Lakehead receives funding from ONCAT to support postsecondary learner mobility

June 19, 2024 – Thunder Bay and Orillia, Ont.

Lakehead University was approved for $212,500 in funding from the Ontario Council on Articulation and Transfer (ONCAT). This funding will support four projects that will develop additional diploma-to-degree pathways for continued study and seek to ease the application process for college graduates as they pursue degree-level programs.

The announcement was made on June 17 by Dr. Adrienne Galway, Executive Director of ONCAT, alongside the Honourable Jill Dunlop, Minister of Colleges and Universities, and Dr. Ann Marie Vaughan, President and CEO of Humber College.

Over the next year, ONCAT is flowing over $2.8 million to support 39 learner mobility projects at 35 colleges, universities, and Indigenous Institutes in Ontario. These projects aim to empower learners by recognizing previous education and professional experiences and facilitating smoother transitions between programs and institutions.

The four funded projects at Lakehead are:

RPN Bridging to University Nursing Program Pathway to BScN - $100,000: Led by Dr. Kristen Jones-Bonofiglio, Director of the School of Nursing, this is a collaborative project with Centennial College to develop a formal pathway for graduates of Centennial's Registered Practical Nursing (RPN) bridging program to apply to Lakehead's Bachelor of Science in Nursing program.

“ONCAT's support of this project allows for the School of Nursing to work closely with staff and faculty at Centennial College to more fully acknowledge future BScN program applicants' prior academic and professional knowledge and skills,” said Jones-Bonofiglio. “This will reduce the number of courses that they would be required to take to obtain their degree and make important contributions as RNs.”

Revisiting Pathways to Water Resource Science - $37,500: Led by Dr. Amanda Diochon, Associate Professor of Geology and Program Coordinator of Water Resource Science, this project will enhance the transition of students who have completed an Environmental Technology or Technician diploma from one of eight Ontario colleges into Lakehead’s recently revised Honours Bachelor of Science (Water Resource Science) degree.

“We recently have revised the curriculum so that our graduates meet the knowledge requirements to apply for the professional geoscientist designation,” said Diochon. “The work to be carried out in this project will position them well to secure and advance in careers in water science and contribute to Ontario's skilled workforce.”

Diploma-Degree Pathways to Meet Regional Employer Demand - $30,000: Led by doctoral student Kaylin Kainulainen (Faculty of Education) will work with Seneca Polytechnic to develop an integrated pathway(s) where students obtain both the Law Clerk diploma from Seneca and a complementary degree at Lakehead while making valuable workforce connections and gaining industry experience at the same time.

Establishing Prerequisite and Transfer Credits for General Arts & Science Graduates - $45,000: Also led by Kainulainen, this project will focus on improving prerequisite credit, transfer credit, and transfer pathways from General Arts & Science certificate (GAP) and diploma (GAS) programs at Confederation College, Fanshawe College and Georgian College into Lakehead degree programs offered in Thunder Bay and Orillia.

"Empowering learners with accessible pathways to navigate their educational journey is key to helping them achieve their professional and academic goals,” said Galway. “The increased funding will promote improved transitions between institutions and programs, helping learners get where they want to go."

“The Ontario government is proud to support ONCAT’s important work to make it easier for learners of all backgrounds to pursue their educational goals,” said Minister Jill Dunlop. “By facilitating smoother transitions and recognizing the wealth of knowledge gained through previous experience, we are fostering a more inclusive and supportive environment to advance student success in Ontario.”

“ONCAT’s support for these projects advance our commitment to provide accessible learning opportunities for students,” said Dr. Michel S. Beaulieu, Lakehead’s Associate Vice-Provost (Academic). “Through these projects we will be able to break down barriers that prevent students from seeking a university-level education while also providing in-demand diploma-to-degree transfer pathways that meet the needs of our communities and prepare students for the future workforce.”