Yesterday evening, Algoma University’s Board of Governors convened for their first regular meeting of the 2019-20 academic year. The Board, including a number of newly appointed representatives, was apprised of progress on key institutional priorities, including preliminary enrolment reports projecting significant growth for a second consecutive academic year.
Although a more detailed update will be released following the close of the fall registration period, based on current data, overall enrolment is on track to exceed 2018-19 actual enrolment of 1200 full-time equivalent students and the initial projection of 1450 full-time equivalent students for the 2019-20 academic year. Growth is occurring at all three Algoma University campuses with over 850 new students registering in Brampton, Sault Ste. Marie and Timmins compared to 570 students in 2018-19. Computer Science, Biology, Business and Psychology have garnered the greatest interest from this year’s incoming class. Although an increase in international students is driving growth, Algoma’s first-year domestic class is double the size of last year’s domestic intake. India is the country of origin for the largest percentage of Algoma’s international student population, however, the University’s continued efforts to diversify are paying dividends with the current student body representing 53 countries from around the world.
“The Board of Governors is pleased with the continued progress being made on the University’s enrolment strategy,” said David Nanang, newly appointed Board Chair and Director General at Natural Resources Canada’s Great Lakes Forestry Centre. “Thanks to the tremendous effort of our staff and faculty we are well on our way to achieving the target of growing the University to 3000 students by 2023-24 — this is great news!”
A number of new members were welcomed to the Algoma University Board of Governors including external representatives: Christian Provenzano, Mayor of the City of Sault Ste. Marie; local attorney, and former Chair of the Sault Area Hospital Board of Directors, Elaine Pitcher; Hugh Stevenson, Chief of the Sault Ste. Marie Police Service; and Shannon Taylor, Director of Business Resilience with Ontario Lottery and Gaming. Councillor Peter Sewell joins the Board as Batchewana First Nation Representative, while Savannah Shaver and Angela Trudeau were respectively appointed as Algoma University Students’ Union and Shingwauk Anishinaabe Students’ Association representatives.
“These new members bring a wealth of experience that builds on the diverse perspectives and talent already present within our governing body,” noted Asima Vezina, President and Vice-Chancellor. “The collective work of the Board in the post-secondary sector, industry, government, and Indigenous affairs will be invaluable for our efforts to enhance the overall student experience, while increasing experiential learning opportunities, and supporting ongoing work tied to our Special Mission- including our institutional commitments to truth and reconciliation.”
While the University is still focused on efforts to increase enrolment, initiatives tied to a number of other strategic priorities continue to move forward.
Throughout the summer, expansion efforts in Brampton saw the completion of new student and faculty spaces for the School of Business and Economics, part of an initial $3.4 million investment in this project. The development of additional state-of-the-art classroom space is currently underway and it is anticipated that a ribbon-cutting ceremony will be scheduled in Brampton later this term. A number of projects are also being planned in Sault Ste. Marie and Brampton, including enhanced computer lab facilities and various improvements to student spaces.
With support from the IBI Group, a 10- year Campus Master Plan is currently under development, with a final report to be presented to the Board of Governors in January 2020. “Although stakeholder consultations continue, valuable input has been gathered over the past several months from our community, which has assisted in shaping aspects of initial concepts for our long-term Campus Master Plan,” shared Vezina. “It is exciting to see the vision that is emerging. This plan will provide the University with a road map as we move forward.”
The University is also busy preparing for the 5th Annual Building Reconciliation Forum being held from October 8th through 10th in Sault Ste. Marie. The event has been designed to engage Presidents and their leadership teams in a national dialogue with other senior leaders from across the public and private sectors who will collectively consider the role of Canadian Universities entering the next five years of reconciliation in this country. An impressive agenda of keynote speakers, plenary sessions, land- and culture-based learning activities and social events will ensure a truly memorable experience for all delegates. The University has partnered with Universities Canada, Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig, Nipissing University, Cape Breton University and the University of Northern British Columbia on the event.
The Board of Governors next regular meeting will take place on Thursday, November 28th, 2019.