The university's board of governors approved a recommendation by the presidential review committee Oct. 18 to renew Giroux's mandate. The committee is made up of board members and faculty.
Giroux became Laurentian's ninth president April 1, 2009, beginning a renewable five-year term ending June 30, 2014.
The process of presidential review is typically started about 18 months before the end of a term. His second term, also renewable, will extend through June 30, 2019.
Floyd Laughren, chair of the university's board of governors, said the board received “overwhelmingly positive” feedback about Giroux.
“Our board is extremely pleased with President Giroux's performance, and we are excited by the compelling vision that has been presented for the years ahead,” he said.
“We are fully confident that President Giroux is the leader to make the vision a reality.”
But Anis Farah, president of the Laurentian University Faculty Union (LUFA) said cost-cutting measures to eliminate a $11.3 million deficit have meant faculty cuts.
“Some programs have been decimated,” he said. “The number of faculty at some departments have been slashed by more than half, but they still have to offer the same programs.”
In mid-September, LUFA polled its members, asking them if they thought Giroux's mandate should be renewed.
Almost 77 per cent said Giroux should not have a second term as president. Farah said that's probably because of how cost-cutting has impacted faculty.
About a third of LUFA's 600 members participated in the poll.
“That is quite remarkable that we would have such a high turnout,” he said.
“Usually, for any type of vote, we don't get anywhere close to this number participating in a vote. For us, this is an indication that the faculty is very, very concerned, and they voiced their opinion.”
At the same time, Farah said Giroux is “a likeable, hard-working individual, and has many strengths, especially in fundraising,” and his union will work with him in the future.
Giroux was not immediately available to respond to Farah's comments Oct. 19, as he is away on business.
However, Laurentian chief of staff Chris Mercer said in terms of the poll conducted by LUFA, taking away those who didn't vote and others who voted in favour of renewing Giroux's mandate, only about a quarter of the union members said they didn't want Giroux to have another term, Mercer said.
But administration was disappointed to hear these faculty members aren't happy with the president's performance, Mercer said.
“Some difficult changes had to be made to balance the budget,” he said. “Unfortunately, part of what we're hearing from a survey like that is some of the people are still frustrated that some of those decisions had to be made.”
Mercer added while the number of faculty members in some programs, namely humanities and social sciences has gone down, it's gone up in more popular programs such as science and engineering.
The total number of faculty has stayed fairly stable — at about 370 — over the last few years, he said.
The measures taken to balance the budget were necessary, Mercer said.
“It's a lot easier thing to work and to learn with the lights on, quite frankly,” he said. “We were at a point that they weren't going to be on unless we made some changes to some of the expenditures in the university.”
In terms of the contract renewal, Giroux said in a press release that he's “honoured and humbled” by the board of governors' decision.
“It has been an exciting time at Laurentian and there are so many more achievements ahead, as we work to implement the 2012-2017 Strategic Plan,” he said.“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to continue leading this collective effort.”
Giroux was brought in as an agent of change in 2009, and he has delivered, said board vice-chair and Northern Life president Michael Atkins.
“Under his leadership, Laurentian has established clear priorities, while balancing the budget, and donations to the university are up exponentially, including this week’s announcement of a historic gift by Ned Goodman to name our new School of Mines,” he said.
“We have been able to invest several million dollars into student services and into the classroom for faculty members. We have created and staffed the Centre for Academic Excellence, we have set aside $51M for campus renewal and modernization, and we have a pragmatic and ambitious vision for our campus in Barrie.
“We have also secured funding for the School of Architecture to open in downtown Sudbury in 2013, and have built extensive new partnerships with community and industry. There are many people at Laurentian who have contributed to these successes, but the inspiration really starts with Dominic Giroux.”