Laurentian Matters, Far and Wide

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

Laurentian faculty, staff, and students seem to be everywhere these days.  Our faculty, our students, our research centres and our programs are garnering media attention far and wide, and I am thrilled to be celebrating all of their successes.  Members of the Laurentian community are making their mark, making a difference, and making us all proud.  Here’s a brief list of recent accomplishments in our Laurentian community:

In the North
On January 8th, we celebrated a big announcement from the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration:  a three-year funding commitment of $2.7 million for  Professions North, an important program that was started here at Laurentian University by our Faculty of Management. Since its inception in 2010, Professions North has helped more than 300 internationally trained professionals to reach their career goals by bridging education, culture and employment services, and by providing a linking service with employers.  This effort has been making a real difference in the lives of internationally-trained professionals, and in the northern communities where they are living and working.  We’re proud to play a role in this successful program.

On Parliament Hill
From January 9-12th, Laurentian students from Sudbury and Barrie took part in the 22nd annual Model Parliament. As usual, the members of Laurentian’s Political Science Association and faculty worked hard to put together a successful and memorable event and, I congratulate all of them.  I think their “political organizing” skills will certainly serve them well!  It was a privilege for me to attend again this year and to listen to our students’ impressive speeches, questions and answers! It was heartening to see our students meeting and talking politics with keen observers of the Canadian political scene, such as Chancellor Steve Paikin and Richard Madan, Parliamentary Correspondent for CTV News in Ottawa. Our Past Chair, Floyd Laughren, joined us as Governor General. You can read accounts of the student experience in this year’s Model Parliament at and at the Student Blogs page

On January 15th, the federal government announced a new International Education Strategy designed to double the number of international students in Canada by targeting China, Brazil and other fast-growing countries. The government plans to spend $5 million annually to support the program and another $13 million over two years will be spent on the Globalink program, which helps Canadian students study in other countries. This is good news for Laurentian University, where we’ve experienced strong growth in international enrolment.  As set out in our Strategic Plan, we are focussed on increasing the proportion of international students from 6.1% in 2011 to 8% by 2015.

In Ontario
On January 16th, the Honourable Brad Duguid, Ontario’s Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, announced the launch of a new Course-to-Course Transfer Guide.  This tool makes it easier for Ontario’s postsecondary students to transfer their credits among all of Ontario’s 44 publicly funded colleges and universities. Students can now enter their current transcript information, such as course codes or course titles, and they will be able to see how their credits will be recognized at other institutions prior to applying. As co-chair of the Ontario Council on Articulation and Transfer (ONCAT), I am thrilled to see this tool developed to assist students in learning about the pathways available to them.  Laurentian University continues to recognize full credit of courses taken in other universities and is #1 among Ontario universities outside the GTA in terms of college transfers.

In the Universe
Congratulations to Nigel Smith, Christina Kraus, Clarence Virtue and everyone at SNOLab for the wonderful feature that aired on January 20th on PBS News Hour.  The program brought viewers inside “one of the most sophisticated particle physics observatories in the world,” and introduced the enormous PBS audience across the United States and abroad to SNOLab, Laurentian University and Sudbury.  Bravo!

The Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation (CEMI) was awarded an exceptional distinction on January 22nd, when the Honourable Greg Rickford, Minister of State (Science and Technology) announced winners of the Business-led Networks of Centres of Excellence (BL-NCE) program. At the Minister’s announcement in Sudbury on January 22nd, CEMI was awarded $15 million for its Ultra-Deep Mining Network proposal, making it the largest grant recipient of the 2014 competition.  Amazing news for our colleagues at CEMI. I am proud to serve as Chair of CEMI this year.

And Still More Kudos!
Congratulations to our own Tracy Oost, Forensic Scientist and Continuity Officer, whose Titanic research continues to gain attention and wide recognition.  Tracy was interviewed recently on the flagship CBC Radio program As it Happens (39:00), as well as CBC Sudbury and Radio New Zealand National.  She has become a leading name in a fascinating field of research, and her work has helped to unravel long-standing mysteries surrounding the tragedy of the Titanic.

Dr. Amadeo Parissenti, professor of chemistry and biochemistry at Laurentian also made headlines this month with breakthrough developments in cancer treatment.  Dr. Parissenti will also be featured on the cover of University Affairs magazine in March.  We are tremendously proud of the work he is doing in helping to improve the quality of life of women with breast cancer.

Laurentian Mechanical Engineering students took home top honours in the Senior Design category at the Ontario Engineering Competition.  Congratulations Richard Lapointe, Justin Gaudet, Nathan Mathias and Mitch Andryechen who will be representing Ontario at the 2014 Canadian Engineering Competition in London, March 13-16.

Research Week is February 3-7th. There is a series of events throughout the week to learn more about the work being done at Laurentian University by our faculty and graduate students.  Click here for the complete agenda.

On February 13th, bidders with an eye for a well-designed ice-fishing hut will be attending a first-of-its-kind auction in support of the Laurentian School of Architecture.  As part of their design/build program of study, our first-year architecture students have been creating ice huts – and without giving too much away, we understand that there are some pretty amazing designs out there!  Perhaps one of these huts will be seen on a lake in your neighbourhood during the current ice-fishing season. The auction will be held at Science North in the Vale Cavern on Thursday, February 13, 6:00-9:00 pm.  Good fishing, everyone.

Also coming up:
On March 6, 2014, the Peter Goring lecture series welcomes the Honourable Bob Rae, who will speak on “Mining and First Nations: Sustainability is the Only Option.” Mr. Rae will share his thoughts on “sustainability” as a critical principle of first nations thinking, and how it relates not only to the land, water, and air, but also to the sustainability of people and communities.  This is sure to be a very popular lecture.  Stay tuned to for further details about this event.

As always, I welcome comments on the blog or any other matter: you can reach me at, or you can join the 6,800 people who follow me on FacebookTwitter or LinkedIn.

Merci, Thank You, Miigwetch.

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, or you can join the 6,800 people who follow me on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Merci, Thank You, Miigwetch.