Lakehead University awarded more than $360k for Pathway and Transfer Projects that will serve the needs of diverse student groups

April 13, 2021 – Thunder Bay and Orillia, Ont.

Lakehead University has been awarded $367,708 from the Ontario Council on Articulation and Transfer (ONCAT) to explore new seamless transfer projects and to continue working on software that will automatically analyze curriculum gaps.

ONCAT’s Seamless Transfer projects focus on policy and practice changes and interventions that affect the credit transfer system as a whole. This funding supports experimentation and innovations in credit transfer processes, helps gauge the sector’s readiness for change, and identifies realistic models that can be scaled province-wide.

“ONCAT is thrilled to be collaborating with Lakehead University,” said Yvette Munro, ONCAT’s Executive Director.

“We are excited to see how these new projects – spanning cultural, analytic, and administrative supports – will serve the needs of diverse student groups while leveraging data and cutting-edge technology to improve student access to, and navigability of, transfer pathways.”

Dr. Lana Ray

Dr. Lana Ray, Assistant Professor in the Department of Indigenous Learning, has

been awarded $114,094 over the next two years, for a project entitled Indigenizing Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR): Exploring how post-secondary institutions can recognize Indigenous community-based knowledge during credit and degree-granting processes.

Dr. Ray will partner with Kiikenomaga Kikenjigewen Employment and Training Services, and Nokiiwin Tribal Council to explore how post-secondary institutions can recognize Indigenous community-based knowledge during credit and degree-granting processes, and support institutional readiness to implement prior learning assessment and recognition.  

Denise BaxterDenise Baxter, Vice-Provost Indigenous Initiatives, has received $105,666 for a project called Actioning and Expanding Commitment to Indigenous Learners.

This project will work with northern Indigenous institutes and colleges to explore how to identify, locate and begin to disrupt colonial structures and pedagogy in post-secondary education in terms of both transfer credit pathways and transitioning students between different types of institutions. 

Lakehead University is looking forward to further collaboration with Anishinabek Employment and Training Services, Confederation College, the Oshki-Pimache-O-Win: The Wenjack Education Institute, and Seven Generations Education Institute.

Dr. Heather MurchisonDr. Heather Murchison, Vice-Provost Institutional Planning and Analysis, will receive $77,448 for a project entitled Understanding Transfer Student Experience & Outcomes through Business Intelligence Analytics.

The project will leverage existing transfer student data sets developed with ONCAT support to enhance its understanding of transfer student experience and outcomes through development of enhanced analysis of transfer student data and development of data visualizations.

ONCAT has also extended and provided an additional $70,500 for the PathwAI Project led by Dr. Vijay Mago, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Computer Science.

Photo of Dr. Vijay MagoThe PathwAI Project is online software to automate curriculum gap analysis processes using modern natural language processing algorithms and post-secondary learning outcomes.

The platform will serve as an online database where all users can upload and store their course content, run analyses on programs, and customize the domain and content areas for generating and recommending articulation agreements between Ontario post-secondary institutions.

“Thanks to funding from ONCAT, these projects assist Lakehead University in its goal to create effective pathways to postsecondary education for people who face barriers to accessing higher education,” said Dr. Michel S. Beaulieu, Associate Vice-Provost Academic.

“They also play a significant role in Lakehead’s commitment to developing consistent and transparent transfer processes that remain student-centred.”



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Lakehead University is a fully comprehensive university with approximately 9,700 full-time equivalent students and over 2,000 faculty and staff at two campuses in Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ontario. Lakehead has 10 faculties, including Business Administration, Education, Engineering, Graduate Studies, Health & Behavioural Sciences, Law, Natural Resources Management, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Science & Environmental Studies, and Social Sciences & Humanities. Lakehead University’s achievements have been recognized nationally and internationally, including being ranked, once again, among Canada’s Top 10 primarily undergraduate universities in Maclean’s 2021 University Rankings; as well as included in the top half of Times Higher Education's 2020 World Universities Rankings for the second consecutive year, and 98th among 766 universities from around the world in THE's 2020 Impact Rankings (which assesses institutions against the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals). Visit


Established in 2011, ONCAT was created to enhance academic pathways and reduce barriers for students looking to transfer among Ontario’s public colleges, universities, and Indigenous Institutes. For more information, visit ONCAT is funded by the Government of Ontario.