Media Releases

Profile of the University of Toronto

March 4, 2013

Estab­lished in 1827, the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to is a vibrant and diverse aca­d­e­m­ic com­mu­ni­ty. It includes 80,000 stu­dents, 11,000 col­leagues hold­ing fac­ul­ty appoint­ments, 200 librar­i­ans, and 6,000 staff mem­bers across three dis­tinc­tive cam­pus­es and at many part­ner sites, includ­ing world-renowned hos­pi­tals. The Uni­ver­si­ty is one of the most respect­ed and influ­en­tial insti­tu­tions of high­er edu­ca­tion and advanced research in the world. Its strengths extend across the full range of dis­ci­plines: the 2012–13 Times High­er Edu­ca­tion rank­ing groups the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to with Stan­ford, UC Berke­ley, UCLA, Colum­bia, Cam­bridge, Oxford, the Uni­ver­si­ty of Mel­bourne and the Uni­ver­si­ty of Michi­gan as the only insti­tu­tions in the top 27 in all six broad dis­ci­pli­nary areas. The Uni­ver­si­ty is also con­sis­tent­ly rat­ed one of Canada’s Top 100 employ­ers, and ranks with Har­vard and Yale for the top uni­ver­si­ty library resources in North Amer­i­ca.

Three Distinct Experiences at One University

The Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to has three cam­pus­es: U of T St. George in down­town Toron­to, U of T Mis­sis­sauga to the west, and U of T Scar­bor­ough to the east. The cam­pus­es have a com­bined rep­u­ta­tion for attract­ing top fac­ul­ty and stu­dents, pro­duc­ing ground-break­ing research and grad­u­at­ing lead­ers who make a dif­fer­ence in the world.

U of T Mis­sis­sauga is a stu­dent-cen­tred under­grad­u­ate and grad­u­ate research com­mu­ni­ty with­in Canada’s sixth-largest city, Mis­sis­sauga. The cam­pus bal­ances urban oppor­tu­ni­ties with a park-like cam­pus, pro­vid­ing a unique envi­ron­ment for learn­ing and dis­cov­ery.

U of T St. George in down­town Toron­to offers a quin­tes­sen­tial urban uni­ver­si­ty expe­ri­ence. Found­ed in 1827, the cam­pus is home to sev­en col­leges, 15 fac­ul­ties and the School of Grad­u­ate Stud­ies. U of T St. George has an excit­ing, inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty of stu­dents and schol­ars engaged in a broad range of aca­d­e­m­ic pur­suits.

U of T Scar­bor­ough is a close-knit aca­d­e­m­ic com­mu­ni­ty that fos­ters learn­ing through expe­ri­ence. The cam­pus main­tains strong ties to the busi­ness­es and com­mu­ni­ty orga­ni­za­tions across the Greater Toron­to Area and beyond, cre­at­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties unique to its stu­dents. The Scar­bor­ough cam­pus is in the heart of a mul­ti­cul­tur­al neigh­bour­hood bor­dered by 300 acres of beau­ti­ful park­land.

The Student Experience

Every year, the Uni­ver­si­ty wel­comes stu­dents of the high­est cal­i­bre – not just from the province of Ontario, but also in ris­ing num­bers from across Cana­da and around the world. We invest tens of mil­lions each year in stu­dent bur­saries and schol­ar­ships with one aim in view: to ensure that the very best stu­dents can be admit­ted on mer­it, not on the basis of per­son­al or parental income.

Aca­d­e­m­ic pro­grams are struc­tured to cap­i­tal­ize on the breadth and depth of the uni­ver­si­ty and on the teach­ing strengths of its out­stand­ing fac­ul­ty. Small-group sem­i­nars and tuto­ri­als, com­bined with large lec­tures and online sup­port, give stu­dents the oppor­tu­ni­ty to devel­op a spec­trum of skills and knowl­edge. Stu­dents are attract­ed to U of T by the oppor­tu­ni­ty to work close­ly with top fac­ul­ty and to engage in research right from the begin­ning of their aca­d­e­m­ic careers. As ear­ly as first year, U of T stu­dents engage in orig­i­nal research through cours­es, infor­mal vol­un­teer oppor­tu­ni­ties, sum­mer posi­tions, and nation­al research coun­cil-fund­ed intern­ships. Stu­dents have exca­vat­ed fos­sil sites in Hun­gary, learned geo­physics field tech­niques in British Colum­bia and exam­ined HIV/AIDS-relat­ed issues in Namib­ia.

U of T encour­ages stu­dents to apply their dis­cov­er­ies in the wider world. The university’s “Entre­pre­neur­ship 101” course is increas­ing­ly pop­u­lar, and the new Bant­i­ng and Best Cen­tre for Inno­va­tion and Entre­pre­neur­ship pro­vides a home for stu­dent- and fac­ul­ty-spun com­pa­nies to com­mer­cial­ize their research.

Out­side the class­room, stu­dent life at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to is rich with oppor­tu­ni­ties to form close-knit intel­lec­tu­al and social com­mu­ni­ties. With more than 800 clubs and stu­dent-run orga­ni­za­tions, every stu­dent finds a home. Eco-con­scious stu­dents can join the Envi­ron­men­tal Stu­dent Union or vol­un­teer at the U of T green­hous­es or com­mu­ni­ty gar­dens. Stu­dents with a love for the arts express their cre­ativ­i­ty in dra­ma, pho­tog­ra­phy, cin­e­ma, art and Bhangra and Hip Hop clubs. Bud­ding jour­nal­ists and pub­lic speak­ers pro­duce stu­dent news­pa­pers and radio shows, craft argu­ments for debate com­pe­ti­tions and vol­un­teer their time teach­ing media aware­ness to ado­les­cents.

Com­mu­ni­ties also form around cul­tur­al con­nec­tions and spir­i­tu­al ties, includ­ing the Kur­dish Stu­dents Asso­ci­a­tion, the Chi­nese Mag­a­zine club, the Islam­ic Busi­ness Asso­ci­a­tion and the Caribbean Con­nec­tion­ists. Depart­men­tal stu­dent soci­eties like the Under­grad­u­ate Com­merce Soci­ety and the His­tor­i­cal Stud­ies Soci­ety host pub nights, guest lec­tures and movie nights.

Research and Innovation

The breadth and depth of the university’s research and teach­ing strength facil­i­tates inter­dis­ci­pli­nary col­lab­o­ra­tion among fac­ul­ties and with part­ner insti­tu­tions, and lays the foun­da­tion for a for­mi­da­ble port­fo­lio of dis­cov­er­ies. The uni­ver­si­ty is a con­ti­nen­tal leader in knowl­edge-trans­la­tion and entre­pre­neur­ship, and its close asso­ci­a­tion with the MaRS Dis­cov­ery Dis­trict, its nine affil­i­at­ed teach­ing hos­pi­tals, and its indus­try part­ner­ships place it at the hub of one of the most pro­duc­tive cen­tres of inno­va­tion in North Amer­i­ca.

With almost 1,000 inven­tion dis­clo­sures filed between 2007 and 2010, U of T ranks first in Cana­da and third among pub­lic uni­ver­si­ties in North Amer­i­ca. In 2011 alone, Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to stu­dents and fac­ul­ty gen­er­at­ed 27 spin-out com­pa­nies.

Inter­na­tion­al­ly, the uni­ver­si­ty is devel­op­ing major col­lab­o­ra­tive con­sor­tia with oth­er research uni­ver­si­ties, includ­ing the Struc­tur­al Genomics Con­sor­tium: a part­ner­ship with the Karolin­s­ka Insti­tute in Swe­den, Oxford Uni­ver­si­ty, and the Uni­ver­si­ty of Sao Paulo in Brazil. And through a $210-mil­lion (USD) col­lab­o­ra­tion with IBM, the uni­ver­si­ty is devel­op­ing ana­lyt­i­cal mod­els to pro­vide improved pub­lic ser­vices – includ­ing drink­ing water, health care and ener­gy – in the most effi­cient ways.

Fac­ul­ty mem­bers work­ing in and across the full range of dis­ci­plines are find­ing answers to some of the world’s most dif­fi­cult chal­lenges:

  • In 1963, Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to pro­fes­sors Ernest McCul­loch and James Till dis­cov­ered stem cells, and U of T fac­ul­ty has con­tin­ued to cap­i­talise on this dis­cov­ery. Pro­fes­sor John Dick of Mol­e­c­u­lar Genet­ics was the first to iden­ti­fy human can­cer stem cells in leukaemia, and his work today focus­es on the manip­u­la­tion of stem cells to devel­op new treat­ments for the dis­ease.
  • Com­put­er sci­ence is among Toronto’s best known and most inter­na­tion­al­ly com­pet­i­tive research areas. Bill Bux­ton, prin­ci­pal researcher at Microsoft, and William Reeves, super­vis­ing tech­ni­cal direc­tor of Pixar, are both grad­u­ates of the com­put­er sci­ence depart­ment. Pro­fes­sor Geof­frey Hinton’s pio­neer­ing research in back prop­a­ga­tion neur­al net­works has most recent­ly yield­ed ground-break­ing speech recog­ni­tion soft­ware now in use at Microsoft, Google and IBM. The uni­ver­si­ty is also a leader in cloud com­put­ing, quan­tum cryp­tog­ra­phy and quan­tum infor­ma­tion con­trol.
  • The Uni­ver­si­ty of Toronto’s Cen­tre for Sus­tain­able Ener­gy – a team of researchers, edu­ca­tors, stu­dents and part­ners – are work­ing to improve Canada’s ener­gy effi­cien­cy and bet­ter man­age its car­bon emis­sions. Among the group’s achieve­ments is the devel­op­ment of col­loidal quan­tum dot films, which pave the way for solar cells that can quick­ly and cheap­ly be “paint­ed” onto sur­faces to con­vert the sun’s ener­gy into usable elec­tric­i­ty.
  • U of T researchers, led by Pro­fes­sor Stan­ley Zlotkin, have devel­oped a taste­less and odour­less micro-nutri­ent pow­der called “Sprin­kles” that can be pack­aged in sin­gle-serv­ing sachets and added to almost any food. These dietary sup­ple­ments, giv­en to chil­dren in the devel­op­ing world, can alle­vi­ate anaemia and Vit­a­min D defi­cien­cy.
  • Led by Richard Flori­da, the Lloyd & Del­phine Mar­tin Pros­per­i­ty Insti­tute is the world’s lead­ing think-tank on the role of sub-nation­al fac­tors – loca­tion, place and city-regions – in glob­al eco­nom­ic pros­per­i­ty. Its researchers take an inte­grat­ed view of pros­per­i­ty, look­ing beyond eco­nom­ic mea­sures to include the impor­tance of qual­i­ty of place and the devel­op­ment of people’s cre­ative poten­tial.
  • The Munk School of Glob­al Affairs, led by Jan­ice Gross Stein, brings togeth­er the best minds to do lead­ing edge research, con­vene experts for enlight­en­ing dis­cus­sions of glob­al issues, and edu­cate stu­dents who move seam­less­ly across dis­ci­plines as they tack­le glob­al prob­lems.

University of Toronto Alumni

While the uni­ver­si­ty is proud of its his­tor­i­cal and mas­sive ongo­ing con­tri­bu­tions to research and inno­va­tion in Cana­da, it is ulti­mate­ly its grad­u­ates who con­sti­tute U of T’s sin­gle biggest con­tri­bu­tion to the strength­en­ing of com­mu­ni­ties and the cre­ation of suc­cess­ful and inno­v­a­tive soci­eties. The Uni­ver­si­ty claims more than 500,000 alum­ni in 175 coun­tries in lead­er­ship roles on every con­ti­nent and in every sphere of human activ­i­ty with sur­pris­ing con­cen­tra­tions of influ­ence every­where from Hol­ly­wood to Hong Kong.

U of T has grad­u­at­ed five Nobel Prize win­ners, more than any oth­er uni­ver­si­ty in Cana­da, with a total of 10 Nobel Lau­re­ates hav­ing been based here dur­ing sig­nif­i­cant points in their careers. Among them, The Right Hon­ourable Lester B. Pear­son received his BA from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to and was award­ed the 1957 Nobel Peace Prize for his untir­ing efforts against world con­flict. Pear­son also went on to become Canada’s 14th Prime Min­is­ter. Pro­fes­sor Wal­ter Kohn, co-win­ner of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Chem­istry, is an alum­nus of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to. And Pro­fes­sor James Orbin­s­ki, who received his master’s degree in inter­na­tion­al rela­tions from U of T, accept­ed the 1999 Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of Doc­tors With­out Bor­ders for pio­neer­ing human­i­tar­i­an work around the world.

International Rankings

The Uni­ver­si­ty is pleased to see its fac­ul­ty and stu­dents receive recog­ni­tion for their aca­d­e­m­ic suc­cess. Insti­tu­tion­al and dis­ci­pline rank­ings are just one method of assess­ing per­for­mance and U of T’s place among the world’s lead­ing Uni­ver­si­ties. Dif­fer­ent rank­ings use dif­fer­ent mea­sures, so each result must be tak­en in its own method­olog­i­cal con­text.



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U of T Media Rela­tion


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