Illustration of woman juggling geometric shapes.

with alumna and Order of Canada appointee Janis Dunning, CM


By Sarah Androsoff, Marketing Services

The performing arts are Janis Dunning's pride and passion, but learning the foundations of business was an important catalyst for achieving her goal to support the arts. "Everyone benefits from learning business skills; it will support you in your line of work," says Janis, a graduate of the Certificate in Business Administration (CBA) and a 2021 Order of Canada appointee.

Illustrations of a harp, piano, magic hat and microphone.After her career in the performing arts, Janis wanted to fuel others' passion for the spotlight. She was successful in seeing her vision unfold and co-founded the Canadian College of Performing Arts (CCPA), which opened in 1998. A year before the doors were planned to open, she noticed one missing piece. For this college to thrive, she needed to update her business skills. "I wanted every business partner, educator and provincial regulator to have confidence in me as a businessperson," she explains. "I needed to use the most current business language and computer skills to ensure the college was respected."

"Everyone benefits from learning business skills; it will support you in your line of work"

In 1997, Janis turned to the CBA program within Continuing Studies at UVic to increase her business knowledge and skills. At the time, it was offered as the CBA Fast Track program. All the course content was compiled into 12 weeks, which meant Janis could graduate before the CCPA opened. Completing the program ensured that Janis had exactly the skillset needed to run the college. The program's multidimensional structure confirmed the importance of business fundamentals and communication. "The CBA program taught me about teamwork, finance, strategy and marketing," she says. “The long-term benefit was the confidence it gave me to strive for success in the business world.”

Illustration of ballet shoes, a film slate, and drama masks.When Janis first walked into a Continuing Studies classroom at age 47, she was instantly reassured. The CBA program values students who have the ambition to learn and grow. "You're surrounded by students with different levels of experience who are thirsty to learn," she adds. The energized classroom environment made studying business even more rewarding for Janis. "I had goals and I was going to achieve them if I worked hard," she continues. The instructors' professionalism made her feel comfortable enough to participate in classroom discussions and to ask for support with her coursework. The atmosphere of positivity at Continuing Studies kept her motivated and eager to push forward.

"Go out there and learn! Any line of endeavour requires a strong foundation in business"

Janis couldn't be happier with the skills that the CBA program exposed her to. The program gave her the boost of confidence she needed to open the CCPA, and confirmed to her that business skills can apply to various careers and aspects of life. "Go out there and learn! Any line of endeavour requires a strong foundation in business," she says. Janis believes people need to step out of their comfort zones and recognize how strong business skills can open doors. "Don't be afraid to learn things you don't know about. There is always time to start again, and to go in a new direction."


Janis Dunning

Janis Dunning, CM is a Continuing Studies alumna and was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2021. Janis has become a champion of lifelong learning and she encourages everyone to try it!

Watch interview

Video - Lifelong Learner - Janis Dunning

Lifelong Learner - Janis Dunning

  • Posted December 4, 2022