Deborah Maclatchy appointed for a second term as Laurier president and vice-chancellor

Deborah MacLatchy began her first term as the president and vice-chancellor of Wilfrid Laurier University in 2017. 

She was recently appointed for a second term from July 2022 to June 2027 by the university’s board of directors.

Throughout her first term, MacLatchy made notable accomplishments for Laurier and is committed to following through with future initiatives. 

A recent achievement on the behalf of Laurier that she spoke to is the provincial approval of adding Milton to the university campus.

“We will have a brand-new greenfield campus on the west side of the GTA and that campus will be focused on STEAM, so: science, technology, engineering, arts, and math,” MacLatchy said. 

She is dedicated to growing the Laurier community through this new campus, and through increasing the student population at the Brantford campus from 3000 to 5000 students.

She also spoke about an ongoing fundraising campaign to support the faculty of music and provide faculty and students with new practice facilities and gathering spaces.

At Laurier, equity, diversity, and inclusion are part of the university’s core values, and there is an action plan in place to pursue EDI practices.

There have been some delays stated on the website, such as “providing culturally competent counselling services and supports for students,” which is an ongoing process, and “establishing a clear policy definition of racism and an accompanying reporting system of accountability,” which received board approval just a few weeks ago.

There have also been positive strides in the plan, such as “implementing new equity procedures in the faculty hiring process,” and “undertaking a review of Special Constable Service with respect to the way the service interacts with Black, Indigenous, and racialized members of the Laurier community,” which are completed and are being finalized.

“There is certainly more work to be done [in the areas of EDI], and what we want to do is move on from the action plan of July 2020, into the strategic plans of both EDI and Indigeneity so that we will have a broader roadmap for the institution going forward,” MacLatchy said.

She aims to focus on supports for Indigenous students, Indigenous curriculums, and community partnerships with Indigenous communities in her new term.

“…We’ve appointed VP of Indigenous initiatives, Darren Thomas, where we will be embarking on a strategic plan for Indigenization with a new focus on internationalization.” She said.

Thomas was appointed last month and will work with academic and administrative units at Laurier to achieve goals related to Indigeneity.

The main project that MacLatchy is working on as she eases into her second term is understanding what the university needs from the perspective of the students.

“As we go forward, and as we come out of the pandemic, we really want to hear from students and want to hear what are the items that are critical to students.”

This takes form in the ongoing student wellness review which will “identify from a student perspective what their needs are in the wellness and mental health areas for support.“

This review aims to improve the student experience at Laurier and address any gaps in the university’s wellness services. 

As of the present and near future, MacLatchy plans on continuing her work with staff to promote and improve student welfare.

“[I’m] looking forward to working with Ivan Joseph, the new VP of Student Affairs, to continue to build Laurier’s thriving community from the perspective of students.”

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