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By Kristina Jarvis

Diane Francis, an editor-at-large for the Financial Post, has been hired as a visiting professor at the Ted Rogers School of Management for the next year.

Francis, a former fundraising chair for the Sally Horsfall Eaton Centre, has held teaching positions in the past.

She was a fellow at the Kennedy Institute at Harvard University and is a former executive in residence at Queen’s Business School.

“I think the skill set for a columnist and a commentator are very similar to that of an educator,” she said. “We’re passing on information and opinions. We’ve got to be able to clearly communicate so I think that it’s really important to write, to talk, it’s just the application of skill sets that I’ve developed as a journalist.”

Ken Jones, dean of the TRSM, said that Francis’s career tracking business trends allows the students to access a wealth of knowledge and information that is hard to match. He also believes that it will give students an opportunity to gain more understanding of the media’s role in business.

He thinks it is something that offers value to the student experience at Ryerson.

“For students to have access to this is a rare opportunity,” he said.

Among the different courses she will be teaching over the next year, Francis will offer a how-to course on business writing for all students, something she said is lacking at business schools today.

“I don’t care how cunning or smart you are, you have to be able to communicate,” she said. “Blogs, e-mails, correspondence, cover letters, orally, you’ve got to be able to – and it’s not rocket science.”

Francis believes that businesses and business schools are missing the boat when it comes to how they treat the media, a void she hopes to fill here at Ryerson.

“I think they’ve got to regard the media as partners – not as foes and not as servants,” she said. “They shouldn’t be frightened of it. They should embrace it and you know what, they’ll learn something here.”

Jones said that while this is the trial run of the visiting professors program, it’s something he hopes will continue.

“Other universities have been doing this for years,” he said. “They had other things they could do with their time, but it’s a signal of our maturation that they (Kennedy and Francis) chose to come here.”

Francis will give her first lecturer in two weeks time and said a conference, based on her upcoming book, is scheduled at Ryerson next spring.

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