In March, three-time Sprott graduate, Steven Murphy (BCom/93, MMS/95, PhD/00) was installed as the president and vice chancellor of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology.
“It’s a very exciting opportunity to take a university and have an imprint on what you’re doing and build something,” said Steven. “For me, that is the defining reason why I’m excited. You’re building something, and in our sector, given the legacy of most of our institutions, that’s a rare opportunity.”
Steven is on a mission to reinvent post-secondary education for the 21st century. This mission leads him to ask the questions that are often not considered.
“I revel in the challenge of looking at some of the assumptions we have in our world, such as the 13-week semester, the three-hour-a-week course. I ask basic questions that start with, is this the best learning form for our students? Do students learn the best in these semesters? Are there other ways to teach? How do universities fit into the adventure of lifelong learning and skills development in a world where technology is rapidly changing and careers are evolving? Much of our model still plays to the 17 to 25 year old, when really we need to evolve to a model that involves the 17 to 65 year old.”
Prior to his appointment at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Steven was the dean of Ryerson University’s Ted Rogers School of Management, where he led the institution in transforming its brand and establishing innovative interdisciplinary program that linked business to science, engineering, arts, and design.
Steven began his academic career at Carleton’s Sprott School of Business and served as the school’s associate dean of graduate programs and associate dean, research and external.
Steven developed a passion for education while completing his master’s degree in the management of technology during Ottawa’s technology boom. After completing his doctorate in 2000, Steven worked for a number of organizations including the Conference Board of Canada and the RCMP before starting a tenure track position at the Sprott School of Business.
“There was no doubt from when I became a master’s student that this was the world that I was really attracted to, for a variety of reasons,” said Steven. “Not only concentrating on what I loved and having the freedom to do so, but being around young people and inspiring the next generation of leaders. All of those things have remained in terms of why I’m still a lover of universities and why I think they can make the biggest change in terms of raising people up and equalizing people by opportunity.”
Steven holds a PhD in Management with a focus in Organizational Behaviour, Master of Management Science in the Management of Technology and a Bachelor of Commerce with a concentration in Human Resources Management, all from Carleton.
On November 26, Steven was presented with the Sprott School of Business Professional Excellence Award. The Professional Excellence Award honours a Sprott graduate of a master’s or PhD degree in business who has demonstrated outstanding achievement in their career or community service.
“For me, when I receive an award like this, I’m humbled but I’m also brought back to how much the institution did for me in terms of my own development personally and professionally. There’s a big chunk of me that will always have an involvement with Carleton, so it’s a really nice accolade to be given an alumni award by an institution that means so much to me,” Steven shared.
As the nature of work is changing rapidly, young people entering the workforce today will likely have several careers. Steven’s advice to students centres on the importance of hard work, introspection and continuous learning.
“No graduate ever leaves completely prepared. But I think the first step is being self-aware to ask: what are the areas I need to work on in my career? It can’t just be all about how do I get the next promotion or I really need to move because I’m not being paid enough. It should be more central–how do I add value, what kind of leader am I, and what kind of follower am I? And upgrading skills along the way. We say lifelong learning is a continuous process but I don’t believe our country has quite come to grips yet with just how crucial that will be over the next several decades.”
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