Sylvie Frigon, Vice-Dean, Graduate Studies

Sylvie Frigon

At the Graduate Studies Office, students are the core of our mission. Therefore, it was particularly heartening this year to mark all of their outstanding achievements, including the receipt of a number of key scholarships from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Canada’s three main granting agencies.

In addition to receiving these graduate studies scholarships, two of our doctoral students received a Vanier scholarship: Sophie Fobert (Psychology) and Guillaume Deschênes-Thériault (Political Science).

Three of our recent graduates won prizes for outstanding thesis work. Stephanie Piamonte, a recent graduate of the PhD program in criminology, won the Pierre Laberge Prize for the best doctoral thesis in the humanities for her thesis, Wicked Words and Illegal Imaginings: A Genealogy of Obscenity in Which a Criminological Case Study of Fanny Hill Is Conducted.  In addition, Daniel Pierre-Charles Crépault, a recent PhD graduate in criminology, was awarded the Joseph De Koninck (Doctoral) Prize for his PhD thesis, Myth Making, Juridification, and Parasitical Discourse: A Barthesian Semiotic Demystification of Canadian Political Discourse on Marijuana. Marieliv Flores Villalobos, a recent graduate of the master’s program at the Institute of Feminist and Gender Studies, was awarded the Joseph De Koninck (Master’s) prize for her master’s thesis, The Stories of the Forced Sterilizations in Peru: The Power of Women's Voices.

None of these achievements would have been possible without the dedication and hard work of the students themselves, but also of their supervisors, the scholarship committee members, the staff in our nine units and the Graduate Studies Office. Thanks are due to all for their outstanding efforts.

During the 2019–2020 academic year, the Faculty implemented several new projects:  offering additional funding opportunities at the doctoral level for student recruitment, working on the development of eight microprograms which should be launched in 2020–2021, getting approval to hire a psychologist to assist Faculty graduate students as of fall 2020, and working with the University on the reform of graduate scholarships for spring 2021. This year was also deeply affected by the pandemic, which led to many adjustments by the Faculty and the University.

In the coming year, many of our newly admitted doctoral students will benefit from additional funding that we were able to offer them on admission. Approximately $860,000 was distributed in the form of scholarships, international admission scholarships and matching competitive offers to ensure that we attract the best students to our programs. This investment will enable us to financially support our students during the upcoming year.

The University is excited to be working to create graduate microprograms for the upcoming year. This will allow the Faculty to identify a set of courses or research activities that will enhance student skills in a specific disciplinary or interdisciplinary area without requiring them to complete a full set of degree requirements. Graduate microprograms are a form of academic micro-credential that can be recognized and transferred for a future degree program. The microprograms under development are in anthropology, sociology, public and international affairs, political science and public administration. A graduate microprogram will consist of a cluster of graduate courses or a combination of graduate courses, research and/or practice activities, to a maximum of 9 units. We are excited about this new type of program, which will attract students.

The mental health of our students is of utmost importance, especially during these unprecedented times. We are excited that for this upcoming year we have received approval to hire a psychologist specifically for Faculty graduate students. We believe that this will greatly benefit our students.

The University has been working on a reform of graduate admission scholarships. We hope that in the upcoming months we will be able to share the new funding models for our programs. There will be some exciting changes in doctoral funding that we believe will help us recruit and support future potential students. We are eager to share these changes in the upcoming months.

We hope you are well despite the challenging circumstances brought out by the pandemic. The University remains committed to offering a world-class education. For the Fall term, rest assured that you will be able to complete your courses through distance learning. Your health and safety are our highest priority. We have thus rapidly adopted a flexible approach towards learning and student life, to ensure that you can begin or resume your studies regardless of the situation we face.

Sylvie Frigon, Ph. D.
Vice-Dean, Graduate Studies

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