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Three projects approved for Laurier’s President’s Innovation Seed Fund
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The President’s Innovation Seed Fund committee has approved three projects that will help generate revenue and increase the number of services Laurier provides.
The $200,000 fund was established to support positive, forward-thinking initiatives that have the potential to produce new revenue and/or reduce the university’s operating costs.
“Each of the approved initiatives clearly increases Laurier’s capacity to achieve its goals,” said Steve Farlow, chair of the fund’s implementation committee. “At the start of the fund in September, the committee was hoping for proposals that could leverage our existing resources, and we are thrilled that the Laurier community is rising to the challenge.”
While several proposals submitted for the current round of funding are still being considered, the committee has approved funds for three initiatives:
Laurier English as a Second Language (ESL) Program
Submitted by David McGuire, manager of international student recruitment
This initiative will introduce ESL programming to Laurier, providing a new source of revenue for the university as Laurier currently refers all students who need ESL training to other institutions. The Laurier ESL program will complement existing ESL offerings in the region, and aims to increase the number of international students that Laurier recruits. The program will initially be offered at the Brantford campus and will benefit from the campus’ integration with the downtown core, providing students with constant opportunities to practice their language skills in everyday settings. The program will start in September 2010.
Submitted by Julie Pong, academic advisor
This program will aim to increase student retention rates by proactively assisting first-year Faculty of Arts students who are struggling academically. Fourth-year students who have overcome similar difficulties will counsel groups on study skills and goal setting. If successful, BOOST will increase student retention rates and retain revenue that would otherwise be lost, while increasing the academic achievement of Laurier students. It can be readily expanded to other faculties if needed. The pilot program will begin in January 2010.
Brantford Advanced Summer Acceleration Program (ASAP)
Submitted jointly by Holly Cox, manager of Brantford recruitment and registrarial services, and Len Friesen, associate professor
ASAP’s purpose is to increase the number of college transfer students recruited by Laurier Brantford. The program provides a continuous course of study, and is specifically designed for international students, as continuous study eliminates problems they might otherwise encounter with their student visas. This program has the potential to be further leveraged by Laurier as Ontario colleges continue to expand transfer agreements with universities and an increasing number of college students seek university degrees. ASAP is expected to begin in Spring 2010.
“The committee is extremely pleased with these projects, as they each surpass the basic fund criteria by addressing multiple institutional objectives,” said Farlow. “They can be expanded to other faculties and campuses, and they also have the potential to build linkages within and between faculties and campuses.”
For example, Laurier Brantford will be collaborating with the Faculty of Social Work on the delivery of diversity training in preparation for the arrival and integration of new international students.
“All three projects showcase creativity, innovation and collaboration,” said Laurier president Dr. Max Blouw. “I am very pleased that the Waterloo, Brantford and Kitchener campuses have a role in the approved projects and will benefit from the funds provided.”
The President’s Innovation Fund continues to seek ideas – large and small – to generate new revenue and reduce operating costs. If you are interested in submitting an initiative, visit www.wlu.ca/innovationfund for more information, or contact the fund committee at firstname.lastname@example.org.