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UNIVERSITY OF LETHBRIDGE
50 YEARS, 50 VOICES
50 YEARS, 50 VOICES
Leslie completed her Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Lethbridge in 1977. She began work at the University in 1980. Leslie retired in 2011 after serving in a variety of positions, the last of which was the Registrar and Associate Vice President, Student Services.
Leslie speaks about the leadership shown by the University’s senior administration in supporting the restructuring of the Registrar's Office and Student Services, the implementation of a new student information system and associated technological innovations, and the resulting transformation of services for students which took place in the early 1990's.
The full audio interview will be made available online in late 2017. For more information please contact the University of Lethbridge Archives. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I think the environment that created that was sort of two-fold. They had what other schools envied and they called ... other schools, not us of course because we don’t do that but other schools called U of L ... they said we had the dream team. So, we had Howard Tennant, we had Seamus O’Shea, we had Eric Hillman. There were others that aren’t going to come to mind right now. We had Larry Merkley in the Registrar’s office (clarification by interviewee: "So, we had Howard Tennant as President and the Dream Team was really Seamus O'Shea, Eric Hillman and Larry Merkley who both participated in developing the vision and led the various projects which underpinned the actual transformation.")
And, so we had people who were incredibly smart, who looked outward to understand best practices. And you have to remember in the '80’s, the notion of best practices wasn’t wide spread there as something that post-secondaries should aspire to. People in post-secondary at the time thought that their traditions were more important than the quality of their services and the notion that a student might not be well served by a tradition, just didn’t matter to some people, did matter to other people. But we had this team of senior administrators who were absolutely committed to taking U of L to the forefront of services for students. Now, there’s also two ways of doing that and one way is to invest in a lot of staff and the other way is to invest in systems that will take over the routine tasks that staff do and then you have staff doing things that only human beings ought to be doing. And, so the U of L took that approach to invest heavily in systems. They put aside millions of dollars in a time of enormous constraint, and they kept it locked up, away from all these other desperate needs, and put that towards planning and implementing steps to not just survive, but to thrive. That’s such a cliché, but back then it was … it was important.
(Interviewed by Heidi MacDonald)