WATERLOO - Wilfrid Laurier University and Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning are combining their strengths in theoretical and applied learning to create two joint programs, one in computer science and the other in biochemistry/biotechnology.
Conestoga College president Dr. John Tibbits and Laurier president Dr. Max Blouw will sign an articulation agreement to officially establish the programs Friday, April 16, 9:00 a.m. in the boardroom of the Laurier Science Building, followed by a photo opportunity with students in a biochemistry lab.
The first program combines Conestoga’s software engineering technology diploma with Laurier’s honours Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) in computer science. The second combines Laurier’s honours B.Sc. in biochemistry and biotechnology with Conestoga’s biotechnology technician diploma. Both programs begin in September 2010 and are designed to enhance the educational experience of students and increase their job opportunities.
“Our partnership with Conestoga College reflects the type of synergies that will define the future of post-secondary education,” said Blouw, who is also co-chair of the provincial College-University Consortium Council. “These joint programs will provide Canada’s growing technology and biotechnology industries with graduates who possess strong technical ability as well as highly developed quantitative, reflective, analytical, integrative and innovative qualities. By working together, Conestoga and Laurier will advance Ontario’s competitive advantage.”
“These agreements between Conestoga and Laurier highlight the commitment of both institutions to finding new avenues and opportunities for our students, as well as taking advantage of new knowledge and technologies that are advancing these fields of study,” Tibbits said. “The importance of post-secondary education to our future prosperity on the world stage makes such innovative arrangements imperative.”
In the computer science program, students will first complete the software engineering technology diploma at Conestoga, where they will acquire practical experience in software engineering and hardware applications. Students will then attend Laurier to complete part of second year as well as third and fourth year of the computer science B.Sc. degree, where they will gain a solid foundation in theoretical computer science, algorithms and networks.
Students in the biotechnology/biochemistry program will complete the first two years of the honours biochemistry/biotechnology B.Sc. program at Laurier, where they will develop knowledge in cellular and molecular biology, chemistry and biochemistry. Students will then complete one year of special study at Conestoga in the biotechnology technician diploma program to gain 180 laboratory hours in plant and animal cell biotechnology, immunology and fermentation biology. They will return to Laurier for the final two years of the B.Sc. degree.
“I welcome these agreements and thank the Laurier and Conestoga faculty and staff who worked hard to make them happen,” said Dr. Peter Tiidus, acting dean of Laurier’s Faculty of Science. “These agreements will provide Laurier biochemistry/biotechnology and computer science students with additional applied educational experiences that will augment their university training and enhance the skills they bring to the job market.”
Dr. Robert Carley, Conestoga’s executive dean of academic administration, added, “The practical benefits of these agreements are great. Not only will students experience the rich learning environments available at both institutions, they will acquire a high degree of advanced knowledge and practical skills that will make them valuable contributors to their professions, their workplaces and their communities.”
With either program combination, students can continue in their chosen field as employees, entrepreneurs or graduate students. As employees, they will have increased opportunity for immediate employment with their technical skills, with the opportunity to advance to higher positions through their theory-based skills.
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Photo by Tomasz Adamski