Expanding Expertise at His Convenience
In 2017, when Aly Virji was asked to lead the Toronto Police Service’s (TPS) Diversity and Inclusion Unit on an interim basis, he looked for a post-secondary program that would better equip him for the position. Virji also wanted that program to be less than a year in length and give him the ability to complete classwork at his convenience. He found just that with Centennial College’s Part-Time Learning options, which are designed to accommodate students’ learning and schedule needs.
“It was really helpful that the program was part-time because I was working full-time during the day and teaching leadership and communication courses part-time,” says Virji, who completed Centennial’s Leadership and Inclusion program in April 2018 and today works as a detective sergeant in the TPS’s audit and quality assurance unit. “Additionally, my son, Aydin, was only 5-years-old then. So, it was important for me to find a program that was manageable, given the other important commitments I had.”
Because Centennial’s online courses were self-paced and didn’t require Virji to log on to the learning system at any particular time, he was able to engage in class discussions on his own schedule. In addition to Part-Time Learning’s flexibility, he says the program’s content was extremely relevant.
“I was able to use the ideas and concepts from the course by applying them to my own organization,” he says.
A lifelong learner whose mom instilled a love of learning in him that’s resulted in three degrees and several certificates, Virji says he’s taken a wide range of courses over the last 20 years — most of which were in the traditional face-to-face format. Yet, he says, his Centennial instructor was one of the most engaging, despite the online structure.
“My instructor did a great job of keeping us focused and encouraged us to ask thoughtful questions,” he says. “This deeper level of reflection and the application of the course concepts to our respective organizations really helped us to think about the issues from a variety of perspectives. It was this diversity of thought, and the diverse perspectives of other students, that created such an engaged online community.”
Written by: Izabela Szydlo