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Social Innovation Research Group to present The Change Project findings at National Campus Sexual Assault Conference

On Dec. 7, 2017, the Social Innovation Research Group (SIRG) will present The Change Project findings at national conference on Campus Sexual Assault for Higher Education Administrators. The presentation entitled: “How the Change Project Altered the Course of Gendered Violence at Wilfrid Laurier University” will be presented by David McMurray, vice president of Student Affairs at Wilfrid Laurier University and Ginette Lafreniere, associate porofessor in the Lyle S. Hallman School of Social Work and Director of the SIRG.

In 2012, a group of researchers in collaboration with a local women’s sexual assault centre came together to shed light on the reality of gendered violence in Waterloo, Ontario. The Change Project surveyed and interviewed over 600 students, administrators, staff and faculty at Laurier in order to assess the structural barriers, challenges and strengths of how the institution was dealing with gendered and sexual violence.

Case Study

  • The 11 recommendations that were presented to senior administration at Laurier;
  • How all of the recommendations have been addressed and implemented in the past five years; and
  • How university-community partnerships as well as partnerships within the academy are vitally important in order to authentically and effectively deal with this issue on campuses across Canada.

McMurray Accomplishments

McMurray is an accomplished, award winning student affairs and services professional, who has successfully implemented strategies in a wide variety of student affairs, services, and experiential learning venues achieving high standards of excellence, innovation and recognition.

McMurray’s student-centred leadership philosophy focuses on the comprehensive education and development of the whole student with an intentional, outcomes based approach to student development and learning. Working closely with senior academic administration and faculty, McMurray has successfully developed strong academic/student affairs partnerships and the delivery of high impact teaching and learning practices that support the “Integrated and Engaged Learning” theme at Laurier of academic learning, student development and engagement. McMurray has served in the country’s most senior capacities in the field of student affairs and services, particularly as president of the Canadian Association of College and University Student Services (CACUSS); president of the Student Affairs and Services Association (SASA) of CACUSS; and Chair of the Ontario Committee on Student Affairs (OCSA). He is the recipient of the CACUSS Award of Honour, CACUSS Award for Service, SASA Award of Recognition and the SASA Award for Service. Nominated by the Association of Universities and Colleges Canada (AUCC), McMurray received Her Majesty the Queen’s golden jubilee medal for excellence in higher education, administration and student services. He has presented extensively at conferences, delivered keynotes, conducted strategic planning workshops and been engaged as a consultant for numerous student affairs and services external assessments and reviews. McMurray is chair of the Council of Ontario Universities Reference Group on Sexual Violence.

Lafreniere Accomplishments

Since Lafreniere arrived at Laurier, she has worked collaboratively with local women’s shelters, counseling agencies and sexual assault centres on issues relative to violence against women. With her students, she has recently worked on enhancing the Sexual Assault Response Team’s Sexual Assault Protocol for the Region of Waterloo. She is currently working on developing a “made at Laurier” bystander training module in collaboration with students in the Women in Science program. Lafreniere has explored the tensions and contradictions that exist between special constables and local police services in responses to gendered and sexual violence. Lafreniere is currently one of three gendered violence faculty colleagues at Laurier.

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