Steven Murphy is the new dean of the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University. Before coming to Ryerson, he was the associate dean of research and external from 2011 to 2013 at Carlton University. Prior to that, he was the associate dean of Carlton’s Sprott School of Business from 2008 to 2011. Murphy began his five-year term at Ryerson on Aug. 1. This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.
Q: What is the first thing you plan to do as dean?
A: The first thing I plan to do is really listen. I’ve set up meetings with every faculty and staff member in the TRSM, which as you know is a very large family. Until you can hear all of the staff concerns and get out to every single kind of student group to hear the student perspective, it’s tough to know of the priorities. Talking to people and listening, more importantly, give you that insight that you need.
Q: How do you plan to focus on research?
A: We want to focus on research in a way that doesn’t take away from the core strength of Ryerson’s teaching. The place is known for its teaching, applied teaching and links to the industry. I think you want to build the research in that kind of a way. You want to bring in as many academics as you can who have an applied background so that they understand that their research has to influence and feed back into the classroom. I think it’s building a culture that’s very specific to the Ryerson environment, so that it really does help the students as well. That’s the difference in building a culture out as opposed to some of our other research intensive institutions around us.
Q: How will you ensure that a Ryerson business student stands out from the rest when they enter the job market?
A: Well, I think they already do, so I think it’s pushing that a little bit further, [making sure] that they stand out [when] they’re job ready, that they’re nimble and that they tend to be entrepreneurial-minded. For me, it’s about furthering each of those. On the entrepreneurial side, I want to give students the most opportunities to be able to develop new businesses, to get excited and be able to run those businesses through zone education, through the Digital Media Zone (DMZ), through a lot of things that are happening here, but that we can be playing a more proactive role in. I would like to see students have an ability to really get their hands dirty, so that when they graduate—I think that’s what employers are looking for—they’ve had hands-on experience in either doing things themselves or in other organizations.
Q: How do you plan on taking advantage of Toronto?
A: Our location is the envy of every other business school. I think that in order to make sure we’re making the most of that, we have to make sure our advisory boards are built more strongly so that we’re getting the advice on our curriculum and on what we’re doing from people who are actually out there in the trenches. I think that we need to be bringing those people in to speak to our classes. I think it’s about how you bring in business most effectively, utilize your location and really tie into what you have here. I think the worry is that we can become complacent if you’re downtown and not taking full advantage of what’s around and I want to make sure we’re taking full advantage.
Q: What do you want your legacy to be?
I think it’s never about my legacy. It’s about the collective view of the school. I’d like to see the school take its next rightful step in becoming an internationally recognized business school. I think it does that by staying close to its roots in terms of being very practically oriented, yet being very strong in research. That, I think, will lead to a business school that can then develop very strong graduate programs, very strong international relations and be known across the world.