Bob Eichvald
Posted 09.24.2018

The Renaissance of STEM Education

The Lassonde School of Engineering at York University is thrilled to welcome its first cohort of Dev Degree students. This partnership between Lassonde and Shopify expands the Dev Degree program to Toronto, and enables even more students to participate in this innovative, work-integrated learning (WIL) program. 

Created in 2012 with the goal of reimagining STEM education and meeting the needs of Canada’s next generation of technology leaders, the Lassonde School of Engineering was founded on the Renaissance Education concept that emphasizes broad experiences over thinking in silos. This is reflected in our approach to experiential education. In addition to Dev Degree, Lassonde offers a uniquely flexible co-op program in which the number and lengths of the work periods are determined between the student and employer. We’re also developing other new forms of co-op for the non-profit and entrepreneurial sectors, as well as a “Renaissance Co-Op” that teams students with executives over successive work terms. 

Launching Dev Degree in Toronto with Shopify furthers our journey in reimagining STEM education and is a giant stride towards the future. The alignment in values and forward thinking that we have found in an industry partner like Shopify is core to making this kind of change. 

“Shopify is one of Canada’s great success stories of innovative entrepreneurship combined with outstanding and visionary leadership, and we are honoured to be their first university partner in the GTA,” said Rhonda L. Lenton, President and Vice-Chancellor, York University. “The new partnership between York and Shopify reflects the future of education, which will be characterized by greater collaboration across all sectors. Together with a generous financial contribution, our students will have access to skilled Shopify mentors, providing them with rich experiential education opportunities as part of their academic studies.” 

In Dev Degree at the Lassonde School of Engineering, a professor, a Shopify manager and the student work together to establish customized learning objectives for credit courses, which are met through carefully monitored work experiences at the company. Because the students work and study simultaneously, this reduces to zero the time between learning and applying new concepts, reinforcing learning and giving students a competitive edge. 

We believe that future students, alumni, and working professionals will demand access to flexible, just-in-time education tailored to their developing needs and experiences. Through Dev Degree and other work integrated learning experiences, Lassonde and Shopify are collaborating to make this future a reality.