Life @ U of T and CTSI

We are excited to welcome Lori, the newest member of the CTSI family. Lori will be contributing regular posts to the Life @ U of T blog. I will let Lori introduce herself – her first post went up on Thursday and her second post appeared today – but we wanted to add that we’re looking forward to reading her insights and observations of the University of Toronto. The Student Life blog is a great resource for getting to know U of T students and learning what concerns and what drives them. It’s also a great way to find out about events, projects, classes and free stuff around campus. I am perfectly happy to follow the lead of Student Life bloggers – it often ends with cupcakes or an interesting lecture at Hart House.

This is our second year with our Student Life blogger. Last year, we were fortunate to have Erin post about her interactions with faculty and experiences inside and outside of the classroom as she navigated her final year as an undergrad. All of her posts can be found on the Life @ U of T blog.


Munk School and TIFF: a perfect combination

One of the exciting things about fall (and I can think of many nice and/or exciting things, including knee socks and the return of Parks and Recreation) is that U of T lecture series kick into high gear. One of the first to arrive is a co-presentation with Munk School of Global Affairs and the TIFF group for their Contemporary World Speakers series. Janice Gross Stein, Ron Diebert, Michael Ignatieff, Brian Stewart and Ron Levi from the Munk School will introduce the films and participate in a Q&A afterward. This is an opportunity to see international cinema that you might not otherwise come across (although Australia’s Underground, a depiction of Julian Assange in his teenage hacker years will likely get press) and discuss the real-time connections to contemporary events with experts in the field. And this is only September…. imagine what October will bring?!

This is also a reminder that TIFF programs relevant, interesting and entertaining films year-round. As exciting (and often crowded and daunting for ticket buyers) as the Film Festival is, the fun doesn’t stop the second Sunday in September. Check out the TIFF website for their upcoming schedule.

Link U of T News

Well, there’s a map for that….

We discovered this map (“Origins of First-Year Undergraduates at U of T”) on President Naylor’s blog. It is wonderfully addictive! There is one student from Iceland. 303 students from Vancouver. Two students from Senegal. Two students from Bermuda. Not only am I reminded of the diversity of people and cultures who attend the University of Toronto, I also get a quick refresher course on geography. Bermuda, for instance, is a lot farther north than I thought.

First-Year Students Map

Click on image to go to interactive map


Home, sweet home….

After 9 months in our temporary space, CTSI has finally returned to our (newly renovated) office on the 4th floor of Robarts! There are still some boxes to unpack and construction is still on-going but we are ready and open for business. We’ve already held workshops in the Blackburn Room and computer lab and welcomed instructors and graduate students into our new offices and meeting rooms. It didn’t take long to settle in – and we’re doing our best to keep out of the way of the construction crew finishing up the final details. We look forward to celebrating our new space with our colleagues!

Our new reception area...

Our new meeting rooms come with sunshine.






Blackburn Room

CTSI computer lab
CTSI computer lab

While, we are excited to set up shop in our bright and shiny new space, I will be sad to say goodbye to a few things from the 7th floor.

Ye Olde Card Catalogue
Our office is divided down a firm line: those of us who are nostalgic about library card catalogues and those who have never used one, never seen one before arriving on the 7th floor and have no idea how to use one. (I haven’t asked if this latter group is also unfamiliar with dot matrix printers and rotary dial phones because I’m not sure if I want to know the answer.) Apparently, the bank of cards were no longer used even before I arrived in the late 80s. (When I arrived at U of T to start my undergraduate degree, the catalogue was computerized. We searched for books using terminals in the library, which seemed very futuristic to me. You can imagine, then, how impressed I was when a housemate hooked his computer to the phone line and accessed the library catalogue from his room. We could research a topic from the comfort of his room! It felt very War Games and top secret.) I like to think that my father rooted through these cards when he was completing his undergraduate degree in the early 50s. They were a nice – and tangible – tie to U of T’s past. I liked flipping through the cards, hoping to finding a handwritten one or one with comments. It was comforting to think that many of the books could still be found in the stacks.

Does anyone even use index cards any more?

The Live Action Angry Birds Game
…. even though it never really got off the ground. We did our best to make use of ackwardly placed cubicles and masking tape, turning space (well, my cubicle to be exact) into a target zone for incoming stuffed birds. Points were awarded according to how close birds landed to the centre. We established a few rules – you had to be sitting in a chair, you had to be behind ‘the line’, you had to warn me with a call of ‘incoming!’ – and kept score on a white board. Unfortunately, the competition didn’t last much past our first few weeks in the space. I kept the tape on the floor, though, just in case there was a sudden need. My new space is more ‘put together’ so no more angry birds. We’re all fine with that, though. We’re busy personalizing our new spaces and getting ready for another fall of workshops (and workshops), the symposium and whatever else the new school year may bring.

My new 4x6 home....