Ryerson in step with the times

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By Marilyn Bramberg

As Ryerson prepares itself to enter the 21st century, it faces pressure from many fronts.

According to various staff and faculty, Ryerson has to keep working to ensure it doesn’t slip behind in this technologically reliant world.

Registrar Keith Alnwick says Ryerson is heading “onward and upward.” From his office on the 12th floor of Jorgenson Hall, Alnwick eagerly discusses changes taking place at Ryerson in the near future.

Among them is the introduction of graduate studies. Together with York University, communications and culture master’s and PhD programs will be offered next fall. Two other graduate programs, spatial analysis as well as environmental applied science and management, are awaiting approval.

Alnwick said the process for students applying to Ryerson will be streamlined in the next few years. Students who apply for programs in 2001 will receive their acceptance over the Internet in 2002. Students who apply for programs in 2002 will be able to register via the web. “It will be a welcome addition to the campus,” Alnwick says.

Marilynn Booth, dean of continuing education, says Ryerson’s reliance on technology will increase in the future. She sees Ryerson offering more specialized technological training. “People want this kind of education.”

On the horizon is the construction of a new students centre at 55 Gould St., next to Oakham House. This building will hold offices for RyeSAC, student groups, the Multi-Faith Centre, a games room, and student lounges.

“Students will only have to go to one place,” says RyeSAC president Erin George.

Ryerson’s very neighbourhood is undergoing a major transformation because of the Yonge-Dundas redevelopment. The AMC theatre complex being built on the northeast corner of Yonge and Dundas Streets is slated to open fall 2000.

While Ryerson faces many welcome changes in the future, George also warns about impending tuition hikes. “If we continue down the road we’re going down,” she says, “it means the face of the campus will be changing. It will end up being the people who can afford to go to school will go, not those who want to.”

Enrollment at Ryerson will increase starting fall 2003, as more students enter the university system because of what’s called the double cohort. In spring 2002, students from both grade 12 and 13 will graduate at the same time because the OAC year is being eliminated.

“There will be a bulge [of students] spread out over a few years,” v.p. faculty affairs Michael Dewson says. In an effort to accommodate this, 67 new faculty members have been hired.

Jean-Paul Chavy, chair of the French and Spanish department and a professor here for 20 years, says the arrival of new professors will bring “new ideas and enthusiasm” to the school.

“It’s like opening the door and letting fresh air in,” he says.

Eugen Bannerman, a psychology professor at Ryerson since 1967, is more skeptical about the addition of so many new professors.

Given Ryerson’s status as a university, the tenured professors who are hired must have PhDs. Bannerman said these professors’ focus on research may take time away from teaching students.

“There is a shift away from the focus in teaching at Ryerson. We are becoming like any other university.”

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