The University College of the North (UCN) has a new President & Vice-Chancellor: Mr. Doug Lauvstad of The Pas, Manitoba.
Doug is a true northerner and well known throughout the province. He is a strong advocate for northern Manitoba’s economic and social progress. He brings to UCN an accomplished track record of building educational and training programs that support “Northern People for Northern Jobs.” He has been a strong voice for northern Manitoba and brings the issues and context of northern people to the provincial conversation. Born and raised in The Pas, he has an MBA from Athabasca University (2002).
Prior to becoming President and Vice Chancellor of UCN, Doug was the Executive Director of the Northern Manitoba Sector Council (NMSC), an association of Manitoba’s largest industry sectors (mining, forestry and energy). NMSC’s focus is to sustain and retain a world-class workforce in northern Manitoba. He was seconded to NMSC in 2007 from his position as Executive Director at UCN’s campus in The Pas. During his 19 years at UCN (formally known as Keewatin Community College) he held a number of senior positions, notably in executive management, administration, and marketing and communications.
We recently sat down with the new President & Vice-Chancellor of UCN in late August for a conversation about the institution, the north, and how things might be different.
SAY Magazine: You’ve been on the job a very short while; what do you think so far?
Doug Lauvstad: Well, I worked here for over 20 years, and was involved on a day to day basis with much of the conversation and implementation during the creation of UCN, so I know UCN, the people, programs, and places. For the most part, I am familiar and comfortable with the institution, and I know the issues and all the players. There’s been some exciting things happening with university programming that I would like to see accelerated and there is more real opportunity to take a much more aggressive role in the technical/vocational area.
SAY Magazine: What will your presidency be about?
Doug Lauvstad: Three things: Partnerships, Integration and Innovation. I will be reaching out across the province to create educational and training opportunities for students. I want to work with governments, communities, education authorities, the public and private sector and other colleges and universities to expand opportunity for northern people.
And it will not be just new programming; I want to look at possibly delivering existing programs in new ways. I would love to see more cooperative training opportunities, more work integrated learning, land based learning, more on-the-job opportunities and definitely more partnerships with employers.
I think my role will be to challenge UCN to engage more freely, to try new things, and build new relationships with an absolute focus on improving the educational experience for students.
We have an incredible talent pool within UCN and I know we have important work to do in providing education and training services in the north. Those are the conditions necessary to create an organizational culture that is exciting with work that has meaning.
SAY Magazine: What is your vision for UCN?
Doug Lauvstad: Well, it’s still early days, but one picture that I have in my mind is a graduation ceremony with a large number of northern employers with job offers for our grads.
I also see UCN as a fun and exciting place for students… where students are supported and encouraged. UCN is not a big, impersonal institution. We can be small and focused. And we can offer the personal touch. Students can really get to know their professors or instructors and they can build lifelong relationships with their peers. We can offer an enriched educational experience. That is our strength: we can care more about people than numbers.
SAY Magazine: What else do you see for UCN?
Doug Lauvstad: I see UCN being incredibly acting in the northern Manitoba community. I see study tours, conferences, joint programming
with other universities and colleges… I see UCN as a full participant in the conversation about the future of northern Manitoba and I will challenge the staff to step up and take a leadership role. And that activity will provide learning opportunities and growth for our students. UCN is a unique place because we have the mandate and skills to be doing some really exciting things all across the north.
SAY Magazine: What can a new student at UCN expect?
Doug Lauvstad: What we can do for all students throughout the north is offer a good educational product, efficient service, a respectful environment and a memorable, life-changing experience.