MacLatchy eases into role of president and vice-chancellor

Wilfrid Laurier University’s new president and vice-chancellor Deborah MacLatchy officially took over the role from former president, Max Blouw, on July 1.

Since 2009, MacLatchy served as Laurier’s provost and vice-president: academic, and was appointed as president and vice-chancellor of the university on Jan. 11.

Before taking over the role, MacLatchy and Blouw worked closely together until his last day on June 30. The transition period included appointments and meeting to fill MacLatchy’s former position, as well as to prepare her for the upcoming five-year term as president.

To prepare her new duties as president, MacLatchy enrolled in Harvard University’s five-day program called Seminar for New Presidents Leadership, where she worked with 50 new presidents from a range of colleges and universities across North America, Europe and Africa.

“It was pretty interesting hearing their perspectives,” MacLatchy said. “It was a great affirmation of many of the things that we’ve been putting in place at Laurier and the things that we’re doing and how we operate as an institution.”

Being the former provost and vice-president: academic of Laurier has also given MacLatchy the skills she needs to successfully take over the position.

“I was provost for eight years, so that has given me a really firm foundation on of course everything that has to do with academics and a lot of the student focused area.”

Before students are set to come back to campus for the term term, MacLatchy plans to meet with other vice-presidents of the university to begin planning for the new academic year. She is currently focusing on two major projects: the strategic mandate agreement, which is still in negotiations between the university and the government, and plans for a potential Milton campus.

“I think a lot of what we’re doing right now is actually planning for not only students but faculty and staff,” she said.

MacLatchy noted there is more work to be done focusing on governance discussions and how the university can operate as a bicameral institution, which includes town hall meetings in September.

The search for the next provost and vice-president: academic will begin at the end of August or early September, where university administration will meet to develop an idea of who they want to take over the position.

“We’ll develop what we think the profile of the next provost and VP: academic should be, and then we’ll engage a company organization that supports university searches and then we’ll get started,” she said.

Currently, MacLatchy is hoping to establish a plan surrounding the needs of students, staff and faculty at the university.

“Part of what we’re doing is ensuring that we’re fully integrated around the needs and opportunities and sort of the outlines all the areas of the institution.”

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