Back to School, MTCU, Voyageurs Kick Off

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

The 2012 summer is quickly coming to an end and I hope you have all enjoyed some rest and relaxation over the past few months.  I am very fortunate to have spent some quality time with my family exploring the incredible landscape of western Canada.  I have recharged and am energized to be back into the swing of things as the school year starts.  We have a calendar packed with events for our new and returning students, and the whirlwind of activity is just beginning.  I have had the pleasure of welcoming new students at SOS Orientation on the Sudbury campus on August 15th, of welcoming new MD students at the beginning of NOSM’s Orientation Week, of visiting the new 236 beds residence in Sudbury, and of welcoming our new students with special needs who are taking part in the Laurentian Initiative For Transition (LIFT) Program on the Sudbury campus.  The Laurentian Student Union in Barrie will also be hosting orientation sessions this week to acquaint new students with facilities and services on campus.  We are all quite busy with the excitement of back to school activity and I’ll have more to report on this next week.


New Residence

The new residence was officially opened on August 30th with a ribbon cutting ceremony and tours of this incredible 12-storey complex.  With the completion of this new facility, Laurentian now offers on-campus housing for 1600 students in Sudbury.    For the past two years, many have worked hard to ensure that the residence would be ready for students in September 2012 and I would like to thank those involved in the planning and construction for their dedication and commitment to meeting the target.  I want to acknowledge Laurentian’s Director of Services, Romeo Bertoli for his leadership on this project and Pierre Fontaine and the Physical Plant and Planning team for the countless hours they have invested in this project.


Seeking Input – Ministry of Training, Colleges & Universities

At the end of June, the Ministry of Training, Colleges & Universities (MTCU) released a discussion paper entitled Strengthening Ontario’s Centres of Creativity, Innovation and Knowledge.  The document raises questions that will inform the government’s direction on postsecondary education in the province.  A series of roundtable discussions with the postsecondary education sector was held – Minister Glen Murray kicked off a session in Sudbury at Laurentian on July 26th.  In addition to these sessions, the Ministry is asking for written submissions from institutions, student associations, Colleges Ontario, the Council of Ontario Universities and other associations before September 30th.  Dr. Anne-Marie Mawhiney, Special Advisor in my office, is leading the development of a response from Laurentian’s perspective.  I believe it is important to consider as many perspectives as possible in forming Laurentian’s submission and I encourage all members of Laurentian’s community to offer input.

The other request we received from the Ministry over the summer is for an eight-page submission to “begin the process of developing strategic mandate agreements (SMAs)” between each university and college and the province.  The submission must be received by September 30th and we are required to include our institutional vision, proposed mandate statement and three priority objectives. I will have a chance to discuss this further at Senate in September. Anne-Marie and Dr. Robert Kerr, VP Academic and Provost, are co-leading the development of our SMA submission. This exercise is straightforward since it will incorporate strategic directions already approved either by the Board of Governors or Senate through the recent approvals of the 2012-2017 Strategic Plan, the Academic Plan, the Strategic Research Plan, the Graduate Expansion Plan or the 2012-2017 multi-year budget.

If you have any specific input to offer on any or all the questions included in the discussion paper, please feel free to provide it as soon as possible to Anne-Marie so that she can attempt to reflect your input in the first draft that will be circulated to Senate and the Board’s Executive Committee in mid-September.  Anne-Marie’s email is


Voyageurs – Kick off!

One more thing to watch for: The Laurentian Voyageurs Men’s Lacrosse team (CUFLA) takes to the field to play host to McMaster University at the LU Stadium on September 8th.  The match begins at 2 pm on Saturday afternoon.

Here’s to a winning season for all of us at Laurentian in 2012-2013!

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