Perfecting the CEGEP-College Transition: First Despins-Breton Fund Competitors

Put a university professor and a university professor at the same table and there’s a good chance the discussion will revolve around students and pedagogy. If, moreover, the professor is a former dean, the professor has a long career and these two people are married, the chances are so strong that the discussions will turn into business plans, actions and life projects! This is the case of the couple formed by the dean emeritus of the University of Montreal Guy Breton and his late wife, Andrée Despins.

“It was my wife who led me to open a dialogue with the university community as soon as I took up the position of dean in 2010”, recalls Guy Breton. A career professor at the Cégep André-Laurendeau in nursing, Andrée pointed out to me quite correctly that postgraduate studies are not just universities. It also includes college and it is imperative to consider this transition from one to the other.

At the end of the term of Mr. Breton as dean, the Despins-Breton couple did not hesitate to set up a philanthropic fund whose mission is precisely to facilitate the transition from CEGEP to the university. Thus, in 2021, the Despins-Breton Fund for educational innovations was born, promoting the educational continuum between CEGEPs and the University. The year 2022, in turn, will see the launch of the first annual competition linked to this fund.

Call for projects for the first contest

Each year, the Despins-Breton Fund will allocate US$30,000 to the realization of a project selected from those presented by “mixed” teams, that is, composed of at least one member of the University of Montreal and at least one person from the community college.

Julie Verdy, advisor to the Vice-Dean for Student Affairs and Studies and responsible for the competition, mentions that the latter is aimed at the UdeM faculty, but also at any employee who has an interest in improving the university transition. as well as innovative ideas to get there: advisors, professionals, student archive management technicians, etc. “These can be educational tools in the strictest sense of the term, such as skill repositories, educational material, or DEC-BAC gateways,” Ms.I Verdy, but the committee will also consider projects of an event nature, such as reception activities or special visits.

Vice-Dean for Student Affairs and Studies, Louise Béliveau lists some of the criteria that will guide the members of the jury in their selection work. “One of the first criteria is balance. We really hope that this competition will encourage equal collaboration between the two levels of education, college and university. There is no order more important than the other and this balance must be reflected in the projects presented. And anyone who knows the dean emeritus Guy Breton will not be surprised to learn that another important criterion will be the innovative character of the projects. “Guy Breton has put innovation at the heart of his tenure as dean,” said Ms.I Beliveau. The Despins-Breton Fund aims to support projects that have this character of novelty, of risk, of getting off the beaten path.”

For this first competition, the Despins-Breton Fund will receive project proposals until 23 September. The selection will be made by a jury made up of representatives from both levels of education and the selected project will be announced in October.

Benefits for students, teachers and society

If positive effects on the student population itself are to be expected – namely through better preparation for university studies and a higher degree attainment rate – Guy Breton also hopes that the effect will be felt by the teaching staff and, ultimately, by by society. “Our wish, Andrée and I, is that the Despins-Breton Fund and the projects it supports will benefit the entire post-secondary community. If the dialogue between college and university is more in-depth, if there is more mutual assistance between these two sectors, if our students are more committed to their educational paths and obtain their degrees, will not everyone reap the rewards?”

For more information about the Despins-Breton Fund, to consult the competition rules and to download the project proposal form, consult the page reserved for the Despins-Breton Fund.

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