Pact Strengthens Ties Between Schools, Forestry Institutes

Strengthened ties with Ontario Forest Research Institute and Great Lakes Forestry Centre will help Algoma University lay the groundwork for a new master’s degree in biology that’s expected to launch in fall 2020.

Algoma joined Sault College in inking a formal five-year pact with the provincial and federal forestry agencies on Thursday. The memorandum of understanding is expected to boost research and learning opportunities.

Currently, Algoma students have to leave Sault Ste. Marie if they want to continue doing research after earning their undergraduate degrees.

“The chances of getting them back to OFRI or Great Lakes Forestry Centre are almost nil,” President Asima Vezina told The Sault Star.

If Sault College and Algoma University students can do placements with the two forestry centres and GLFC and OFRI staff teach them “the chances of retaining our undergraduates into master’s and then into research positions are huge,” she said.

Algoma launched an environmental science program in 2017 with a goal of having 200 students in the four-year academic offering by about 2022.

“This is a real priority for the university,” said Vezina. “We think there’s a lot of people interested in this pathway.”

Sault College and Algoma University signed a pathway agreement in January. College students who complete one of several programs, including forestry technician and adventure recreation and parks technician, get advance standing in Algoma’s environmental science program. They earn a degree in two years.

The MOU is a chance to revitalize relationships Sault College has had with GLFC and OFRI “for many, many years,” said vice-president academic Colin Kirkwood.