Update

 

 

 

Chers membres de la communauté universitaire / Dear members of the University community / Boozhoo / Aanii / Kwe kwe,

 

Vous avez été nombreux à rendre hommage à Derek Wilkinson durant la fin de semaine et à offrir vos condoléances à ses proches. Des témoignages émouvants n’ont cessé d’être communiqués au cours des derniers jours. J’ai cru bon de débuter ce message sur mon blogue en faisant une mise à jour sur un projet qui lui tenait à cœur, à savoir celui d’une école d’architecture à la Laurentienne.

 

Le comité directeur du projet d’architecture a organisé au cours des derniers mois un concours international d’idées quant au futur design de l’école, située au centre-ville de Sudbury. Je viens de passer en revue près de 60 propositions soumises des quatre coins du globe. J’ai été fasciné de constater la créativité des propositions mais surtout le souci accordé par les équipes participantes à refléter les caractéristiques locales. La directrice de l’école d’architecture de l’Université de Montréal, Professeur Anne Cormier, l’architecte de renommée internationale, Douglas Cardinal, ainsi que Craig Dykers, partenaire principal de Snøhetta AS, font également partie du jury de sélection. Il sera possible de voir les propositions sur campus d’ici le mois de décembre.

 

On September 15, the executive committee of the Board of Governors approved the business plan on our future downtown School of Architecture, for submission to funding agencies for their consideration. It is understood that the final approval for the creation of the School of Architecture is contingent on securing full operating and capital funding. The business plan contemplates a temporary downtown site to welcome students in September 2011, with a permanent site secured for September 2013. The cost of opening the school is estimated at $7 million in operating losses until the program reaches maturity in 2015-2016; $2 million to establish a temporary site downtown, if required; and $35 million for a downtown permanent site. The City of Greater Sudbury has already pledged $10 million for this project, and we have placeholders with a funding agency for about $8-9 million, leaving about $23-26 million to be raised from other funding agencies in order to realize this exciting project. At maturity, the School of Architecture would serve about 264 undergraduate and 137 graduate English-speaking and French-speaking students.

 

University of choice

I am pleased to report on the latest admissions trends this fall. These numbers will be confirmed in early November:

 

  • Undergraduate admissions are up 12.5% this fall, translating into 400 additional full-time equivalent (FTE) students. It is important to note, however, that this increase is inclusive of significant growth at St. Lawrence College, for which we do not receive tuition revenue (100.6 FTEs), and does not yet account for the historic drop rate of students in October. By early November, the increase in undergraduate admissions should be in the range of 7-9%. In real terms, we anticipate having 168 new FTEs, for which we generate incremental tuition revenue this year.

 

  • The number of admissions from high school applicants remained steady, which is significant considering that applications from high school applicants were down 8%, or 409 students, compared with last year, while overall confirmations for 101s and 105s are up only 0.7% this year according to the Ontario Universities’ Application Centre (OUAC). Admissions of Sudbury high school applicants are up by 3%, or 14 students.

 

  • Admissions from adults and non-Ontario applicants are up by 14%, or 89 students. This is also significant because applications from this category were flat this year (1,698 vs. 1,691 the previous year).
  • Our number of new VISA students is up 52% (from 66 to 100), with students coming from over 40 countries. Student retention has improved, as demonstrated by an increase of 3%, or 112 additional FTE returning students. The number of returning VISA students is up 14% (from 163 to 186).
  • Enrolment in graduate programs delivered in Sudbury or Barrie is up 10% (from 494 to 541 students), while enrolment for our on-line MBA CGA is down by 25% (from 194 to 145).

 

Financially, the additional enrolment will translate into additional revenues of about $1.4 million compared with projections featured in “Plan B”. These revenues will help offset in-year pressures that we are facing.

 

It was my pleasure to join our new international students at a welcoming BBQ in Founders’ Square on September 4, and again at City Hall on October 1, with the Mayor who was kind enough to invite international students from Laurentian, Cambrian College, and Collège Boréal to a reception. It gave me another opportunity to get to know our international students, and also to learn what we can all do to make them feel more at home.

 

I want to thank all departments for their renewed and concerted efforts to improve student recruitment and retention this year. The progress made this year is commendable.

 

I was delighted to join many Laurentian students, faculty, and staff at the Ontario Universities Fair (OUF) on September 25-26 in Toronto, as well as the recruitment fair for all French Catholic, Grades 11 and 12 students from communities along Highway 11, which was held in Timmins on September 28 to boost recruitment for September 2010. Many potential applicants commented favourably on our Viewbook, our new website, as well as the new one-time 50th anniversary $5,000 Access Grants and the Bus Home Program for our students next year.

 

Student engagement

With classes resuming, came new opportunities this September to engage with students. I was pleased to drop in at meetings of the World University Service of Canada (WUSC) Laurentian Club, as well as the Laurentian Native Students Association. I met with students at the “lug-a-mug to the library” event, and was inspired by the dedication of one of our students, Harneet Gill, from the Sustainable Earth Club.

 

The club organized a public garbage dissection in the Great Hall, to show everyone how we could reduce waste on campus if we recycled more and started a composting program. Most of our garbage isn’t actually garbage! The club’s mandate is to encourage the Laurentian community to adopt more sustainable practices and to raise awareness about environmental issues. They will be leading a variety of awareness campaigns and demonstrations to get people thinking about the environment. The club plans to use the Campus Carbon Calculator to determine our greenhouse gas emissions, and they will work with the administration and community toward reductions.

 

I was also pleased to welcome MP Glenn Thibeault on campus; he met with many students and attended four games of the Laurentian soccer teams and lacrosse team.

 

I am also looking forward to this year’s edition of Model Parliament, taking place at the House of Commons in Ottawa on January 8. Laurentian is one of only two universities privileged to hold such an activity on Parliament Hill. Dr. Mary Powell and Dr. John Peter are actively ensuring the success of this year’s edition. Feel free to contact them if you want to find out more. Not only is it a great learning experience, but we will also find ways to enhance our national recognition. As an aside, Dr. John Isbister and I both have spent a good proportion of our youth on Parliament Hill – and we want as many Laurentian students as possible to have the same opportunity through Model Parliament.

 

Autres nouvelles

Les recteurs des trois universités fédérées et moi avons entrepris des rencontres mensuelles sous forme de petits-déjeuners afin de parler de sujets communs. Je pense que c’est une excellente occasion de renforcer les synergies pour mieux servir les étudiants et la communauté. C’est aussi un bon moyen pour Kevin McCormick et moi-même de mettre Pierre Zundel et Robert Derrenbacker à l’aise dès le début de leur mandat respectif au rectorat de l’Université de Sudbury et de l’Université  Thorneloe.

 

Je tiens à vous mettre à jour sur le procédé de sélection aux postes de vice-recteurs. Chaque comité s’est réuni le 8 ou le 13 octobre et, après avoir examiné le rapport de la société d’experts-conseils, Ray & Berndston, a établi une liste restreinte de candidats qui passeront en entrevue à huit clos avec le comité concerné en novembre. Chaque comité a l’intention de faire une recommandation au Sénat et au Conseil des gouverneurs le 18 décembre.

J’ai eu un déjeuner productif avec le comité de direction du SEUL le 18 septembre. J’en ai profité pour exposer les six objectifs que le Comité sur la révision et la rémunération des cadres supérieurs a établis concernant mon rendement entre le 1er avril 2009 et le 30 juin 2010, et je discuterai davantage de la question dans mon prochain blogue.

Le comité de direction du SEUL a exprimé la nécessité de se concentrer sur quelques priorités ou programmes particuliers. Nous avons aussi parlé de la nomination récente des cadres résidents, du plan d’intervention en cas de pandémie, de nos programmes offerts au Collège Georgian, de l’optimisation des locaux, de la formation des superviseurs de l’Université, des griefs en suspens, de l’état des installations et de la facturation interne. Nous avons convenu de tenir deux réunions par trimestre afin de discuter des questions émergentes de manière proactive et transparente.

Une rencontre semblable a eu lieu le 7 octobre avec l’Association des professeurs de l’Université Laurentienne (APUL), à laquelle a assisté le vice-recteur intérimaire aux études. Nous avons passé en revue les objectifs de rendement du recteur. Le débat a principalement porté sur les retombées du « plan B » en 2010-2011.


Dans mon prochain blogue, je donnerai une vue d’ensemble de l’exposé qui a été fait au Conseil des gouverneurs le 16 octobre. Le Conseil appuie les prochaines étapes proposées pour améliorer l’accent et l’alignement interne de l’Université et la reddition des comptes devant le Conseil. Il s’agissait effectivement d’un entretien positif pendant lequel le Conseil a souscrit aux quatre buts clés énoncés lors de mon discours d’installation, à un nombre limité d’indicateurs de rendement pour chacun des buts ainsi qu’à un nombre simplifié de mesures figurant dans le Plan stratégique de l’Université, qui s’avèrent essentiels pour atteindre ces quatre buts clés.

 

As usual, I welcome comments and questions on the topics discussed in my blog postings, or any other matter that may be of concern to you. My email is: dominicgiroux@laurentian.ca.

 

You can also follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

 

Merci/Thank you/Miigwech

 

 

Laurentian in mourning

LU in mourning / La Laurentienne en deuil

 

Chers membres de la communauté universitaire/Dear members of the University community/Boozhoo/Aanii/Kwe kwe,

 

Last November, I met a passionate faculty member, Dr Derek Wilkinson, who was serving on the Presidential Search Committee.  I was struck by his positive outlook about Laurentian’s future and his genuine desire to enhance learning opportunities for Franco-Ontarians. 

 

Lorsque je me suis joint à la Laurentienne en avril, j’ai pu constater son degré élevé d’engagement au sein de notre communauté universitaire, notamment au Sénat, au Bureau des gouverneurs et au sein du comité directeur pour notre future école d’architecture. 

 

A close friend of mine, who is an exceptional leader in the primary and secondary school system, always turned down offers to become school board CEO, because, as he told me: “he didn’t want to be the person having to tell a parent should a tragedy occur during the school day and claim the life of their son or daughter”.  I may not have fully understood then…but I now understand today why my close friend felt that way.

 

It is with great sadness that I must inform you that I learned about an hour ago that Derek Wilkinson, Acting Dean of Social Sciences and Humanities, died this morning at his home.  Colleagues were worried about Derek’s absence this morning at work and decided to go to his home to see if everything was ok.  I am sure that they never expected this outcome.

 

There is no policy or procedure as to how one should handle such tragic circumstances.  Each of us will begin, in our own personal way, to grieve his sudden departure.  Derek was a well-known and respected member of our university community.   

 

Le moindre que je puisse faire est de partager la nouvelle auprès de ses collègues, amis et étudiants de la Laurentienne, et d’offrir mes plus sincères condoléances à ses proches.

 

It is well known that the first two phases of grief are shock and denial.  I encourage you to share your feelings with someone.  Discuss those feelings openly and frankly.  Show interest and support to those around you who worked closely with Derek and who may need your help. 

 

Professional assistance will be made available for those who wish to use it.  You may contact Lyne Rivet, Coordinator of the Employee Assistance Program, at extension 1055 or lrivet@laurentian.ca

 

We will miss Derek dearly.  La Laurentienne a perdu aujourd’hui un de ses très fiers ambassadeurs et un de ses artisans chevronnés.

 

Nous vous communiquerons plus de détails aussitôt qu’ils seront disponibles.

 

As usual, I welcome comments and questions on the topics discussed in my blog postings, or any other matter that may be of concern to you. My email is: dominicgiroux@laurentian.ca

 

Merci/Thank you/Miigwech

 

Dominic Giroux