Ryerson University Changemaker Campus

Ryerson University is Canada’s leader in innovative, career-oriented education and a university clearly on the move. With a mission to serve societal need, and a long-standing commitment to engaging its community, Ryerson offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate programs. Distinctly urban, culturally diverse, and inclusive, the university is home to over 38,000 students. Already an important hub in Canada’s innovation ecosystem, Ryerson is transforming education in Canada through its commitment to entrepreneurship and innovation. Building on the runaway success of its Digital Media Zone, its unique approach to “zone learning” provides mentorship, space and encouragement for student innovation and cross-disciplinary collaboration. Highlighted programs include: the Digital Media Zone, the Diversity Institute, and Environmental Applied Science and Management.

Digital Media Zone

Ryerson’s Digital Media Zone (DMZ) is a five-story incubator space shared with a downtown movie theatre complex right on Toronto’s biggest, most central intersection in the heart of the city. This student-led experiential learning environment erodes barriers between disciplines, institutions, and stakeholders, enabling entrepreneurs with established ideas to build their innovation or organization. The DMZ is open to students and non-students at all levels and offers infrastructure, just-in-time training, coaching, and unparalleled networking and media exposure to budding entrepreneurs with business and social objectives. The DMZ is one of Canada’s largest incubators for digital media innovation, collaboration, and commercialization. In less than two years, it has created more than 600 jobs and 50 companies. Currently, about 35% of DMZ companies are social in their focus.

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Diversity Institute

Ryerson’s Diversity Institute (DI) undertakes research on diversity in the workplace to improve practices in organizations. Housed within the Ted Rogers School of Management, the DI works with organizations to develop customized strategies, programming, and resources to promote new, interdisciplinary knowledge about diversity with respect to gender, race/ethnicity, Aboriginal peoples, abilities, and sexual orientation. The DI employs more than 20 students and graduates, and is engaged with over 50 organizations in a variety of projects aimed at evidence-based policy and organizational change, including Business in a Box, the TD Bank Financial Literacy Project, and the Black Experience Project. Its ecological model of change and action-oriented, evidence-based approach is driving social innovation across sectors, advancing knowledge, and creating leading practices to effect change.

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Environmental Applied Science and Management

Interdisciplinary programs such as the Masters and Doctoral degrees in Environmental Applied Science and Management bring together scholars from economics, engineering, science, and management to provide students with the foundation and coaching they need to design and implement real-world projects aimed at promoting sustainability. This program takes a systems management approach to environmental problems regarding air, water and soil quality, energy and resource utilization, waste management, and development impacts. Graduates from this program are equipped with a professionally-inclined education that can lead them to positions and careers in a variety of environmental fields.

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Wendy Cukier Vice-President, Research and Innovation

I began my career by launching start-up social enterprises at the intersection of technology/environment/education and health. But the Montreal Massacre on December 6, 1989, propelled me into leadership roles on two fronts: preventing gun violence and advancing gender equality (later diversity). I co-founded the Coalition for Gun Control (1991), a self-sustaining network of 300 Canadian organizations that has driven legislative and social change and helped measurably reduce gun death and injury. Building on my work promoting women in engineering, I founded the Diversity Institute in 1998, which brings together stakeholders to promote equality and inclusion and advances evidence-based change. Since becoming Vice President of Research and Innovation, I have helped build capacity for social innovation, strengthen internal and external networks, and improve tracking of changemaking activities.

Mohsin Khan Executive Director, Lead2Peace

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Marilyn Struthers John C. Eaton Chair in Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship

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Cheryl Hsu Marketing Coordinator, VPRI

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Meagan Blais Student, Business Management, Entrepreneurship; member of ENACTUS

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Krysten Connely Student, Communication and Culture (MA)

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Changemaker Campus

Launched in 2008, Ashoka offers the Changemaker Campus designation to leading institutions in social innovation education. These institutions share the vision for higher education to become the next global driver of social change by transforming the educational experience into a world-changing experience.