Sudbury's Laurentian University unveils 5 year strategic plan

Laurentian University in Sudbury is unveiling its new five-year strategic plan.
On Wednesday, officials with Laurentian University unveiled the five year strategic plan for the school. (Benjamin Aubé/CBC)

Laurentian University in Sudbury has unveiled its new five-year strategic plan.

On Wednesday, the university made public its 2018-2023 plan, which focuses on several topics, including strengthening relationships with First Nations and Franco-Ontarian communities with an added focus on research, mineral exploration and social innovation.

"[The] strategic plan encapsulates our university's core values," Pierre Zundel, interim president and vice-chancellor said.

"This strategic plan is a reflection of our students, faculty, our staff, their work and the positive impact Laurentian will continue to make in the world. Together, we will shape the future."

Pierre Zundel is the interim president and vice-chancellor of Laurentian University. (Benjamin Aubé/CBC)

Zundel adds another of the main goals is to double the number of opportunities for students to get hands-on experience in the workplace by 2023 and have alumni be more engaged with the university.

Focus on Indigenous research welcome

Dr. Celeste Pedri-Spade is the inaugural director of the Maamwizing Indigenous Research Institute, and is an assistant professor at the school of Northern Community Studies.

She says the plan's focus on better Indigenous research is a welcome sign as long as the university sticks to its word.

"Research is a true collaboration, research is entering into a respectful relationship with Indigenous communities and to listen first and foremost to what are their needs. How can research help them work towards their goals as a community?" Pedri-Spade said.

She notes that Laurentian has among the highest populations of First Nations students and about 20 Indigenous faculty members, pointing to a willingness to act upon their words.

"The truth is there's a commitment to increasing the Indigenous presence [at Laurentian University]," Pedri-Spade said.

'Strong policies'

Though some of the plan's 25 priorities touch on health and wellness, there was no direct mention of sexual assault prevention or violence in the workplace.

Zundel says like other universities, Laurentian has been developing stronger policies and implementing services that aren't necessarily specified in the plan.

"People have to feel safe, so that is definitely part of what we're working on here," he said.

"We have very strong policies, we have very strong practices about protecting people in those kinds of contexts. That will continue."

With files from Benjamin Aubé


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