Annual Report


An Equity Powerhouse

There is no single path to the doors of this university because there is no typical Lakehead student.

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Launching NASA Telescopes on Outer Space Odysseys

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Partnering with
Georgian College

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Partnering with
Georgian College

Lakehead has a vibrant partnership with Georgian College that continues to grow.

In 2016, the two schools announced plans to launch as many as 20 new degree and pathway programs over the next five years at Lakehead’s campus in Orillia and Georgian’s campus in Barrie. This latest development cements Lakehead’s role as an equity powerhouse that provides educational opportunities for underrepresented groups of students. “Georgian College and Lakehead University share a commitment to addressing the postsecondary aspirations of people in Simcoe County and Central Ontario,” noted Georgian College President and CEO, MaryLynn West-Moynes.


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Alzheimer’s disease

Dr. Mitch Albert and his laboratory team are investigating new ways of diagnosing and evaluating Alzheimer’s disease.

The chemistry professor and Lakehead University/Thunder Bay Regional Health Research Institute Research Chair received $709,650 from the Weston Brain Institute to develop an enhanced brain imaging technique for Alzheimer’s sufferers. The grant will fund the first large-scale clinical trial in the world using hyperpolarized xenon gas and MRI scans to capture clearer images of the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. The research could also lead to better drugs to treat this incurable disease.

the gates

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Opening the gates

The Gateway Program is a longstanding Lakehead initiative that upholds our vision of providing a transformative university experience that is far from ordinary.

Gateway is geared towards students whose academic average doesn’t represent their true academic potential. Students with a 65%-70% average admitted to Gateway receive enriched supports and programming that put them on the road to a university degree. In 2016/2017, 161 students were enrolled in the Gateway Program.

Forging their Own Paths to Postsecondary Education

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public spirit

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Celebrating public spirit

Social work student Whitney Page’s efforts to create an inclusive campus culture earned her Lakehead University’s 2016 Lloyd Dennis Award for outstanding citizenship.

Whitney is the founder of the Lakehead University Orillia Pride (LUOP) organization and during her time as LUOP president, she conducted “Positive Space” workshops for faculty and staff and coordinated Lakehead Orillia’s first Pride weeks in 2015 and 2016. LUOP received the Lakehead University Student Union 2016 Malcolm X Club Award for its social justice initiatives.

on food

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Reporting on food sustainability

Dr. Charles Levkoe, Lakehead’s Canada Research Chair in Sustainable Food Systems, is part of the team of researchers that released “Food Counts: A Pan-Canadian Sustainable Food Systems Report Card.”

Dr. Levkoe – along with other researchers at Lakehead University, Wilfrid Laurier University, and the University of Toronto – brought together 61 existing measures of social, environmental, and economic well-being to examine food systems at the national level. The researchers will continue to update this living document that will serve as a practical tool for policymakers.


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Living alongside wolves

Biology graduate student Lynn Remmelgas is looking for ways to help people live in better harmony with wolves – animals that often provoke great fear.

For her master’s research, Lynn went to Algonquin Park where she collaborated with different park users, including campers and park rangers, to explore how they perceived and interacted with wolves. Her resulting thesis, "Understanding human-carnivore conflict: A journey towards coexistence with wolves," will educate people about this misunderstood creature and provide strategies for sharing wilderness areas.

Voyaging Back in Time for Sustainability Solutions

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Increasing Indigenous graduates

Only 9.8% of Indigenous Canadians have a university degree and Lakehead is committed to changing this number.

The Native Access Program and the Native Nursing Entry Program are nine-month academic preparation courses that offer Indigenous students a pathway to a university education. Students who need additional credits to enrol in a Lakehead degree take courses in areas such as math, science, and English. Both programs offer support services and celebrate Indigenous heritage – giving students the knowledge and the confidence to succeed.


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Fostering sustainable communities

The Research Centre for Sustainable Communities is a collective of interdisciplinary researchers on the Orillia campus who are trying to understand what fosters sustainability.

Their research falls under three pillars – environmental sustainability, political economy, and social justice – and ranges from the study of animal and plant communities to the study of online communities. One of the Centre’s goals is to educate the current generation about their responsibilities to make communities sustainable for future generations.


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Inventing healthcare technology

A unique partnership has been turning Northwestern Ontario into a hub of medical research and healthcare commercialization.

Lakehead University and the Thunder Bay Regional Health Research Institute (TBRHRI) have been attracting scientists to the region since 2011 through a joint research chair program. There are now four Lakehead/TBRHRI chairs in the areas of molecular imaging, biology, electrical engineering, and chemistry. TBRHRI is the research arm of the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre.

Giving a Voice
to People at the
End of Life

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Finding our

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Finding our humanity

Humanities 101 is a free non-credit evening course offered on the Thunder Bay and Orillia campuses.

Established in 2005, the course introduces disadvantaged community members to the university experience. Students facing social or financial barriers to higher education are able to take classes in the humanities and the social sciences and become familiar with campus life. Humanities 101 often has a transformative effect on students by nurturing critical thinking and sparking an interest in different fields of study.


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Achieving dreams

Lakehead’s Achievement Program lays the foundation for Northwestern Ontario elementary and high school students to become Lakehead graduates.

Students are active in the program from grade 4 to grade 12. These youngsters earn tuition credits to fund their first year of study at Lakehead by taking part in school, community, and Lakehead activities and by completing other course requirements. Currently, there are 27 students from 10 different schools participating in the Achievement Program.


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Iron-Age artifacts

Archaeology Professor Tim Kaiser is part of the Adriatic Islands Project – a multi-national research team of academics from Slovenia, Croatia, Canada, and Britain who are researching settlement trends in Eastern Europe.

One of their most exciting projects is the study of 2,000-year-old Iron Age artifacts from Nakovana Cave, a major archaeological site discovered by Professor Kaiser and his team. The researchers are analyzing pottery and other objects retrieved from this ancient Illyrian place of ritual and sanctuary.

Exploring the Landscapes of Ancient Earth and Mars

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Boosting tourism

Outdoor recreation students came up with a strategy to boost the number of tourists to the City of Thunder Bay in the “Visiting Friends and Relatives” category – one of the largest groups of visitors to Canadian cities.

Students Alischa Bower, Meredith Davy, Jake O’Flaherty, and Karter Sutch developed itineraries linking noteworthy local attractions via public transit services. The students’ work was very positively received by the City of Thunder Bay’s tourism and transit departments.


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Fighting racism

Mechanical engineering student Farhan Yousaf won Diversity Thunder Bay’s “2017 respect. Award” for his work as a social justice advocate and community builder.

Farhan – who is also the Lakehead University Student Union Operations & Finance VP – coordinates Lakehead’s Culture Days celebration, collaborates with the Thunder Bay Police to develop positive relationships between local law enforcement and the Muslim community, and has established a business and support network for racialized young professionals in Northwestern Ontario.

Delving into the
dark side

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Delving into the dark side

Dr. Beth Visser collaborates with student researchers and colleagues from other institutions to understand the dark side of human nature.

She is a psychology professor with Lakehead Orillia’s interdisciplinary studies department who is interested in personality and individual differences – especially in the areas of psychopathy, narcissism, and Machiavellianism. In 2017, she and two co-authors published the article, “Is Hillary dishonest and Donald narcissistic?” which looks at the personality traits of the 2016 American presidential candidates’ public personas.

Reaching Out
to New Canadians

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future scientists

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Inspiring future scientists

The Thunder Bay campus is the home of Superior Science – a non-profit organization run by Lakehead students that sparks children’s interest in science, engineering, and technology.

Superior Science emphasizes hands-on and interactive experiences for children between grades 1 and 8. It has reached over 30,000 Northwestern Ontario youngsters since 1999 through its popular summer day camps, Girls Club, and workshops. Superior Science also engages youngsters who normally wouldn’t participate in science activities through community outreach programming.

Reaching up

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Reaching up

Lakehead Athletics and Wasaya Airways believe in the power of sport to change lives.

That’s why they created the Reach Up! program in 2011 – an initiative that flies Lakehead coaches and varsity athletes to Northern Ontario First Nation communities serviced by Wasaya Airways. Once they arrive, they provide coaching in sports like hockey, basketball, volleyball, and track and field. Just as importantly, the athletes mentor these young people and help them build leadership skills and set life goals.

with Mexico

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Connecting with Mexico

Lakehead hosted the 6th Canada Mexico Roundtable on Intercultural/Indigenous Higher Education in June 2016.

The three-day event brought together presidents from eight Mexican universities and 11 Canadian universities to discuss intercultural/Indigenous higher education. The goal was the development of agreements promoting graduate and undergraduate student mobility, joint research, and Indigenous community partnerships. Lakehead President Dr. Brian Stevenson explained that, “All of these universities hope to remove unnecessary barriers and increase pathways for Indigenous students in Canada and in Mexico.”

Roaming where the Wild Things are

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Strengthening democracy

Dr. Sandra Jeppesen is a social justice activist and Lakehead Orillia interdisciplinary studies professor who collaborates with grassroots groups in North and South America fighting for greater equality and democracy.

In 2016, Dr. Jeppesen was appointed the Lakehead University Research Chair of Transformative Media and Social Movements. As chair, she is seeking a better understanding of the media practices used by anti-racist and anti-colonial movements like Idle No More and Black Lives Matter. She also plans to work with them to enhance these practices.


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Empowering entrepreneurs

Lakehead has collaborated with Confederation College and the Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre to create PIE – Partners in Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

The goal of PIE is to create youth employment by giving young people the skills to become entrepreneurs. Students from every discipline can get in touch with PIE and bring their business idea to life. PIE, which has offices at both the Lakehead and Confederation campuses, offers business development support, entrepreneurship awareness activities, workshops, seminars, and valuable networking and mentorship opportunities.

Joining the

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Joining the
reconciliation process

Lakehead alumna Kaitlyn Watson (HBASc’11/BEd’12) is seeking to encourage more positive and respectful relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.

Kaitlyn, who is currently completing a PhD at Western University, is a researcher, teacher, and activist whose 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. Kaitlyn has also co-written children’s books about environmental conservation efforts that integrate the knowledge of the Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee cultures.

Facts and Figures

In 2016/17, the total impact of
Lakehead Orillia and Lakehead Thunder Bay
on Ontario’s GDP was more than
$1.4 Billion

Lakehead is responsible for
Full-Time Equivalent Jobs

Lakehead students have
94.5% Employment Rate
two years after graduation – higher
than the provincial average

Gateway helps students with potential raise their academic average
and enter Lakehead degree programs.

There were
161 Gateway Students
in 2016/2017

In 2016,
Lakehead was ranked Canada’s
#1 Research University
in the undergraduate category

In 2016, Lakehead received
$22 Million
in External Research Funding

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