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Wilfrid Laurier University Leaf
October 27, 2016
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Laurier Toronto

Student Affairs organizational changes announced

Communications, Public Affairs & Marketing

Mar 8/11

This announcement is issued on behalf of David McMurray, Vice-President: Student Affairs

After an extensive year-long review of multiple Student Affairs business operations and services for our students, I am pleased to announce several staff changes. These changes have been made with the goal of affirming Laurier as a benchmark model well into the future, are cost neutral to the university’s operating budget, are in accordance with our continued efforts to maximize service, ensure accountability and performance, and complement the strategic integration of learning, student development and success.

The positions of Director, Student Services; Director, Residential Services; and Manager, Housing and Residence Life, were all eliminated and a new, more centralized Student Affairs business operations redesign was completed. Dan Dawson has assumed the new position of Assistant Vice-President, Student Services with responsibility for a consolidated division composed of the residence facilities and services operations, Food Services, Conference Services, the Laurier One Card, campus vending services, marketing and communications. In addition to the supervisory responsibilities associated with these Student Affairs business operations, which generate revenues in excess of $25 million annually, Dan will have responsibility for the central management of all Student Affairs financial and human resource matters associated with the Student Affairs Operating Procedures Agreement.

Importantly, as we advance our multi-campus institutional governance focus, the AVP, Student Services portfolio will support our multi-campus Student Affairs organizational development as we continue to grow at Laurier Brantford. A strong collaborative relationship already exists with Laurier Brantford, which we can continue to nurture in a manner that is intentional and strategic. Dan’s wealth of senior-level experience in student services business and operational matters made him a natural choice for this complex and important new role.

To support the consolidation of Student Affairs business operations and the very successful bottom line results of the ancillaries, as well as to establish an effective resource in university financial services, the new position of Ancillary Services Financial Analyst has been developed. The incumbent, Matthew Forrest, will co-report to the AVP, Student Services and to the AVP, Administration to provide student affairs and ancillary services with strategic and operational support to better equip managers in financial planning, reporting and forecasting.

To continue to oversee the ever-increasing magnitude of the residence services operations and facilities, currently accommodating approximately 3,400 students, two search processes were launched. I am pleased to announce the search committee’s unanimous decision to appoint Chris Dodd as Director of Residence. Chris has had great success in his previous role as Manager, Housing and Residence Life and I am confident he will bring exceptional leadership, not only to the residence team, but in collaboration with Student Affairs and Academic Affairs colleagues as we build a more intentional, educationally purposeful first-year student experience.

Designed to add capacity to support the substantial increase in residence facilities, which not only include Laurier-owned residences but substantial leased holdings, I am pleased to announce the appointment of John Will as Manager, Residence Facility Operations. John has served as a key member of the residence facilities team as it has expanded significantly.

Finally, a very strategic position description change is currently under way which will see the former Manager, Housing and Residence Life role become the Associate Director of Residence, Learning and Development. This role change is expected to lead the provision of more enriching, educationally purposeful learning and development opportunities for first-year residence students. A clear focus will be on enhancing the challenging transition first-year students face, the integration of scholarly work and personal development, meaningful engagement and student academic success. Pedagogically proven high-impact practices such as an intentional first-year student experience and the advancement of learning communities will be further integrated with the student-learning experience. Student academic success programs will be advanced in co-ordination with academic and professional staff in the faculties, and innovative first-year connection and enriching engagement opportunities will be explored. A continuation of the strong residence-life tradition will be maintained, as will the important synergy with multiple Student Affairs units such as the Dean of Students office, Diversity and Equity, Counseling Services, Health Services, Athletics and Recreation, and Career Development.

I look forward to these and other initiatives aimed at ensuring that the Laurier student experience continues to be extraordinary!

David McMurray

Vice-President: Student Affairs


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