In his new position as vice-principal of special initiatives, Professor Ulrich Krull plans on moving UTM towards the vision of a more comprehensive university, complete with cross-disciplinary professional programs that will creatively change the quality of life for citizens of the Region of Peel.
According to Krull, who is also UTM’s VP research until next June, the name “special initiatives” means the initiatives aren’t bound by the conventions of normal academic processes. Instead, they would be projects that challenge the assumptions of traditional education, like UTM’s recently launched master of management of innovation program does.
The approach is about looking from the outside in, said Krull. It’s about changing what the university can offer students and what the university can offer the outside world through the implementation of professional programs. Our university has often had governmental support, but the question, according to Krull, is what would change the nature of the quality of life for the people in our community.
Krull’s vision is to expand the university’s opportunities, offerings, and research in the specific areas of engineering, business, and medicine.
“That’s really where this campus has been trying to position itself,” said Krull. He said that not only should UTM support the U of T mission, but it should do so “in the context of the value that we have in our local community”.
Krull wants to know what can be done to expand what UTM means for its students and supporters. Having fostered a relationship with the city of Mississauga for over 15 years, UTM—which Krull says is known as the “research arm” of Mississauga—needs to graduate not just creative thinkers, but innovators.
“The university has more than the ability to teach. It has the ability to actually serve the population and serve the community in a much greater context,” said Krull. “If you can encourage students to put some of their creativity in the city, will that not change the quality of life for the citizens of Mississauga?”
The position of VP special initiatives was created in June by the provost as part of what Krull calls the maturation of the UTM administrative structure. Krull took up his new position on October 1.
“Ask yourself this: are you an innovator or are you a creator? A creator can dream up new things, has new ideas, has aspirations, but for the most part, the world doesn’t care about your ideas. They care what you can bring to practice,” said Krull. “That’s what’s called ‘innovation’. What we want to do is educate so that all these individuals that are creative learn how to move their ideas forward.”