Inspiring lives of leadership and purpose

“Inspiring lives of leadership and purpose.”

These words, President Max Blouw announced (WLU web site, Campus Update, 09/08), will be “more than a marketing slogan;” they “…will be the starting point and the foundation for telling the Laurier story.”

So let’s begin.

I am sure the Laurier experience and Laurier’s faculty have indeed sometimes done just that: inspired lives of leadership and purpose.

But let us start by looking at President Blouw’s own decisions and policies for an example of leadership and purpose.

We now have more students paying more money for larger classes with fewer course choices.
These are necessary components of the process keeping Laurier among the leaders in the McDonaldization of higher education.

A key component of this inspiring development is the implementation of the decision to reduce staff and faculty numbers and create new managerial positions instead.

An example of this was the recent promotion of the former dean of arts, David Docherty, to the brand new (appropriately expensive) position of “senior advisor: multi-campus initiatives.”

And in this title, we find Dr. Blouw’s driving purpose: the establishment of a Milton campus.

The administration recently commissioned (at considerable expense) a private consulting firm to discover how the various constituencies of the Laurier community – staff, faculty, students, etc. – felt about this possibility.

Each of the constituencies was strongly against it. This is where real leadership comes in. You consult, you listen and then if you don’t get the results you want, you ignore the findings and go ahead with what you want to do anyway.

In the larger Laurier scheme of things, the salary of the senior advisor on multi-campus initiatives is not so much in terms of scarce resources spent ill advisedly.

The sociology department’s raising of class sizes this year (by 10 in second and third-year courses and five in fourth-year ones), its cuts of CAS faculty, and the correspondent reduction of courses offered to students will almost pay that salary.

–Dr. Garry Potter, Department of Sociology