By Aly Beach/The Oshawa Express
Ontario’s youngest university officially crowned its newest president in a ceremony at the Regent Theatre on May 8.
“Today we are ushering a new generation for this fantastic university. I feel like a parent who’s watching their kid get married,” said University of Ontario University of Technology (UOIT) Chancellor Noreen Taylor at the ceremony.
Dr. Steven Murphy was installed as the fourth president and vice-chancellor of the UOIT after taking over the role in March after former president Dr. Tim McTiernan stepped down at the end of 2017. Murphy has previously worked as a dean at Ryerson University, and has been working in education for more than 10 years. While Murphy said the ceremony was nice, he says the hard work begins now.
“I think we will get down to business around raising the profile around the university, increasing the student experience, bringing entrepreneurship on campus, enhancing the experiential culture of the campus, and making it a ‘sticky’ place where students really feel proud there,” said Murphy after the ceremony.
To start his official duties as president of UOIT, Murphy aims to build on the work of those who came before him. He comments that times are changing fast and the world is more polarized than ever due to politics, free speech and differences in opinion, but this allows UOIT a chance to prove itself to the world.
“In these times, it is tempting to draw the blinds, close the drapes and retreat back into our academic silo,” said Murphy, “But it is at these times of profound social change where universities have historically shone brightest in how we respond to the challenges around us.”
Murphy aims to improve the student experience at UOIT saying, “the student experience drives everything I do.” He wants to create more experiential learning opportunities, and continue to improve the quality of education.
“Education needs more than a podium, a mic and a person,” said Murphy.
To also improve the student experience, Murphy is aiming to create a more inclusive UOIT campus.
“We need to be responsive and relevant and assume our role in building an inclusive, expansive society. We need to be an open tent,” said Murphy, “We need to make sure that everyone can feel welcome in our community.”
Murphy’s next step is to cement a more entrepreneurial feel to how UOIT works with partners and teaches students. He says entrepreneurship is crucial to thinking ‘more nimble’ and will allow students to break into the business-side of an organization and increase problem-solving skills. Taking an entrepreneurial approach will raise awareness of UOIT and its capabilities, leading to more partnerships and success, Murphy says.
“Let’s align ourselves with the world’s great technological universities. The company we keep will speak volumes about our quality,” he says.