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IT@UofT People – Laurie Harrison

Published on: December 5, 2019

The backbone of any successful team is its hard-working people. The University of Toronto’s Information Technology Services (ITS) division is privileged to employ outstanding individuals with diverse talents that extend beyond work-related education and skills.

In this segment, entitled IT@UofT People, we will get to know our IT@UofT team across the tri-campus community and find out more about their hidden or not-so-hidden talents and/or pursuits outside of work.

With hockey season in full swing, this segment will feature a series of resident U of T hockey players throughout fall and winter 2019/20.

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Laurie Harrison, Director of Online Learning Strategies.

Name: Laurie Harrison

Department: Online Learning Strategies (OLS)

Title: Director

How long have you worked at U of T?
I came to University of Toronto as a student in 1995 and stayed on when I became employed as a web accessibility specialist in 1997.

What do you like about working at U of T and your job at ITS in particular?
I am inspired by the opportunity to work in a diverse university setting, where, through digital innovation, we can impact our learners’ experience by providing flexible, high-engagement options. There is an element of reciprocity as I have benefited over the years as a student and staff member with access to the many development opportunities provided by the institution. I like the idea of paying it forward.

What are your not-so-secret talents outside of working here?
Playing hockey and I also like to spend time with brushes and canvas. You can see some of my paintings if you drop by my office. I was an art teacher as my “first” career. That was my on-ramp into the field of education.

Do you have any professional training in this field (painting)?
My undergraduate degree is in fine art. I’m also a trained high school teacher.

How many years have you been playing hockey?
I’ve skated all my life but took up hockey in 1995 when I returned to university to start my Masters of Education and joined the U of T Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE)/Skule women’s intramural hockey team.

What is your inspiration for playing hockey?
My hockey coach inspires me with his expectation around “showing up” for games. It’s more than just being on the bench. I aim to be focused, fully engaged and ready to be there for the team.

Can you tell me a bit about your league? I.e., Where you play? How many players?
In addition to playing year-round in a recreational hockey league, I am still a member of my original U of T intramural women’s hockey team during the school term. In fact, at the moment, I am the captain of the “Skule” team. We play at Varsity Arena on campus on Sunday nights.

What is your team’s success record like?
We have won the season final several times over the years. I like the idea that we are part of a long history of the game at U of T as the women’s “championship cup” has been awarded annually at U of T since 1912.

Who is your favourite hockey team and why?
I’m a big fan of the U of T Varsity Blues. Very high skill, clean hockey right in our back yard and the price is right! The U of T men’s team has a great record this year (11 straight wins and first in the province as I am writing).

And most importantly… Is U of T at risk of losing you to the NHL full-time?!
Well the scouts have been after me, but I think I’ll keep my day job for now.