The new rector of the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR), Christian Blanchette, has just taken up his post at the establishment. During his mandate, he wishes to mobilize professors, lecturers and students to, among other things, create an even greater sense of belonging to the institution.
“In my view, the university is an institution that transforms the lives of students, of society and of the communities in which it is anchored. UQTR already has its own way of doing things. I also notice that when it comes to research, UQTR is really anchored in the community. There is research that is relevant for the territories, ”says Mr. Blanchette.
A physicist by training, the new rector took an interest in the environment before specializing in the use of the Internet and technologies intended for education.
“The first challenge I will have to tackle is most definitely COVID-19. It occupies the entire academic world, he emphasizes. We see challenges that emanate from it, think of mental health, isolation, burnout and different ways of teaching. The university is an informal meeting point. It is important that students, professors and lecturers can meet, because the creation of understanding of teaching becomes greater when one interacts with others. Creating spaces for dialogue each at home is difficult. “
Mr. Blanchette also points out that the UQTR will be able to contribute in the search for solutions to face pandemics such as COVID-19.
“The pandemic has taught us several things. We see the development of vaccines, treatments … A lot of things are being done in the field of biomedical sciences. However, we realize how the population experienced the pandemic and some of the solutions do not necessarily come from the biomedical sciences, ”he says.
“The pandemic has impacts on education, recreation, culture, sociology, psychology, etc. There is a contribution of non-biomedical sciences that could be made and UQTR should pay particular attention to it. The culture and leisure study niche is particularly well equipped to quickly look at these questions, ”he explains.
The rector recalls that one of the great strengths of the institution, according to him, is the issue of the environment. The fact that environmental research is carried out in an interdisciplinary manner at the University of Quebec at Trois-Rivières is an important element in his eyes.
“We can mobilize people in education, health, engineering around this issue. This is an important niche to which we also graft research on hydrogen. It’s a bit unique and let’s not forget that the new energy niche is extremely important, ”says Mr. Blanchette.
Before taking up his post as Rector of UQTR, Christian Blanchette had been Dean of the Faculty of Continuing Education at the University of Montreal since 2011.