ORILLIA - The theme of Lakehead University’s 2016/2017 Report to the Community was Partnerships and Pathways.
The annual luncheon at Hawk Ridge Golf Club on Nov. 10, featured a talk-show style presentation hosted by Lakehead Orillia Principal, Dr. Dean Jobin-Bevans, and interviews with some of the exceptional people who helped make the last year a special one.
Guests included Lakehead Orillia Psychology Professor Dr. Beth Visser, and Kaitlyn Watson, a Lakehead alumna from Education and Interdisciplinary Studies who is a researcher, teacher, and activist.
For many years, Dr. Visser has been exploring the dark side of human nature, trying to figure out how people can be callous, manipulative, and exploitive. “I couldn’t understand how people couldn’t care about their actions, so I started studying them,” she said.
Visser captivated the crowd with stories about her research, including a personality profile of the 2016 U.S. Presidential candidates, and a new collaboration with colleagues from Brock University with the support of a Social Sciences and Human Research Committee (SSRHC) grant that will explore psychopathy and victim selection.
“There is no template for the research that I do,” explained Visser. “Generally our research topics come out of discussion and a meshing of ideas, but at the end the goal is to ensure that it tells you something about the real world.”
Watson described how a first year Indigenous content requirement course had a consequential effect on her education and led her to dedicate her research, teaching, and activism to Indigenous issues. "It was an awakening moment," she said.
Currently completing a PhD at Western University, her work builds upon the goals of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and its calls to action to educate all Canadians about Indigenous peoples and settler responsibilities.
Watson explained how Lakehead not only helped prepare her to reach her goals, but also influenced her to take the road less travelled.
“The best thing about Lakehead was that it helped me grow not only as a student, but as a person. I had professors who had a significant impact on me. They helped lead and support me along the path to success,” she said.
The Report to the Community was a chance to celebrate the year’s other successes, including the incredible financial impact that Lakehead has on the province.
Lakehead University adds approximately $1.4 billion per year to Ontario’s gross domestic product. The annual economic impact of the University’s Orillia campus on the province was $122.7 million, while its Thunder Bay campus contributed $1.3 billion. Lakehead University employs the equivalent of 6,277 full-time employees.
“The Report to the Community is a chance to look back on the year’s successes and to celebrate everything that we have achieved,” said David Tamblyn, Chair of Lakehead University’s Board of Governors.
Dr. Brian Stevenson, Lakehead University’s President and Vice-Chancellor, said the University is dedicated to a student-centred approach that will lead to student success.
“At Lakehead University we are committed to tearing down barriers to post-secondary education and replacing them with pathways,” Dr. Stevenson said. “We do this because we believe in our students. And they believe in us.”