Heidi Northwood named SEO of Laurier’s Brantford campus

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Wilfrid Laurier University announced on July 8, 2019 that Heidi Northwood would be the permanent Senior Executive Officer (SEO) of the Brantford campus. Northwood has been in an interim position in the role since April 2018.

“Following a national search, it was recognized by the search committee that Dr. Northwood had all the qualities we were looking for in our next SEO Brantford campus.  Heidi has demonstrated a strong commitment to Laurier and to the success of the Brantford campus, has developed positive town-gown and government relationships in Brantford, and has experience bringing community partners together in support of academic program development,” said Wilfrid Laurier University president and vice-chancellor Deborah MacLatchy in an email statement.

Northwood will continue in the role she had been temporarily place in for five more years, continuing projects like the redevelopment of One Market, formerly Market Square mall, to become an academic and community hub for downtown Brantford, providing student support and academic services for Brantford students, with operations to begin in the fall.

“One of the things I’ve been reflecting on in the past couple of months is that in the interim role, I could things, but it was with a short time frame in mind, so what you can do in six or 12 months, even though I tried to make sure that the next SEO was ready to take on the projects, I didn’t want to stop things, but what’s really cool now is that I can think about what’s possible in five years instead of the one year,” said Heidi Northwood, permanent SEO of the Brantford campus.

The SEO Brantford plays a critical role in facilitating decision-making, activities, community linkages and priorities on the Brantford campus as well as being an integral part of the executive leadership team of the president and vice-presidents, which has a broad university-wide, all-campuses responsibility

— Wilfrid Laurier University President and Vice-President, Deborah MacLatchy

“Working on strategic plans or a business plan for One Market is a big part of it, there’s so many other things that I’ve been hearing about over the past 12 months that we can work on, one example is program development, I’ve been hearing from the community about programs that are a really good fit for Brantford, so with that longer time frame I can think of who to connect with that would be a good fit or who should be in the room, all of that is possible and that excites me the most.”

The SEO plays the role of the acting president at the Brantford campus, but also reports to the president and vice-chancellor, working together to develop academic programming as well as other programming on campus, as many Laurier executives can only be on one campus at a time, having a permanent SEO on the Brantford campus helps to have a first person view on what the campus needs.

“The SEO Brantford plays a critical role in facilitating decision-making, activities, community linkages and priorities on the Brantford campus as well as being an integral part of the executive leadership team of the president and vice-presidents, which has a broad university-wide, all-campuses responsibility. With the new university strategic plan focused on Thriving Communities and Future Readiness, Dr. Northwood will be focused on realizing our campus-specific and university-wide goals at the Brantford campus,” MacLatchy continued in an email statement.

Northwood’s permanent role as SEO comes after she joined Laurier in 2014 as the dean of the faculty of liberal arts, eventually taking on the additional role as interim SEO. Northwood will continue to look over partnerships in the Brantford community, academic partnerships with schools such as Six Nations Polytechnic and Conestoga College, and be a mentor and leader to other Laurier academic and administrative staff and faculty.

“What I find really interesting at the Brantford campus is the integration between the liberal and applied arts, those programs aren’t the traditional disciplines, they’re a combination of theoretical, thinking clearly about how things fit together, along with how things look like when things hit the ground, it gives you the education but also prepares you to get that first job, that’s what excites me,” Northwood said.

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