Former dean of arts climbs Jorgenson tower

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By Adam Segal 

Errol Aspevig isn’t a flashy man, but as Ryerson’s new v.p academic he doesn’t have to be.

Beginning the school year with some of its boldest initiatives ever—planning the construction of three new buildings, introducing a substantial fundraising campaign and launching new masters and PhD programs—Ryerson doesn’t need any more visionaries.

What it does need is someone to look after what the university has already worked so hard to building.

That’s where Aspevig, who takes over for Ryerson’s “heart and soul,” Dennis Mock, says he comes in.

“In my experience,” Aspevig says from his new office in Jorgenson Halls’s 13th floor, “there is nothing worse than starting all kinds of things without consolidating them. The agenda now is we’ve got to deal with the management and consolidation of things that have really happened in the last three of four years.”

That includes three new graduate programs in communications and culture, spatial analysis and environmental science, which will begin this fall, and initiating the design of a new centre for computing and engineering.

But the soft-spoken former philosophy professor and dean of arts, who has been at Ryerson for 29 years, says he also wants to put money back into students’ wallets through improved scholarships and bursaries and the university’s fundraising drive, set to officially kick off this fall.

“With three kids in the university system, I’m very aware of the costs of tuition,” he says. “The development campaign is the best thing we can do.”

RyeSAC’s president Cory Wright says Aspevig seems to be a man of his word.

“Erroll is very willing to keep students informed,” he says. “Hopefully, he’ll maintain his objective or working for students first.”

Although Aspevig admits his role as “maintainer”—seeing currently planned projects to fruition—he still has some plans for the future.

“This fall, he will form a committee to plan for the Learned Societies Congress of Social Sciences and Humanities, a meeting between thousands of scholars to be hosted by Ryerson and the University of Toronto in 2002. “It brings together the whole community of social sciences and humanities and shows the public what kind of institution Ryerson is.”

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