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Integration of Diploma and Degree Gives Water Resource Science Students Best of Both Worlds

Lakehead University and Confederation College
develop joint program agreement

(May 13, 2010 – Thunder Bay, ON) Lakehead University and Confederation College have partnered to offer an “applied” Environmental Water Management stream to the University’s existing Water Resource Science program.  Effective September 2010, this new program element will provide students with a more comprehensive and hands-on learning experience, which representatives from both institutions fully expect will create enhanced career opportunities for those who complete the four-year degree.

Dr. Fred Gilbert and Patricia Lang sign agreement
Dr. Gilbert and Patricia Lang
sign articulation agreement
University and College officials view this program as an investment on a number of levels. “The benefits of this program are many,” says Lakehead University President Dr. Fred Gilbert.  “Upon graduation, students will be better prepared for the workforce given the extensive practical and theoretical backgrounds they will have acquired in the areas of environmental management and remediation. This program is particularly applicable to water issues surrounding the more northerly communities in this region. It also provides another opportunity for the College and the University to combine their faculty and facilities in ways that complement each other, creating a specialized program better than either could mount independently.” Confederation College President Patricia Lang adds, “Both institutions are deeply committed to meeting the educational needs of our students. In addition to the theory and practice that lies at the foundation of this field of study, practical learning situations, during which students will have access to field-specific equipment and facilities, provide students with the best of both worlds when it comes to post-secondary learning and opportunity.”

Over the course of the four-year degree, students spend their first year at Lakehead University where they learn basic scientific concepts. During their second year of study, students attend Confederation College and become immersed in applying theory and concepts to practice while using state-of-the-art equipment, including a scaled-down and computer-controlled version of Thunder Bay's water treatment facility. During this time they also learn field sampling and data collection techniques, using the equipment they may be expected to operate upon entering the workforce after graduation. In their third and fourth years, students return to Lakehead University to take the same upper level science courses as the Water Resource Science students who aren’t enrolled in the integrated stream, while undertaking comprehensive scientific study in the form of an Honours thesis.                                

“This is a great pathway for students wishing to combine strengths of a college and university education,” says Joe Vieira, Dean of the School of Engineering, Technology and Trades at Confederation College. "Graduates of this program will be well prepared for their future careers."This integrated program’s curriculum also raises student awareness of related environmental law and regulations, focusing especially on water and waste water, waste management, and industry, which Dr. Andrew Dean, Dean of Lakehead University’s Faculty of Science and Environmental Studies, notes are very important.  “Regulations are becoming more stringent and there is a growing need to have well educated professionals who can utilize the newest techniques when monitoring the security and safety of our water supply. This integrated degree combines the very solid theoretical program of an Honours Water Resource Science degree from Lakehead University with the hands-on training that is provided by the Environmental Technician program at Confederation College.” 

Upon successful completion of this program, students receive an Honours Bachelor's degree in Water Resource Science from Lakehead University, an Environmental Technician Diploma from Confederation College, and can write exams to be eligible for their Water and Wastewater Operator-in-Training and Entry-Level Drinking Water Operator certifications from the Province.

The Integrated degree builds on the articulation agreement signed last year between the University and the College, which allows qualified Environmental Technician graduates to get a full year’s worth of credit towards the Water Resource Science degree.


MEDIA: Dr. Gilbert, Patricia Lang, Dr. Dean, and Joe Vieira are available for media interview.  To arrange interviews with Drs. Gilbert and Dean, please contact Heather Scott, Communications Officer, at 807-343-8177 or  To arrange interviews with Patricia Lang and Joe Vieira, please contact Bethanie Foster at 807-475-6137 or

About Lakehead
Lakehead is a comprehensive university with a reputation for innovative programs and cutting-edge research. With a main campus located in Thunder Bay, Ontario and a campus in Orillia, Ontario, Lakehead has over 7,700 students and 2,250 faculty and staff, and is home to the west campus of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. In 2006, Research Infosource Inc. named Lakehead University Canada's Research University of the Year in the undergraduate category. For more information on Lakehead University, visit

Last updated May 13, 2010

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