One of U of T's greatest assets is its location at heart of Toronto, U of T President Meric Gertler says
As an urban geographer, it’s clear to University of Toronto President Meric Gertler that one of the university's greatest strengths is the city in which it finds itself.
In recent interviews with Canadian Geographic and Times Higher Education, President Gertler discusses the university's role and current projects. A recurring theme is the advantage of U of T's location at the centre of a bustling and diverse metropolitan region.
“There are all kinds of opportunities on our doorstep,” he tells Canadian Geographic, which calls President Gertler “a world leader in urban theory, focusing on the geography of innovation, creativity and culture in city centres as economic drivers.”
The relationship between U of T and the city is mutally beneficial, he says. Students in architecture, geography and other programs help build Toronto while the city provides students with real-life training.
With Times Higher Education, President Gertler talks about the university's decision to lower tuition for international PhD students so that they pay the domestic rate for each year of study not already funded by the university. The move was meant to “send a signal globally that the University of Toronto welcomes leading talent in all kinds of different fields,” he says.
In the interviews, President Gertler also describes university projects that contribute to city life and tackle urban challenges. U of T is planning a makeover of King's College Circle, at the centre of the downtown Toronto campus, by improving green spaces and making it car-free. The project would create “a new green heart for the university and very much for the city,” he tells Canadian Geographic.
And U of T has worked with other Toronto universities to study the travelling habits of their students with the goal of informing transportation policy to reduce commuting times.