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Interim President’s Focus on the Future

by: Ashley Quinton

News and Politics Writer

University of Windsor Interim President Douglas Kneale is striking items off his to-do list.

“We are off to a great start, a terrific start, both myself personally and the entire university community for a number of reasons. First of all, students. I always start with students because that’s what makes us a university.”

Student enrollment at the university is near record numbers this year, with just over-16,000 full-time and part-time undergraduate students. And the number of graduate students keeps breaking enrolment records with just over 4000 grad students enrolled this term, up roughly 24% from last year and around 40% from 2016. Furthermore, according to Kneale while attendance was down by 20,000 at the Ontario University Fair last year, the number of contacts and students visiting the Windsor booth was up by 20%.

Dr. Kneale has three priorities: recruitment, retention and the student experience.

Recruiting is going well so the focus is now on retention and student experience. “We need to give them an awesome student experience in curricular, co-curricular and extra curricular ways and we need to make sure that we ensure their success. We need to make sure we support them all the way through their academic journey.”

One of the ways the university is meeting its student priorities is through experiential learning. Experiential learning “used to be thought of just sort of this like co-op, internships, and placements,” says Kneale.  “Now it’s about getting valuable experience in any way that’s linked academically through volunteering, getting out into the community and, and getting some hands on experience.”

 Smoke-Free Campus

Beyond recruitment, retention and student experience, Dr. Kneale wants to see the campus go smoke-free by 2020, in light of marijuana legalization. A committee has been struck to work on moving toward that goal, which will bring Windsor in-line with other schools.

According to a report by the Canadian Cancer Society 65 post-secondary institutions are now smoke-free. Kneale says some campuses went there recently partly to get out in front of the cannabis issue, “and as we proceed down that path, we want to make sure that we are educating people and we are supporting people.”

Windsor Proud Campaign

The University’s embarking on a new marketing campaign as well called Windsor Proud.

For Kneale “it’s about recognizing all the good things that we do as a university, as a community, and instilling confidence, feeling confident about what we’re doing and beyond that, having some pride in it, feeling proud about our university, our city, our region.” It’s all about focusing on the individual students that contribute to the story of the campus he claims, “I often say that if you were to put a compass in the middle of the Ambassador Bridge and describe a circle of a certain radius you would have, a community of between four and 5 million people in two different countries with exponential social, cultural, academic, intellectual opportunities. And it’s sure not the GTA. We are Windsor, Windsor, proud.”

The campaign will be rolling out in the next month and throughout the rest of the recruitment cycle.

Kneale’s message to Lancers is, “keep the momentum, be Windsor Proud and I look forward to seeing you on campus!”

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