For more than a decade, Saint Mary’s University has been a pioneer in the development and delivery of graduate level management education for co-operatives in the English speaking world. In an effort to address the lack of business education geared to the co-operative model, the Co-operative Management Education Co-operative (CMEC) was formed in 2002 to partner with Saint Mar’ys University on the development of relevant education for co-operative sector managers. Without the support of the broader co-operative sector (through CMEC), the development of graduate level co-operative management education would not have been possible. CMEC currently has 69 members (and membership continues to grow) and an active 10-member Board of Directors with representatives from each member type and program alumni.
Thanks to the leadership of CMEC and other passionate leaders at the university, Saint Mary’s offers two international, online management programs that provide exceptional management skills to current and future co-operative leaders. The Master of Management Co-operatives and Credit Unions was launched in 2003 and a Graduate Diploma in Co-operative Management will be available starting in 2013 (pending final academic approval). These programs are unique in that they are designed for working professionals seeking a part-time program geared to co-operatives. The programs draw students, faculty, and researchers from around the globe and from a diversity of co-operatives and credit unions. Graduates and students come from nine countries and faculty hail from Canada, the United States, New Zealand, and England.
Ten years after the formation of CMEC and during the year when the Masters program welcomed its 10th cohort, the co-operative management education programs at Saint Mary’s went through a change of leadership. Tom Webb, co-founder of the universitys co-operative management education efforts retired and Karen Miner started as the new Managing Director. The transition comes at a busy time during International Year of Co-operatives (IYC), and Tom hasn’t strayed far yet as he heads up the Imagine 2012 Co-operative Economic Conference in Quebec City in October 2012. Imagine 2012 is Saint Marys contribution to IYC.
The co-operative management efforts at Saint Mary’s have not been limited to the education programs. In addition, a Centre of Excellence in Co-operatives and Credit Unions (CEARC) was formed in 2007 (coopaccounting.coop), and a number of Symposia on specific co-operative management topics have been hosted at the university. A symposium on International Co-operative Governance is being planned for 2013.