Alison Gray is new to her role as the U of L Calgary campus director, but she is already very familiar with the value of a University of Lethbridge education.
After graduating from Picture Butte High School, Gray went on to complete a bachelor of management degree at the U of L in 1983. The small class sizes and liberal education that are hallmarks of a University of Lethbridge education enhanced Gray’s own undergraduate experience.
“I got to know some of my professors quite well and several liberal arts courses stand out in my memory – not so much for the subject matter, but for how they taught me to think and look at issues from different perspectives,” says Gray.
Now Gray is striving to make Calgarians aware of the benefits of a U of L education.
“The Calgary campus’ focus is really on educating students so they can make a difference as leaders and contributors in their workplaces and their communities. The U of L program is not about memorizing things, passing an exam and moving on – it’s about learning to think critically, make an impact and embrace a value of lifelong learning,” says Gray.
In the 23 years since her graduation from the U of L, Gray has been a leader in many milieus, including secondary and post-secondary education, shopping centre management, economic development and non-profit management. She also went on to complete a master of business administration degree at the University of Calgary as well as a diploma in economic development at the University of Waterloo.
Gray has viewed the classroom from the perspective of a teacher and an administrator. She has taught marketing courses at the U of L Calgary campus, the University of Calgary and the College of the Rockies, taught business courses at Bow Valley College, and served as the director of marketing and communications at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology.
In addition, Gray recently began her third term on the board of directors of Westmount Charter School in Calgary. Westmount is a public K-to-12 school focusing on gifted education for more than 900 students.
“The Calgary campus directorship marries my long history with education together with my love for both learning and leadership. I have had the opportunity to lead several organizations through periods of growth and change,” says Gray.
Gray says Alberta’s educational status quo is far from static.
“With the changing dynamics of the educational landscape, such as colleges gaining degree-granting status, I think there will be a fair bit of challenge,” says Gray.
Increasing the profile of the Calgary campus is one of Gray’s top priorities.
“The University of Lethbridge has a well-established reputation for quality. People who don’t know about the Calgary campus do know about the U of L brand, and I think that carries a great deal of weight,” says Gray. “Calgary is a competitive post-secondary market, but the University of Lethbridge Calgary campus is well-positioned to compete, and the faculty and staff I have met thus far are truly outstanding.”
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