In 1965, a Department of Extension Services (subsequently named Centre for Continuing Education) opened at the University of Saskatchewan, Regina Campus. The new department was responsible for degree classes held off-campus and outside regular hours, and for expansion of certificate courses in administration. University Extension, as it became known in 1981, offered non-credit programs designed for personal and professional development. These courses, held on campus, brought learning opportunities to a wide range of people in the areas of business and management, professional development, personal growth, fine arts and humanities, languages, communications, and the environment. In 1977-78, when the Seniors' Education Centre was established, it was the only year-round centre for seniors on a Canadian university campus. Another aspect of Extension programming, English as a Second Language, began in the mid-1970s; foreign visa students travelled to the University to study English, many in preparation for undergraduate studies at the University of Regina. In 1986-87, University Extension was granted responsibility for the Conservatory of Music.
A few memorable initiatives have included university degree classes held in French in the town of Gravelbourg, in collaboration with the Faculty of Education and College Mathieu; a “Back to Nursing” refresher course offered in co-operation with the Saskatchewan Registered Nurses' Association; a forum with Parti Québecois leader René Levesque and associate editor of Le Devoir, Claude Lemelin, drawing a crowd of 800 in 1970; and a lecture series in 1972 featuring distinguished Canadian artists who had at one time lived in the province, including W.O. Mitchell, Farley Mowat, and Paul Hiebert.
When an end to non-credit programs and closure of the College Avenue campus was proposed in 1984-85, public protests evidenced the valued position of Extension programming in the wider community. The protests resulted in increased government funding to ensure the future of the area. In a report to the University's Board of Governors in 1992, University Extension, expressing the philosophy of “lifelong learning,” advised that a university education should be more than training for employment: it should satisfy, throughout life, the broader thirst for knowledge, and expose people to the perspectives and ideas of others. In order to meet diverse learning needs and to provide maximum access for Saskatchewan people, University Extension diversified its response; the flexibility of the approach reflected the use of both traditional and non-traditional delivery modes. In addition to programs offered on campus, considerable efforts were made to deliver these courses to other communities, using local and travelling instructors, correspondence, and televised instruction. Effective collaboration with other institutions of post-secondary education and the use of evolving online technology have allowed the steady advancement of distance learning to the present. (See Campus Saskatchewan)
A review in 1999-2000 resulted in restructuring and in a name change to Centre for Continuing Education (CCE) to reflect more accurately contemporary operations. Led by a director, the CCE is organized into six divisions: Credit Studies, Distance Learning Division, Conservatory of Performing Arts, Seniors' Education Centre, English as a Second Language, and Business and Professional Development Programs. The current vision of the Centre for Continuing Education is to be a contributor to the intellectual, economic, social and cultural development of the communities it serves by fulfilling the University of Regina's commitment to respond to the needs of lifelong learners. CCE's mandate is to meet lifelong learning needs by offering to learners of all ages high-quality, accessible, innovative and responsive education and training programs that build on the strengths and resources of the community and the University.