Queen’s preparing to launch online Honours Bachelor of Science
Over the last few years, we have been fortunate in the Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS) to launch a number of new programs. This past fall, we saw the first Masters of Science in Healthcare Quality class graduate, and this September, we will welcome our first set of students in our brand new Aging and Health graduate diploma and masters programs.
Looking ahead, we have several innovative graduate programs coming down the pipeline, yet our focus on building the undergraduate side of education over the next few years will be aimed at one particularly exciting initiative – the development and execution of a fully online, world-class, stand-alone four year Honours Bachelor of Science degree, called ePre-Health.
The ePre-Health degree is being built with a number of individuals in mind – high school graduates wishing to pursue an education in health sciences, those looking to change career paths or broaden their career options, and those in remote communities or who have dependents or responsibilities outside of Kingston who would not be able to obtain an undergraduate degree from Queen’s otherwise.
The program will be developed specifically for online learning and will offer the prerequisites for application to medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, veterinary medicine, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, dietetics, speech and language pathology, advanced two-year nursing programs, as well as public health sciences, and health sciences graduate programs. Being an online program, ePre-Health will have the ability to cater to learners of all ages from all over the world.
The shift towards and acceptance of online education has been evident for a number of years, and yet with an expected program launch of September 2016, Queen’s University will be the first traditional university to offer a fully online pre-health sciences program in Canada.
“ePre-Health will be a cutting-edge undergraduate health sciences program, as it is built upon a competency-based framework, similar to what occurs in the FHS professional schools,” explains the Office of Health Sciences Education Director and ePre-Health Co-director, Dr. Rylan Egan. “Course assessments will be carefully aligned with program and course outcomes, as well as competencies that are reflective of those within the three FHS schools, such as advocate, leader, and collaborator. Other key components of this program include online and “living” labs, carefully designed group activities, and an ‘ePortfolio’ generated throughout the program that will provide a qualitative evaluation of student’s abilities to enhance the quantitative aspects of their degree.”
Dr. Michael Adams, Head of the Department Of Biomedical And Molecular Sciences, and ePre-Health Co-director, thinks the real strength behind the program is the interdisciplinary nature of the courses within the program. “We are developing courses that have significant involvement with and contributions from physicians, nurses, physiotherapists, bioethicists, global and population health experts, and biomedical scientists. Adopting this interdisciplinary approach makes ePre-Health quite a distinctive undergraduate health sciences program, and we believe it was key to our obtaining funding from the Ontario Online Initiative for all seven of the courses we applied to.”
The program’s Associate Director, Laura Kinderman, is thrilled to relay that a number of the ePre-Health courses will be offered in the 2015-16 school year. “We are working hard to get all of the approval processes completed and are in a very good position for ePre-Health to officially launch September 2016. In the meantime, we are launching many of the courses that will be a part of ePre-Health, including some brand new courses on the ‘Evolutionary Biology of Cancer’ and ‘Global and Population Health’, as well as some pre-existing in-class courses offered in a new online format, such as ‘Introductory Physiology.’ We have been working with some fantastic faculty members and students to get these courses ready and are confident the courses will be well-received by current Queen’s undergraduate students.”
As you can see, we are quite excited about adding another multidisciplinary, competency-based program to our list of offerings in the FHS. I welcome your comments on our new online venture in the comments below, or better yet, drop by the Macklem House – my door is always open.
I would like to thank Emma Woodman for her assistance in the creation of this blog post.