Plenty of changes as UTM gears up for the start of a new school year

Ulrich Krull
Thursday, August 24, 2017 - 12:08pm
Blake Eligh

As summer comes to a close, U of T Mississauga is revving up for another exciting school year that begins with a big welcome to new students, as well as returning students, staff and faculty.

First-year undergraduate students will arrive on campus beginning Sat., Aug 26, as they move into their new digs in residence or off-campus housing and turn out for orientation week fun. The campus will welcome more than 3,600 new undergraduate students this year. According to the Office of the Registrar, nearly three-quarters of the incoming students call Canada home, while China, India and Pakistan are the top countries of origin for international students who comprise about 28 per cent of the incoming student body.

Organized by the Office of Student Transition, this year’s O-Week orientation calendar features a three-day schedule jam-packed with tours, information sessions and special events designed to help UTM’s new students make the most of campus life. UTM’s Student Housing & Residence Life and UTMSU will offer additional orientation programs.

Returning members of the UTM community will notice many changes that occurred over the summer. In leadership news, Professor Ulrich Krull was appointed Vice-President and Principal. Krull, who previously served in an interim capacity, started his three-year term on July 1.

Interior construction photo of North 2 buildingScience labs and classrooms across the campus have been upgraded, including complete renovations of the lecture hall in the Kaneff Centre and two 70s-era lecture theatres in the Davis Building, along with continuing renovations to science labs, announced in 2016. Construction on the North 2 building is also progressing—UTM’s newest building reached its final height in July, which was celebrated with a topping off ceremony and a sneak peek behind the hoarding. Current work is focused on interior and exterior finishes for the building, which is to open in August 2018.

There is more construction ahead—over the next 18 months, common areas in the Davis Building will also embark on a major facelift. Paul Donoghue, UTM’s chief administrative officer, confirms that preliminary work on planned renovations to The Meeting Place and Temporary Food Court will begin during the fall semester. “It will become a new living room for the campus,” Donoghue says, adding that the 18-month project will create a permanent food court area, seating for 1,000 in small groupings and a new main entrance for the Davis Building.

Two men tend to a beehive

Hospitality and Retail Services was abuzz over the summer with the installation of three beehives atop the Instructional Centre. Those with a taste for the sweet treat can sample the homegrown honey at Oscar Peterson Hall and at upcoming food events, including a Community Kitchen workshop with Chef Sandeep. Stay tuned for news about the new vertical farm system installed in Oscar Peterson Hall at the end of August.

The academic calendar lists more than 100 intriguing new courses to be offered over the 2017-2018 academic year. Fashionistas and Italophiles alike will say ‘bellissimo!’ to What TO Wear: Italian Fashion, from the Theatre to the Runway, a language studies course (offered in English) that explores the transformation of Italian fashion over the centuries. New sociology courses cover a range of juicy topics, including the Sociology of Scandals and the Sociology of Disasters. Love screen time? Try new courses from the Institute of Communication, Culture, Information and Technology—Drones, Robots, Artificial Intelligence—or the Department of Historical Studies’ Doing Digital History. Also from historical studies, Ancient Piracy charts the historical course of pirates from the Odyssy to online digital theft. English students will need more bookshelves for new second year English courses Fantasy Literature, Queer Writing, Fan Fiction, Video Games and Writing and Resistance: Decolonizing Literature, and the management course Introduction to Personal Finance is open to students across disciplines to learn an essential skill set for today’s economy.