By Amit Shilton
With the Master Plan under construction, the next big ideas at Ryerson will be coming out of the classroom.
The school is set to partner with the University of Toronto and the University of Waterloo to launch a new media graduate program. A timetable has yet to be established.
The transdisciplinary program, yet to be named, will combine students with backgrounds in engineering and new media to look at the future of digital media.
“The idea is to have a world class digital media experience centre.” said Steven Martin, Ryerson’s director of industry liaison and commercialization.
Ryerson President Sheldon Levy said that final details are still being hashed out, but the school will be on or very near Ryerson’s campus. A business plan has yet to be drawn up and the school hasn’t started to pursue any funding options.
Martin said that the school will rely on a significant financial boost from the government to get off the ground.
“When you’re doing things that make sense, they’re very pleased,” he said.
VP research and innovation Tas Venetsanopoulos said the graduate program can lead to future partnerships.
The plan for the graduate program is to work closely with industry in a workshop environment. The goal is to have companies approach the program with real-life questions and problems and have them solved by students.
“The idea is that the universities will work together on developing this graduate program and the industry will provide experiential opportunities for the students,” Levy said.
The idea for the program came when the industry started demanding that graduates be well-versed not only in one field. Students in today’s working world need to be able to apply themselves in different areas.
“When they are in the classroom they are pulling together… new things that were from other disciplines that are needed to be the key resource person in small, medium and large companies in digital media,” Levy said.
Martin said the class will focus more on the social uses of technology, rather than new gizmos and gadgets. He explains that even the car has become an example of digital media.
For example, the school can be approached by a bank to envision what the bank of the future might look like.
“We want to be very big picture.” Martin said.
Sharing a name and a brand with U of T and Waterloo will allow each school to have access to each other’s resources. For example, Ryerson will be able rely on U of T’s law school.