Ulrich Krull, the newly appointed vice president of the University of Toronto and the new principal of the University of Toronto Mississauga, listed expanding graduate research and research facilities for the science and medicinal studies as part of his long-term goals for the UTM campus, in an interview with The Medium.
Krull served last year as the interim principal of UTM when his predecessor, Deep Saini, left.
In the interview with The Medium, Krull described his wish to see UTM expand its research initiatives.
“The University of Toronto is internationally known for research,” said Krull. “That’s supposed to be a good thing for the students because you’re getting instruction from those thought leaders who are actually changing the world. But on this campus, that investment hasn’t taken place.”
“My mandate perspective of what I am going to bring forward is more of an investment in terms of the research presence. You’ll see this immediately because it’s already started. We’ve something called the Centre for Medicinal Chemistry.”
Krull cited UTM’s professor Patrick Gunning as the focus of the medicinal centre. Gunning is working on cancer therapeutics and his compounds have created great international interest, according to Krull.
While the product of Gunning’s research is gaining notoriety, Krull stressed the way the research is being conducted as a point of focus for future research. “The way this is being researched, the methods that are being used, are actually shortening the discovery period tremendously,” he said.
“Putting all these things together, we really have an opportunity to push the sciences forward and what we’re going to do is use this Centre for Medicinal Chemistry as an anchor to build a much larger set of research labs around it. So we’re building a science building and the science building will house, at its core, the Centre of Medicinal Chemistry. But around that will wrap the wide variety of laboratory infrastructure,” he continued.
Krull mentioned the possibility of a robotics facility on campus as a way to bring engineering to UTM, and eventually, expanding infrastructure to a new arts centre for the humanities.
Several infrastructure changes, such as the construction on the Phase B of the North Building and the renovations soon to take place in the Davis building, signify UTM’s changing façade, according to Krull.
UTM’s incoming undergraduate students will begin to see the changes taking place around the campus, as departments expand with new programs and study options, as well as having more graduate study opportunities arise as the school expands beyond the focus of undergraduates.
“We’re looking to build up the graduate student presence here,” explained Krull, “Many of the TAs that the undergraduate students see, they’re the graduate students, so if we improve both the number and the quality of the graduate students, it improves directly the teaching assistant in front of the students to help them move forward.”
“As you think about UTM, it’s not the buildings, it’s the people inside the buildings. It’s what you do that’s so important,” he added. Elaborating on UTM’s vision for the future, he stated that the vision creates a strategy, and the strategy then gets implemented into a plan.
“So we’re at the point of actually completing an implementation plan. My hope is that it will then go back to the departments where the nuts and bolts of the implementation will take place,” he said.
Krull also stressed the concept of eliminating perceived distance between the wants of students and the senior administration, and cited monthly town hall meetings as a productive way to derive solutions for student concerns.
“I need students to understand that they’re part of a family. Students shouldn’t be shy about talking to the senior administration,” he said, “we’re here to facilitate their success.”
The town hall meetings are held at the end of every month and are open to all members of the community.