Five-year internationalization plan aims to give more opportunities to international students

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By Samreen Maqsood

Ryerson has launched a five-year internationalization strategy to increase international student enrollment, create partnerships and expand on their research, according to Ryerson president Mohamed Lachemi.  

The strategy was officially launched on Oct. 31 at Ryerson’s Digital Media Zone (DMZ) Sandbox on the third floor of the Sheldon and Tracy Levy Learning Centre (SLC).  The strategy is organized with six priorities: innovation, incubation and entrepreneurship; global learning, research collaboration, projects and capacity building and international students.

According to Lachemi, the strategy provides Ryerson with a framework of their priorities to work on internationalization each year. 

“We need to attract more talented international students…our university has a lower percentage of international students compared to most of the universities,” Lachemi told The Eyeopener. 

According to the university’s website, opening doors for students to access international opportunities could help Ryerson  “gain the top 50 ranking for at least 15 Ryerson academic programs.”

In the 2017-18 academic year, Ryerson had 1,588 international undergraduate students, according to the University Planning Office.

As shown in Ryerson’s tuition breakdown, international students commonly pay more than triple  the amount of a domestic student, with international tuition increasing each year. For example, a domestic arts student pays up to $7,126, an international arts student will pay up to $27,627. 

“It’s not just getting students to Ryerson, but it is also how are we supporting them while they are here,” said Sara Berman, interim director of Ryerson International.

Opening up opportunities abroad, organizing programs internationally and providing equal possibilities to minority groups, are among some goals, mentioned on the site.    

“[It’s not only] that they come into Ryerson, but also successfully [are] going to their academic programs and matriculating out of Ryerson,” she said.  

The goal of increasing international students is not just about enrollment numbers. It is also about ensuring that they receive the opportunities to become successful once they go out into the professional world, said Lachemi. 

“We will also give them the opportunity to experience something,” said Lachemi. “At the end of the day when they’re finished their programs here, people are hired based on the many skills and foundations they have [learned].”

Another key aspect is building Ryerson’s reputation globally and strengthening new partnerships. 

According to the university’s website, this will be done through collaborations with Ryerson International and the office of the vice-president, research and innovation. In addition, the university will be partnering with different non-government and civil society organizations in the future. 

“If we want to grow our university, this is an important aspect of paying attention to [the] international strategy,” said Lachemi.

From October 2017 to March 2018, Ryerson discussed various implementations of the strategy through town hall events and city-wide affairs and received guidelines and priorities for the strategy. 

Though the strategy just launched, members and staff who have contributed to the process have high hopes that it will be effective and reach its goals.  

“This is the first time that Ryerson has an internationalization strategy,” said Emma Wright, manager of global learning and engagement at Ryerson. 

“It’s a big step for us moving forward to create some coherence across the university, identify where our priorities are and where our areas of support are,” she said.

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