Holiday greetings

Dear members of the University community / Boozhoo / Aanii / Kwe kwe,

Hello and happy holidays from New Liskeard, where Barbara, myself, and the kids are in the midst of a great visit with her family, and the kids are busy counting down the sleeps until Santa arrives!

First, congratulations to our students and faculty on the successful completion of the fall term!

Barbara and I have never felt so much in the Christmas spirit as we do this year – our first in Sudbury – thanks to so many great events, such as: the concert of the Destino group organized by the Club Richelieu Les Patriotes; the Christmas concert of Les Troubadours lead by Johanne Rioux;, the public reading of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol benefitting the Joan Mantle Music Trust in which I took part along with other local personalities; Radio-Canada’s live Christmas show at le Theatre du Nouvel-Ontario;, the LUAPSA Christmas dinner, and the Laurentian Christmas Luncheon, which raised over $3,000 for the United Way. To top it all off, it was an absolute pleasure for us to host more than 200 students, faculty, staff, members of the board of governors, and community members to our home at 179 John Street just over a week ago at our Christmas Open House.

It was an honour for me to take part in a traditional First Nation Welcoming Ceremony on December 2, led by Professor Herb Nabigon from Native Human Services. I also want to commend the Presidential Advisory Committee on the Status of Women for organizing a vigil in commemoration of the tragedy now known as the Montreal Massacre. Twenty years ago, on December 6, 1989, an enraged gunman entered Montreal’s École Polytechnique and killed 14 women. Dr. Linda Ambrose from the history department delivered touching closing remarks. She has graciously given me permission to post her text on my blog. I invite all to read it(attachment is in English).

You may have read lately some reviews on the publication of “Academic Transformation: The Forces Shaping Higher Education in Ontario” by Ian D. Clark, Greg Moran, Michael L. Skolknik, and David Trick. I was asked to comment on its content on TFO’s show “Panorama.” You may access this interview (available in French).

I have also posted on my website the submission to the provincial government (in English) that my colleagues at the Council of Ontario Universities and I have developed, entitled “Reaching Even Higher : The Next Multi-Year Funding Plan for Postsecondary Education.” I thought that this submission, and its three recommendations contained, would be of general interest to all members of the university community.

As you know, our university secretary, Denise Ouellette, will be leaving the university at the end of the month. We will miss her a great deal and wish her the very best. Denise, however, will remain in touch with us, working with Laurentian on a consulting basis on specific projects.

The chair of the Board of Governors and I are pleased to inform you that Sara Kunto, director of academic staff relations, has agreed to serve as acting university secretary and general counsel, effective January 4, until a permanent appointment is made for this position. Lisetta Chalupiak, manager of staff relations in human resources, will temporarily handle specific staff relations matters with LUFA, in consultation with the Provost. Gail Cooper-Benoit from human resources will fill in for some of the work that Lisetta is now doing. I thank them all for stepping up to the plate over the coming weeks. We are very fortunate to be able to count on such dedicated and competent managers and staff.

In closing, I want to wish each and every one of you – students, staff, faculty, and members of the community – a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year! You have made 2009 such a terrific year for myself and my family and have helped create so much excitement and anticipation for 2010.

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:

You can also follow me on Twitter and Facebook

Merci/Thank you/Miigwech




Dear members of the University community / Boozhoo / Aanii / Kwe kwe,

As you know, earlier in the fall we began our search process to fill our three vacant vice-president positions. This recruitment and selection process saw involvement from all aspects of the university community via inclusion of faculty, staff, students and board members on each of the three selection committees.  Each search committee sought the input of the university community and of key external leaders to inform the candidate requirements for each position.  We were extremely fortunate to have multiple high-quality applicants, both internal and external, for each of the three positions.

I’m thrilled to be able to report back to you today that we have completed our searches, and that the recommendations made by each of the selection committees were endorsed by our Senate this morning, and then subsequently unanimously approved by our Board this afternoon.

Dr. Robert Kerr, has been appointed as the vice-president, academic and provost, effective February 1, 2010.  Dr. Kerr joins us from the University of Manitoba, having just completed two terms as vice-president, academic and provost, where he oversaw programs serving 26,000 students. He was previously dean of the faculty of applied health sciences at Brock University from 1992 to 2002 and chair of kinanthropology in the school of human kinetics at the University of Ottawa. He also worked at McMaster and Memorial.

Dr. Kerr completed his undergraduate (BSc) and graduate studies (MSc and PhD) at the University of Oregon. He also holds a teaching certificate from the University of Exeter and a diploma in physical education from Saint Luke’s College in England.  His research expertise is in kinesiology, specifically in psychomotor learning.

In Manitoba, he championed innovative community partnerships, as well as initiatives benefiting aboriginal learners.

Dr. Louis Marquis, has been appointed as the new vice-president, francophone affairs, student affairs and recruitment, also effective February 1, 2010.  Dr. Marquis has been the vice-president for university community and international relations, and general secretary at the University of Sherbrooke for the past five years. He oversaw various university matters, including student affairs, athletics, ancillary services, academic staff relations, development, alumni relations, finance and legal services.

Dr. Marquis started his career at Sherbrooke in 1989, as a professor of law. He then went on to become vice-dean (research), director of graduate programs and dean within the faculty of law.

He completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Sherbrooke and his graduate degrees at the University of Cambridge and the University of British Columbia.  He specializes in transnational and international trade law, as well as methods of prevention and settlement of disputes.  His expertise has been sought by many foreign states, which led him to assume responsibilities for policy development and legal reform, and editing of training programs throughout the world.

Dr. Marquis has been an invited professor in eight other institutions in Canada, Morocco, France, Switzerland and Portugal.  He recently chaired a task force on university governance in Quebec and chaired the Association of Law Professors in Quebec in the mid-‘90s.

Dr. Patrice Sawyer, a longstanding member of our Laurentian University community who many of you know, has been appointed as the university’s vice-president, research and graduate studies.

A full professor with the department of mathematics and computer science, Sawyer served as department chair and dean of science and engineering. He was appointed acting vice-president in 2008, first in the portfolio of francophone affairs and academic staff relations, and more recently in the research and graduate studies portfolio.

Representative of the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) at Laurentian for the past eight years, he has also contributed as a member of several research-intensive boards of directors, including the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) Institute, the Mining Innovation, Rehabilitation and Applied Research Corporation (MIRARCO) and the Shared Hierarchical Academic Research Computing Network (SHARCNET). Over the past 19 years, he has been active on several university committees, including on the board of the Laurentian University Faculty Association.

Dr. Sawyer completed his undergraduate degree at Laval University and his graduate degree at McGill University.

Dr. John Isbister, acting vice-president, academic and provost, and Dr. Serge Demers, acting vice-president francophone affairs, student affairs and recruitment, will continue in their respective functions until January 31, 2010, and assist with the transition.

I would be remiss in not taking a moment to recognize the great deal of gratitude that I personally, and we as a university community owe John Isbister and Serge Demers, for their tremendous contributions over the past year-and-a-half.  They have always provided former acting president Robert Bourgeois and I with unparalleled support and advice. We are extremely fortunate to have such insightful and respected academic leaders within our university community.

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:

You can also follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

Merci/Thank you/Miigwech