Dear members of the University community / Boozhoo / Aanii / Kwe kwe:
We’ve been off to a roaring start, so far in 2013. January was exceptionally busy, beginning with two big announcements for our mining programs. On January 14th, we announced an investment of $1.25M from IAMGOLD to fund the establishment of Canada’s first Research Chair in Open Pit Mining at the Bharti School of Engineering. This is not only a first in Canada—it is the first privately-funded Research Chair at Laurentian. The search is now underway, and we hope to have the Chair filled later this year.
Just two days later, we were thrilled to introduce the Franco-Nevada Executive Director of the Goodman School of Mines. The position is funded through a $500,000 investment by Franco-Nevada. Dr. Bruce Jago, P. Geo, is still getting his feet wet in this critically important position. He will be responsible for creating the structure of the Goodman School, and one of his goals over the long-term will be to double enrolment in our mining programs by 2020. A warm welcome to Bruce and his family, who are back in sunny Sudbury after spending the past few years in Vancouver. We are extremely glad to have Dr. Jago in the position.
Our Political Science students have also had a tremendously busy season, thus far in 2013. On January 11th, more than 100 students from Sudbury and Barrie in Political Science and several other programs were in Ottawa for the 21st annual Model Parliament. We are one of only two Canadian universities privileged to hold a Model Parliament in the House of Commons, and this year’s exercise included a particularly “real-world” experience for the participants with demonstrations held on Parliament Hill and in Parliament buildings the same day that the Prime Minister was meeting with First Nations leaders. Upon their return to Laurentian, some of the Political Science students got ready for a “camping trip” right here on campus. The 2013 Live-in for Literacy raised more than $5,000! This is great student leadership in action, and I congratulate this year’s campaign. Here’s a link to a CBC Radio interview with Nathan Gregory Knott and Chloë Bowie Mirfield who participated in this year’s Live-in for Literacy campaign along with Mark Mancini.
More big news in early 2013: Provincial figures show that Laurentian has surged as a choice for a significantly increased number of Ontario secondary school students. The number of students naming Laurentian as one of their university of choice has jumped 25% for next September. That’s the highest increase seen at any university in the province, and compares with a 4.6% increase province-wide.
Programs with the highest increases in applications so far: Health Promotion +63%, Science 4 year programs in Sudbury +48%, Arts 4 year programs in Sudbury +46%, Radiation Therapy +46%, Bharti School of Engineering +43%, Social Work in Barrie +33%, Sports Psychology +28%. As well, more than 250 applicants are competing for the 70 spots available in the first intake of the School of Architecture.
I look forward to meeting many of these applicants in the coming months as they confirm their choice of university and program – we take nothing for granted and won’t rest on our laurels as we want future students to have the best university experience possible from the application process to convocation and beyond. During two special President’s Receptions in Sudbury and in Barrie on February 9 and 10, the Deans and I had the opportunity to meet over 50 of these 2013 applicants who had a grade 11 average of above 90%.
I am very proud of the hard work done by our faculty, staff, students and alumni throughout this recruitment season, under the leadership of our impressive Liaison Team. It’s great to see the momentum of the University, the track record of our faculty and alumni, our new undergraduate degree structure and the excellence of our programs and services increasingly being recognized locally and nationally. Our average entry grade has been increasing now above 81%. An increasing proportion of graduates indicate that if they had to start their university studies again, they would DEFINITELY choose Laurentian.
Recent news on applications add to a recent editorial in The Globe and Mail praising our 2012-2017 Strategic Plan as “an excellent strategy,” the recent release of data indicating that Laurentian now has the #1 post-graduate employment rate among Ontario universities, as well as the recent announcement of major private gifts for our Next 50 Campaign. Success attracts success. The re-introduction of varsity hockey in September (men and women), the upcoming campus modernization and improvements to food services on the Sudbury campus, as well as plans for our new downtown Barrie campus, will create even more excitement in the coming months!
Over the past few weeks, I have had the opportunity to host three breakfast meetings with diverse groups of faculty and staff from departments including Admissions, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Earth Sciences, Études françaises, Financial Services, the Office of the Dean of Science and Engineering, the Office of Graduate Studies, the Library, the Midwifery program, Physical Plant and Planning, Physics, Psychology, Security, Risk and Parking, and Social Work. We have also held the first five of 18 planned budget consultation sessions, with members of the Leadership Group including academic department chairs and school directors, representatives from the student associations on the Sudbury campus and the executives of LUSU, LUAPSA and CUPE.
Finally, I want to congratulate all those involved in organizing another important event: Research Week 2013. It was a terrific showcase for the work being done here by our faculty and graduate students. It was a pleasure to attend the launch and closing events (during which awards were announced for presenters during the Graduate Symposium and the “Voyageurs’ Den”), as well as the Lightning Talks.
Merci, Thank You, Miigwetch.