Ontario Tech president helps university re-brand, wants to keep moving forward

Ontario Tech University president and vice-chancellor Steven Murphy outside the campus library. Photo credit: Ryan Hahn

A university president is often seen as the big dog on campus – the leader who oversees everything and decides the direction of the school.

The big dog at Ontario Tech University is Steven Murphy. He started his time with the school more than a year and a half ago, when the school still had the lengthy moniker of University of Ontario Institute of Technology.

One of his first jobs was helping re-name and re-brand the school – which is now also being referred to as Ontario Tech.

Murphy had all the experience he needed to get him through the process. Before coming to Ontario Tech he spent time as a dean and professor at Ryerson University in Toronto. While there he helped get its MBA program to top ten in Canada, as ranked by Canada’s Business Magazine.

Also while at Ryerson one of the major things he worked on was building the school’s brand internationally.

At Ontario Tech Murphy is trying to develop the same plan, to put the school on the map.

“This university is a hidden gem in the sense that it’s still not well known in not only Durham but in the GTA,” said Murphy.

“With the new brand we are working heavily on marketing and getting the word out as we’re in recruitment season to more prospective students about why we are a great place to be.”

He also described how he wants to make other schools aware of some of the areas he feels Ontario Tech is strong in like energy, the wind tunnel, artificial intelligence and virtual reality.

Murphy said there can be a misconception of what a president does at a school and students may not exactly see everything, but not at Ontario Tech.

“Kids can see on a daily basis how much the campus is changing and that someone is behind it,” said Murphy.

Murphy is currently working on helping students understand what he does. As well as being open with students, whether it is conversations in the hallway or at events on campus, he wants to make himself available to everyone.

Murphy has his own view of what he does for the school, not only for current students but for graduates and future students.

“To make sure the value of degrees is ever appreciating,” said Murphy.

Murphy believes he will be doing his best work on campus when someone graduates and is able to say years after graduation their degree is worth more than when they received it.

One of the ways the school is helping to advance learning is with the addition of the continuous learning program. It is a program Murphy helped work on, which focuses on giving people any age the ability to come to school for non-credit programs to advance their career and education. It is available for high school students with classes open during the summer break. This goes hand in hand with Murphy’s goal to make sure degrees and learning are ever appreciating.

Overall, Murphy’s job on campus is to plan out what he wants for the school and work on executing the plan with the help of all the staff and students on campus.