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New University...where should it go?


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Apr 24, 2007
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Student boom stirs new university talk

Leading educators brainstorm ways to accommodate 40,000 undergrads
Jul 31, 2007 04:30 AM
Louise Brown
Education Reporter
Even five is not enough.

The GTA may need another university within 15 years to handle a surprise boom of 40,000 more undergraduates, warns University of Toronto president Dr. David Naylor.

So strapped are GTA universities for space, they may even – in a rare show of team spirit – form a consortium to run a new sort of feeder university, Naylor said, where students could earn a bachelor's degree or switch after second year into one of the older universities to prepare for graduate studies.

It's one of a scramble of ideas being developed by the presidents of the U of T, Ryerson, York and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) to cope with an unexpected surge in students driven by the flow of immigrants to the GTA and a growing appetite for higher learning.

"There was a widespread assumption after the double cohort that we would see enrolment pressures drop – well, surprise! That didn't happen," said Naylor.

"There's 40,000 more students coming to the GTA – that's basically another university unless we find some smart ways to handle the crunch."

Among other ideas raised so far by the university chiefs:

A university outside the GTA opening a satellite campus in Toronto to take some of the undergraduate load.

More Toronto kids may have to go away to school. "We don't want to push more students out of the GTA, especially students in the lower-income groups, but the concept that one has an unequivocal right to commute to university is bogus," said Naylor.

Pushing for better transit from downtown Toronto to the UOIT in Oshawa so more GTA students would consider the 905 university.

A fourth campus for U of T, which is not a popular notion at Canada's largest university, where many fear it would "distract" from the university's move to bolster research and graduate work.

A second campus for Ryerson University at the foot of Jarvis St.

Ryerson kept first-year enrolment the same this fall despite almost 20 per cent more applicants because it has no more room to grow.

"The double cohort was spread right across every university in Ontario but this is a unique problem to the GTA," said Ryerson president Sheldon Levy. He has asked Queen's Park for permission for Ryerson to expand into the old Sam the Record Man store on Yonge near Dundas.

"If we're looking at taking even 10,000 of the projected 40,000 more students, that's a 40 per cent increase in our numbers. We can't do that without affecting the quality of education."

The GTA's fifth university, the Ontario College of Art and Design, has just about outgrown its jazzy new three-year-old building on stilts, said vice-president Sarah McKinnon, and is poised to start fundraising for another building.

Unlike the double-cohort crunch of 2003 caused by the final Grade 13 graduates and the first new four-year crop, this boom is expected to last for the next two decades, according to Naylor.

"The way we dealt with the double cohort was like an anaconda swallowing a rabbit, and to just push more students into the system would be naive.

"These are bigger numbers that will last a longer time on campuses that already have grown beyond their limit."

Not all of them have grown beyond their limit. Besides the five-year-old UOIT, which has room to expand, York University has room on the east and west side of its sprawling campus and plans to boost its science and engineering programs, as well as add a medical school, said new president Mamdouh Shoukri.

"I see this as an opportunity for York to help out while meeting our aspirations to increase the number of university graduates who are science-literate," Shoukri said.

But talks about any new university must include funding for new professors, warned Henry Mandelbaum, executive director of the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations.

"We don't have enough faculty to teach students right now," he said.
Where to build a new campus? Not on the most suburban fringe of Oshawa. The waterfront/Portlands is an obvious spot. Halton and Peel are pretty massive, so somewhere around there might not be bad. Ultimately, though, I think that universities should be focusing on getting their standards up and improving the quality of education for existing students, rather than engaging in more massive expansion. I'd love to see smaller classes and a more nuanced admissions process (i.e. more than just a cursory glance at the Grade 12 average). You can even get in to U of T these days with a 70s average, while I know someone who got in to several universities with a flat 60 average in the double cohort year. I don't see anything wrong with requiring an 80 top 6 (or top 3) average for an arts program at an in-demand school.
You could always toss it in yet another mid-sized south-western Ontario city, but I think that all the likely candidates already have one. You could probably put another one in Waterloo, Guelph, Hamilton or St. Catharines.

If in the GTA, somewhere along a GO line would make sense to me. Are there any obvious tracts of 500+ acres that are vacant (or cheaply acquired) that wouldn't be better used for something else? I can think of any.
Interesting that you mention an open area near a GO line.

There were once plans to move Ryerson to near Lakeridge Road and the 401, complete with new GO station (at the time, it would have probably would have been GO-ALRT). Durham got its university, 20 years too late.

Hmmm. Pork like a new GTA university. Where would it go? (Maybe Vaughan, they get all the pork these days).

I'd actually like to see something used for the old Esso refinery lands in Port Credit. A Ryerson or York Campus could work.
Parc Downsview Park?

Speaking of, I think its often fun to wonder what would be at Downsview Park now if CFB Toronto had closed 30 years earlier. Perhaps York University? Canada's Wonderland?

BTW, my preferred choice for a new university would be The Portlands (serviced by tram, DRL and a Cherry St GO Station).
I agree with unimaginative,

1/2 of the kids that are in university shouldn't be in there. Somehow we have it in our minds that a university education is an entitlement; a natural third step after elementary and secondary school. As a result, an undergraduate degree is relatively worthless today. We should focus on making university more exclusive - and not according to wealth but according to ability.
University of Stratford

There are ongoing discussions to build a satellite campus of Waterloo in lovely Stratford that would house the arts (surprise!) departments. Thankfully the proposed location is close to the downtown. My hopes for the overall provincial proposals would be new campuses somewhere in central Toronto, 'downtown' Markham and one in Stratford.
There should be a University of Mississauga located in the Mississauga City Centre.

Failing that (since we already have UTM), then a university in the portlands would be good, or a Brampton campus of U of T. Or upgrade Sheridan into a university. It would be nice if U of T had another campus.
Milton's now saying me, too!

McMaster wanting a Burlington campus? That's new to me. Mac should set up in downtown Hamilton really.

Star: Milton covets its own ivory tower
Fastest-growing town in Canada offers free land in bid to lure a university or college campus

Aug 01, 2007 04:30 AM
Louise Brown
Education Reporter

Free to a good campus: A chunk of Canada's new boom town.

Bustling Milton may have the fastest-growing population in the country and a business boom to match, but there's one thing it hasn't got that it wants very badly.

A wing of the ivory tower.

It's offering a $3.5 million parcel of land by the main drag, just steps from the GO Train station, free to the first college or university to bite.

The timing couldn't be better, after Toronto university presidents warned this week a surprise surge in enrolment could bring 40,000 more students to GTA colleges and universities in the next 15 years – sparking talk of a possible new GTA campus.

"The way we're growing – and the way the GTA is growing – this could be the most sensible location for a new campus," said Mario Belvedere, Milton's chief administrative officer, who calls the two-hectare site of the old Pigment and Chemical paint factory "a dynamite, gorgeous location."

"We want a post-secondary institution to balance out our residential and industrial growth – we've got a disproportionate number of kids here and in a few years they'll need somewhere to go for higher education," said Belvedere.

Milton topped the charts in the latest Census by roughly doubling the number of children under 14 in just five years, making it a young town that will put pressure on the school system, he said. It opened two more schools last year and has another two ready to open this fall.

These students will be part of the boom that puts pressure on all GTA universities, as well as community colleges such as George Brown College, which face the same space crunch as enrolments climb.

The U of T already has satellite campuses in Mississauga and Scarborough. McMaster University in Hamilton plans to open a campus in Burlington. Sheridan College in Oakville has a satellite campus in Brampton. The University of Guelph has a joint campus with Humber College in North York.

Still, Milton needs its own campus, says Belvedere.

"But we realized just wishing for a university or college to come here is not enough; we need to attract their attention."

The town acquired the land through a partnership with the Royal Bank. Officials are contacting all Ontario colleges and universities to pitch the free land. The offer expires in December 2008.

It has even posted a sign that proclaims with confidence, if few details: Future Home of Post-Secondary Institution.

"Free land!" says Belvedere. "Is that amazing or what?"
There are ongoing discussions to build a satellite campus of Waterloo in lovely Stratford that would house the arts (surprise!) departments. Thankfully the proposed location is close to the downtown. My hopes for the overall provincial proposals would be new campuses somewhere in central Toronto, 'downtown' Markham and one in Stratford.

That's terrible. Waterloo has been dispersing faculties to far flung campi: first architecture to Cambridge, now pharmacy to downtown Kitchener. These are relatively specialized programs with very little overlap, but the arts? My misery as a science student there was partially alleviated by all of my interesting courses in Roman art and architecture or existential philosophy. Many of my friends were arts students and I credit the design library for fostering my interest in the aesthetics. I expect that the comprehensiveness of a Waterloo education, not to mention student life, will go downhill as a result.

I can't say I'm surprised, though. Waterloo was always a university that didn't believe in undergraduates taking electives; never understood the fundamental importance of having a well-rounded education or giving students the opportunity to cross-fertilize ideas.

Most innovative university in Canada? Fucking bullshit. It's just a technical skills training centre; basically a glorified DeVry.
At least Cambridge and Kitchener are relatively easy to commute between - Stratford will be another story all together.

It's certainly one thing to establish a small stand-alone campus in Stratford, or a fine-arts program, but to segregate the 'arts' to a site not easily reachable to the majority of the is certainly the antithesis of what a university is supposed to be about.
To be fair, it's suppose to be more of a 'liberal arts' degree campus, kinda like the Brantford campus of Laurier, and with ties to the Strartford Festival. The ties to the festival are suppose to be for the more dramatic arts and try to build more oppourtunities for co-op placements for the arts & biz students. The main campus arts faculty would stay in place though. I guess I shouldn't mention the joint campus program for engineering they're cosidering in Dubai.
Wow, all of two hectares is available in Milton! They'll certainly get a large university campus into that amount of space. :rolleyes:

I can see major expansions coming at U of T in Mississauga and Scarborough. Miss. has grown considerably over the past ten years or so, but they have room for more.

That new alphabet-soup place in Oshawa will be primed to grow as well. The focus will be on the GTA, and they are the ones covering the east portion of it.