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In the Age of Disruption, Young Minds need Academic Knowledge and 21st century Skills to Succeed

President Lachemi’s address to the Economic Club highlights the value of flexibility, adaptability, creativity and problem solving as the keys to success
October 05, 2017
Ryerson President Mohamed Lachemi speaking at Economic Club of Canada

President Lachemi speaks to the Economic Club on disruption and the future of education. Credit: Brian Batista Bettencourt  

TORONTO, October 5, 2017 – The age of disruption is upon us – in the next ten years, 42 per cent of jobs will be at high risk of automation.  In an address earlier today to the Economic Club of Canada, Ryerson University President and Vice-Chancellor Mohamed Lachemi discussed how universities like Ryerson are preparing students for a world very different from the one we are living in now.

“In the world that awaits them, Canadian students need more than knowledge,” said President Lachemi during his address.  “They need a mix of knowledge and 21st century skills – that is, flexibility and adaptability, creativity and problem solving.”

The sold out address entitled “Canadian Universities and the Forces of Global Change” focused on three tangible ways that disruption must be answered to prepare students for careers and lives in the 21st century:

  • Disruption ignores boundaries – we must abandon traditional and arbitrary boundaries to work together to meet the challenges of disruption, we can do this with partnerships that expand the student experience and knowledge base.
  • Disruption is global – we must think and act globally, universities can do this by inviting the world to their campus and providing programs and supports focused on diversity and inclusion.
  • Disruption is changing how students learn – Innovation in the classroom and in partnerships will change the way students learn, think and pursue their futures. 21st century teaching models, like Ryerson University’s Zone Learning, offer experiential learning opportunities focused on real world projects.

In closing, President Lachemi offered guests the opportunity to become a part of the future with Ryerson University, “If you have a problem to solve and if you are open to new ideas and innovative approaches, come partner with Ryerson University.”

Full text of the speech is available PDF filehere:  

Ryerson University is Canada’s leader in innovative, career-oriented education. Urban, culturally diverse and inclusive, the university is home to more than 44,600 students, including 2,600 master’s and PhD students, 3,100 faculty and staff, and nearly 185,000 alumni worldwide. For more information, visit


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Johanna VanderMaas
Public Affairs, Ryerson University
416-979-5000 x4630 |