10:46 AM

To A Degree And Beyond


College approved to deliver its first bachelor program and postgraduatecertificate program in digital health

Mohawk College will soon roll out itsfirst stand-alone degree along with a postgraduate certificate in Digital Health.

“This is a major milestone for the college and it’s so appropriate that the first degree is in digital health, because Mohawk has such deep expertise in that space,” said Jeff McIsaac, Dean of Applied Research.

“This is a really important test case for Mohawk in launching a degree program that blends experiential and classroom learning, with industry applied research.”

Joe Varrasso, Associate Dean of Electrical and Computer Science, joined the college in 2016 as the Program Coordinator tasked with leading the development of the inaugural degree. (Mohawk currently offers a Bachelorof Engineering Technology in partnership with McMaster University.)

“The digital health field is rapidly growing and it’s a well-established area of excellence at Mohawk College. It makes sense to develop a degree to provide synergies in research, faculty teaching andstudent learning that really builds on our strengths.”

The degree program, which is embedded in the School of Engineering Technology, combines computer science, health, and business disciplines and will culminate in a capstone project. It will lead to jobs as software developers or networkers for healthcare providers, business developers or data analysts for health tech companies, or as entrepreneurs.

The postgraduate certificate program will welcomestudents with a prior credential in a wide variety of fields such as health, business and technology. It will allow them to apply their current skills and deepen their knowledge of the rapidly growing field of digital health. The power and reach of digital health research centre MEDIC are foundational to the new degree, says McIsaac, and offer a new way to think about partnerships with industry.

“Typically, employers find it takes two to three months to really see the contributions of a new hire. If we can take the digital health degree and build in experiential learning, we can cut that onboarding time. What students think of as a project in a lab is actually onboarding for an employer.”

The experience of building this program and the interdisciplinary collaboration it took to make it happen have been “invaluable,” says Varrasso, and will inform the development of other degree programs in the future.

The development of the degree involved five deans and the co-design of courses and learning outcomes involved multiple program areas. The program will launch September 2021.

“To see this level of co-design is unusual but there is so much value in beginning these conversations,” said Wendy Lawson, Dean of the School of Health.

“I expect this kind of thing will happen more often because there is much crossover of the skills needed tobe successful in this employment landscape.”

Image: Wendy Lawson, Dean of Health, Jeff McIsaac, Deanof Applied Research, and Joseph Varrasso, AssociateDean of Electrical and Computer Science