President’s Awards for Francophonie recognize commitment and achievement

International and Francophonie
Jacques Frémont
Each year, the President's Awards are presented to recognize the work of University of Ottawa staff who have consistently contributed to the enrichment of the university experience and the achievement of the T2030 strategic plan. The Best Practices in Francophonie and French Language Services Award recognizes the work of an individual and team who has made an outstanding contribution to the protection and promotion of French.
Geneviève Seguin with Jacques Frémont

Individual Award: Geneviève Seguin – Coordinator, Residence Life.

Geneviève Seguin stands out at the University of Ottawa as a staunch defender of bilingualism and the Francophonie. Her passionate dedication has left an indelible mark, making a significant contribution to the preservation of our university’s linguistic and cultural vibrancy, and the equality of our two official languages in the University community. This has earned her the President’s Award for Best Practices in Francophonie in the Individual category.

Geneviève has breathed new life into the student experience in residence by creating an innovative training module on bilingualism and the Francophonie. At interactive sessions, she emphasized how important the coexistence of English and French in students’ daily lives is by clarifying language policies on campus. However, Geneviève didn’t stop there. For the launch of the “Vivre en français” themed community at Leblanc residence, which welcomes students from around the world, she helped to create a space where the French language is celebrated daily. In this space, all students are welcomed, with all their rich diversity and their accents, promoting their linguistic confidence and encouraging them to live in French and discover the Francophonie.

Tasked with briefing and training some one hundred Residence Life student staff each year, Geneviève and her colleagues used the opportunity to design an innovative training program for them, one component of which is focused on bilingualism and the Francophonie at the University and in student life. Among other things, she developed engaging and inspiring content for the Residence Life student staff, detailing the major principles underlying bilingualism and the Francophonie at the University. This has enabled thousands of Francophone and Francophile students in residence to live in a welcoming, stimulating environment, where French has pride of place. She has also made a point of using inclusive language, sharing best practices with her peers and encouraging open dialogue.

Geneviève has always used her collaborative approach to forge strong ties with her colleagues, connecting with key players on campus to highlight the importance of bilingualism. In so doing, she has advocated for bilingualism and the Francophonie across the University, encouraging inspiring individuals to share their passion for bilingualism and the French language.

Louise Villeneuve with Jacques Frémont

Team Award: French MBA Program Team from the Office of Graduate Programs, Telfer School of Management.

The 2023 President’s Award in the Team category was awarded to the team of the Telfer’s Office of Graduate Programs responsible for the innovative Master of Business Administration program, which is taught entirely in French. This award underscores the team’s strategic and creative response to contemporary challenges in higher education. In addition, this recognition testifies to the team’s efforts to meet the needs of the next generation of Francophone and Francophile businesspersons, key to economic prosperity and the continuity of French-speaking Ontario, and support of which is central to the University of Ottawa’s mission. The Telfer School of Management, through its vision and engagement, continues to support the development of entrepreneurial and managerial leadership for Francophone minorities provincially, nationally and internationally.

The MBA program in French, which experienced an enrolment drop in 2020, has undergone a remarkable revitalization following an extensive strategic restructuring strengthened by a targeted, vibrant recruitment initiative. Initiatives such as developing an in-house online admission test, greater format flexibility and provision of customized support were crucial. In September 2023, the School was proud to welcome 50 students, the most ever recorded in the history of the program.

The Telfer team stands out for its collaborative approach, working closely with Francophone organizations to provide high-quality service to candidates and form a dynamic cohort. Its commitment to diversity and inclusion is demonstrated through its talented students and professors, who hail from various countries such as Canada, France and Morocco, as well as other Francophone regions, enriching the education experience.

The team also played a decisive role in the transition of the MBA program in French to an asynchronous online experience, making it more flexible and accessible to the University community and other students abroad. This innovation provides a unique opportunity for the University of Ottawa to shine on the international stage and to strengthen its commitment to education in French here and elsewhere.