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Rotary Club of Thunder Bay - Port Arthur

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Navigator Nov 2, '10

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Meeting of  NOV 2, 2010


President David Sillman presiding, Minutes taken by Major Merv Halverson, Photos by Kevin Holloway.

Welcoming at the door was and Fred Baker.




            Joe McEachern – Lobsterfest, Joe said support was needed and the help came through. This year the auction table was a great success. We are not going to make $10,000 but at the end of the day there was $5,000 profit. We are going to need more help next year to make this event a greater success. Maybe we need to be realistic there are other events that are happening. - Mary Anne said we would be remiss if we did not thank Joe and Bruce for the great job they did. Both of you deserve a lot of credit.



Gail Brescia from the Lakehead club

President Brian Stevenson form the Lakehead University

Fraser Coull

Justine Bertrand

Johnny DeBakker


Dave Silliman reporting on Dew Drop In – last Thursday we served 160 people and had a very good group from Rotary to help in serving. In the morning was Don Chase, Guy O'Brien, Rob Graham, Doug Thom & Joe Vanderwees. In the afternoon we had a great crew from PA Rotary Rob Graham and Guy O'Brien, Jaro Kotalik, Maria Hudolin, Bill Green and Kevin Holloway. Friends of Rotary - Ruth Squire, Sharron McAdam, Sharron *, Warren Phillips sister and Rotarian from Fort Williams Club Betty Ann Ellison, Wally Drohan. Super crew and we were out of there by 4:00 PM.


 Leslie Savitsky reporting on The Rotary Christmas Parade Nov 20, 2010. This is our 20 year. Our club is responsible for the parade route and Laurie Tulloch is going to coordinate and so if there is any member who is not available to participate from about 9:45 to 11:30 to man barricades you need to email him. He is away this week but he will get the emails. I hope you will be available to help out on this day.


President Dave Sillman, also on the 20th this will be our annual Christmas Party at the Vanderwees Greenhouse. We are looking forward to that and hopefully the tickets will be out for that.


Jim Mucklow – For three years we have had the exchange students come from the entire District on the same day as the Christmas Parade. There is a smaller group than the last few years. By next week you will be asked if you could host two students. We will need about 8 families for 3 nights.


President Dave Sillman, I would like to ask if anybody will be present at the Remembrance Day Services at Waverly Park at the Cenotaph? I have been asked to lay a wreath for our club but I will be doing another service.  Mary Ann Commuzi will lay the wreath.


 Fine Master Bill Everitt collected fines  & Happy Dollars. 


Bill announced that Justine Bertrand who is sitting at his table was a Rotary Exchange student in 2001/2 and she has a strong interest in Rotary, welcome her please.


President Dave Sillman, a membership proposal for Johnny deBaker has been received.


Guest Speaker - Dr. Brian Stevenson, President of Lakehead University



Speech transcribed - thanks to Rotarian Major M. Halvorsen        


    Colin Bruce introduced the guest speaker – A pleasure to introduce Dr. Brain Stevenson. I have had a pleasure of sitting on the committee that looked for a suitable leader for Lakehead University. The search was comprehensive and international. Prior to taking the helm at Lakehead he was at Winnipeg as the Provost and Vice President of Academic till 2010, were was also a Professor in the Faculty of Business and Economics. He was involved in a new Academic Plan, a new graduate program, the promotion and internationalization and a new enrolment strategy. Dr. Stevenson has proven excellence in everything he has touched in that regard and has several degrees and is also recognized as a specialist in international relations a foreign policy. He holds a PHD from Queens University and taught in Mexico, he has a breath of experience academically and politically that leaves him in a remarkable position to lead Lakehead University into the next generation it is my pleasure to introduce Dr. Brian Stevenson.



Thank you for those kind words of introduction. As I’ve gotten to know Collin he has gotten to be my soul source of information. I feel I know you all very well. It is a pleasure to be here. I have got apologize for being a little late. I still can not get used to walking downtown and seeing this beautiful lake. I have to stop and pause and pinch myself that I am here. I had to pause and take it in. My mother  taught me a lesson when I was very young. I did not understand it then but I am beginning to understand it now, she said: in light of time take time to smell the roses along the way. Take it in and enjoy it and that is what I did today.



I am reminded about the story about a new greeter at Walmart and is hired on. This fellow knows exactly where to send people. He has studied the who operation of Walmart, people are very happy they come and give great feed back to the manager but the guy is always 10 to 15 minutes late. At first the manager does not want to say anything but after a few weeks he says I really can not let this go on he is really great he says, Bill first  of all I want to say that everybody thinks you are great greeter and it is really great you are doing a wonderful job but you are chronically late and it is really getting to me. It isn’t creating big waves big it is a big problem. And Bill kind of lowers his head and says I am really sorry sir it is a problem I had on my last job. The manager says if this is the problem you had on your last job, what did they tell you then? Usually every morning when I came in they would say, good morning Admiral, would you like a cup of coffee?



Anyway, my apologies for being late even though I am not an Admiral! I would say to you the impact of my being here sinks in everyday. This is just a fantastic community, Lakehead University is a great University and everyday I discover new gems of the city, about the region, about the University and it is like Christmas everyday.



I want to talk about my initial vision for the University that comes out of the strategic plan and it comes out of a number of conversations. I am having a first few months of dialogue with various communities to talk about this vision and where we want to take this great University. The critical issue when one comes into a job like this is consultation. The American Presidents when they come in they talk about their first 100 days in office. They have to pass their legislative agenda and then they go back into election mode. Well with the University President and the kind of community we are part of it is a very different situation. The first 100 days is consultation, consultation, consultation. It does not mean you do not do things in the mean time but you want to get out there and talk to people and get to know people and describe what it is you are doing and get some guidance as to whether that is the right direction. So I have  talking about 5 different central points to the direction that I think the University that I will be taking and these come out of the Strategic Plan. The first and foremost is excellence. There is no University that should not start their first sentence about the University with the word excellence because excellence is the goal that we want our students to have, that we want our researchers to have and that we want the University community to have. But excellence means something, it is not just a word, it is not just a concept. Excellence means first of all excellence in research, excellence in teaching, excellence in the student experience and in our case excellence in graduate programming. Why that is important is that we have to work to create that excellence, it just does not happen. Excellence in research means we have to have the infrastructure and the funding for research, we have to hire and retain the right faculty and we have to be able to focus our research agenda in the way that maximizes the amount of money that we can bring into the University with all of its spin in the community. Excellence in teaching also has to do with hiring the best faculty but it has to do with supporting them and giving them the infrastructure support to the teaching endeavor. You may be surprised about this but when we go and do our PhD’s at learned Universities across this country 90% of the time nobody teaches us how to teach. But when I went to University we had to insist on getting a course in curriculum development and on teaching skills. We are taught how to do research but not necessarily how to teach. It is not like you are in the Faculty of Education where the pedagogy is a very important part. It’s a battle we are all trying to fight across the country. It is very important to support and sustain that teaching capacity, but it is also important to reward it. To find ways of recognizing and rewarding the good teachers. Those of us who have had good teachers know the impact it can have on their lives and what great work they do. So supporting them, rewarding them and keeping them are the three goals of excellence in teaching. In terms of the student experience it is very important that we treat the student as a student when she or he is going through the academic process but treat them as a client when they are being dealt with through the administrative process. So that the students are dealt with, with respect and we make the bureaucracy as minimal as possible and we make that experience a good one. Why well because they already have enough things to worry about. They are going to University and most often they are away from home, they are trying to get used to a new environment but they are our future. They are future alumni they are future…, the better that experience the better the linkage within the community and the better the future for the institution.. SO for me linking that student experience to excellence is very, very important.



And finally, excellence in the graduate program. This is the University that is poised to go into a new phase. I do not know if you know this but every indicator now has us moving into the next stage and that means we will become a research intensive, graduate based comprehensive University, eventually leading to a Medical Doctor University once we have the research infrastructure, the number of students. This may not happen in my terms but it will happen in time and we have to build and prepare for it. And that really means that the graduate programmings are at the very heart of this stage of development. How do we promote and develop that is fundamentally important.



So if you take the bundle of excellence you can see that there are whole series of tasks that have to do with the right policies, with the right funding, with the right approach and a good attitude. This is where I think the issue of excellence is going to be a central focus for me.



Secondly, sustainability of the University. You will be happy to know that this University is a very well managed University who’s finances are in very good shape. It has a lot to do with the great board, the board vice chair and chair that we have. And that is Colin Bruce over there. It has a lot to do with the previous Administration and it has a lot to do with the great team work that has been built up. But that is a fragile financial situation because Universities have been under funded in this province for years and years and years and it takes a lot of effort to be able to manage them. So what we have to do is to develop a series of strategies to keep on course. To keep the sustainability of the finances in the right direction. That means building other sources of revenue for this University. It means to do series and greater fund raising for the items that are needed at the University and supported by the community. It means having constant financial and management efficiency into the system. Constantly rethinking, constantly redesigning using technology where it is necessary, using human resources where necessary. But we are headed into a few years of difficult times and we know what our provincial budget is like and we know that the full pinch of that budget has not yet hit us and it will be hitting us in the next two or three years. So the message for me outside of the University, the message for me inside the University is lets do the best we can. We are in one of the best positions of any Universities in the province, but the wave is coming, get on the surf board and learn how to surf now because we are going to have a wave to ride for a while and we can come out of it well or we can come out of it badly and we are going to need the support of the community, we are going to need the support of the University community in order to come out of this better than we are now and I think we can do that together. If we can talk, if we discuss and if we do the right things along the way. So sustainability is the second most important priority.



Third is the campus in Orilla. Now the University has established a beautiful successful campus in Orilla. We are an hour and a half north of Toronto and we are beginning to see the impact of the effects. We have gone from a hundred to a thousand students, we have the capacity for another fifteen hundred. We just inaugurated a new 43 million dollar platinum building a month ago. Colin and I were there at the inauguration and it was a wonderful experience of working in a community that has not had a University for a very long time or never had a University. They are grateful  and appreciative. They know what the spin offs are going to be in terms of research, in terms of the students etc. But for us its very important it’s a life line to the GTA.



Every year 50 to 80 thousand new students come out of the GTA looking for a University and we know that the Universities in Toronto and in the GTA broadly speaking are not going to be able to fit all of those students. So one anchor and one step forward for us is for the students to be able to up to Orilla. But then from there bringing them here is the next task. Because we will not be able to do all of the programs even when Orilla becomes fully functional, we won’t be able to do all of the programs or programs that we can only do here. We already have some evidence to show that since we have been in Orilla, that Lakehead in Thunder Bay has grown in its image and the penetration in the market of the GTA. And students are learning more and more about Lakehead just by having that Orilla campus. So there are a number of strategies that we are going to be using to use strategically the position, the role of Orilla and to be able to benefit the Thunder Bay Campus and the University as a whole. So our phrase is one University, two campuses. And that is what we are moving with.


Fourthly, you will be happy to know that one of the key areas, perhaps with the greatest support and enthusiasm and for me is a delight it’s a little bit of a surprise to be honest with is the area of internationalization. I have always had to fight for internationalization in the institutions I have been at. But here I am in a better situation than I have been in the past. The support inside the campus and outside the campus for an aggressive and international strategy is over whelming. It really is the right time to go out into the world and bring the world here and take the world out there. And of course I think this is an area that you have special interest in that I will talk about in the question and answer period about. But our aims in the terms of international strategy is to bring between  a thousand and fifteen hundred international students to this University over the next 5 to 7 years. To bring any number of students over summer programs, for English language programs for professional programs for executive programs. Over the summer we have two campuses with great opportunities to develop those summer specialized programs. We want to be able to develop an international student services office. We want to be able to establish exchange programs for our students to go away. For our staff and faculty to go away and do exchanges and go elsewhere and develop relationships in other institutions. We want to be able to develop a joint research program to institutions abroad. With funding from other governments as well as our own that we have here for research. And we want to be able to develop a global education program within the University that is going to connect to you in terms of activities on campus. Let me give you a couple of examples of things I have accomplished in the past. When I was at the University of Alberta, I was the vice Provost for International Affairs. Between 1999 and 2006 I took the University from about 500 international students to nearly 4,000 international students. Revenue for the University went from about 2.5 million to 27 million in those 6 years. In that process I also established and international residence called International House. Now this wasn’t just any international residence that you would see in Universities across Canada. This was the only Canadian International Student Residence member of the international association of International Houses that you could see at Berkley, you could see at Columbia, in London in Paris in Tokyo, in Melbourne, in Sydney. This was a very big break through to be the first University. And the principles were very simple, it’s a residence that 40 % are Canadian, 60 % are international and if you belong to this house you have to participate in the international programs. You have to go to speaker series. You have to organize speaker series; you have to write about international issues, you have to help publish the international student newspaper. There’s a whole series of activities that we established at the University of Alberta and I was able to do all of that in 6 years just by being a vice Provost. So imagine as President and with your help what I can accomplish.



This is a University that is poised and set for this international area. I know the University has had some great periods of Internationalization. It has already I think a great International Alumni. It has a lot of support in the community but I think we have to revive it in the new environment that we are now working internationally and I can describe that environment to you more in a moment.



So internationalization will definitely be one of the key areas of focus and I am going to need your support and your advice particularly on that area. I do need them on the other areas as well but in that area especially and of course working with Rotarians is very central to that mission.



Finally I would say that I have two community engagement issues/priorities. The first one is to give the University a sense of relevance in the community I think we have to ask the question what is the role of the University in Economic Development? You know there are two aspects to the role of the University in Economic Development. One is one that we think about everyday. The presence of the University here, the two or three hundred million dollar impact  that we have on the region. We have about a hundred or hundred and fifty million dollar budget depending how you count the Medical School etc. There’s a great spin off here with students and it is a 30 million dollar impact from the students alone. But that spin off and those impacts of the University are the passive support of the role of the University.  The issue is what can we do actively? How can we get engaged in economic development? How can we develop and design the future of the University? Its research components? Its teaching capacity? Its support for the businesses communities? Its support for First Nation communities that want to develop businesses? How can we help become active and pro active members in proving and diversify Thunder bay and the NW? That is a fundamental question that we have to ask and have to answer and have to deal with. Because if you look at the case for example of the University of Waterloo, and Wilfred Laurier University, the impact that those two institutions have in the Kitchener Waterloo area in terms of developing alternative economic forces that have named it a very rich area in the province had to do with that planning had to do with developing the knowledge based economy that had to do with developing the Health Sciences side had to develop all sorts of potential spin offs that I can’t imagine right now. Areas that we can think about but we have to explore, we have to move forward and I promise that its going to be one of the main features of my Presidency is how can we develop that economy because there is no point in turning out hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of graduates who are all going to be moving to Toronto. There is just no point! Why are we doing it? We have to create the jobs here, we have to create the jobs in the north, we have to be able to unleash the entrepreneurial spirit of our graduates no matter what carrier they graduate from. Small and medium enterprises we all know are the ones that create most of the jobs. How can we help that process? How can we make it go forward? We’re going to be supporting mining and forestry and all those things we have done traditionally. We’re going to  support other parts of the economy in education and we have to help create the wealth that is going to support the University and the community in the long term.



And finally, and I think most importantly for me is how do we engage the First Nation Communities in this city and in the NW? How can we increase the number of First nation Students in this University. We already have over a thousand that we know of at the University which is pretty good considering we only have 8 or 9 thousand students. But that for me is just a start. The way to development, the way to improvement to help First Nations Communities in this region is if we make it easier for them to come to this University. If we develop access programs, if we welcome them but then we help them go back to their communities and that ties into the economic development again we have to be helping those communities develop the infrastructure for economic development as well as giving the them the people that  are going to come in with the right professions. A perfect example is the Medical school that we have. It really is a very important way which we are trying to deliver physicians that come from those communities in the north that aren’t going to be abandoning us up here and going to other places.



So because these two last issues these two community engagement issues are so important to me I have placed them as center pieces to the celebration later in the week which is my installation as President of this institution and on Thursday afternoon I’m holding a conference on campus on the role of the University in Economic Development in Thunder Bay and the NW and then on Friday morning I’m having Lloyd Axeworthy coming and speaking on the issue of First Nations and hire education. So that my initial bundle of priorities and issues that I wanted to come and consult with you. 


(LU President Stevenson with Port Arthur Rotary President David Silliman at the right) 

There was time for Q & A


Thanks was given to Dr. Stevenson for his time and talk by Rotarian Harold Wilson.



Ace of Club draws

            Ticket #856 was drawn. The 9 of diamonds was drawn. 

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