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The human side of advancing tech

Leaders of SAIT’s School for Advanced Digital Technology are readying students to make a big impact on Alberta’s future
📷: @calin.charles on Instagram
Leaders of SAIT's School for Advanced Digital Technology are readying students to make a big impact on Alberta's future

Whole industries have reimagined what their worlds look like in the past two years and SAIT, including the School for Advanced Digital Technology (SADT), is creating opportunities for students to be key drivers of our province’s economic growth by delivering the technology talent industry demands.

“The speed at which new industries and organizations are coming to our city is fueling the need for new skills across the board,” says Jim Gibson, SAIT’s Chief Catalyst. “Based on conversations with business and tech leaders, we’re making some moves at SAIT that will ensure we meet these demands by developing sought-after, globally competitive students who are equipped with digital skills and human skills around design, leadership and innovation.”

Schools merge to benefit grads

At a “fireside chat” in January, Gibson, alongside co-leaders, Dr. Raynie Wood, Dean, SADT and Janet Segato, Dean, School of Business spoke about their collaborative work in bringing the majority of SAIT’s School of Information and Communications Technologies’ (ICT) programming into SADT with a handful of other ICT programs being brought into the School of Business. The new alignment responds to shifts in industry and growth in the local tech ecosystem while building on a 50-year tradition of advanced tech education in ICT, the strength of the School of Business — one of three Canadian schools to make the top 100 of CEOWORLD Magazine’s Best Business Schools in the World for 2021 — and the 100+ year history of innovation at SAIT.

“We’re thrilled with this merger and evolution to advance our programs. This allows us to capitalize on some of the fantastic work we’ve been developing with regards to new learning experiences as well as net-new program offerings.” says Wood. “We’re accelerating at a rapid pace, alongside our industry partners, and we’re committed to providing those graduates to them.”

Foundational concepts meet emerging tech

Courses and programs will enable a range of learners from youth to new and mid-career students with opportunities to be grounded in the foundational concepts of their programs. Simultaneously, they are being given opportunities to explore the outer edges of new digital technologies and ideas with expanded access into applied learning opportunities — both formal and informal — alongside peers and industry through SAIT’s work-integrated-learning pathways as well as the Co/Lab and studios. All SAIT students will benefit from the integration of digital literacy across its programs.

Wood adds, “We give our students access to real-world tech solutioning so they have real-world examples to draw on when they move into their careers. That’s the impact of collaboration — bringing closer together than ever all the stakeholders and working with industry from program design to execution to work-integrated learning.”

And while tech is in the school’s name, there’s an emphasis on understanding the human element and how we thrive in a digital world.

“We need to remember humans drive technology,” says Gibson. “There is a conversation we need to re-ignite vis-a-vis the relationship between humans, the technology we create, and how we empower and include one another to realize the promise of a digital society. So, at SADT a big part of our DNA is focused on fostering digital citizens: the humans who have what it takes to tackle challenges and create new opportunities.”

Both Wood and Gibson announced a commitment to graduate 15,000 SAIT students from SADT programs in the next five years to fill local talent gaps.

“We’re accelerating and we have aspirational goals, that’s where we are going,” says Wood.

ICYMI

Join Dr. Raynie Wood, Jim Gibson and Janet Segato for a fireside chat about the evolution of SADT.

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