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Strategic Mandate Agreement

Laurentian University - Mandate

Laurentian University with its federated university partners offers an outstanding university experience, in English and French with a comprehensive approach to Indigenous education, that prepares students as agents of change by stimulating them to ask new questions, to challenge what we know, and so empower them to create innovative solutions for future local and global issues. 1

Within Ontario’s postsecondary sector, Laurentian University will be expected to:

  • Differentiate itself with its 14 signature undergraduate and 5 signature graduate programs, and 9 areas of research excellence as stated in its 2012-2017 Strategic Plan;
  • Contribute to the prosperity and well-being of the cities of Greater Sudbury and Barrie and their surrounding regions;
  • Be Canada’s “go-to university” for mineral exploration and mining;
  • Establish itself world-wide as the University synonymous with fresh water research through the Vale Living with Lakes Centre;
  • Contribute to a healthier Northern Ontario through its innovative health programs and research, including the Northern Ontario School of Medicine;
  • Increase by 88% the number of full-time instructors teaching 24 credits, and increase overall teaching productivity by 4% by 2017-18;
  • Continue to recognize full credit of courses taken in other universities and remain #1 among the Ontario universities outside the GTA in terms of college transfers.


In order to achieve this, Laurentian proposes three priority objectives:

  • Laurentian will be among the top 25 percent of Canadian universities in student satisfaction and student engagement;
  • Laurentian will actively engage with community partners, continuing to contribute to the prosperity and well-being of the cities of Greater Sudbury and Barrie and their surrounding regions, and ensuring local communities actively champion Laurentian;
  • Laurentian will accelerate transformative knowledge creation and mobilization in three areas of excellence (environmental sustainability, mining innovation and exploration, rural and northern health) and two regional needs (Indigenous relations and governance, sustainable northern economic development).

Laurentian University – Vision By 2017

French, English and Indigenous cultures thrive together offering Canadian and International students an enriched learning environment that is a microcosm of Canada. Our over 11,000 students continue to diversify, with over 8% being International, over 10% being Aboriginal, and over 17% being French-speaking.

Laurentian is known for its 19 unique and innovative program areas of strength: undergraduate programs in Education, Engineering, Forensic Science, Geology, Histoire, Medicine, Native Human Services, Restoration and Conservation Ecology, Sages-femmes, Sciences de l'éducation, Sciences infirmières, Sports Administration, Sports Psychology, Théâtre; and graduate programs in Boreal Ecology, Interdisciplinary Humanities, Mineral Exploration, Natural Resources Engineering, and Rural and Northern Health.

Laurentian is known for its world-class research expertise in 9 areas of excellence: rural and northern children’s health; stressed watershed systems; mining innovation and exploration; multicultural sport and physical activity; genomics and bioinformatics; particle astrophysics; environment, culture and values; applied evolutionary ecology; and nanotechnology. Laurentian has developed new graduate programs in: Architecture, Orthophonie, Indigenous Relations, Sustainable Northern Economic Development, Sciences infirmières, and MBA – Mining.

Laurentian has developed new interdisciplinary undergraduate programs, majors and minors in emerging fields: Occupational Health and Safety, Integrated Environmental Sciences/Studies, Sustainable Economic Development, IT Security/Data Centres and Management, Social Research Methods, Health and Disability, and Psycholinguistics, among others.

Laurentian continues to serve resource-based and rural regions in Northeastern Ontario and Simcoe County through ground-breaking research. Laurentian has recruited the following research chairs: Tier II Canada Research Chair in Geochemistry, Tier II Canada Research Chair in Environmental Microbiology, Chair in Occupational Health and Safety, Chair in Cancer Research, Chair in Sustainable Northern Economic Development, Chair in Histoire franco-ontarienne, Chair in Indigenous Relations and Governance.

Laurentian has completed a broad campus modernization of classrooms and student spaces, towards more flexible, open, collaborative spaces, drawing students together and supporting value-added learning on the Sudbury campus.

Laurentian offers increased opportunities for three-year degrees and an innovative, flexible, modular degree structure that allows students to customize their degrees, as well as reduce the length to complete their degrees by taking courses in spring/summer.

Laurentian has a Centre for Academic Excellence that promotes personal success by providing a range of innovative, academic and social supports to students, as well as pedagogical and technological supports to faculty, ensuring our students acquire a strong foundation that meets the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century. The centre is also a leader in work-integrated-learning models, assisting faculty in incorporating meaningful learning experiences outside of the classroom into their pedagogy.

Laurentian has continued to actively engage with community partners and contribute to the prosperity and well-being of the cities of Greater Sudbury and Barrie and their surrounding regions; while furthering its partnerships with Francophone, First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities, faculty, and staff using resourceful and supportive approaches.

Laurentian has its first graduates at the School of Architecture in downtown Sudbury, and is launching the graduate program. The school has not only transformed and revitalized the downtown from an economic perspective as businesses and investment followed it there, not only trained and developed a new kind of architect versed in sustainable development and urbanization, but has introduced a new creative class into Greater Sudbury having a cultural and social impact.

Laurentian has an urban satellite campus in downtown Barrie, serving 2,500 students in innovative community-integrated facilities, fully leveraging the newest teaching and learning technologies, that could be developed with Infrastructure Ontario and used as a development model and best practice in future postsecondary education developments.

Laurentian has increased the number of full-time instructors teaching 24 credits by 88% by 2017, which will contribute to an overall increase in teaching productivity of 4% by 2017-18. 2

Laurentian is Canada’s “go-to university” for interdisciplinary approaches to mining innovation and exploration. Building on the success of the newly-endowed Bharti School of Engineering, its Department of Earth Sciences, its partnerships with the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation (CEMI) and the Mining Innovation, Rehabilitation, and Applied Research Corporation (MIRARCO), the Mineral Exploration Research Centre (MERC), along with the Centre for Research in Occupational Safety and Health (CROSH) among others, Laurentian educates students to support this industry’s efforts to enhance productivity and corporate and social responsibility, along with Ontario’s global competitiveness.

Laurentian achieves this by building on the work-integrated-learning models in place, and by innovating with the launch of its new School of Mines supported by a $20 million endowment fund and a $5 million investment by the University by 2023. Reporting directly to the Provost, this new School cuts across traditional academic Faculties, to offer students of all ages and experiences, expanded interdisciplinary majors and minors and professional development opportunities to transform the mining industry for the 21st century challenges.

Laurentian has the most generous transfer policies and practices in order to improve student access and give them an opportunity to succeed in pursuing a university degree. The Laurentian approach to credit transfer is broad-based and competency-driven, reducing the need for cumbersome articulation agreements. Since 1994, passed courses from other Ontario universities are given full credit. College programs are reviewed regularly and evaluated for competencies, in order to be able to provide maximal credit recognition to students transferring to Laurentian. Laurentian remains part of a minority of Ontario universities to confirm transfer credits prior to a student’s acceptance of offer of admissions. 3

The vision articulated here directly supports the successful implementation of: the Ontario Innovation Agenda, the Northern Growth Plan, the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, the Aménagement Linguistique Policy Framework for French-Language Postsecondary Education and Training and the Aboriginal Postsecondary Education and Training Policy Framework.

Laurentian’s distinct advantage: six year planning 2012-2017

What sets Laurentian apart and can serve as a best practice to guide the sector are the organizational steps that Laurentian has taken since April 2009. Notably, a sustainable, balanced budget has been re-established, employee pension contribution changes were negotiated in order to sustain solvency in our pension plan, new collective agreements with two years of no wage increase were ratified, and a low long-term debt ratio was maintained.

In January 2011, the process to develop a new, focused strategic plan was launched. The process brought together hundreds of stakeholders from the university and the communities we serve, and landed on a 5-page, clear roadmap forward for the university that builds on the university’s academic strengths, streamlines its administration and expenditure, and puts emphasis on technology and innovation. The Board of Governors approved the strategic plan in December 2011. Coming out of this plan, in June 2012 the Board approved an ambitious six-year budget to reorganize the university’s internal funding so that $32 million over the next six years will be invested to support the specific outcomes of the Strategic Plan. The six-year budget spells out Laurentian’s multi-year faculty renewal plan that is consistent with the University’s Academic and Strategic Research Plans and supports the principle of investing in our areas of excellence in teaching and research.

Laurentian University - Priority Objectives

Priority #1: Laurentian will be among the top 25 percent of Canadian universities in student satisfaction and student engagement.

This priority aligns with the government’s principle of putting students first.

Laurentian enhances access to postsecondary education. First generation students comprise 60.9 percent of our students, compared to a system range of 1.1 to 60.9 percent. 6.1 percent of our students identify as having a disability compared to a range of 3.2 to 10.3 percent within the Ontario university system. We are known for our proactive programs to support students with learning challenges. Of our total student body, 10.4 percent self identify as being Indigenous (First Nations, Métis or Inuit) compared to between 0.3 and 12.3 percent in the university system in Ontario.

Laurentian sustained its overall level of student engagement between 2008 and 2011, as evidenced by Laurentian’s average score on the National Survey on Student Engagement (NSSE) which remained unchanged at 2.44 between the two surveys, on par with Ontario’s average score of 2.45. While students give Laurentian reasonably good marks on student satisfaction surveys for class size, student-faculty interaction and campus atmosphere, we need to improve in areas such as food services, satisfaction with the town/city, courseavailability/variety and residences. Over the next five years, Laurentian is pursuing the following initiatives in order to increase student engagement and improve the student experience:

  • As we heard loudly and clearly from students, the quality of faculty is central to the student experience. The University will secure and retain highly talented faculty members through multi-year planning and proactive recruitment. By 2017, 90 faculty including tenure-stream, research chairs and full-time sessional instructors will be hired replacing retiring colleagues. 67 of these 90 positions have already been identified over the five years, based on approved signature programs and five criteria adopted by Senate: the enrolment in a program, the centrality of the program to the university’s mission, the ability of a Department/School to offer an advertised program completely, and where relevant, retain its accreditation; finally, the cohesiveness and functionality of the department/school.
  • Teaching and learning excellence will be supported through the services of a new Centre for Academic Excellence, created by Senate in 2010, with an incremental investment of $1.4 million by 2017. It is a student centred academic support unit that offers a collaborative and creative learning environment through partnerships with departments, faculty, staff, and students. The Centre provides students with a multiplicity of experiences from which they can tailor an individualized integrated and holistic program that is unique to their academic need at both ends of the continuum: from students at-risk to high academic achievers. Students will be offered increased enriched learning experiences abroad, and more integrated classroom learning with real-world experience through placements, case-based projects, independent learning, applied research, studies abroad, group work, community service or senior capstone projects, with alumni support. Progress on this outcome will be supported by an incremental investment of $300,000 and will be measured over time through specific questions asked on the NSSE.
  • The University is undertaking a $35 million campus modernization project. Thanks to the efficiencies brought by a new course timetable, unnecessary classrooms and lecture halls will be repurposed to meet other student needs and enhance research infrastructure. Consultations will occur during 2012-13 with students, faculty and staff to maximize the return on the investment and allow for creative use of space. This work to be completed by 2017 and paid from the operating budget over a 20 year period will allow for additional classrooms designed flexibly to accommodate diverse teaching-learning styles, a "front door/welcoming centre", “onestop” student services leveraging state-of-the-art technology, and new social and gathering spaces that nurture a greater sense of community and belonging.
  • Laurentian offers three-year degrees and an innovative flexible module degree structure that allows students to reduce the length of their degrees by taking course in spring/summer.
  • $2M will be invested by 2013 for the modernization of food services, offering more choices to students. Laurentian is staying current in technology improvements, such as the student services intranet, D2L that add value to the student experience. Based on student input, Laurentian will become one hundred percent (100%) 802.11n wireless by 2016 and will significantly reduce bureaucratic hurdles for students with the Laurentian Electronic Age Program (LEAP) (incremental investment of $1.43M by 2017).

Thanks to these targeted measures to enhance student satisfaction and student engagement, and to its strategic enrolment management efforts, Laurentian will increase enrolment from 7,200 FTE (2011) to 8,300 FTE by 2017- 18 while increasing the average entry grade from 80.8% to 83%. The proportion of international students, which was 6.1% in 2011, will increase to 8% by 2017-18, for a net growth over six years among domestic students of 875 FTEs. 4

Public policy tools required include: multi-year tuition framework enabling an average annual 4% increase; enrolment growth funding at current BIU rates for new domestic students; two potential undergraduate program approvals (see above).


Priority #2: Laurentian will actively engage with community partners, continuing to contribute to the prosperity and well-being of the cities of Greater Sudbury and Barrie and their surrounding regions, and ensuring local communities actively champion Laurentian.

This priority aligns with the following government parameters: improving the quality of PSE; offering students better choices in the modalities and approaches to learning by adopting new technology; ensuring relevance to the labour market; reinforcing the value of undergraduate liberal arts and science education; increased engagement and partnerships between institutions and the community; differentiation; strategically managing enrolment and program growth.

No other university in Canada has a bilingual mandate with a comprehensive educational experience for Indigenous students. Laurentian’s success in this mandate is in no small measure due to its active engagement with First Nation, Métis and Francophone communities. This mandate enriches the learning experience for all students. Laurentian’s community engagement has resulted in unique academic and research partnerships that have been groundbreaking. Of a number of possible examples, three distinct programs have emerged from community-based advocacy. In 1988, Laurentian established a fully accredited social work program in Native Human Services by working in partnership with 27 local First Nations communities. A new School of Architecture will be launched in downtown Sudbury in 2013 based on strong advocacy and leadership by a local steering committee dedicated to urban renewal. The Vale Living with Lakes Centre builds on the environmental tradition evident in the “Re-greening of Sudbury” project, a decades-long partnership with two provincial ministries, and is home to internationally renowned ecological researchers. To these three examples of Laurentian’s strong tradition of successful partnerships, we can add strong collaborative multi-site college partnerships for over ten years, on-line partnerships including with CGA to provide undergraduate and graduate on-line education in commerce, the partnership with Université Sainte-Anne to offer social work on-line, and a partnership with the Ministry of Education to provide the on-line B.Ed altérnatif. We also have an English- language School of Education with a strong base in social responsibility that ensures that there is Indigenous content in every course in the program so that all graduates are prepared to work across diversity in the classroom. Laurentian also offers distance education throughout northern Ontario and remote, rural parts of Canada in both French and English.

One of the distinct characteristics of Laurentian University is our engagement with Francophone, Métis and First Nations communities to increase participation rates in university education by offering high-quality education and supports to ensure student success. By 2017-18, we are committed to building on our current strengths in the following ways: building an Indigenous Learning and Learning Centre; increasing the number of Indigenous faculty by 62%; increasing enrolments of Indigenous, bilingual and Francophone students; increasing Indigenous content in curricula from 13% to 16% of courses; revitalizing the certificate of bilingualism for students learning in both official languages. On June 27, 2012, Ontario’s French Language Services Commissioner released an investigation report on the state of French-Language Postsecondary Education in Central-Southwestern Ontario. In the Spring of 2011, the MTCU created an Expert Panel on the same matter, but its report has not been released yet. Laurentian’s President was invited in May 2012 to meet with the Expert Panel. Laurentian remains interested in exploring, with MTCU and other postsecondary institutions, creative ways to better meet the needs of Francophone learners in Central-Southwestern Ontario. There are currently approximately 19 undergraduate programs delivered by Laurentian in French in Sudbury which are not available in Central-Southwestern Ontario in French, especially in Science and Professional Schools.

The University’s key initiatives to transform the cities of Greater Sudbury and Barrie, fuel urban renewal and bring the town and gown together include establishing a university campus in downtown Barrie and a School of Architecture in downtown Sudbury.

Downtown Barrie Campus

The City of Barrie is one of the largest metropolitan areas in Canada without a university campus. Its participation rate in university studies (12%) is significantly lower than the provincial average. Laurentian University launched programs in Barrie in 2001 on the site of Georgian College, which have grown steadily to over 1,000 undergraduate students in Business Administration, English, History, Political Science, Psychology and Social Work by 2011-12. Laurentian now has over 2,000 alumni in Simcoe County. Laurentian currently has in Barrie 24 faculty and staff, a very active student government and engaged members serving on Senate and the Board of Governors. Availability of space at Georgian College is limited, requiring the University to lease 4,600 sq ft to house faculty and staff offices off campus. Students have been very vocal about wanting to benefit fully from their university experience in a stand-alone campus.

Laurentian is eager to work with the City of Barrie, Lakehead University, and Georgian College to design a comprehensive strategy for postsecondary education in Simcoe County to meet local needs and minimize duplication. Laurentian remains committed to expanding the university program offering in Barrie, without duplicating existing programs, and to relocate its remaining Orillia program (Social Work) to Barrie to enhance students’ university experience and provide them with a wider range of electives. Simcoe County will benefit from an increased post-secondary education offered with improved pathways by Georgian, Laurentian in Barrie, and Lakehead in Orillia. 5

The University has pledged $14 million towards this project, which would serve a total of 3,000 students (2,500 FTE). This pledge has already been matched by the City of Barrie, for a total of $28 million for a 160,000 gross assigned sq. ft. facility. The University and the City have collaborated in designing a land acquisition strategy that would maximize urban renewal, optimize the student experience, and leverage recent provincial and federal investments in the new GO Train station in downtown Barrie. A privately built and operated student residence would be situated on University property. We have opportunities to partner with the community to provide students with athletics and other social spaces for students in the downtown area.

Laurentian is seeking $40 million from the province for this project, flowed over a number of years starting as late as 2017-18. The capital cost to the province ($16,000 per student place) would be only two thirds of the capital cost per student place for projects approved by the Province in the Spring of 2011 ($24,000 per student place). This is possible because the University, through careful optimization of timetabling and space utilization, as well as technological enhancements, has been able to develop a concept requiring less teaching space square footage than historical capital benchmarks from the Council of Ontario Universities. This breakthrough is definitely scalable sector-wide. Our state-of-the-art, technology-enhanced downtown campus will provide a rich interactive environment to support coop arrangements with various businesses and health care services, local economic developers, planners, and cultural and high-tech artists. Pioneering new degrees in Data Centre Design, Operation, and Management and Communications Infrastructure Engineering will provide unique opportunities for students to have field and lab placements with companies housed in Barrie who are innovators in emerging fields like cloud computing, data mining, and business analytics. Students in Environmental Studies/Science will have a real-world lab and opportunities to interact with a wide range of experts involved in designing and implementing the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan. Also contemplated are engineering programs based in Barrie serving the growing mining supply, planning and IT sectors. Barrie community leaders have called for a university campus to provide critical thinkers in these current and emerging fields. 6

We intend to establish an Executive Development Centre in Barrie to provide executive education services to Simcoe Country’s business community. The Centre would be a strategic arm to Laurentian’s Faculty of Management that will offer premium short duration programs in all areas of management to users. The Centre programming would use a variety of techniques blending academic knowledge with real world practicality, experiential learning exercises, presentations by industry practitioners, and projects based on issues their organization is currently facing. 7

The Barrie campus will be a game-changer for students in the central Ontario area. It will also be of benefit to the City of Barrie and its downtown core, driving innovation and creativity. The new campus will allow the region to transition towards knowledge and service-based industries/economies that will ensure that Barrie remains the region’s competitive and diversified driver of economic growth. This is the natural evolution of Laurentian’s presence in the City of Barrie that started 11 years ago.

School of Architecture

The province approved in May 2011 the launch of the first school of architecture in Canada in more than 40 years. The genesis of this project, supported unanimously by the 11 existing Canadian schools of architecture, is the revitalization of the downtown core by the stimulation of the creative economic for northern Ontario and beyond. The School will welcome its first 70 students in September 2013, with enrolment rising to 388 students by 2018-2019. The School will be one of only three Canadian schools of architecture with a mandatory coop component. It will be the only one offering courses in French outside Québec and an integration of Indigenous content throughout the curriculum. The course delivery will use cutting edge approaches to architecture, including innovative uses of technology, creating a new kind of architect for the 21st century.

The School will retrofit the CP Rail & Telegraph and Market buildings, while adding 65,000 square feet of new space and is intended to attract new business to the downtown area. For the new School to be successful, the University will require the operating funding associated with the incremental enrolment, increased graduate spaces, as well as approval for the master’s program to be delivered starting in 2017-18

Public policy tools required include: undergraduate enrolment growth funding, graduate enrolment growth funding, satellite campus approval, and approval of master’s program in architecture (2017).

Priority #3: Laurentian will accelerate transformative knowledge creation and mobilization in three areas of excellence (environmental sustainability, mining innovation and exploration, rural and northern health) and two regional needs (Indigenous relations and governance, sustainable northern economic development).

This priority aligns with the following government parameters: student-focused; improving the quality of postsecondary education; offering students better choices in the modalities and approaches to learning; ensuring relevance to the labour market; ensuring that graduates have the knowledge and competencies to success in the workforce; increasing engagement and partnerships erasing the wall, where appropriate, between the classroom and the workplace; differentiation; strategically managing enrolment and program growth; innovation in teaching.

Laurentian will invest $960,000 by 2017 to establish Laurentian world-wide as the University synonymous with fresh water research with its new Vale Living With Lakes Centre, expected to soon host an additional Canada Research Chair in Environmental Microbiology and that has applied for a $10 million Canada Excellence Research Chair in Northern Watershed Processes and Policies (of which $1 million has already been secured in private matching gifts).

Laurentian is actively engaged with the Ring of Fire lending expertise in research and development with First Nations, industry, and government. For example, our Science Communication students have done science camps as a means to encourage elementary and secondary school students to continue with their education. One of our Outdoor Adventure Leadership professors has been working with Aboriginal communities to renew emergency response plans. Policy research is under way, with projects by researchers from social work, history and economics. Earth Sciences and Engineering faculty are working with Aboriginal communities and mining companies to determine sustainable mining practices that make sense in this part of Canada. Water ecology researchers are proposing transportation pathways that will be safe and minimize pollution to the watersheds in these territories. The complexities of jurisdiction and authority for decisions will require respect and strong relationships. Evidence-based approaches based on research and development can play a role.

Laurentian will be adding to its comprehensive approach to Indigenous education by establishing an interdisciplinary graduate program in Indigenous Relations. This along with the proposed research chair in Indigenous Relations and Governance (2017) will increase capacity in HQP, knowledge generation and mobilization, particularly important throughout northeastern Ontario because of the relatively high Indigenous population. This program will ensure that graduates, especially Indigenous graduates, have the knowledge and competencies to succeed in the workforce, and become transformative leaders in the new economy.

Forty percent of northeastern Ontario is comprised of French-speaking people, and many of the communities in this area are designated under the French Language Services Act. Laurentian is increasing its role in educating French-speaking health professionals by establishing the M.Sc.N in French by 2017, building on current strengths in rural and northern health, led by the Northern Ontario School of Medicine and the School of Rural and Northern Health, two of our signature health programs. We are also willing to explore collaboration opportunities with Collège Boréal to meet the needs of Francophone learners in nursing in Southern Ontario, while pursuing more efficient programming with Collège Boréal in Sudbury in this field.

In addition to new initiatives mentioned above, the University will invest $629,000 to expand research chairs and scholars-in-residence and $900,000 to offer additional annual Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) to international students in our signature programs. New research chairs are being pursued in areas of significant strength or due to regional needs: Occupational Health and Safety (2013), Sustainable Northern Economic Development (2015), Franco-Ontarian History (2016), Indigenous Relations and Governance (2017), along with externally-funded research chairs in Cancer Research and Aboriginal Health. A number of Laurentian’s graduate programs are interdisciplinary in nature allowing for a polyvalent approach to knowledge generation and mobilization beyond the normal, disciplinary focus of many graduate programs. A number of graduate programs offer courses using compressed schedules that are attractive to mature learners and those interested in relating their studies to the work context.

As part of the $35 million campus modernization project, Laurentian will be establishing state of art research laboratories and graduate research spaces. While some labs will need to be discipline focused because of the specialized nature of the research, the modernization process is intended to create more spaces that can serve as hubs of intellectual inquiry across traditional disciplines.

Our Graduate Expansion Plan calls for:

  • The introduction of five new master’s programs by 2017 in Architecture (#1), Orthophonie (#2) [allowing French-speaking students to complete their professional designation in the North], Indigenous Relations (#5) [aligned with new budgeted research chair], Sustainable Northern Economic Development (#7) [aligned with new budgeted research chair, creation of Northern Policy Institute by the province and need to adapt to new economy], Sciences infirmières (#8) [to allow our 282 undergraduate Francophone students to pursue graduate education]; 8
  • The expansion of five existing graduate programs in Boreal Ecology PhD (#3) [aligned with the Vale Living With Lakes Centre, two CRCs, a proposed CERC and Ring of Fire], Natural Resources Engineering PhD (#4) [aligned with mining engineering as area of strength and Ring of Fire], Materials Science PhD (#6) [aligned with particle astrophysics as area of strength with SNOLAB], Geology (#9) and Mineral Deposits and Precambrian Geology PhD (#10) [aligned with mineral exploration as area of strength];
  • The status quo in 15 existing graduate programs and a reduction of spaces in four existing programs: in Human Studies/Sciences humaines PhD, MBA, Social Work/Service social and Sociologie (these programs are either available elsewhere in Northeastern Ontario and Simcoe County, do not have research chairs, are not identified among our 9 areas of research excellence or are facing low demand).


  2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19
Incremental PhD spaces 10 20 30 40 40 40
Incremental Master’s spaces (including Architecture) 15 30 45 50 112 174


Laurentian is one of nine Ontario universities to have achieved its targets for graduate expansion. The University ranks 7th in Ontario in terms of total sponsored research income secured per funded graduate space. If Northeastern Ontario had the same proportion of graduate to undergraduate enrolment as Southern Ontario universities, there would be 900 more graduate spaces in the region.

Public policy tools required include: graduate spaces, master’s program approvals in Indigenous Relations (2013), Sustainable Northern Economic Development (2014), and Architecture (2016), post-residency graduate fees for Ontario.


The provincial government’s support in implementing these three priority objectives will enable Laurentian to be successful in fulfilling its proposed mandate statement and vision, reflecting the University’s purpose statement, five key goals, seven aspirations and 40 measurable outcomes identified in its 2012-2017 Strategic Plan. In our view, successful implementation of positive change and innovation requires five winning conditions: vision, skills, resources, incentives and a robust action plan. The absence of only one of these five winning conditions will prevent the successful change to materialize. Absence of vision leads to confusion. Absence of skills leads to anxiety. Absence of resources leads to frustration. Absence of incentives slows down innovation. Absence of action planning leads to false starts.

Our focused Strategic Plan provides a clear, concise and differentiated vision. We will be investing heavily to enhance the skills of our staff, reaching the equivalent of 1% of staff payroll by 2013-14, and enhancing our multi-year faculty recruitment strategies. Our six-year budget is balanced and identifies the incremental resources which will be made available to champions of each of the 40 outcomes of our Strategic Plan. Financial incentives have been developed within the constraints of provincial legislation, and non-monetary incentives will be enhanced. Action planning is well underway to achieve each of the 40 outcomes by 2017.

  1. Purpose Statement from the University’s 2012-2017 Strategic Plan
  2. Laurentian is already one of the Ontario universities and the only primarily undergraduate institution that has the capacity to assign 24 credits of teaching to full-time instructors who are not expected to do research (although some do). Laurentian assigns 15 credits of teaching to full-time faculty members outside the Faculty of Science and Engineering. These teaching efficiencies support increased research output especially for research intensive faculty members; we rank annually among Canada’s top 3 primarily undergraduate universities in terms of total sponsored research income. Laurentian’s total sponsored research income per full-time faculty member has increased by 50% over the past three years, and our capacity to secure grants on a competitive basis from NSERC, SSHRC and CIHR has increased by 30% during that period.
  3. In 2010, 34,136 degree-seeking students applied for transfer to Ontario universities, with a total of 6,409 (18.7%) enrolled. At Laurentian, 975 applied to transfer and 546 enrolled (56%). Note that the 546 is the fourth highest number to enroll in any Ontario university, fourth to Ryerson who enrolled 800 of 5,240 applicants, the University of Toronto who enrolled 768 of 4,507 (all campuses) and York where 581 of 4,007 enrolled. Outside the GTA, Laurentian is number 1 as a total number of transfer students who enrolled.
  4. Since 2008-09, the number of admitted students with average entry grades of 85% or more increased by 56 percent, while the number of admitted students with average entry grades of 90% or more increased by 90 percent.
  5. Laurentian launched programs in Barrie in 2001 and Orillia in 2006. Lakehead built its satellite campus in Orillia in 2010. Since 2010, Laurentian has suspended four of its programs in Simcoe County to minimize duplication in the region. Laurentian offered to Lakehead in 2012 to develop a mutually agreeable menu of university programs in Barrie and Orillia to minimize duplication and align with respective areas of strength.
  6. Lake Simcoe is a living lab for hydrologic research, limnology, and water quality research. By virtue of the Lake Simcoe Protection Act and Plan, there are research requirements that are unique in Ontario that Laurentian is uniquely positioned to support.
  7. Barrie has a growing role as a regional centre for business services, including the BMO and TD national operations centres, a growing financial cluster in the core, and a number of head offices.
  8. #s refer to order of priority, from #1 to #10