But looking outwards will be one the goals for Glen Jones, the first with an academic background in higher education to lead the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto.
While recognising OISE’s existing international activities, including founding membership in the International Alliance of Leading Education Institutes, Jones told The PIE News “we do have to be more internationally engaged”.
“Trying to think in a more integrated way of how we are approaching international initiatives is something we need to do,” said Jones, currently a distinguished visiting professor at Beijing Normal University, who sees potential to recruit more international students and strengthen research partnerships abroad.
By autumn, with faculty input, Jones said he hopes to release a five-year academic plan that builds on OISE’s perceived strengths, including its two-year Master’s of Teaching programme, indigenous education and international partnerships.
Currently a distinguished visiting professor at Beijing Normal University, Jones’s five-year term will start July 1. Photo: Gary Beechey, BDS Studios.
OISE significantly expanded its master’s programme in 2014 after the province of Ontario lengthened undergraduate teacher degrees to two years (from one) and cut student intake to curb a looming teacher surplus.
Unlike other Ontario faculties, OISE opted to phase out undergraduate programmes to become Canada’s only all-graduate institute of teaching, learning and research.
“OISE’s mission is to rank among the five most important global centres of research and teaching in education”
Appointed in May, Jones says he expects the academic plan will give “serious attention” to the master’s programme, adding content that draws on OISE research expertise, including indigenous education and technology.
“We have this ability to create this really distinctive world-class programme and we are not quite there yet,” said Jones. “We need to spend time and energy to think about it.”
His appointment comes after considerable turmoil at OISE, including an open faculty revolt last year against the previous dean, Julia O’Sullivan, thwarting a second term.
In an email, former University of Toronto president Rob Prichard praised the appointment: “Glen is trusted throughout OISE which will allow him to lead his colleagues on an ambitious agenda of leadership in the discipline of education.”
“OISE’s mission is to rank among the five most important global centres of research and teaching in education. With Glen at the helm, I like OISE’s chances and am excited by the prospect. ”
An OISE veteran of 21 years, Jones said his appointment creates “an opportunity to provide some leadership and to make the place you live a better place. That is very attractive.”
His five-year term takes effect July 1.