Two things I said I would do in my five years as Principal would be to Reach Up and Reach Out.
By Reaching UP, I meant developing a graduate program with graduate students and graduate teaching, expanding research, and increasing our academic publications. Our new, innovative Master of Social Work (MSW) degree is an example of reaching up. It will admit students in August 2012 and be housed in a new building by January 2013. It is the first graduate program in the College’s history, one of the first two non-theological Master’s degrees in any of the four university colleges. We are not stopping there: We are continuing to develop additional graduate programs!
By Reaching OUT, I meant improving our visibility and reaching out to the community by developing new programs like Sakura - our Japanese pre-school Saturday program, and PEAR - our Peer Education At Renison program on Fridays for age 50+ learners. Continuing to reach out, we strengthened our historic link with the Order of St. Lazarus whose work in ecumenical education is well-known and who in turn provided us with a significant bursary for ecumenical education at Renison. On the global front, we created the Renison International office to coordinate and expand our nearly forty international activities and student exchanges around the world. In partnership with the Balsillie School of International Affairs and the Faculty of Arts, we joined the Japan Future Initiatives to support their series of international initiatives and conferences and to enrich our East Asian Studies program.
Nor are we neglecting our conventional teaching programs: because 50% of Renison’s students are in the Department of Social Development Studies (SDS), we developed new program options for our students, increased SDS staff support, and hired new faculty.
In the college, of our twenty full-time Faculty, eight (soon to be nine) have been hired in the last two years. We have improved our web-site, and introduced Facebook and Twitter. We reorganized our English Language Institute and continue to reach out to the community by serving new groups: Renison now teaches English Language courses in Toronto and plans to expand these. In addition, we have developed totally new teaching programs at Renison, like Studies in Islam.
What I thought would take five years, was done in just over two, thanks to a remarkable group of students, staff, and faculty who believe in Renison, its spirit and its tradition and clearly see both the progress we are making and the goals we are setting. Thank you Renison: let’s keep reaching up and reaching out!
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