About Us: Reflection and Dialogue on the Purpose of University Continuing Education in Canada


  • Lois Gander University of Alberta




This article is a response to Scott McLean’s (2007) CJUCE Forum article “About Us,” which set out the claims that university continuing education (UCE) units make about themselves on their websites. Using the activities of the Legal Studies Program of the Faculty of Extension at the University of Alberta as a reference point, this article suggests that the activities of UCE units may not be as bland as their purpose statements suggest. The ability of those statements to represent the visions of UCE units is questioned, as is the adequacy of the processes by which such statements are generated. In doing so, the author exposes the need to catalogue what UCE units are actually doing and reflect on why we seem to need to downplay some of those activities. The article concludes with the suggestion that in presenting a synthesis of the units’ purpose statements, McLean takes UCE units full circle to the debate he set to the side: What should UCE units do?

Author Biography

Lois Gander, University of Alberta

Lois Gander, Q.C., BA, LLB, LLM, is a professor in the Faculty of Extension at the University of Alberta. During almost 35 years in university continuing education, she has worked in a variety of contexts, with both mainstream and marginalized communities and with governmental and non-govern- mental agencies that address contemporary social issues.

Lois Gander, Q.C., BA, LLB, LLM, est professeur à la Faculté d’éducation permanente à l’Université de l’Alberta. Pendant presque 35 ans en éducation permanente universitaire, elle a œuvré dans une variété de contextes, avec des communautés majoritaires et marginalisées, ainsi qu’avec des agences gouvernementales et non gouvernementales qui s’adressent aux questions sociales contemporaines.






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