Faculty and student reps for IPRM announced

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From last year’s conception of the Wilfrid Laurier University’s Integrated Planning and Resource Management (IPRM) initiative to the election process for its working group members, which took place just prior to the winter break, student involvement has been a component.

IPRM aims to take the priorities held by the university and balance them with the existing resources.

However, as this is a new initiative, the degree to which students will be able to contribute to the process is uncertain.

The four committees that are the constituents of IPRM have representation from across the university. But having official student representation on the committees was against the recommendations of the consultant which the university was working with.

“We decided [student involvement] was part of our culture and history, so we ignored [the consultant’s] recommendation,” explained Jim Butler, vice president of finance and administration.

As such, student representatives, whether graduate or undergraduate, have seats on all four committees.

When asked i students who don’t hold seats will have the opportunity to be involved in future processes, Butler said that it will be up to the committee to decide.

“My hope is that there will be broad consultation,” he said. “I hope that every committee member will be heard, whether they are a student or not.” Chris Walker, vice president of university affairs at the Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union, assured that the voices of students definitely matters.

However, he went on to say that most probably don’t know IPRM exists as it isn’t something they would encounter in their daily engagements at Laurier.

“It is fairly technical stuff,” he continued.

“So unless you’re really engaged with it and you have a keen interest, it can be a little bit dry, but that’s the students’ union job — to kind of sit through that, bridge the gap between the technical side and what the university is trying to get at and what student priorities are.”

The members o the IPRM working groups were officially announced on Jan. 17, following a process of nomination, election and appointment.

Seth Warren, a fourth-year business student, will represent undergraduate students on the administrative priority team.

He was nominated for the position, which he said “was just a natural step to get more engaged in the process,” as he is already also a member of senate and the board of governors.

“My hope is that I’ll be able to contribute the student perspective and bring it back to what’s really important,” Warren expressed. “In terms of administrative priorities, the thing that’s important is what differentiates Laurier [from other schools].”

According to Warren, for students that differentiator is everything that happens outside of the classroom.

He continued, “So from that perspective I want to make sure that the student experience isn’t forgotten among all of the other priorities.”

Darryl Dee is an associate professor in the history department, and is a faculty member on the academic priorities team, which was an elected position.

In his own words, Dee believes his role will be to make the university better, as this is the mission of IPRM.

Since his arrival at Laurier eight years ago, Dee explained that he has felt that “Laurier is a bit of a university adrift, [and] that we’ve forgotten what we’re good at.”

He outlined his hope for the academic priorities team as a response to this, “[My hope] is that we define a kind o academic identity for Laurier.”

Regarding student representation in the working groups, Dee said he welcomed their involvement and the input students will provide faculty members with.

“It’s good to have these voices in the process,” he continued. “But I think given the centrality of faculty in the mission of the university in terms of education and research, I think it is also important to have a very strong faculty representation in the process.”

As the working groups begin to meet in the months ahead, a better picture of student involvement will form as well as the ability to the different representatives to collaborate effectively.

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