“Le gardien du dépôt”

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

I’m renewing my old habit of communicating directly with the university community through this blog. Since I’ve unfortunately neglected to blog with you since February, I’m going to make up for the lack of updates over the upcoming weeks.

Since February, we’ve held 16 budget consultation sessions in Sudbury and Barrie and five monthly “Laurentian Soapboxes” in Sudbury. On May 14, the 2012-2013 budget was presented to the Board of Governors’ Finance Committee and approved at that same meeting.  The budget included projected revenue and expenses up to 2017-2018. The following day, the information was presented to Senate and on May 23, at the Laurentian Soapbox. These documents are posted on the budget intranet site. The Board of Governors will decide on the Finance Committee’s recommendation later in June.

On April 17, Senate unanimously approved the new 2012-2017 Strategic Research Plan, which ties in with the University’s 2012-2017 Strategic Plan. You can access the interactive website by clicking here. I would like to thank everyone who contributed to the Strategic Research Plan under the leadership of Patrice Sawyer and Yves Alarie.

On April 27, the Board of Governors approved a request to seek partial designation of the University under the French Language Services Act. A partial designation would apply to main services offered on the Sudbury campus as well as to programs offered in French in Sudbury in 2011-2012. The Board endorsed a number of parameters to protect Senate’s autonomy and the Board’s right to not budget or offer course sections with very little enrolment, i.e. five or fewer students. Over the next year, the University will work closely with the Office of Francophone Affairs and the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities to draw up a provincial regulation that fits with the parameters approved by the Board of Governors.

Community consultations and presentations continue to take place with the goal to finalize the design of the School of Architecture.

I’ll elaborate on some of these developments and many others in my next updates.

On May 22, it was an honour for me to attend a book launch for “Le gardien du dépôt” a biography of Gaétan Gervais, professor emeritus of Laurentian’s History Department and recipient of an honorary degree from LU in 2011. The book was written by my good friend Robert Arseneault (B.A. 1974 from Laurentian and former director of the Centre franco-ontarien de ressources pédagogiques – CFORP).

At the event, many people made touching statements, such as the author, Pierre Riopel (vice-president, CFORP and director of education, Conseil scolaire public Grand Nord de l’Ontario), Michel Bock (who, like Robert and Pierre, was also one of Gaétan’s students) and students of the new École secondaire publique Gaétan Gervais d’Oakville, in the Conseil scolaire district Centre-Sud-Ouest.

Launching Gaétan’s biography coincides well with the approval of the Strategic Research Plan, since it proposes to establish a research chair in Franco-Ontarian history.  The multiyear budget backed by the Board of Governors’ Finance Committee on May 14 – and which will be submitted to the Board for approval – includes the amounts needed to bring this priority to fruition in 2016-2017, action that will solidify the status of our French-language History Program as one of the 19 signature programs identified in our 2012-2017 Strategic Plan.

I’m sure that you’ll join me in applauding the CFORP for publishing this fourth edition in its prestigious “Gens d’exception” collection. The first three editions were biographies of Maurice Lapointe, Gisèle Lalonde and Mariette Carrier-Fraser (one of my predecessors as assistant deputy minister of the Ministry of Education and past member of our Board of Governors). On June 7, the CFORP will reveal two new biographies: one of former provincial minister Bernard Grandmaître (who “fathered” the French Language Services Act, also known as Law 8 ) and the other, of Claudette Paquin, who has been a member of our Board of Governors since 2011. I take this opportunity to congratulate Claudette for this recognition.

You can order these publications online.

In closing, I’d like to thank all of the colleagues and students who contributed to the success of the “Starting Point” weekend that took place on May 26-27 and during which we welcomed hundreds of students (and their parents) who will join our Sudbury campus in September.

As always, I welcome comments on the blog or any other matter: you can reach me at dominicgiroux@laurentian.ca, or you can join the 3,200 people who follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

Merci, Thank You, Miigwech.