Towards More Meaningful Conversations

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

As you know, one of the seven aspirations of the 2012-2017 Strategic Plan is for the University to be known for its positive organizational culture.

In 2009, I had the opportunity to meet with every academic and non-academic department asking colleagues several questions; what I should know about their department and the University, where they saw their department and the University five and ten years down the road, and what the first page of the annual report should look like in ten years. In total there were 52 sessions held which included university associations. The conversations were very engaging and extremely insightful for me – I learned a lot from them.

Since 2010, I have been involved in over 80 sessions with students, faculty and staff as well as their associations, faculty councils and the Laurentian University Native Education Council.  Sessions focused on discussions around the annual operating budget, the development of our new Strategic Plan or faculty and staff engagement.

In January, the monthly Laurentian Soapbox was introduced at the Sudbury campus and it will continue to be a great platform for faculty and staff to learn about the accomplishments and future plans of colleagues while interacting with other departments in a social setting.

Starting in January, I will be inviting on a biweekly basis approximately six faculty members from different departments for an open conversation over breakfast, lunch or coffee. There will be no agenda, no presentations, no minutes, and no boardroom table. I will want to hear about: colleagues’ teaching and research initiatives, what they are working on, what they are proud of, what are their aspirations, how the University can better support their efforts and what is on their mind. It will also be a good opportunity to demystify any of the strategic directions of the University, confirm or put to bed any rumours, answer questions, receive feedback and advice, and address one or two current topics that may be of particular interest to participants. I will usually be joined by Dr Robert Kerr or Dr Patrice Sawyer. Some of these sessions will be scheduled in Barrie.

I will also do the same with a number of staff members from different departments on a biweekly basis. For these sessions, I will usually be joined by Carol McAulay or Bernie Beaulieu.

I really look forward to these informal and meaningful conversations. Individual invitations will be sent by my assistant, Silvie Allard.

As always, I welcome comments on the blog or any other matter: you can reach me at, or you can join the 4,600 people who follow me on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Merci, Thank You, Miigwech.

Campus Master Plan

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

The University has begun the process of updating its Campus Master Plan for the Sudbury campus. I invite you to learn more about this process and to review the discussion guide. In essence, all members of the university community are invited to email their answers to the following eight questions to as soon as possible, even though the deadline has passed:

  1. I am an (undergraduate student, graduate student, faculty, staff, alumnus, community member).
  2. When at Laurentian, I lived (on campus, off campus).
  3. I chose Laurentian because…
  4. What are five words you would use to describe the Sudbury campus?
  5. What are your favourite places on campus, and why?
  6. What would you change on the Sudbury campus, and why?
  7. How do you get to campus? Do you travel downtown, and if so, why?
  8. Describe your vision for the future of Laurentian’s Sudbury campus.


I strongly encourage you to attend two distinct events related to the Campus Master Plan process:

Project Kick-Off Event

Wednesday, November 14, 2012
3:00pm to 5:00pm
Fraser Auditorium, Laurentian University


Workshop Outcomes Open House

Thursday, November 15, 2012
3:30pm to 6:00pm
West Residence, Room W-132

Also, in regards to the Campus Master Plan, it has come to my attention that there has been discussion among some members of the university community regarding the potential of a road through campus; I would like to add some context and clarity to the discussion, as we begin these sessions.

The Board of Governors adopted a position on the access road in 2007, stating that the interests of the University and the community would be best served by traffic management and development options that do not involve an access road through the campus. The Board has not adopted a different position since then, nor has the university administration.

The City of Greater Sudbury may have complementary or competing plans in a number of areas, including roads, and the University will have to respond to these as they are put forward.
I trust this clarifies the situation as we as a University community, discuss what we want for our campus in the future.

I also look forward to seeing many of you at Margaret Atwood’s annual birthday dinner on November 13th, and at the basketball home openers on November 16th. 

As always, I welcome comments on the blog or any other matter: you can reach me at, or you can join the 4,600 people who follow me on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Merci, Thank You, Miigwech.