Q&A with York University's new president and vice-chancellor, Rhonda L. Lenton
What is your vision for the future of research and innovation at York University?
I believe it's important to talk about the vision for York University as a whole. York is quite unique. Historically, it has been known for its incredible strengths in the humanities and social sciences, environmental studies, business, law and health. But over the last number of years, we have been strengthening and amplifying research, so that today we are a comprehensive university that is strong in many different areas. So, for me, our priority is to continue to strengthen that amplification across the entire university.
Reflecting on research and innovation at York University, how would you characterize the last five years?
I would highlight the rapid and successful amplification of scholarship, research and creative activities over the last five years. This is due to the type of planning culture we have at York. I have seen a real vision of purpose around our research take shape under the leadership of our vice-president Research & Innovation, Robert Haché. We are keenly focused on impact, and how we can ensure that the research activities we are undertaking have a broad impact on the social, cultural, economic and other well-being of society, both locally and internationally.
We have been on a trajectory – one that I fully expect we will see strengthening in the future.
How important are partnerships, collaboration and community engagement to York's research?
These are very important. Our researchers work extensively with academic partners, community groups and commercial partners in building their research programs.
Innovation York, the innovation office for the university, plays a vital role in providing services to faculty members, trainees, students, industry and the community. Innovation York's accelerator spaces, such as the LaunchYU BEST Hub on York's Keele Campus, YSpace Markham, and the IBM Innovation Space–Markham Convergence Centre, are thriving hubs for entrepreneurs and community members.
Further examples of this important work would include our plans for the Markham Centre Campus and our valued relationships with our partners in this region, the subway extension, as well as our deep connections with the Franco-Ontarian community.
My vision for the university involves connecting our academic and research excellence with our accessibility agenda, our diversity with our inclusivity. I would like to seize the opportunity to think big and to reflect on how York can be the model for the connected university in the 21st-century global knowledge economy.
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