinking and broadened interests. A college diploma builds job-specific skills. Together they make an ideal combination.

Want a job in journalism or in almost any other field? Get a university degree. Then come to college.


  1. Good post.
    I am very glad that I went to university for three years and then enrolled in CreComm. I got the chance to take more scholarly courses at university then college helped me gain the skills I would need for my career in communications.
    I have a job in my field now and I credit that to going to both university and college. Though I did prefer college because of the smaller class size and being able to work closely with instructors (you).
    I am very happy to see so many of my classmates getting great jobs. The system works.
    CreComm is amazing.

  2. Thanks, Laura.
    As we interview CreComm applicants, we are having a lot of conversations about this.

  3. Great post Duncan. I will have a degree (actually it'll be two) and a diploma when I graduate CreComm. I'm definitely happy that I got both, because like you said, there are different benefits to each. In the end though, I think your education is what you make out if it.