A recent $542,500 funding infusion from eCampusOntario will see the development of a new online professional Masters program in Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, to be developed at Trent University. This program, the first of its kind in Canada, is distinct by combining entirely online courses and practical internships to prepare both recent graduates and returning professionals for the environmental jobs of the future.
The $542,500 grant will support development of new online courses in a variety of areas, including air, water and soil, indigenous knowledge, environmental policy, and geomatics. The flagship internship program will provide students with face-to-face training with a variety of government and industry partners. Recent success of a pilot internship program, including graduate student placements with partners such as Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Rio Tinto-Alcan, and Kawartha Land Trust, serve as proof-of-concept for the new program. With an anticipated start date of September 2018, the program also will include two previously-funded online courses in principles of environmental monitoring and assessment, and sampling design in environmental research.
“This award is an important recognition of Trent’s past and current success in graduate teaching and training in the environment,” explained Dr. Craig Brunetti, dean of Graduate Studies at Trent. “Indeed, Trent’s longstanding reputation as leader in the field of environmental research and teaching provides the necessary backdrop and resources for the successful establishment of the new online program.”
“Online learning is now widely recognized as being effective for a range of undergraduate students, so for Trent to be at the forefront of this unique and innovative graduate programming is particularly exciting,” said Dr. Cathy Bruce, director of Trent Online.
The new program, to be led by Dr. Dennis Murray, professor of Biology at Trent and Canada research chair in integrative wildlife conservation, is intended to support 30 masters students per year who will enroll in classes and internships specifically designed to provide the skills needed to successfully fill the environmental jobs of the future. The combination of courses, internships, and one-year intensive graduation timeline will train students comprehensively and efficiently with an eye for employment as environmental professionals.
This program also will complement the development of a new thesis-based graduate program in the field of biological monitoring and assessment, which is being supported by a $1.65 million Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE) grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), awarded in 2015.