Deborah MacLatchy

Dr. Deborah MacLatchy

President and Vice-Chancellor, Wilfrid Laurier University 

An academic leader committed to inspiring women in STEM and promoting diversity and inclusion, Dr. Deborah MacLatchy has been at the helm of Wilfrid Laurier University (Laurier) since 2017.

MacLatchy made the journey to Waterloo Region in 2007 after spending the early years of her academic career at the University of Winnipeg and University of New Brunswick. MacLatchy, who grew up in Nova Scotia, is no stranger to Southwestern Ontario. Her father is from Preston, now part of Cambridge, and she did her postdoctoral research at the University of Guelph. “It’s motivating to have returned to my dad’s roots,” MacLatchy said. 

She was first hired at Laurier as Dean of the Faculty of Science. In 2009, MacLatchy was appointed to the role of Vice President, Academic and Provost. She also served as Acting Vice President of Research from December 2014 to November 2015. “I’ve just fallen in love with Laurier and being a part of what happens in Southwestern Ontario,” MacLatchy said. “We’ve seen changes in cities rethinking themselves, going from an industrial age to being leaders in a new tech economy.”

MacLatchy has a research lab at Laurier, where she studies the effects of industrial contaminants on fish health. “I look at how fish reproduce and how they grow,” she said. Her research examines how fish are affected by operations like sewage treatment plants or pulp and paper mills, along with working with industries and municipalities on water quality to find solutions for any concerns at the source.

As a female leader of a major post-secondary institution, MacLatchy says it’s important for women to have role models. “They can see themselves being able to see those opportunities are real and if they have an interest or a passion for particular areas, that there will be opportunities for them,” she said. MacLatchy said there were very few female role models when she started university back in the 1980s. “There weren’t many women university professors in the sciences, maybe one per department,” she said. “For women of that era, we made our own role models.”

MacLatchy says women, and white women in particular, have greatly benefited over the past few decades. Now, she says she wants to see more diversity across all disciplines. That’s one goal of Laurier’s strategic plan for the future, focusing on thriving communities and future readiness. “What do the scientists of the future need to have, or the business people or the social workers of the future, the educators of the future?” MacLatchy said. “There’s an understanding that it’s not just what you’re doing, but how you’re doing it.”

As women break into STEM, MacLatchy encourages them to find their passions and connect with others in their chosen field. “I hope that you find the support that you need,” she said. “But, if you aren’t finding the support, know that you’re probably just in the wrong place at the wrong time and that there are other supports out there, there are other people who are able to support you. Maybe reach out a little bit wider than the circle that you’re in.”

MacLatchy hopes to inspire the next generation of women in STEM, leaving behind a legacy of increased diversity and inclusion across all academics.

You can view some of MacLatchy’s accomplishments in the images below.

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CEO Message

Message from the CEO

Welcome to our February edition of Profound Connections! 

Our team at Profound Impact™ has been busy working on our upcoming webinar in partnership with Wilfrid Laurier University. I’m pleased to let you know that on Tuesday, February 22, 2022, at 12:00 pm EST, we will be hosting our first Profound Insights webinar of 2022: ‘How to Effectively Communicate and Match Research Funding Opportunities’. 

Towards the end of 2021, our team partnered with Wilfrid Laurier University and their research department to better understand how Research Service Offices (RSO) across Canada communicate grant opportunities, partnerships and research policies. Searching for insight into how research across Canada is conducted effectively, we surveyed 23+ universities and research institutions and received 40 responses from across the country! 

Our upcoming webinar will be able to provide insights into how RSOs can more effectively communicate and match research funding opportunities. Moderated by our very own Sherryl Petricevic, Account Executive, we will be discussing the findings of our Research Matching Survey and highlighting key takeaways from the report with our panellists Dr. Jonathan Newman, Vice President of Research, Wilfrid Laurier University, Shawna Reibling, Knowledge Mobilization Officer, Wilfrid Laurier University, and Rob Darling, Strategic Advisor, Profound Impact. 

Know someone who might be interested? Please invite them to attend and RSVP through our registration page here. Webinar attendees will be provided with a free copy of the final Research Matching Survey report.

Thank you for your ongoing support, and I look forward to seeing you all on February 22nd for our first Profound Insights webinar of the year. Additionally, our team, in partnership with WCT Waterloo Region, looks forward to hosting you for a series of virtual events held exclusively on our Profound Impact platform throughout the month of March to celebrate International Women’s Day 2022: #BreakTheBias and the women in our Waterloo Region community. For more information, read on and check out the IWD 2022 WR webpage hosted on WCT WR’s Women Empowering Women Digital Community to stay up to date with all of the latest information about panelists, conversation topics and entertainment.

Warmest regards, 

Sherry Shannon-Vanstone

Research Matching Challenges Webinar

How to Effectively Communicate and Match Research Funding Opportunities – February 22, 2022 12:00 noon

Missed the event? You can listen to the recording of this webinar as well as view previous Profound Insights events by visiting us at demo.profoundimpact.com/profound-insights.

Join special guests Jonathan Newman, Vice President of Research, and Shawna Reibling, Knowledge Mobilization Officer at Wilfrid Laurier University, along with Rob Darling, Strategic Advisor at Profound Impact for insights on research matching and communication challenges between universities, research organizations and funding bodies.

Profound Impact, in partnership with Wilfrid Laurier University’s Office of Research Services unit, recently set out to better understand how Research Services Offices (RSO) across Canada communicate funding opportunities, partnership opportunities, and research policies to faculty members and other university/research institute stakeholders. Profound Impact and Laurier partnered on a national survey in the 4th quarter of 2021 to gain a deeper understanding of how research service units and staff communicate funding opportunities and received 40 responses from over 23 universities and research institutions across Canada.

Led by moderator Sherryl Petricevic from Profound Impact, this Profound Insights webinar will discuss the findings of the survey and how to effectively communicate and match research funding opportunities, highlighting:

  • How the survey was conducted, participation and methodology
  • A discussion of the problems facing RSO staff to match funding opportunities with researchers and communicate with internal and external stakeholders
  • Findings from the report and key takeaways

Webinar attendees will be provided with a copy of the final survey report.

Don’t forget to add this event to your calendar and visit https://demo.profoundimpact.com/#/profound-insights on the day of to access the webinar!

Research Matching Survey

Profound Impact, in partnership with Shawna Reibling, Knowledge Mobilization Officer at Wilfrid Laurier University, set out to better understand how Research Service Offices (RSO) across Canada communicate grant opportunities, partnerships and research policies. 

The team investigated various approaches, tools and processes / technology that Research Service Offices use to communicate to their stakeholder groups (researchers, professors, staff, faculty, graduate students and undergraduate students). Through interviews, a common pattern emerged from the educational institutions we met with around communication of opportunities and research matching. To learn more, Profound Impact and WLU partnered on a national survey to gain a deeper understanding of how research service units and staff communicate funding opportunities to faculty.

Interested in the results? Click here to receive a free report!