Independent Operations and Governance Review Sets Roadmap for Transformation of Laurentian University

Laurentian University takes an important step in its restructuring with the release of two reports following an independent review which includes recommendations that will transform the operations and governance of the University.

Conducted by Nous Group, under the direction of Laurentian’s Chief Redevelopment Officer and the court-appointed Monitor, the reports deliver a transformational roadmap and detailed recommendations that will pave the way for a stronger, financially viable Laurentian that students and all stakeholders deserve. Details of the review and recommendations can be found here.

“We are confident that implementing these recommendations will allow the University to make the necessary changes to ensure the appropriate governance and operational frameworks are in place to best serve the needs of Laurentian’s future students,” says Lou Pagnutti, Chief Redevelopment Officer.

“While there will be challenges as Laurentian executes this ambitious and long-term transformation, the University is focused on whatever needs to be done to make Laurentian the best environment it can be for its students. The report serves as a roadmap to success – and the University is dedicated to renewing Laurentian as the proud institution our community deserves,” he adds.

As a next step, Laurentian will be discussing the recommendations with stakeholders including determining the source of funding to execute the transformation.  As Laurentian moves through this process in collaboration with key university and community stakeholders, including its faculty and employees and creditors and in partnership with the Ontario Government, it will provide regular updates on progress.

Key recommendations

Governance: 37 recommendations to improve the university’s governance at the Board and Senate, including adjusting its bicameral model to improve information flow between the two bodies. Additional recommendations call for each governing body to establish a clear mandate and set of accountabilities, ensure the right composition and capabilities are in place, and adopt appropriate structures and processes, including establishment of a professional secretariat.

Operations: A transformation program to improve operational efficiency focused on seven core areas including strategy, service delivery, financial performance, structure, processes, technology and digital platforms, as well as capability and capacity.

Within those areas, recommendations call for development of a new strategic plan;  consolidation of all student services to improve student satisfaction and retention; implementation of new financial planning, budgeting and reporting practices; restructuring of administrative functions with clear lines of authority and accountability; simplified, standardized and automated processes and new enterprise processes for risk and records management; priority investments in digital tools and capabilities; and attracting new capabilities by drawing from a broad talent pool and addressing understaffed units.  

About the Operations and Governance Review

As a critical key step in the CCAA process, Laurentian announced in October 2021 it had engaged Nous Group to make recommendations for improving the operational structure and function of the University, as well as governance at the Board and Senate. In keeping with Laurentian’s commitment to conduct the review in an independent manner, Nous reported directly to the Chief Redevelopment Officer and the court-appointed Monitor throughout the process.

The process involved a thorough review of materials; interviews with staff, board and senate members, union leaders, and students and community members; and analysis of need and opportunities based on extensive knowledge of best practice in the Canadian university sector.