Meet Larry Verestiuk, new Associate Dean of London South Campus

Header image for the article Meet Larry Verestiuk, new Associate Dean of London South Campus Credit: COURTESY OF LARRY VERESTIUK
Larry Verestiuk took over the position of Associate Dean of London South Campus earlier this year.

Larry Verestiuk took over the position of Associate Dean of Fanshawe’s London South Campus earlier this year. Interrobang sat down for a conversation to learn more about his goals for the future of the growing campus.

Interrobang: What were some of your key goals going into this position?

Verestiuk: Well, I think you know, London South is a relatively new campus, we just started in September 2019. And within five months, we were shut down with COVID. But we’ve had some wonderful successes at London South even in the short amount of time we’ve been here. My goal really is to build on those successes. We’ve got great, wonderful students who’ve got amazing faculty, and we’re growing, we’ve got a lot of demand from our students in terms of the programs we offer. So, one of my first goals is really to ensure that’s continuing, and to build on that….and to offer the best opportunity for our students in terms of their learning experience.

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Interrobang: Now, you have quite a business background, from working with Lawrence Kinlin and having connections with other really prominent business schools, not just in Canada, but around the world. How has that previous experience come in handy, especially at London South, which is so businessfocused in its course offerings?

Verestiuk: When I was first teaching, at Kinlin…I was always working with international students, I absolutely loved it, it was so great. We’ve got wonderful students, they’re engaged, they’re here for a reason they want to learn, they want to grow, they want to be part of the Canadian culture, community. And so I really took to that and had a great connection with them. So that was a natural progression for me. My, my work experience...I’ve learned a lot about how to work with people how to work with different perspectives, how to leverage the knowledge that everyone else shares. The key thing for me is to keep asking questions and learn more, and then try and share that out all the best practices. So, in my years in business, I’ve tried to do that, I’ve tried to engage with people, I’ve tried to grow and learn from that.

Interrobang: On that note, diversity and inclusion has become a key pillar for the college in recent years. And I know it’s something you’ve long advocated for as well. So how do you plan to keep that momentum going at the South Campus in the years to come?

Verestiuk: Diversity and inclusion is critical in any setting and in our society. But you know, it’s very important at the college level, and extremely important here at London South. And we’ve got such a wonderful range of different cultures and different backgrounds. And it’s so important for us to incorporate that together, not only just to recognize it, but to really infuse it into what we do on a daily basis. So, we always want to interact with our students in the classroom, we want to make sure it’s a two-way conversation. I’m really thrilled to say that, you know, above 50 per cent of our student population is female as well.

As we get to having more faceto- face interactions in September moving forward, we’re going to be having a lot more clubs and interactions and social events to get students to know each other, get them to work together. A critical part of the students’ learning is to have them discussing between themselves in class about different aspects. So, a lot of it is not them studying on their own, but really working together to come up with solutions and understand case studies and how do they come up with problem solving together as a group. So, we want to make sure that they’re working together and interacting together, and we’re going to continue to build on that, because that’s so important.

Interrobang: What is something that people who only attend the main campus or the downtown campus would never know about the South Campus? And, more broadly, how can we all continue to work to bridge the gap between Fanshawe and its various campuses?

Verestiuk: They may not have realized that we are almost 100 per cent international. We were set up as an international hub. And our actual vision for the campus is to be the centre for international student excellence at the college.

Another thing is maybe the size of our campus, they may not realize that we are 1,100 students, which is actually quite a few and that we’re going to be growing to 1,500.

One thing that we find from our students is one of the reasons why they’re coming here coming to Fanshawe is that they want to live the Canadian experience, they want to amalgamate with other students, they want to learn from them in and interact. And so I think it’s really important for us to make sure that we as separate campuses are giving the students the opportunity to do that, to interact. I think it’s so great that our students here have the ability, for example, to use the gym and to use all the facilities we have at main campus and a lot of them do. And a lot of them go to the events that the [Fanshawe Student Union] sets up, for example, and we try and encourage that we do a lot of advertising here, to say, ‘Here’s all these events and clubs and things that you could join,’ because we want them to interact with everyone else. So, although we’re in the south end of the city, we don’t want to be an island.