by Antoinette Mercurio
October 26, 2007
After 45 years, the Department of Politics and Public Administration at Ryerson University exhibits the same raw energy that it started with in 1962. Celebrating 45 Years of Public Administration at Ryerson brought together a panel of political and academic leaders, including former faculty members Jack Layton and David Crombie, to discuss the art and science of teaching public administration.
Keynote speaker Crombie, Chancellor Emeritus of Ryerson, was one of the first faculty members to teach in the program. He explained that public administration is all about the practice of it.
"Ryerson does a great job balancing both theory and practice. The world of public administration is about ideas, activism and spirituality," Crombie said. "It's about creating ideas, implementing them and being an ethicist. Ryerson is truly a magical place to me because I learned so much more about public administration through the students and the program."
Now Leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada, Layton taught at Ryerson for 10 years. He offered some of his observations about Ryerson and the nature of public administration.
"I'm thrilled to see 45 years of history. I experienced such joy being here. Teaching at Ryerson is among the happiest times of my life," Layton said. "The Program's combination of teaching and hard work is a great fit here. I'm a big believer in Ryerson. I love the connection teachers have with students, who are connected to the community. This promotes learning because they learn from the community."
Seven people were on the panel, ranging from academics and alumni to public servants. Department Chair Neil Thomlinson marks the milestone as a testament to the program's success.
"The Public Administration program serves those people who already have jobs in the broader public service, but whose advancement may be limited by a lack of formal post-secondary education," Dr. Thomlinson said. "This program makes it possible for such people to complete a university degree while remaining in their jobs. We can take a lot of pride in a program that is making a real, tangible difference in a whole lot of lives."
Also announced at the Anniversary celebration was the creation of a new student award, The Honourable David Crombie Public Administration Award. The scholarship recognizes the contribution that Crombie has made not only to Ryerson but also to the field of public administration through a lifetime of public service at the municipal, provincial and national levels. It will be given annually to a student in the program who demonstrates academic excellence and who is in need of financial help.
"The 45th Anniversary of the Public Administration program is a most appropriate time to commemorate this scholarship in honour of David Crombie," said Carla Cassidy, Dean of the Faculty of Arts. "This is a fitting and lasting tribute which Ryerson University wanted to make to David. We wish to support our students in their academic achievements, preparing them for public service in all its importance and variety."