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Campus news briefs

A quick look at some of the news on campus over the past few months.

Laurier sees bump in student applications

Despite a declining trend in the number of students applying to university, the number of students who applied to Laurier increased in 2015.

The number of high school students who applied to Laurier by the Jan. 14 deadline rose 1.8 per cent over last year compared to a system-wide decline of 0.7 per cent across Ontario. As well, the number of high school applicants who made Laurier their first choice rose 3.2 per cent over last year. The number of non-high-school applicants to Laurier rose 9.6 per cent compared to a system-wide increase of 1.7 per cent across Ontario.

The number of non-high-school applicants who made Laurier their first choice rose 5.9 per cent over last year. Combining high school and non-high-school applicants applying to first-year studies, Laurier received 22,301 applications by the Jan. 14 deadline, or 2.4 per cent more than at last year’s deadline.

Demographic trends in Ontario indicate a decline in the number of 17- and 18-year-olds over the next five years, as well as significant changes in student needs. Faced with these challenges, Laurier has worked hard to strengthen the quality of its renowned student experience and to integrate it with relevant and innovative academic programming.

CEOs-in-residence inspire students

The 2014-15 academic year saw Laurier welcome three alumni, Rob Strickland (BBA ’83), Aidan Tracey (BBA ’91) and Shelley Martin (BBA ’85), as the School of Business and Economics’ latest CEOs-in-residence.

Strickland, president of Fidelity Investments Canada ULC, visited the Waterloo campus in November, sharing how he got his start in the finance industry, going all the way back to following the stock listings in the Guelph Mercury as boy growing up in Guelph. He offered students a wide variety of advice, underscoring that above all else, in the financial sector, it’s all about performance.

In January, Tracey delivered a presentation that discussed how new technology is shaping consumer habits and what that means for companies and people looking to build a career in marketing.

Tracey, president of Acosta Mosaic Group, is an expert in combining experiential, digital, public relations, social media, and Retail Marketing to reach consumers. Martin, president and CEO of Nestle Canada Inc., visited Laurier in early March, sharing her experiences with students, staff and faculty. Martin has worked at Nestle Canada since 1990, holding increasingly senior positions until being named president and CEO in 2012.

The Laurier CEO-in-Residence is an appointed honour by the Dean of the School of Business and Economics, and has been developed to deliver a perspective to students beyond their studies and research in the classroom.

Poet Sonnet L'Abbee serves as writer-in-residence

Award-winning poet and essayist Sonnet L’Abbé served as Laurier’s Edna Staebler Writer-in-Residence for the Winter 2015 term. During her term, which concluded April 13, L’Abbé gave public lectures, provided one-on-one feedback to student writers and writers in the community, and conducted writing workshops.

L’Abbé is the author of two collections of poetry, A Strange Relief and Killarnoe (both published by McClelland and Stewart). She is also a poetry critic and the 2014 guest editor of Best Canadian Poetry. In 2000, she won the Bronwen Wallace Award for most promising writer under the age of 35. She is now at work on two new manuscripts, Sentient Mental Flower Book and Sonnet's Shakespeare, her third and fourth collections of poems.

Each year, the writer-in-residence acts as a resource to the Laurier community while pursuing individual writing projects, offering a portrait of a writer at work. Award-winning non-fiction writer Andrew Westoll was Laurier’s Edna Staebler Writer-in-Residence in 2013, followed by playwright and filmmaker Colleen Murphy, who held the position in winter 2014.

The Edna Staebler Laurier Writer-in-Residence position was established in 2012 by a bequest from the late Edna Staebler, prolific creative non-fiction writer and author of the very popular Schmecks series of books that celebrate the culture and cuisine of Waterloo region. A separate bequest from Staebler sponsors the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction, awarded each year to a writer’s first or second book of creative non-fiction.

LaunchPad entrepreneurs get a 'jumpstart'

Laurier entrepreneurs, present and future, will be getting a boost from a recent federal investment into The Accelerator Centre.

In mid-January, the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) announced that the Accelerator Centre, an award-winning technology startup incubator in Waterloo in which Laurier is a partnet, would receive $8 million in funding over four years to establish a new program called AC JumpStart. The AC JumpStart program will help high-potential startups commercialize new products and develop new businesses by providing selected companies with mentorship and matching seed financing. The program began in January 2015 and will run through 2018.

Three companies that were formed in the Laurier LaunchPad entrepreneurship program — Alaunus, Meal in a Jar and Eventpeeks — were selected to take part in AC JumpStart’s initial cohort, while the $800,000 allocated to Laurier will also support up to 20 companies in the future.

Alumna Carolyn Wilkins (BA '87) named inaugural economist-in-residence

Carolyn Wilkins (BA ’87) returned to Laurier’s Waterloo campus last November, making her first public appearance as the Bank of Canada’s senior deputy governor.

Wilkins, the No. 2 policymaker at Canada’s central bank, was named the School of Business and Economics’ inaugural economist-in-residence. She delivered an address entitled “Money in a Digital World,” discussing the unique challenges presented by digital currencies such as Bitcoin and how much change has come to the way we pay for things, before joining Associate Economics Professor Steffen Ziss to take questions from the audience.

Wilkins graduated from Laurier with an Economics degree in 1987 and has fond memories of her alma mater, including working at Wilf’s to help put herself through school and benefitting from the university’s intimate atmosphere and small class sizes.

The Laurier economist-in-residence is an appointed honour by the dean of the School of Business and Economics, and has been developed to deliver a perspective to students beyond their studies and research in the classroom.

Laurier first Canadian university to receive prestigious designation

In December, Laurier became the first university in Canada to receive accreditation from Imagine Canada under The Standards Program. The accreditation signifies that the university is operating at the highest standards in board governance, financial accountability and transparency, fundraising, staff management and volunteer involvement.

Imagine Canada offers programs and provides resources that help strengthen charities and nonprofits, so that they can best support the communities they serve. The Standards Program builds excellence within Canada’s charities and nonprofits through common standards of practice and thereby strengthens public confidence in these organizations. This latest accreditation builds on Laurier’s Ethical Code certification that it received from Imagine Canada in 2012.

The ethical code outlined fundraising and financial accountability standards. The Standards Program extends evaluation to all the university’s operations. Accreditation through the Standards Program recognizes that Laurier operates in compliance with each of the Imagine Canada Standards of governance, financial accountability and transparency, fundraising, staff and volunteer management.