Tackling the Vet Shortage
A historic investment from the Province of Ontario will allow Lakehead University and the University of Guelph to boost veterinarian graduates in Ontario by 20 per cent per year—the first time there's been an increase since 1988—and address a critical shortage in animal care, particularly in Northern Ontario.
The new Collaborative Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Program in Rural and Northern Community Practice will also provide loan assistance to recently graduated vets to practice in under-serviced areas and support large animal care through its Veterinary Incentive Program. This will foster the growth of Ontario's agri-food sector by expanding the number of vets in Northern, rural, and Indigenous communities by ensuring that livestock producers have the veterinary services needed to expand operations. This new degree wouldn't be possible without the Ontario government's generous funding, which will be used to expand facilities in Guelph and build specialized veterinary science labs and clinical facilities in the Thunder Bay region.
"I want to thank the Government of Ontario for seeing the vision and investing in the Collaborative Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Program in Rural and Northern Community Practice," said Lakehead President Dr. Moira McPherson.
Lakehead is also very grateful to the City of Thunder Bay for committing to a $500,000 contribution to the new program.
New Lakehead President Announced
Dr. Gillian Siddall has been named the successor to current Lakehead President and Vice-Chancellor Moira McPherson, who ends her distinguished term in June 2023. Dr. Siddall comes to Lakehead from the Emily Carr University of Art + Design in Vancouver where she's served as president since 2018, however, she has a longstanding connection with Lakehead.
She is a former Lakehead English professor who first joined the University in 1998. Dr. Siddall went on to become the founding director of Lakehead's Teaching and Learning Centre before serving as the University's dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities for six years.
"Lakehead University is a vibrant place where I've spent much of my career and I'm thrilled to rejoin the community that is very special to me," Dr. Siddall said. "The University's diverse offering of programs, strong international presence, stellar research record, and clear commitment to the student experience energizes me."
Dr. Siddall is an advocate of Indigenization and decolonization within the university sector and holds an honours BA and MA in English from the University of Guelph and a PhD in English from the University of Western Ontario. Her research area is Canadian literature. In addition, she's a jazz vocalist and co-founder of the Guelph Jazz Festival who's published extensively on the subject of musical improvisation. Dr. Siddall's installation as Lakehead's eighth president will take place on July 1, 2023.
Major Gift from LUSU
In January 2023, the Lakehead University Student Union announced a $300,000 gift to create 15 new student bursaries and assist Lakehead's areas of greatest need. Half of the donation will be used to create 10 Thunder Bay bursaries and five Orillia bursaries. The remaining $150,000 will go to student experience priorities, including library spaces and student awards. "We believe that all students should have barrier-free access to education, and we are proud to use this gift as a step towards this goal," said LUSU President Lahama Naeem. Lakehead President Moira McPherson added that "this gift exemplifies LUSU's strong tradition of supporting our students and its commitment to their success."
Mechatronics Engineering Program
Lakehead will launch a new Bachelor of Mechatronics Engineering program in the fall of 2023—making Lakehead one of six universities in the province, and the first in Northern Ontario, to offer such a degree. Mechatronics engineering is a recent and rapidly growing branch of engineering at the intersection of mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, software engineering, and computer science. It includes the design of robotics, control systems, and electromechanical systems. The program has been designed to prepare students to create technologies that support the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals. "This is a truly innovative field at the forefront of new industries, and we are thrilled to offer this program to students at Lakehead," said Dean of Engineering Janusz Kozinski. The Mechatronics Engineering BEng program will initially be available at the Thunder Bay campus.
Orillia Hospital Partnership
Lakehead University and the Orillia Soldiers' Memorial Hospital (OSMH) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the goal of strengthening health care in Simcoe County. The announcement comes at a critical time for both institutions. Over the next 10 years, Lakehead will be adding 10 new programs of study that align with the region's socio-economic needs and the OSMH is moving forward with transforming health by Orillia integrating services, including a new hospital build. "We recognize the human resource health challenges that currently exist within the province of Ontario and right here in Orillia," said Lakehead President Moira McPherson. Areas of possible collaboration between the two institutions range from academic and non-academic program development to scholarly and health-related projects and research to collaborative long-term planning, such as opportunities for the sharing human and capital resources.
Transforming Clinical Psychology
Clinical psychologist Dr. Christopher Mushquash has received a 2023 Canada Gairdner Momentum Award for his work in the areas of Indigenous-led mental health, substance use, trauma, and general mental wellness. The Gairdner Foundation's annual awards celebrate researchers from around the world for excellence in fundamental research that improves human health. Dr. Mushquash is a Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Mental Health and Addiction, a Lakehead University and NOSM University professor, vice-president of research at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, and chief scientist at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Research Institute. He's also a psychologist with Dilico Anishinabek Family Care. Dr. Mushquash partners with communities, government, and academia and uses evidence-based approaches that align with First Nations' values. In addition to the Gairdner Award, he was part of a research team given a 2022 Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) Clinical Section Award for Clinical Excellence for their work developing the Best Practices in Psychology Portal.
After postsecondary schools moved online due to COVID-19, Dr. Meridith Lovell-Johnston and her research team decided to explore how to humanize learning. They were also motivated by prior research that's found that moving online by necessity, rather than choice, creates problems for the average student and presents even greater challenges for mature students, international students, and others. Dr. Lovell-Johnston, a Lakehead education professor on the Orillia campus, has received a $61,804 Insight Development grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council that enable she and her team to continue their work. Lakehead education professors Dr. Joan Chambers and Dr. Sonia Mastrangelo are the grant co-applicants. In addition, collaborators from Confederation College and Georgian College are playing an essential role in this research project.
Musical Sojourn in Italy
Music student Amani Sloley is travelling to Italy this summer to study at the renowned Cremona International Music Academy thanks to a $5,000 scholarship from Lakehead University's Institute of Italian Studies. Amani, who plays the viola, will spend 18 days studying with world-class musicians in the birthplace of the legendary violinmaker, Stradivarius. He will receive chamber music coaching and orchestral and ensemble training as well as perform in public at historic venues in and around Cremona. Amani is also keen to improve and expand his skills in performance and composition. "I plan to walk away from this trip with a greater understanding of music and an appreciation of Italian culture," he said.
Sustainable Food Systems Leader
The Royal Society of Canada (RSC) inducted Dr. Charles Levkoe into its College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists—which includes top Canadian mid-career leaders. Dr. Levkoe, a Lakehead health sciences professor and a Canada Research Chair in Equitable and Sustainable Food Systems, was selected by the RSC for his innovative work in equitable and sustainable food systems and food sovereignty, community-based research and engagement, and social and environmental justice. "My work would not be possible without the incredible knowledge, passion, and commitment of the communities and people involved in my scholarship," Dr. Levkoe said. Recognition by the RSC is the highest national honour in the arts, social sciences, and sciences that an individual can achieve. The College addresses major Canadian and global challenges and seizes new opportunities, including those in emerging fields.
Joining the National Bobsleigh Team
Recent Lakehead grad and Thunder Bay teacher Keenan Postans has embarked on an exciting adventure as a member of Canada's national bobsleigh team. Keenan completed his Honours Bachelor of Arts and his Bachelor of Education in 2022 and was ready for a new challenge that tapped into his love of sports. According to the Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton (BCS) website, when COVID began Keenan contacted BCS recruitment in the hopes that they'd allow him to attend one of their training camps. They did and now he's a brakeman on a two-man sled development team. So far, Keenan has placed in the top 10 in three North American Cup races—two in Lake Placid, New York, and one in Whistler, British Columbia.
Strengthening Northern Health Care
In September 2023, Lakehead will resume delivery of its standalone four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN) program to address urgent health-care needs across the province, especially in Northern Ontario. This program integrates high-fidelity simulation scenarios, hands-on lab experiences, and clinical experiences with opportunities to specialize in areas including pediatrics, obstetrics, mental health, complex care of older adults, and community health care settings. Nursing students will also benefit from the opening of the new Nursing Skills Lab—a 10-bed learning space with mannequins and other equipment, enabling students to put theory into practice. This BScN, available on the Thunder Bay campus, is fully accredited by the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing with a focus on Northern, rural, and Indigenous health issues. Students can also earn the BScN in three years through Lakehead's compressed program.