Embracing the city
Universities move beyond the cloistered campus
It has been a long time since universities transformed themselves from the cloistered institutions they once were to the very open, public spaces that they are today. But, it is relatively more recent that our universities fully embraced their surrounding communities and purposely tried to influence the socio-economic development of the cities in which they reside.
This trend first became evident to me with Toronto’s Ryerson University under then president Sheldon Levy. During his tenure, the university moved the Ted Rogers School of Management into the Eaton Centre, took over a part of the historic Maple Leaf Gardens and started the process for building a new student centre right on Toronto’s main thoroughfare, Yonge Street. And that is only the physical manifestation of this embrace – the university has created many other linkages with city planners, community groups and so on. As Cherise Burda, executive director of the Ryerson City Building Institute, explains in our cover story, universities are no longer isolated “fortresses” but rather are “of the city.”
Elsewhere in this issue, we’ve got a fun story for anyone who’s ever lost their concentration at a staff meeting or conference and then found themselves absent-mindedly doodling instead of taking notes. Well, it seems the process of doodling actually has its merits. And, taken further, some individuals have turned doodling into a kind of visual note-taking that they say helps them to better synthesize and retain information.
Rounding out our features this month is an article that serves as an important reminder that internationalization is a reciprocal process. As we welcome more and more students from abroad to our campuses, we need to make sure there are supports in place to help them succeed – and we need to create opportunities for domestic students to benefit from their presence.