Second term for Blouw

For Wilfrid Laurier University president Max Blouw, the past five years have been all about planning and laying groundwork. But last Thursday, he found out that he’ll be around to see plans be completed.

On June 24, the WLU Board of Governors appointed Blouw to his second term as Laurier’s president and vice-chancellor, meaning he’ll continue to serve as the eight president in the school’s history.

“I’m just delighted,” said Blouw of his re-appointment. “I love the institution, I think the faculty, the students, the staff are just fabulous. The community is just a wonderful place where we’ve got an exciting future ahead and I’m just delighted to part of it.”

Blouw’s term as president and vice-chancellor began on Sept. 1, 2007 and is scheduled to end Aug. 31, 2012. His second term will officially began Sept. 1, 2012 and last until Aug. 31, 2017.

Under Blouw, Laurier has grown from a school of just over 11,000 students to its current population of nearly 14,000. However, what the president is most proud of is the plans he and his team have put in place to handle that growth.

“What we’ve been trying to do and it’s not just me, it’s the senior team, is establish a clear sense of direction and priority for the university,” said Blouw. “It’s involved quite a bit of master campus planning, academic planning, financial budget planning that was more background that showed up in each budget since I’ve arrived here.”

Establishing Laurier as a multi-campus university has been an area of particular interest to Blouw during his time at the university. Since 2007, WLU has expanded offerings and enrolment at both its Brantford and Kitchener campuses and has also established offices in both Toronto and Chongqing, China.

“I feel all that was laying the ground work for a new future in the new century of the university and that new future is explicitly as a multi-campus university,” said Blouw. “I believe that here in Waterloo, the community needs to think of itself increasingly as a multi-campus university. Certainly in Brantford they do, in Kitchener they do, in the Toronto office, in the Chongqing office, they know they’re part of a multi-campus entity. I believe also that we have a wonderful opportunity now to build some real excellence and areas of excellence at the university over an above what we already have.”

One of the key projects of Blouw’s first term was the establishment of Laurier’s campus master plan, the first phase of which became tangible just last week. On June 20, Laurier unveiled its plans for a new building known as the Global Innovation Exchange, which replace the school’s current St. Michael’s Campus.

“That really is part of my excitement at being re-appointed,” said Blouw. “We really have areas of excellence that we can pursue and clearly the Global Innovation Exchange building will help us in that. It’s really exciting to now be on the implementation side of things and we’ll see lots of progress over the next little while.”

When it comes to his vision for his second term, Blouw sees the university continuing to expand in population, however he realizes the importance of being strategic with such growth.

“On the Waterloo campus, we hope to limit growth to some extent,” he said.

“We will be growing, but hopefully more with international students and graduate students, less emphasis on undergraduate students. In terms of undergraduate enrolment, I think in Brantford we’re developing a lot of good programs and there’s capacity there to grow quite a bit.”

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