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 Interdisciplinary and innovative programs for the future world of work

UNB offers more than just a degree. Our programs and courses respond to the changing needs of the world and our students are supported in an environment in which they truly feel they belong.

Innovative & interdisciplinary programs

Given the complexity of social, technological, economic, environmental and political challenges facing the world, we know we need to do things differently.

The future world of work is changing. The University of New Brunswick’s innovative and interdisciplinary programs are exposing students to new perspectives and learning opportunities — challenging old ideas and spurring creative new solutions.

An interdisciplinary approach to health

The Bachelor of Health program at UNB Saint John certainly challenges traditional curriculum. Unique in Eastern Canada, this four-year interdisciplinary degree program focuses on all aspects of health by integrating arts, business and science.

With the Saint John campus steps away from Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick, the Saint John Regional Hospital and the New Brunswick Community College Allied Health Programs, students have access to world-class researchers and clinicians who approach health from different perspectives.

According to Dr. Petra Hauf, vice-president Saint John, “the team-taught program allows students to combine the precision of science with the creativity and critical thinking of the social sciences and humanities, plus the strategic vision and accountability of business management.”

The program will prepare students to pursue a variety of careers in the health sector, including biomedical health fields, population and community health and management in health.

Immersive marine biology programs

Our marine biology programs are a testament to the strength of our immersive learning. With programs on both campuses, the cross-disciplinary curricula are designed to promote critical thinking and expose students to innovative research.

One of the most exciting aspects of the programs are the marine semesters. These intensive 12-week programs take students to ecologically diverse sites throughout the Bay of Fundy, providing them with hands-on experience studying diverse marine systems and organisms.

A unique opportunity: sport and recreation management

UNB is the only school in Canada that pairs courses from its kinesiology and management faculties to offer an MBA in Sport and Recreation Management (MBA SRM).

This unique program fast-tracks students to careers that connect the business and sport and recreation industries: sports teams and organizations, universities, health clubs, athletic facilities, and more. And it works — 96% of program graduates find employment in their field after graduation.

Students learn from world-class professors and instructors, with courses in sports marketing, corporate social responsibility in sport and recreation, innovation & entrepreneurship and international sports law.

The program allows students take on a full-time internship with a sport and recreation organization — recent partners have included Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, the Ottawa Senators, ParticipAction, EA Sports, the Canada Games and Skate Canada.

Experiential learning

Experiential learning helps students connect their academic learning to their personal and professional goals through authentic experiences. As the largest university in the province, UNB has the responsibility to be a leader in engaging its students in experiential learning that helps create a better New Brunswick.

Opportunities such as co-op and clinical placements aren’t new to UNB, but diverse experiential learning opportunities have now spread to all faculties. This lets students connect with their community, gain confidence, increase their real-world problem-solving skills and make meaningful change.

Community-engaged learning

Community-engaged learning helps students connect what they’re learning in the classroom to what’s happening in their communities and gives them skills to think about solutions to environmental, economic and social challenges.

A key partner in UNB’s community-engaged learning programs is Hayes Farm, a teaching farm in Fredericton that’s helping create a resilient and thriving food system by providing citizens with the skills, expertise and support needed to practice human-scale regenerative agriculture. The farm offers an 18-week Regenerative Farming Certificate (RFC) summer internship program where students balance time between in-class lectures and on-farm work, learning about seasonal food production.

Matthew Golding (BSENR’20), a graduate of UNB’s Bachelor of Science in Environment & Natural Resources program, took part in the RFC program.

“It was a super opportunity to take what I learned in the classroom and test it in the field,” they say. “I learned a lot from the instructors, but just as much from the other participants. Working in the field together really created a sense of unity, with everyone working towards a common goal.”

It turned out that it was also a great networking opportunity as well – Matthew is now working full-time for Hayes Farm as a mentor and part of the operations and planning team. “Experiential learning really helped me find my space in a niche field,” they say.

Work-integrated learning

In Summer 2020, UNB’s Catalyst program gave New Brunswick businesses access to some of UNB’s brightest and most talented students for assistance in immediate COVID-19 recovery and long-term strategy development.

Students — supported by UNB faculty members and researchers — developed opportunities for businesses and put their skills and knowledge learned in the classroom into practice. The Catalyst program will continue to support students and New Brunswick partners in 2021.

Maria Tofowomo (MBA’20), now a graduate who specialized in business development and professional selling in the MBA program at UNB Saint John, participated in the Catalyst program. “It provided a golden platform to support students and employers as we adjusted to the new normal when the pandemic hit,” she says.

Maria worked with revenue accelerator program The Flint for three months, providing strategic marketing and brand support for the company’s clientele across different industries. “I thoroughly enjoyed the experience to learn while delivering valuable techniques to help the company think differently. We’re accountable to the community at large, and that starts with me.”

Teaching excellence

UNB has a long tradition of engaging its students. The energy and passion behind the teaching in our classrooms goes beyond knowledge transfer and facilitates skill development for today’s world.

As a mid-size comprehensive university, UNB students can build real relationships with award-winning professors and top researchers while benefiting from experiential learning opportunities in every faculty.

Levelled-up learning for the good of the community

UNB Saint John business professor Dr. Emin Civi employs real-life workforce opportunities to prepare his students for the challenges and opportunities in business. His retailing class includes a highly interactive “retail clinic” where students offer consultancy services to small and mid-sized Saint John retailers to help develop creative strategies to stay competitive against giant national retailers. He believes that "better teaching not only helps students, but makes a positive impact on society.”

He leads by example. Dr. Civi is chair of the board of directors of the Saint John Multicultural and Newcomers Resource Center (SJMNRC) and an active community champion and volunteer. In addition to his numerous teaching awards, he received the “Outstanding Campaign Volunteer” award from the United Way in 2021, and even gets his students involved in a class project to raise funds for job skills programs for newcomers.

Creating a safe, friendly and positive learning-centred environment

Dr. Val Reeves, senior teaching associate in UNB Fredericton’s Faculty of Science, is one of the first instructors that science and forestry students meet when they arrive at UNB.

She says her own first-year student experience of feeling lost in big classes is engrained in her teaching style. She uses that experience to let her students know they’re in a safe space to ask questions and approach her for help. She also starts every student with an A+ “so they feel like they’re already on top instead of facing a long climb from the bottom.”

Dr. Reeves has won numerous awards for her teaching excellence and is currently the director of undergraduate studies in the chemistry department.

New learning experiences through alternative delivery methods

Dr. Martin Wielemaker, associate professor in UNB Fredericton’s Faculty of Management, uses team- and problem-based learning to challenge students to be driven and active learners. He incorporates real-life case studies and venture projects in his curriculum in partnership with local businesses and developed the faculty’s popular elevator pitch, business plan and data visualization competitions with jurors from the alumni and business community.

Dr. Wielemaker also "flips" most of his classes, presenting content in online video lectures viewed beforehand so that classroom time is spent applying that knowledge to solve problems. Students work in design-style teams but always work individually first before sharing with their team, to help avoid group-think. “Since introducing active learning, the entire class is now engaged,” he says.