#Imagine2023 : Electronic Brainstorming Sessions March 27-29th

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

Consultations to inform the first draft of the university’s 2018-2023 Strategic Plan are now underway until the end of May. The strategic plan website was launched in early March and has already been visited by more than 500 people. Check it out for yourself.

Eight electronic brainstorming sessions will be held on March 27-29th in West Residence room 132. Electronic brainstorming sessions are an efficient way to capture everyone’s ideas, and make strategic choices. It served us very well in 2011 when we developed our 2012-2017 Strategic Plan. Participants are encouraged to read in advance a 10-page backgrounder. At each session, every participant will be able to brainstorm with other attendees and enter their ideas and suggestions on a laptop, and will then get to vote on all the ideas generated. Participants in each session will spend no more than two hours and leave with a sense of the consensus from the group. In other words: it’s not just a brainstorming for the sake of brainstorming. It’s a very good use of everyone’s time! These discussions will lead to results.

These eight sessions are designed, on one hand, to capture the unique perspectives of students, faculty, LUSU and LUAPS colleagues – four of the eight sessions are intended for one of these specific audiences. On the other hand, the process approved by Senate and the Board of Governors also calls for inter-departmental and multi-stakeholder discussions fostering collaborations. Therefore, the remaining four sessions are opened to all, including community members and alumni.

In order to assist with logistics with laptops, we are kindly asking participants to register in advance to the session of their choice as follows:

Participants Date and Time RSVP
LUSU members (bilingual) Monday, March 27th 10 am – noon Not required
All (in French only) Monday, March 27th 2-4 pm Imagine27PM.rsvpify.com
Students (bilingual) Monday, March 27th 6-7:30 pm Imagine2.rsvpify.com
Faculty (bilingual) Tuesday, March 28th 10am-noon Not required
All (bilingual) Tuesday, March 28th 2-4 pm Imagine28PM.rsvpify.com
Community members and alumni (bilingual) Tuesday, March 28th 7-9pm Imagine28EVE.rsvpify.com
LUAPS members (bilingual) Wednesday, March 29th 10am – noon Not required
All (bilingual) Wednesday, March 29th 2-4 pm Imagine29PM.rsvpify.com

This is your chance to help shape the future of Laurentian University. I really encourage you to take two hours of your busy schedule to be part of the discussion!

On Tuesday, March 21st, Professor Bonnie Patterson, Special Advisor to the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development and former President and CEO of the Council of Ontario Universities and former President and Vice-Chancellor of Trent University, will deliver a talk at 7 pm in the Governors’ Lounge to explain what are Strategic Mandate Agreements, their implications for universities, and what strategic questions the university community should be asking itself as we develop our 2018-2023 Strategic Plan together.

On Monday, April 3rd, Dr. Janet Morrison, Provost and Vice-President, Academic at Sheridan and former Vice-Provost, Students at York University, will stimulate our reflection about student life. She will deliver her presentation at 7 pm in the Governors’ Lounge.

On Wednesday, April 19th, Alex Usher, President of Higher Education Strategy Associates, Editor-in-Chief of Global Higher Education Strategy Monitor, and a member of our Strategic Planning Steering Committee, will present a talk on trends in postsecondary education. This will take place at 7 pm in the Executive Learning Centre.

Each of these talks will be followed by questions, after which Dr. Linda Ambrose, Special Advisor for Strategic Planning, will facilitate a discussion among attendees reflecting on what we will have heard.

In my next strategic planning update, I will provide you with additional details about other consultations and opportunities to learn from guest speakers.

If you have any questions or comments about the strategic planning process, please do not hesitate to email strategicplan@laurentian.ca.

As always, I welcome comments on the blog or any other matter. You can reach me at dominicgiroux@laurentian.ca, or can join the 12,700 people who follow me on FacebookTwitter or LinkedIn.

Merci, Thank you, Miigwech.

Supporting Sexuality and Gender Diversity

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

In 2012, Laurentian’s Sexuality and Gender Diversity Committee carried out a survey to the community to assess the climate for our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, 2-sprited, + (LGBTQ2-S+) members.

While the survey did find that there were many positive experiences for LGBTQ2-S+ members, there were clear opportunities for improvement. With these findings in mind, the Committee made the following recommendations:

  • Create a Vice-President, Equity and Diversity position;
  • Develop and implement a university-wide Positive Space training program;
  • Provide resources to Pride @ LU and the Women’s Centre, including the hiring of a full-time, permanent staff member for both of these important groups;
  • Provide universally-accessible washrooms and change room facilities throughout campus;
  • Engage in the promotion of LGBTQ2-S curriculum.

I am pleased to announce that we responded with tremendous effort and made the following improvements:

  • Assistant Vice-President, Diversity, Equity and Human Rights: In April 2016, Laurentian welcomed Noël Badiou in this role. Noël came to us with a great deal of expertise in human rights and is creating proactive education programs to help create an environment of respect, equity, diversity and inclusion;
  • Safe Space Training: safe space training started in September 2016 with the goal of providing training to 30-40 people within its first year. To date, over 400 members of the Laurentian community have taken part. The goal of the program is to provide visible contact points for members of the LGBTQ2-S community who may find themselves in need of seeking services or support. Laurentian members who wish to become a contact point will attend a 1 1/2 hour training session offered by Dr. Joel Dickinson, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychology. Participants receive a Safe Space sticker to display in their work, research and study areas, indicating that they have the knowledge to talk about issues related to sexuality or gender expression, and are familiar with internal policies, procedures, and resources as well as off-campus resources;
  • New minor in Critical Sexuality Studies: last September the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department began offering this new interdisciplinary minor which takes a critical view of sexuality from perspectives such as biology, history, and philosophy;
  • Washrooms: the University has introduced gender-neutral washrooms as part of its newly-constructed spaces;
  • Preferred Name: this may not seem like a huge leap forward, but to members of the Laurentian community who have a name on their birth certificate that does not match their identity, this initiative can be very impactful. Our name can be a very key piece to our identity, and thanks to our IT team, it is now possible for students to use a preferred name that will identify them on all systems within the university. After two years of work, we are very proud to offer this option.

All of these achievements were accomplished in five short years! Keep an eye out for the next survey which will be released within the next month, and have a say on how we move forward together!

As always, I welcome comments on the blog or any other matter. You can reach me at dominicgiroux@laurentian.ca, or can join the 12,300 people who follow me on FacebookTwitter or LinkedIn.

Merci, Thank you, Miigwech.