At the Office of Graduate Studies, students are central to our mission. Although 2020-2021 has seen its fair share of challenges due to the pandemic, you have shown great resilience. We congratulate you. So we are extra pleased to highlight the achievements of this year, notably the grants received from Canada’s major granting agencies: the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships.
Two of our students also won prizes for their outstanding theses. Sabrina Zeghiche, who recently earned her doctorate in sociology, was awarded the Pierre Laberge prize for the best doctoral thesis in the social sciences for her research on the social aspects of grief following perinatal death, entitled la (non)reconnaissance sociale du décès/deuil périnatal : Variations spatiales, temporelles et interactionnelles. Robert Marinov, who recently earned a master’s degree in political science, was awarded the Commission on Graduate Studies in the Humanities Prize (Master’s) for his thesis, entitled Election News Coverage and Entertaining Politics : A content analysis of infotainment characteristics in Canadian newspapers’ federal election coverage.
We could not celebrate these successes without the determination and work of our students, their supervisors, the grant committee, and the staff members from our nine units and the Office of Graduate Studies. Their remarkable efforts deserve all our thanks.
In terms of programs, it was with great pride that we officially launched our doctoral program in anthropology in the fall of 2020. We also approved new, shorter master’s programs (course option) in Women and Gender Studies and in Criminology, and others such programs are in development. Moreover, the Department of Criminology is currently working on a master’s program that will apply a critical approach to security and surveillance issues
We were also pleased to inaugurate the Institute of the Environment in January 2021, located in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, a project that was well received by the entire University. The new graduate-level microprograms will allow students to take courses or conduct research that will enhance their skills in a specific discipline, or interdisciplinary microprogram, without having to meet all the requirements of a full degree. However, these units are recognized and can later be transferred to a future degree program. For its part, the Faculty has launched nine microprograms in anthropology, sociology, public and international affairs, psychology, political science and public administration, that feature a series of courses, or combination of graduate level courses, research activities, and practical activities, worth between six and nine units. We are particularly pleased by this progress.
In these unprecedented times, mental health has become another crucial topic. Consequently, we were very pleased to hire Kiran Servansing as our very first mental health counsellor to support graduate students in January 2021; this will undoubtedly be beneficial to our students.
We would also like to highlight that the University has made significant changes to the admission scholarships for graduate students. Thanks to these changes, our Faculty was able to continue granting additional funds to master’s students whose averages were between 8.0 and 8.9. We also invested nearly one million dollars to maintain a certain level of financing for first-year master’s students, which is good news given the key role this factor plays in recruiting graduate students.
As you know, the University is determined to provide its students with a world-class education while ensuring their health and safety. For this reason, approximately 40% of courses will be offered both online and in person this year, with the remaining 60% offered online. However, we would like to reassure you that all measures have been taken to allow students to pursue their studies under the best possible conditions.
In closing, I would like to welcome the 1500 people, from here and elsewhere, who will study at the Faculty this year.