Multi-year budget / CNFS

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

Budget 2012-2017

Laurentian University’s Board of Governors approved the 2012-2017 multi-year budget on Friday.  The approved budget is balanced for the second year in a row and is aligned to put into action the 40 outcomes identified in the University’s strategic plan. The plan was presented to the Board of Governors after a broad consultation process, seeing over 300 students, faculty and staff in Sudbury and Barrie weigh in over 16 different sessions. It is an exciting time for Laurentian University – we now have an approved 5-year Strategic Plan, Academic Plan, Strategic Research Plan and a budget that aligns with these precise aspirations allowing us to accomplish our specified priorities.

Some of the notable incremental investments include:

  • $35M to support campus modernization in Sudbury (including classroom redesign, new collaborative spaces, one-stop student services, and a new front door welcoming centre);
  • $7.9M by 2017-18 to address deferred maintenance;
  • $6M for the rehabilitation of the Single Students Residence (SSR);
  • $4.1M by 2017-18 to support the international accreditation of the Faculty of Management;
  • $2.8M by 2017-18 to reintroduce men’s and introduce women’s hockey in the Fall of 2013 (self-funded initiative);
  • $2.1M by 2017-18 to launch the School of Mines;
  • $2M to modernize food services on campus, including a new Starbucks this year and full renovation of the Great Hall in 2013;
  • $1.8M by 2017-18 to increase staff training and professional development;
  • $1.4M by 2017-17 to fully integrate all operational functions into one data warehouse (Laurentian Electronic Age Project – LEAP);
  • $1.4M by 2017-18 to enhance services through the Centre for Academic Excellence;
  • $1.05M by 2017-18 to expand student recruitment efforts;
  • $1.05M by 2017-18 to secure full funding for the construction of the Indigenous Sharing and Learning Centre, enhance proactive hiring practices for Aboriginal faculty and staff, and increase Indigenous content in courses;
  • $1M by 2017-18 to establish Laurentian world-wide as the University synonymous with fresh water research;
  • $0.9M by 2017-18 to offer additional annual Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTA) to international students in our signature programs;
  • $0.7M by 2017-18 to support initiatives that support faculty and staff engagement;
  • $0.6M by 2017-18 to expand research chairs and scholars-in-residence;
  • $0.6M by 2017-18 to fully implement wireless on the Sudbury campus.

The plan calls for enrolment growth of 1,150 students by 2017-2018, and the university will do so while raising the average entry grade from 81% to 83% and continuing to diversify and grow its international student population.

Barrie operations are revenue neutral effective 2012-2013, representing an increased investment of $0.8M.

The budget includes significant investments in faculty and staff renewal. Key 2012-13 hires include a Canada Research Chair in Geochemistry, a Canada Research Chair in Environmental Microbiology, a Research Chair in Occupational Health and Safety, 20 other faculty hirings, more full-time counselors, an additional technologist in the Bharti School of Engineering, the Executive Director of the School of Mines, additional staff in Sudbury for security, marketing and capital projects, additional administrative and student recruitment support in Barrie. In total, the budget assumes 70 faculty retirements by 2017-2018, and about 95 faculty hirings for the Sudbury campus, the School of Architecture and the Barrie campus. Overall staff is projected to increase slightly during that period.

I am very proud of all who worked diligently to present recommendations for the multi-year planning which took into account all projected revenues and expenses for each of the next six years.  I would especially like to thank Normand Lavallée, Sue Radey, Joanne Goudreault and their teams for their hard work through this process.

For more information on the budget, please visit the budget intranet, or Click HERE for the presentation to the Board of Governors.

Consortium national de formation en santé (CNFS)

This week, we will welcome more than 200 delegates from across Canada to the 3rd annual CNFS national research forum. Laurentian is pleased to be hosting and co-organizing this event, which is taking place outside of Ottawa for the first time.  The forum brings researchers, health practitioners, government representatives, public policy makers in health and social services as well as professionals in health care to Sudbury to examine how research on health in francophone minority communities can be used to improve the well-being of patients and services in our communities.  Keynote speakers from Belgium, France and Wales are scheduled to present on aspects of health research.

For a full event schedule, please click HERE.

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

Merci, Thank You, Miigwech

Convocation/honourary doctorates/MassMin/Lunabotics

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

Another busy Convocation season has left us all energized, excited, and hopeful about the future of our graduates.

This year a total of 2,124 Laurentian students celebrated their graduation, in a series of 17 Convocation ceremonies held in Sudbury, Barrie, Timmins, Sault Ste. Marie, Hearst and Kingston.  And once again this year, Laurentian Chancellor Madame Aline Chrétien handed the degrees to smiling graduates, lending her special note of grace to the proceedings.  We certainly appreciate her tireless efforts on behalf of Laurentian University and its learners.  Congratulations to all of this year’s graduates.

We were also thrilled to have some special guests sharing in the honours and addressing Convocation. Laurentian awarded several honourary doctorates this season :

Each of our honourary doctorate recipients gave exceptional and memorable speeches at their respective ceremonies.  We are proud to welcome all of them into the Laurentian family.

Another honourary doctorate awarded this year was particularly special for our community in Hearst.  Laurentian awarded a posthumous honourary doctorate to the former Ontario Minister of Northern Affairs and Mines, René Fontaine, who died earlier this year.  As a long-time champion of the people of Hearst and Northern Ontario, and successful entrepreneur, Mr. Fontaine’s accomplishments are indeed worthy of this recognition.


Over 700 mining industry leaders, engineers and researchers from 35 countries attended the 6th MassMin International Conference, held at Laurentian June 10th-14th.  We congratulate the Canadian Institute of Mining Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM) and the conference co-chairs Dr. Yassiah Bissiri and Dr. Greg Baiden for organizing this important gathering.

We were honoured to host this event as it was held for the first time in Canada, and pleased to spread the news about Laurentian’s accomplishments and strategic direction in mining and mineral exploration in this prestigious forum.  Some of the most important and innovative thinking in the world’s mining industry was represented at this MassMin gathering.  I took the opportunity to mention to the audience that we are currently conducting a global search for a Founding Executive Director of our new School of Mines, which is expected to have the support of a $20M endowment fund.  We hope to have updates for you soon on this front.

International Global Experience Program

Another exciting first on campus saw the arrival of more than 100 pharmacy, computer science, and engineering/IT students from Gujarat Technological University in Ahmedabad, India, who are spending several weeks with us in summer session courses.  This collaboration with our educational partners in Gujarat was organized through the efforts of Dr. Kalpdrum Passi, Chair of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Sciences, and Dr. Vasu Appanna, Dean, Faculty of Science and Engineering.  The students will earn credits toward their studies at Gujarat Technological University, while gaining valuable immersion experience here in Canada. Organizers have planned outings, activities and even a field trip to Niagara Falls, to show our visitors what Canada has to offer.  The International Global Experience Program runs from June 18th through to the end of July.


A big round of applause is due to our 4th-year Mechanical Engineering students from the Bharti School of Engineering, who placed 7th overall in a very tough international field of more than 50 universities at this year’s NASA Lunabotics Competition.

Our Laurentian team finished first among all international entries in the event, and continued to solidify Laurentian’s global reputation in Engineering.  There were some differences in this year’s competiton: teams were required to design and construct a lunar mining module 30% lighter than last year’s robots.  They were given less time to complete the lunar excavation—10 minutes, as opposed to 15.

But the biggest challenge of all was to build and program a robot that could operate autonomously, without remote control.  None of the teams was able to achieve full autonomous operation, although Laurentian was one of the few that was able to complete a fully autonomous traversal of the obstacle course in the sandy pit known as the “LunArena”.  Several of the judges noted that Laurentian’s module was particularly well-designed to navigate the LunArena, with its innovative 6-wheeled design.

Another change over last year’s competition, when Team Laurentian placed first overall, is that the Americans were watching Laurentian very closely this year.  As faculty adviser Dr. Markus Timusk put it, “Unlike last year, the judges, commentators and the public all knew how to pronounce Laurentian University.”

Well done, team! We are immensely proud of you all, and congratulate you for your hard work and your excellent results.

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

Merci, Thank You, Miigwech