Students First

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

Walking through the Classroom Building, I see students sitting on the new benches, working, collaborating and laughing. Across campus, I see newly-renovated classrooms and labs filled with bright minds and state-of-the art technology. At the Great Hall, I regularly hear how the food and service is top notch. Starbucks and the new foyer of the Alphonse-Raymond Building are new spaces for students to enjoy.

MyLaurentian hub is up and running on the ground floor of the Parker Building, minimizing the need for students to go at various offices on campus for assistance. We will soon begin construction of the $10 million Student Centre next to the West Residence, an initiative led by the Student’s General Association (SGA) and funded by its members.

The East Residence was built to address a waiting list for residences on campus. The Centre for Academic Excellence was established to support student success. Varsity hockey was re-introduced as a mean to enhance student life.

Students spoke during the development of the University’s 2012-2017 Strategic Plan, and we listened.

Students now have new opportunities to be heard. You have likely seen posters around campus referring to the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE). This survey is sent to more than 300,000 first and fourth year students at hundreds of colleges and universities across Canada. It measures how much time and effort students put into their studies, but also how well we do at supporting them in their studies.

The answers students give us help us understand what we are doing well… and not so well.

If you are a student, I hope that you can find a few minutes in your busy schedule to fill out the survey. You will likely have received invitations by email on February 9th, and we will remind you again in March. I should also mention that of those of you who do respond will qualify for two $500 prizes. If you want more information, please go to

The second upcoming opportunity for students to help shape Laurentian’s future is the development of the University’s 2018-2023 Strategic Plan. The Board of Governors and Senate have now appointed the 24 members of the 2018-2023 Strategic Planning Steering Committee:

• Dr. Linda Ambrose, Special Advisor – Strategic Planning; Full Professor, Department of History; former Acting Dean, Faculties of Social Sciences and Humanities; recipient of Laurentian University Teaching Excellence Award; recipient of Laurentian University Status of Women Achievement Award;

• Dr. Lace Marie Brogden, Dean, Faculty of Education;

• Dr. Sheila Cote-Meek, Associate Vice-President, Academic and Indigenous Programs; Full Professor, School of Rural and Northern Health; Senator; alumna;

• Dr. Robin Craig, Lead Research and Knowledge Mobilization Strategist; member of the board of Théâtre du Nouvel-Ontario (TNO); member of the board of the Laurentian Child and Family Centre;

• Dr. Joël Dickinson, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Psychology; Co-Chair, Committee for Sexual and Gender Diversity; recipient of a Laurentian University Teaching Excellence Award; Northern Leadership Program (NLP) Fellow

• Éric Dupuis, Bachelor of Business Administration student, Vice-President and Treasurer, Association des étudiantes et étudiants francophones;

• Grace Fox, member of the Laurentian University Native Education Council (LUNEC), trustee with the Rainbow District School Board;

• Dominic Giroux, President and Vice-Chancellor (Chair);

• Kraymr Grenke, H.B.Comm. student; President of the Students’ General Association (SGA); Vice-President, Finance of the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance; Voyageurs athlete; Governor; Senator;

• Lorella Hayes, Member of the Board of Governors; Vice-President, Corporate Services, Greater Sudbury Utilities; alumna

• Paul Henry, Principal, École secondaire catholique Sacré-Coeur, Sudbury; member of the board of directors of Learning Networks of Ontario, Mid North Network; member of the Comité des services sociaux en français; alumnus

• Emily Jago, Master of Human Kinetics student; Voyageurs athlete; alumna;

• Marz Kord, CEO and President, Wallbridge Mining Company Limited; alumnus;

• Claude Lacroix, Vice-Chair of the Board of Governors; Partner, Lacroix Laywers; alumnus;

• Martin Laferrière, Director, IT Infrastructure; NLP Fellow; alumnus;

• Dr. Pascal Lefebvre, Associate Professor, Speech Pathology program; Senator;

• Justin Lemieux, MBA student; Director of Student Recruitment; NLP Fellow; member of the board of the Sudbury Charities Foundation; alumnus;

• Chris Mercer, Associate Vice-President, Student Life, Enrolment Management and International; member of the board of the Sudbury Airport Community Development Corporation; recipient of Sudbury Top 40 Under 40 award; Senator

• Dr. Thomas Merritt, Canada Research Chair in Genomics and Bioinformatics; Full Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry; Past Chair, Northern Water Sports Centre; recipient of a Community Builder Award for Sport and Recreation;

• Dr. Amanda Schweinbenz, Associate Professor, School of Human Kinetics; Co-Chair, 2021 Canada Summer Games Bid Committee; Voyageurs coach; Senator;

• Alex Usher, President of Higher Education Strategy Associates and Editor-in-Chief of Global Higher Education Strategy Monitor;

• David Vares, PhD in Human Studies student, President of the Graduate Students’ Association; member of the board of Sudbury and Manitoulin Workforce Planning; Governor; Senator; alumnus;

• Dr. Shelley Watson, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology; recipient of a Laurentian University Teaching Excellence Award; former Acting Dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies;

• Jennifer Witty, Chair of the Board of Governors; Superintendent of Human Resources Systems, Ontario Operations, Vale; member of the board of the Greater Sudbury Development Corporation; alumna.

Consultations will unfold between February 28th and May 30th.

Speaking of students and success, I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge some students from the Bharti School of Engineering who are on their way to compete in the Canadian Engineering Competition.

Both the Junior and Senior teams have qualified to compete at the national competition. The junior team is composed of Harry Brahmbhatt, Daniel Krupin and Alexander Macenzie and Connor Watson, while the senior team is composed of Matt Bennison, Stéphane Labine, Colin Roos and Aidan Simpson.

As usual, our students are punching well above their weight. It is not lost on me that once again, two of the 14 Ontario teams competing for this prestigious honour are from Laurentian, and remember there are 16 accredited engineering schools in Ontario. We know you are already all-stars and will make Laurentian proud.

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

Merci, Thank you, Miigwech.

Campus Modernization Breathes New Life to our Campus

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

I mentioned in an earlier blog that 2016 featured the Summer and the Fall to remember. Well 2016 can also be remembered as another year of construction at Laurentian. There is more work to be done, but let’s take a moment to consider how far we have come. Work has been completed on the Executive Learning Centre, the University Club, the new dining facility at Alphonse Raymond, the Cardiovascular and Metabolic Research Unit Laboratory, the new bookstore, MyLaurentian Hub, new space for University Advancement and Accessibility Services, the McEwen School of Architecture, the Ben Avery Human Kinetics Laboratories and the expansion of Parking Lot #4.

Construction continues in 2017, but this year we will finish work on the RD Parker Building renovations. That includes the new Indigenous Sharing and Learning Centre, the new Multi-Faith Prayer Space, as well as the new home for Liaison, Laurentian International, the Graduate Students’ Association and the Laurentian Association of Mature and Part-Time Students. We expect that work will be completed in the Spring. The remainder of the RD Parker renovation project, which includes the new Welcome Centre Atrium and a variety of study spaces that connect the RD Parker to the Dining facility, will be completed in the late spring or very early summer. We look forward to closing this chapter of the Campus Modernization project and restoring normal access to facilities. I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and everyone of you for your patience and cooperation during the many phases of the project.

You have likely noticed the sudden change in landscape behind the Fraser building or heard the multiple blast horn signals and the blasting. I’m happy to say that the construction of the new Cliff Fielding Research, Innovation and Engineering Building is well underway. Mass rock excavation is almost finished and building the foundation is set to start soon. This is another important and interesting project to keep track of, and in the next month, a live time-lapse camera will be installed so you can monitor the progress live from your computers or mobile devices (we’ll be sure to get you the URL once enabled!). This project will be in construction mode for the entire year and will be completed in 2018. The path leading from parking lot #15 (…The Pit) to the campus will continue to be available, however you can expect detours throughout various phases of construction this year. Keep an eye out for project update emails delivered by You can also email any questions or comments you might have for the team at this address.

Finally, in terms of capital projects, the Students’ General Association (SGA) held a referendum in March of 2014 in which the majority of the members voted to fund the construction of a new Student Centre. The University is working closely with the SGA and will be retaining the project architect in the near future. The architects, in partnership with the SGA, will conduct a thorough consultation process with its members in order to ensure it meets the needs of students. This is a project for the students, by the students. After receiving input, we will present a building design to the community in the Fall when students return for classes. The new Student Centre will be located at the intersection of University Road next to West Residence. Stay tuned!

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

Merci, Thank you, Miigwech.