2013 In Review

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

It was a pleasure to see over 350 faculty, staff, students, alumni, Governors and community members at our annual Holiday Open House at 179 John Street on December 8th, and to see so many colleagues at the annual United Way fundraiser at Great Hall on December 11th and at the LUAPSA cocktail on December 12th.

With only a few days left to 2013, I wanted to summarize some of our collective accomplishments as a university community during the past year. The list certainly does not capture all the exciting developments. 

Student Satisfaction and Engagement

  • Return of men varsity hockey
  • Introduction of women varsity hockey, being ranked #2 in Canada for attendance at CIS women’s hockey games
  • Voyageurs re-branding, including the launch of a new product line
  • Opening of a new Subway on the Sudbury campus
  • Recognition of top first-year students by the Centre for Academic Excellence, 300 nominations of 40 faculty members teaching in first year, Rizwan Haq (Physics) and Suzanne Lamothe (Biology) as inaugural recipients of the Students’ Choice Teaching Awards
  • Consolidation of our Orillia programs in Barrie, enabling students to benefit from a wider course selection

 National Recognition

  • Installation of Steve Paikin as our new Chancellor
  • Launch of the Goodman School of Mines under the leadership of Dr. Bruce Jago as Founding Franco-Nevada Executive Director
  • Carling Zeeman named female Canadian Oarswoman of the Year and OUA Oarswoman of the Year, after winning Gold at the Canadian University Championships and two gold medals at the Ontario University Athletics rowing championships (including placing first with teammate Emily Jago in the women’s doubles event)
  • Appointment of Dr. Nathan Basiliko as Canada Research Chair in Environmental Microbiology at the Vale Living With Lakes Centre
  • Received the largest Collaborative Research and Development program research grant ever awarded by the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) for the “Footprints” project co-led by Dr. Michael Lesher
  • Announcement of the first private sector fully funded research chair at Laurentian (IAMGOLD Research Chair in Open Pit Mining)
  • Being one of the four Canadian universities involved as collaborating funding partners of NSERC’s new Canadian Network for Aquatic Ecosystems Services (CNAES), with the first AGM held on April 29-30th at the Vale Living With Lakes Centre
  • The Thinking Extinction three day international symposium hosted by our new Centre for Evolutionary Ecology and Ethical Conservation on November 14-16th
  • The Faculty of Management held its AACSB accreditation retreat on December 13th, exploring continuous improvement ideas to attain initial accreditation, as it enters the pre-accreditation phase and begins working on writing the AACSB Standards Alignment Plan  in 2014.
  • Being ranked #2 in Twitter engagement among Canadian universities
  • Launch of phase 2 of the website

University of Choice

  • 23% increase in high school applications
  • 7% increase in non-high school undergraduate applications
  • Record numbers of applications and confirmations (high school and non high school applicants), record percentages of Ontario university applications (1.5%) and confirmations (1.9%), record percentage of Ontario university 1st choice confirmations (2.21%)
  • 9% increase in enrolment in graduate programs
  • 50,000th graduate at Fall convocation
  • Off-campus perks program launched
  • Beginning of the $7.7 million rehabilitation of the Single Student Residence

Community Responsiveness

  • Opening of the School of Architecture: I was thrilled to attend the student showcase on Saturday December 14 and saw first hand the work accomplished by our talented and engaged students from the charter class
  • Conclusion of The Next 50 Campaign which exceeded its $50 million goal by raising $65.5 million, successful campaign close events
  • Events at BMO in March and King Edward Hotel in May in Toronto for the Goodman School of Mines
  • Hiring of six additional Indigenous faculty
  • Hosting Mining Day in March, which is being held annually in rotation with Cambrian College and Collège Boréal
  • Launch of the Northern Policy Institute (NPI) under the leadership of Charles Cirtwill, who presented  to the Board of Governors on Friday, December 13th the seven NPI projects already commissioned, the nine RFPs in development and five other projects under discussion
  • Successful Laurentian Leadership Summit on October 24th-25th involving close to 200 community leaders and students

 Organizational Excellence

  • Increase on each of the 20 “employee engagement” drivers on our second biannual Have Your Say survey, with the most progress measured in: performance feedback, continuous improvement, organizational communication, team recognition and satisfaction with senior leadership⁄senior administration
  • Launch of the Northern Leadership Program involving 20 leaders from Laurentian, Health Sciences North, Science North and the City of Greater Sudbury
  • Approval by the Board in October of the new Campus Master Plan which will guide the Sudbury campus development for the next 30-50 years
  • New Dean of the Faculty of Management, Dr. Stephen Havlovic
  • Hiring of new Executive Director of Human Resources and Organizational Development, Terez Klotz and new Director of Talent Management and Organizational Development, Kate Sikerbol
  • New collective agreement with CUPE Local 5011 representing Graduate Teaching Assistants

Over the past year, Laurentian leaders have continued to play a key role provincially and nationally. Here are a few examples:

  • Dr. Roger Strasser completed his term as co-chair of the Council of Ontario Faculties of Medicine.
  • Dr. Patrice Sawyer chairs the Ontario Council on University Research.
  • Dr. Birgit Pianosi from Huntington chairs the Ontario Interdisciplinary Council for Aging and Health.
  • Michèle Minor-Corriveau from Orthophonie chairs the Ontario Council of University Programs in Rehabilitation Sciences.
  • I continue to co-chair the Ontario Council on Articulation and Transfer and the Consortium national de formation en santé, and have been appointed to the five-member Executive Committee of the Association of Canadian Universities of Colleges (AUCC) along with my peers from the University of British Columbia, the University of Manitoba, the Université de Montréal and Mount Allison University. I have been serving since 2009 on AUCC’s Standing Advisory Committee on Educational Issues and Funding and will now be serving on the Standing Advisory Committee on University Research.

Locally in Sudbury, on November 14th, the biannual Top 40 Under 40 gala was held. Once again this year, a majority of recipients are either faculty members, staff, students or alumni of the Laurentian community. Congratulations to all recipients, especially:

  • Dr. Alain Gauthier (Assistant Professor, School of Human Kinetics);
  • Dr. Alison Goodwin (Assistant Professor, School of Human Kinetics);
  • Angela Gilmore (alumna);
  • Brandon Beeson (alumnus);
  • Charlie Andrews (former President of the Students’ General Association);
  • Christina Chicoine (alumna);
  • David Joseph Anselmo (alumnus);
  • Jennifer Horgan (alumna);
  • Jean-Paul Rains (Manager, Digital Strategy);
  • Kristin Green (alumna);
  • Kristy Rousseau (Manager, Individual Gifts);
  • Marc Mortin (former employee in Advancement);
  • Megan Kolppanen (alumna);
  • Nathalie Depatie (alumna and part-time instructor, University of Sudbury);
  • Nicole Tardif (Program Coordinator, Goodman School of Mines);
  • Shannon Katary (Director of Marketing and Community Relations, Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation);
  • Dr. Stacey Ritz (Associate Professor, Northern Ontario School of Medicine);
  • Dr. Suman Koka (alumnus);
  • Tom Fenske (Biology Technologist and President, Laurentian University Staff Union);
  • Tiffany Cecchetto (part-time instructor in Accounting-Finance);
  • Tracy Horgan (Manager, Financial Planning and Analysis).

I want to thank each of you for an exceptional year. I wish you a happy and safe holiday. In my next blog posting, I will highlight some of the developments you can expect in 2014.

As always, I welcome comments on the blog or any other matter: you can reach me at dominicgiroux@laurentian.ca, or you can join the 6,800 people who follow me on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Merci, Thank You, Miigwetch.

Great Beginnings, Big News…

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

The pace of events in our University community has been unrelenting, and sometimes a little exhausting!  But it’s also exhilarating.  There is much going on, and much progress to report to you in this latest blog posting.



At long last, we’ve settled on the future home of the Laurentian School of Architecture.  This step forward means we can now begin the serious work of imagining and designing what is sure to be a tremendous landmark in the centre of our city.  After months of planning and much work, the purchase of our preferred site – the Market Square property at Elm and Elgin Streets – was approved by the Greater Sudbury City Council. Laurentian, the School of Architecture Project Committee and the design team at Levitt Goodman are all thrilled about the possibilities this site presents. The Laurentian School of Architecture will welcome its first 70 students in September 2013 in the current Market building, while construction for the remaining 65,000 sq ft will be underway on adjacent space on the same site.

Open House


On November 12th, over 200 students, faculty and staff kept busy on the Sudbury campus, ushering in potential future students. We hosted close to 1,000 visitors from all across Ontario, young people and their parents getting a first-hand look at what Laurentian University has to offer. It’s exciting to speak with prospective students and their families, and it’s always gratifying to me to see just how impressed they are when they see our beautiful campus and deal with our engaging and responsive faculty staff.  By all reports, they enjoyed their weekend with us and we certainly hope to seeing most of them back here as new students in September 2012.

Towards a downtown presence in Barrie


Barrie City councilors voted on November 14th to approve a municipal contribution of $14 million toward the establishment of a downtown university campus.  This decision follows a presentation to City Council by Laurentian University on September 26th, outlining Laurentian’s vision for a $60 million academic facility of 162,000 sq ft serving 3,000 students. Laurentian University also pledged $14 million towards the project.  We continue to work toward the next step in the process: taking part in the upcoming provincial process to determine Ontario’s three new undergraduate campuses.


Employee Engagement


This past week, our Leadership Group met to share feedback from their faculties and administrative departments on the Have Your Say survey results.  Joining us were Tom Fenske and Ashley Thomson, who shared important insights with us from LUSU and LUFA. I congratulate the administrative departments where a number of tangible individual and team commitments have already been made to improve specific dimensions in the future. We have received valuable input from faculty and staff on next steps. Flowing from that, we’re pursuing more conversations to identify university-wide areas of focus. I look forward to communicating more on these very shortly.

2012-2017 Strategic Plan


Laurentian’s strategic plan received endorsement last Tuesday from Senate.  This document is truly the result of an exceptional degree of engagement at all levels of our university community, and I am grateful for the level of participation and the collective energy that went into it. There were more than 800 “touch points” from students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members throughout the process since February and I look forward to presenting our final five year strategic plan to the Board of Governors in December. After that, we’ll be talking about some of the highlights of the plan in greater detail. I think you’ll find it energizing and exciting.


Sudbury’s Top 40 Under 40


Sudbury’s young leaders were recognized on Thursday at the 40 Under Forty awards ceremony sponsored by Northern Ontario Business.  These young leaders represent the bright future of our community and their talent, ambition and success was acknowledged and celebrated during the awards presentation.  I am especially proud to report that this year, more than half of the recipients are either Laurentian students, alumni, faculty or staff. I would like to extend my congratulations in particular to Yunni Jeong, Dr Christine Kraus, Sara Kunto, Tracy MacLeod, Kristeen McKee, Chris Mercer, and Dr Albrecht Schulte-Hostedde who were among the recipients!

Toronto Celebrates Sudbury

Another exciting celebration took place on Thursday in Toronto. The first Toronto Celebrates Sudbury dinner was held in the Distillery District hosted by Perry Dellelce managing partner of Wildeboer Dellelce LLP and co-chair of Laurentian’s Sudbury Families initiative. The event brought together people who are either from Sudbury or have ties to Sudbury, who now live in the Greater Toronto Area. The evening celebrated Sudbury and its heritage, and provided an opportunity for Perry and his friends to give back to the Sudbury community. I was impressed by the incredible detail that had gone into planning this event and wish to express my gratitude to the hundreds of participants for supporting Laurentian University.

Margaret Atwood Event


Laurentian and the Sudbury community were as honored again this year to host Canada’s best known poet and author, Margaret Atwood, on her annual birthday visit.  This marks the fourth year that Ms. Atwood has joined us for a dinner party and fund-raising event. This year, the proceeds raised will be used to endow a Laurentian University scholarship in her name. It is a lasting legacy of the long and happy relationship between our university community and Ms. Atwood. Thank you to Dr. Susan Paterson Glover and Dr. Shannon Hengen for pursuing this great tradition.

Hilary M. Weston Scholarship Winners


So many of our Laurentian students do us proud every day. Another recent example is Hiren Rawal,research assistant in Laurentian’s School of Social Work. Hiren is a 2011 recipient of the Hilary M. Weston Scholarship, which will support his research into mental health, homelessness and the foster care experience of Northern Ontario youth.  Last year, Maaria Blackwell-Moxam was honoured with the same scholarship. Maaria holds Laurentian University degrees in Gerontology and Social Work.

Go Voyageurs!


There were several exciting moments in sports recently. The National Rowing Championships (Olympic qualifier) was held last week in Welland where Carling Zeeman placed third in the senior women’s race and as a result was 1st in the U23 women’s category.  Carling won gold at the Canadian University Championships the previous weekend finishing 12 seconds ahead of her closest competitor. Congratulations to our National Champion who earned the Canadian University Rowing Female Athlete of the Year!

As for swimming, the Laurentian Aqua Vees and Voyageurs competed in the Tihanyi Divisional Championships a week ago in Toronto and had some strong showings. On the women’s side, Emily Jones had three top-5 finishes and Brittany Maltais finished first in the 50m breaststroke. Jones qualified for the CIS Championships in the 50m and 100m backstroke while Maltais qualified in the 50m breaststroke. Laurentian will be hosting the OUA Championships from February 9th to11th.

Although soccer season has come to a close I want to acknowledge that the Laurentian Men’s and Women’s soccer teams both qualified for playoffs this season.  This is a first in the university’s history.  Even though we did not bring home the gold this year, I am proud of their efforts and look forward to cheering on both of our teams throughout next season.

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: dominicgiroux@laurentian.ca.

You can also join the 2,500 people who follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

Merci/Thank you/Miigwech