Recognizing excellence, recruiting students … growing moustaches

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

There has been plenty of excitement around the University in this busy fall season.  The Maclean’s annual university rankings were released a few days ago and I was very happy to see Laurentian’s overall ranking climb again.  Although no rankings are perfect, it is always nice to see our momentum in both Sudbury and Barrie captured by some of the national rankings. In the past two years we have increased our overall position in Maclean’s by seven ranks, to 11th in the primarily undergraduate category – the biggest jump of any university in Canada during that period.

This improvement over the past two years is due largely to the fact that relative to other universities, we have done a better job of protecting our student-faculty ratio, our operating budget per student has increased, a greater proportion of our students are winning national awards, and faculty members have secured more research grants.

On another exciting note, the 2011 Ontario Universities’ Fair (OUF) was held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on October 14-16th.  The OUF is an important opportunity for us to introduce ourselves to thousands of high school students and their parents who are seeking information about post-secondary options.  This year, the fair attracted over 118,000 attendees over the three-day period.

Laurentian University had a new element this year that was staged for a real “5D” Laurentian University experience, featuring a residence room, a replica of the rock-climbing wall at Sudbury’s Athletics Centre, and even an actual beach.  We were delighted by the positive feedback and thrilled to have received a record number of potential students and parents to our exhibit. I’d like to thank our students, faculty, staff and alumni who attended the fair and did such a wonderful job representing our growing University.  We are still receiving rave reviews!

On October 28th, I had the great pleasure of presenting long-term service awards to members of our Laurentian community.  The Chancellor, Board Chair Floyd Laughren and I were humbled to present this special recognition for 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 and 40 years of service to so many deserving staff.  In total, we were celebrating over 3,200 years of service at Laurentian University. Their collective efforts remind us all, again, that the success of any organization starts with its people.  This group has had an impressive impact on the University, helping to bring Laurentian to the place we stand today. I congratulate each of them and look forward to the many more years ahead.   I also want to acknowledge and thank those who we celebrated at our retirement celebration.  We were able to pay tribute to the faculty and staff who have recently retired or will soon retire from a career at Laurentian University.  Congratulations on a well-deserved retirement and best wishes to all.

Over 472 students graduated this Fall. Two convocation ceremonies were held on October 29th on the Sudbury campus. Several key awards were presented. Dr. Carol Kauppi was celebrated as the recipient of the Laurentian University Research Excellence Award for 2010-2011.  Dr. Kauppi is a full professor in the School of Social Work and since 2009 has been Director of the Centre for Research in Social Justice and Policy.  In 2010, she was successful in securing a grant of $1M from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.  This single grant provides 5-year funding for the Poverty, Homelessness and Migration project.  Great work Dr. Kauppi and congratulations on this very special award.

The other award that was presented went to Dr. Hoi Cheu from the Department of English for his excellence in teaching. Dr. Cheu accepted the Teaching Excellence Award for his contributions to Laurentian University.  As part of our community, he has vastly impacted his students and is dedicated to their progress and success.  I would like to extend my congratulations to him for his work.

Laurentian University launched its United Way campaign on October 4th with a kick-off breakfast that welcomed 154 people and raised $1,100 for the campaign. The campaign is in full swing with another fundraiser which started on November 3rd. Tickets for a draw to see an all Canadian hockey game, the Toronto Maple Leafs vs Vancouver Canucks in Toronto on December 17th at 7 pm, are available from November 3rd, 2011 and can be purchased for $5. The draw will be held on November 30th at 12:30 p.m. in the Great Hall.  This year we hope to raise $40,000 for this worthy cause, with the pledge drive ending on December 23rd.

Finally, this month is moustache season and I will be participating in my first Movember. This month-long event challenges men from every corner of Canada as well as around the world, to help support prostate cancer awareness by growing a moustache in November. We are all excited to do our part in raising awareness for men’s health this month.  Funds raised in Canada will go to support research on prostate cancer, the most common form of male cancer.  So if you see someone who looks like me, walking around campus over the next month sporting a moustache, chances are it will be me. To support the Laurentian Team by making a donation, you can go here for my page, or here for team captain, Dr. David Lesbarrères’ page.

As usual, I welcome comments and questions on the topics discussed in my blog postings, or any other matter that may be of concern to you. My email is: .

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Merci/Thank you/Miigwech

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