Concordia's Thursday Report

Vol. 30, No.2

September 29, 2005


President Lajeunesse is getting to know Concordia in depth

Intends to meet everyone on campus over the next year

By Barbara Black

President Claude Lajeunesse and Quebec education minister Jean-Marc Fournier

This year, 4,400 international students from more than 160 countries will hit the books at Concordia. More than 400 of them enjoyed a reception at Newtown on Crescent St. on Sept. 16. President Claude Lajeunesse welcomed them, saying, “Concordia is the most multicultural and multi-ethnic university you will find.” Seen with him in the photo, from left to right are Trey Wadsworth (Urban Studies, from New York), Annica Eriksson (John Molson School of Business, from Sweden), and Nathalie Berner (another business student, from Norway).

Photo by marc losier

President Claude Lajeunesse intends to spend roughly half his time getting to know Concordia in depth and half his time promoting the interests of Concordia in the wider community, including the various levels of government.

“I have plans to meet with every sector of the university,” he said recently. Since there are about 100 separate units, he estimates that at the rate of two visits a week, it will take him about a year.

“As I indicated to the Board of Governors, certainly for the first year, I want to work internally.

“We have to make sure that the whole institution works well together. There is always a need to approach issues, not only from the perspective of the department, division or faculty, but from the perspective of the whole institution.

“What we want to have is a university that is larger than the sum of its parts,” he explained. “This relates to the concern that was expressed during the search [for President] that Concordia is not always recognized as well as it should be.”

Lajeunesse said that employees should “always think about the good of the university in everything we do, and also in communicating it.
“How can we make sure our messages will get the best, most positive play in our community and externally? That is critical.”

Break down silos: President


“If there are any silos, we must find ways to break them down and work together so that we create synergy. There’s a convergence of interests amongst all the faculties, and I feel we have the processes in place to build on this synergy.”

Lajeunesse has organized his executive group to ensure optimum decision-making. This group will meet weekly to review issues and ensure decisions are made in a timely fashion.

He recently met with Mayor Gérald Tremblay, who was encouraging when they discussed the Quartier Concordia concept for the downtown campus area.

“J’ai eu une excellente rencontre avec le maire Tremblay. La rencontre nous a permis de confirmer son appui pour le concept du Quartier Concordia.

J’ai pu constater son soutien pour l’École de gestion John- Molson. Nous avons aussi discuté de plusieurs dossiers intéressants, dont celui des résidences des étudiants.”

Lajeunesse also had a good meeting with Education Minister Jean-Marc Fournier.

“M. Fournier connaît bien le dossier Concordia. À mon avis, on peut s’attendre à ce que le gouvernement fasse des déclarations sous peu au sujet de ce projet majeur. Je crois que le ministre est très au courant des besoins de Concordia.

“Certains ont l’impression que l’Université Concordia est suf-fisamment financée, mais c’est faux. J’ai expliqué au ministre que Concordia est sous-financée par rapport aux autres universités. Je vais continuer de parler au mi-nistre et aux fonctionnaires, à tous ceux qui sont concernés, et de faire valoir les besoins de Concordia avec vigueur.”