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Meet Dr. Matthew LaGrone, UofGH's first Program Head of Liberal Studies
We ultimately always have student success in mind, and that’s not just success in their careers – we want to make sure we’re giving UofGH students other tools they might find useful."
Dr. Matthew LaGrone has been named the University of Guelph-Humber’s first Program Head of Liberal Studies. In addition to new duties as a Program Head, he will continue to oversee Electives and common courses.
“I am so excited and grateful to have the opportunity to start a new role at the University of Guelph-Humber,” said Dr. LaGrone, whose previous title was Assistant Program Head, Electives.
“It is both a great blessing and responsibility, and I look forward to continuing to serve our Programs, students, instructors, and staff.”
Keeping the UofGH community engaged
In addition to academic and administrative oversight of Electives and common courses (the latter are courses offered to students in more than one program at UofGH), Dr. LaGrone’s responsibilities include helping oversee Study Abroad, hiring instructors, chairing committees, liaising with various departments and our partner institutions, and more.
Electives courses at UofGH offer something for everyone, covering everything from “Human Impact on the Environment” to “Science of Career Success.” Dr. LaGrone oversees courses that delve into classical mythology, creative writing, linguistics, emerging technologies, and American Sign Language, to name only a few.
Generally, Dr. LaGrone looks for courses that are either somewhat aligned with one of UofGH’s seven programs (for instance, “Teaching Drama to Children” might have professional relevance for Early Childhood Studies students), or courses that would be of broad interest to any post-secondary student.
“I try to be mindful of those students who want to take something that will directly benefit their program and professional goals, as well as the students who are simply looking for the opportunity to dig deeper into an area of study that might interest them,” said Dr. LaGrone, noting that he extensively surveys UofGH students every few years to inform curriculum decisions.
“Part of the University’s mission and part of the mission of Liberal Studies is breadth. We ultimately always have student success in mind, and that’s not just success in their careers – we want to make sure we’re giving UofGH students other tools they might find useful.”
Dr. LaGrone will continue to teach at least one course per semester at UofGH. This upcoming year, he’ll teach “Happiness in the Good Life” in the Fall semester and “Modern and Contemporary Literature” in the Winter. Those courses align with his academic background; Dr. LaGrone holds a PhD in Religion from the University of Toronto, as well as post-doctoral fellowships from U of T and the University of Delaware.
He’s been at the University of Guelph-Humber now since 2013, a long time by Dr. LaGrone’s standards. Raised in a military family, Dr. LaGrone was born in South Dakota but only lived there a few months, spending his upbringing bouncing between places like Italy, Oklahoma, Florida, Kansas and Alabama.
In fact, he had never stayed in one place for more than two years until finding a home in Toronto and the University of Guelph-Humber.
“It was a lot of luck and good fortune to end up here,” he said. “I think we do the most important stuff really well here at UofGH, and that’s building up a circle of concern for each student, between Program Heads and Assistant Program Heads, academic advisors, student services and more. Our University is a great place for students to come and get that support, in addition to a wonderful education.
"Staff and instructors at Guelph-Humber are all rowing in the same direction, with the same goal: the success of our students. I look forward to supporting that goal in my new role."