By Diana Hall
Ryerson is proposing sweeping changes to its education model, focusing on expansive entrepreneurship and online program development.
The new priorities are outlined in Ryerson’s mandate statement, which was sent to the Ontario government Monday.
The statement is Ryerson’s response to the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities’ demands for economic productivity and creative innovation. The ministry has described the initiative as the most influential post-secondary overhaul since the introduction of colleges in the 1960s.
According to the document, Ryerson will be “redefining the role of post-secondary education in driving economic productivity and growth” through its enhanced learning opportunities.
To create community partnerships and student-led employment opportunities, Ryerson plans to establish additional “zone-based education” platforms modeled after the Digital Media Zone. They would be extended to the fields of aerospace, design, health and social entrepreneurship within the next two years.
It’s an effort to see 10 per cent of graduating students take part in a zone education initiative during their academic careers.
“We keep on seeing more and more students in different faculties wanting to have that type of experiential learning opportunity,” said Ryerson President Sheldon Levy.
“It’s in response to demand.” The need for more timetable flexibility amongst students has Ryerson seeking funds from the provincial government to develop 600 online courses over the next five years.
“We are really in this saying that we will take a leadership role in it and we want to be at the table when there are discussions about the resources and what are the strategies of online learning,” said Levy.
An increase in course availability will also make the option for yearround learning more accessible.
Citing Ryerson’s role as a “catalyst for downtown renewal,” the paper formally expressed the university’s interest in acquiring 222 Jarvis St., at the corner of Jarvis and Dundas Streets.
“The University has said to the government that that is very important property in our precinct and something for the university’s long-term future [and] is something to acquire.”
The mandate statement also addressed Ryerson’s need for more graduate studies programs, as the university looks to create 14 new areas of study.