Laurentian University professor leaves for Lakehead due to program cuts RS News

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RS News

A Laurentian University professor and Canada Research Chair left the institution for Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ont.

Nathan Basilico said Laurentian’s program cuts in April 2021 have him considering new options for his career.

After Laurentian filed for insolvency it cut 69 programs and fired nearly 200 staff and faculty members. The university’s school of the environment was one of the casualties of the cat.

While Basilico was affiliated with the School of the Environment, he kept his job because he was under the biology department of the university.

“Although I didn’t lose my job because I was in biology, they fired most of the faculty with expertise in that area,” he said, referring to his colleagues who specialized in restoration and environmental studies.

Basilico came to Sudbury 10 years ago from the University of Toronto, and said the city has become his home.

“I’m really excited about the new position, even though we’re so sad to leave this wonderful community that, you know, is the only home our kids have ever known,” he said.

If Laurentian had not cut its environmental studies programs, Basilico said he would have stayed at the institution.

“At my heart I’m an educator and my passion is working with students and getting students excited,” he said.

“They’re going to go on to do bigger things than I could ever do if we get them on the right track and with that piece missing, you know, at least for the next few years it was time to leave.”

In addition to his role as a professor, Basilico was the director of Laurentian’s Living with the Lakes Center.

The center is a partnership with Ontario’s Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry with a focus on protection and management of northern aquatic ecosystems.

Long-time Laurentian professor John Gunn has taken over the role as director. While Laurentian no longer offers environmental studies programs, the center will continue its research program.

Louis Durand, vice-president of the Laurentian University Faculty Association, told CBC News that about 20 faculty members have left the university through attrition and retirements since the program was cut last April.

Through Laurentian’s plan of arrangement, which outlines how Laurentian will repay its creditors, the faculty association negotiated the right to hire three full-time faculty members to replace some of the positions.

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