Working with the Dream Team
Valuing our People
The work at NOSM University would be nowhere without the people—its lifeblood. Here is our latest senior recruit and her role.
NOSM University’s Provost and Vice President Academic
It’s been a busy first six months for Dr. Céline Larivière, NOSM University’s Provost and Vice President Academic. Dr. Larivière leads the conceptualization, development, implementation, and continuous quality improvement (CQI) of academic programs and related services.
Her role emerged from the organization’s new status as an independent university, and much of her first six months involved establishing the groundwork to meet some of the requirements of the NOSM University Act. To this end, Dr. Larivière was tasked by the President to work with the University Secretary Gina Kennedy and interim Senate Speaker Dr. David MacLean, to establish NOSM University’s inaugural Senate. And to develop an Institutional Quality Assurance Process (IQAP)—a framework for quality assurance and CQI that is a requirement of publicly-assisted universities in Ontario.
“The IQAP is important because it keeps the institution accountable to learners and to the greater public and shows that we are committed to continuous improvement of our academic programs,” Dr. Larivière explains. “The IQAP highlights program areas of strength, but more importantly it identifies opportunities for improvement. Recommendations from expert reviewers emerging from the IQAP help us focus our efforts and target our resources towards specific initiatives to fill the gaps and strengthen our academic programming. The IQAP in conjunction with other accreditation processes are the cornerstone of a reputable academic program.”
Looking towards the future, Dr. Larivière will spearhead the University’s academic plan. This big-picture plan will be linked to NOSM University’s next strategic plan. It will identify key institutional academic priorities and related actions and strategies to achieve these priorities. The academic plan also sets out the timeframe to achieve those key goals —usually within a five-year window.
“The academic plan will serve as the framework or blueprint that will guide our decision making around academic program expansion,” Dr. Larivière says. “Once the key academic priorities are established, we will have the parameters to begin visioning how NOSM University can continue to be a leader in medical education and how it can better position itself to meet its special mission around health professions education. Input from stakeholders is an important part of creating the academic plan, and those consultations will begin later this year.”
Alongside this work, Dr. Larivière will oversee major developments to NOSM University’s degree and non-degree programs. These include the gradual expansion of MD and PGME programs and plans to add more residency programs. She will also oversee the accreditation and quality assurance processes for the NODIP program, the MD program, as well as the Master of Medical Studies.
Across all programs, NOSM University aims to innovate health professions education. “To remain at the leading edge of medical and health professions education, NOSM University will integrate new technologies and ensure that current topics related to AI, planetary health, and other emerging issues that impact our communities intersect and are reflected with our programs,” says Dr. Larivière.
Dr. Larivière identifies meeting and collaborating with NOSM University leaders at both campuses as one of the high points of her work thus far. She has attended events including Northern Constellations, the International Congress on Academic Medicine (ICAM), and, of course, NOSM University’s inaugural convocation. Accompanying Dr. Verma during the President’s Tour and engaging with leaders, health professionals, NOSM University alumni, and learners in several Northern Ontario communities during stakeholder gatherings was also a notable high point.
These conversations are critical to being socially accountable to Northern Ontario communities, Dr. Larivière says. “As part of delivering on the University’s mandate, community engagement is critically important. By listening and learning from our community partners, we are better positioned to understand the regional challenges and the opportunities leading to better strategic decision-making around academic program expansion and overall, more fruitful collaborations.”
Inaugural Senate marks new era for NOSM University
To ensure a seamless transition from the Northern Ontario School of Medicine to NOSM University, Canada’s first medical university, the inaugural Senate was established on March 31, 2023. This is a critical step in meeting the regulations and by-laws set forward by the NOSM University Act.
The Senate is NOSM University’s academic decision-making body, and it is responsible for academic program changes, academic schedules, policies that affect students, and confirming the list of upcoming graduates.
The membership is comprised of accomplished individuals from various fields who each bring their expertise, experience, and passion to the table. Among the members are medical practitioners, educators, researchers, and representatives from other institutions, all of whom share a common commitment to improving health care in Northern Ontario. Senate membership includes 83 ex-officio and elected members.
Prior to becoming an independent university, NOSM’s academics were primarily led by the Academic Council and Joint Senate Committee in reflection of the dual-accreditation agreements with Lakehead University and Laurentian University. The independent NOSM University Senate maintains the vision of Innovative education and research for a healthier North and Academic Council’s academic principles; the key change is that Senate has sole responsibility over the quality and accreditation of its programs.
“Having the inaugural NOSM University Senate in place is a major milestone to becoming an independent University,” said Senate Speaker Dr. David MacLean. “This effective governance structure will set the stage for NOSM University’s future academics.”
There are currently four vacancies in the Human Sciences Division and one vacancy in the Human Sciences Student category. If you are interested in filling one of these seats, please reach out to email@example.com.
Seeing Northern Ontario and engaging with community
A tour de force
The President’s tour of Northern Ontario communities—a critical part of consultations for developing NOSM University’s 2025-2030 Strategic Plan—is currently underway.
In July 2023, Dr. Verma travelled to Atikokan, Fort Frances, Kenora, Dryden, Sioux Lookout, and Sault Ste. Marie to meet with stakeholders including NOSM University learners, alumni, and preceptors, as well as other health-care professionals, hospital administration, and municipal and First Nations leaders.
Though her plans to visit Wawa changed due to a highway closure, Dr. Verma was able to engage by videoconference with community leaders from Wawa, White River, Hornepayne, Dubreuilville, and Chapleau. The last leg of the trip took her to Sault Ste. Marie, Garden River First Nation and Batchewana First Nation.
Dr. Verma was joined by other members of NOSM University leadership, including Dr. Céline Larivière, Provost and Vice President, Academic; Jacalyn Cop-Rasmussen, Manager of Academic Health Sciences Network; and, Dr. Peter Istvan, Phase Two Director.
“Our group was given a warm welcome everywhere we visited,” says Dr. Verma. “The meetings had a strong sense of collegiality and collaboration, and the conversations were productive. We always take feedback to heart—it helps hold us accountable to Northern communities and improves learners’ experiences. The communities want to see us be successful. They are working passionately to address regional health inequities, and they know that our success will help them towards this goal.”
The next phase of the tour is scheduled to take place in September 2023, when Dr. Verma will spend time in North Bay, Timmins, Kapuskasing, Hearst and Temiskaming Shores.