By Devin Jones
The Ryerson Student Learning Centre (SLC) will open with a soft launch Feb. 23 and the Student Learning Support (SLS) and Digital Media Zone (DMZ) will have allocated space across various floors.
The DMZ will debut a new program called the Launch Zone, which will provide space and resources to students looking to start their own company. The Launch Zone will occupy a portion of the third floor. DMZ Executive Director Valerie Fox says the expansion will serve as an addition to the various services the DMZ already offers. While the DMZ has no estimated cost of the expansion as of yet, it plans on being functional in time for the opening of the SLC.
The SLS will occupy the entire fourth floor and will be available to students looking for help with a variety of programs including english and math skills. As well, options to book study rooms and tutors will be accessible. Everything will be operational and open to students upon launch.
“The decision to move was made five or six years ago,” said Christina Halliday, director of the SLS. “Right now student learning support is spread out all over campus. The move will centralize the SLS and makes more sense for students, so they don’t have to struggle in figuring out where to go for help.”
A larger centralized space will provide more room to accommodate the growing number of students who have made use of the SLS over the past five years. The SLS has made contact with 31,000 students and run 110 workshops between May 2013 and April 2014. As well the SLS has conducted 888 group sessions and booked 14,000 individual appointments during that time.
The move will be of no cost to the SLS department as it’s already been factored into the $112 million budget. A “central resources desk” will be the new addition to the department, and while Executive Director of Student Affairs John Austin said it won’t cost them extra, it will be a matter of “combining resources that we spend all around campus into one spot.”
A central booking system will also be put into place, allowing students to go online and book whatever services they need, be it a tutoring session or booking a specific room within the SLC itself. When it’s running, the booking system will let students swipe their One Cards, allowing the secretary to know which appointments are booked and who the students are meeting with. Austin said he hopes this will allow for a more “streamlined” effect.
According to Halliday, everything will run normally upon the centre’s opening. She says the SLS will be running additional programming for the first three weeks to “get everyone excited and acclimated to the new space,” and according to Ryerson President Sheldon Levy, a celebration is tentatively set for May.