Incoming president MacLatchy begins transition period

A transitional period has commenced amongst those in leadership roles at Wilfrid Laurier University.

On Jan. 11, Deborah MacLatchy’s new appointment for president and vice-chancellor of the university was announced.

MacLatchy has served as the university’s provost and vice-president: academic since 2009. She will begin her new five-year term in her new position on July 1, 2017.

As well, Max Blouw, current president and vice-chancellor, will be completing his second term in his role.

In order to prepare for a smooth transition, Blouw and MacLatchy will be engaged with one another and will be working closely up until his last day on June 30.

In addition, the transition includes new appointments to temporarily fill MacLatchy’s current position in order to allow her to step back from her current responsibilities and begin to accustom herself within the new role.

“Some of the things that I’ve been doing is working to get out of doing the VP: academic and provost job so that I’m not focused on the day-to-day of doing my current position,” MacLatchy said.

Paul Jessop, dean of the faculty of science, will serve as acting vice-president: academic starting March 1.

Pamela Bryden, current chair of the department of kinesiology and physical education, will serve as acting dean of the faculty of science until June 30, 2018 in Jessop’s place.

As well, Robert Gordon, vice-president: research, will have the responsibility of acting provost until June 30, 2018.

Gordon and Jessop plan to work closely in order to best fulfil the role.

These individuals will allow the university to spend time conducting a search for a new provost and vice-president: academic.

The university hopes to successfully find and appoint a new individual to MacLatchy’s role by July 2018.

“We’ve got a great team of vice-presidents and deans and other people that work very hard on behalf of Laurier every single day. Depending on people and their expertise is a big part of this,” MacLatchy said.

Once MacLatchy steps away completely from her current role on March 1, she will be transitioning her focus on key files such as the strategic mandate agreement, ensuring that the budget process is complete in order to determine the budget for the 2017-18 school year and the Milton file, amongst others.

“What [I’m] looking at is … to work with the other VP’s to better understand their portfolios and the role of the president supporting the work of those other areas such as development, alumni relations, public affairs, etc.,” MacLatchy said.

MacLatchy has also been actively reaching out to key individuals external to Laurier such as government, corporate and community partners as part of the transition planning process.

MacLatchy also explained that she and her team strive to ensure that the university is known for their great research undertaking, the activities students take part in and the community engagement, which is why a smooth administrative transition is vital.

“I think the best thing that an administration for a university can do is not be noticed. It should be that people see it as well-oiled and supporting activities for the institution as a whole … not whether or not the administrative supports are going well,” MacLatchy said.

“A smooth transition is essential to maintaining the tremendous momentum that everyone at Laurier has worked hard to achieve over the past few years,” said John Bowey, Chair of the Board of Governors, in an email statement.

“I am grateful to all members of the senior leadership team for their passionate commitment to ensuring that Laurier continues to be well known for teaching excellence, leading research and an outstanding student experience.”

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