Oh-em-gee, dear readers! My series — “THE COLLEGES OF THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO—ST. GEORGE: AN EPIC, HEPTADIC SAGA” — is coming to an end. Amazing how fast time has passed!
For our final interview, we have Jennifer Guyatt, Associate Registrar at Woodsworth College!
Can you tell me briefly about the history of the college, and where the name came from?
The college was established in 1974 as part of the Division of Extension designed for returning adults pursuing a degree at night. We are currently a community that embraces a diverse body of students including direct entry from high school, transfers from other universities and colleges, returning adults and those pursuing professional programs in Teaching English and in Human Resources.
The college is named after J. S. Woodsworth, who was an advocate for social justice, a member of Parliament, and a founder of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF), the forerunner of the NDP.
What’s unique about your college?
As mentioned, we are broad and diverse. Because we have such a mix of students, we have a flexible “can do” philosophy here. We are all about supporting individual student success and the achievement of their personal goals.
Do you have any mentorship programs at the college?
Yes, we have a number of mentorship programs that pair senior students with incoming students, and alumni with current students. We have a highly successful mentorship program designed specifically for international students to help ease the academic and personal transition to U of T.
How does the selection process to the college work?
Similar to other colleges, but we do not have an admission profile. Our selection is based on senior high school grades, and we select first among students who have ranked this college No. 1 on their application.
What are some of the common stereotypes of your college, and what do you think about them?
The most common stereotype is that we are still the “part-time” college. We have more full-time students than many other colleges, and embrace students of all kinds.
What are some of the clubs that are unique to your college?
Most of the clubs that have office space at the college are discipline-based, such as the Commerce Students’ Association, Criminology Students’ Association, and Employment Relations Students’ Association. These clubs are not restricted to Woodsworth students, but many students in these fields have chosen to be affiliated with Woodsworth.
What resources are available for commuting students?
The vast majority of our students are commuters, so all of our resources and services are designed with them in mind. We have just opened the Kruger Hall Commons study and social space, directly across from the Second Cup café in the main Woodsworth building. This is excellent student space for small group discussions, study, eating, resting, whatever. We also have a smaller lounge with a free phone and microwave for heating up quick meals.
What about scholarships and bursaries at the college?
We have invested a significant amount of resources into needs-based awards as opposed to strictly merit-based awards. Woodsworth works with its students to create a sound financial plan to support their studies, and can supplement other forms of financial assistance with college bursary funds, both in the fall/winter and Summer terms.
In addition, we have the flagship Bronfman scholarships, which provide several awards, including a $10,000 award to a graduating student who excels academically and has contributed to the university and the larger community. Additionally, Woodsworth College has many admission, in-course and graduation scholarships.
What’s available to eat at the college?
Well, we are close to Bloor Street and there are a variety of eateries nearby. We have a Second Cup in the building.
What are the residences like?
Our residence is fairly new, at the corner of St. George and Bloor streets. It has suite-style apartments with private bedrooms and shared kitchens and bathrooms. We do not have a meal plan, as students prepare their own meals. There are laundry facilities on the ground floor, plus 24-hour security, high-speed internet access, common areas, and a residence life program of social events, student government, educational programming and counselling.
Why should students choose your college?
Students sometimes choose Woodsworth because they want to live in our residence (which is extremely popular), or they are interested in one of the programs we sponsor, or are closely affiliated with (Criminology, Employment Relations, Commerce). Or they’re just attracted by the friendly, welcoming atmosphere of the college. A students’ college choice is a very personal attempt to find the right fit for them, and the fortunate thing is there are no wrong or bad choices. All of the colleges are excellent.
Is there anything else you want to tell students about your college?
Woodsworth College is also home to the Summer Abroad Program, which provides an opportunity for students to take U of T courses in 12 countries around the globe during the summer. (Ed.’s note: These opportunities are open to U of T students in any college.) Every year we send over 800 students to places like Hong Kong to take a business course, or Italy for fine art, or to study environmental science in the Galapagos.
Can we close off with a fun fact?
The College was renovated and reopened in 1992 with a modern wing connected to the original Victorian building. The new structure won a Governor General’s Medal in Architecture for its beautiful blend of the old and the new — which is a perfect metaphor for our diverse and interesting student body.
Okay, I’ll confess (you know, full disclosure and all that): Woodsworth is the one college where I was unable to conduct a face-to-face interview. Therefore, I didn’t get a chance to take pictures of the college and the registrar’s office. But I hope to add some pictures soon and share my impressions of Woodsworth. In the meantime, here are some photos of that award-winning building design.
12/29/09: Only for you, dear readers, will I work during the holidays. Anyhow. Pictures! I have got them!
There are several ways you can get into the college, and I chose this particular one because I like the decor on the door handles. It’s all in the details:
All the colleges I’ve been to are wheel chair accessible from the outside, but it’s nice to see that Woodsworth is accessible inside as well:
Walking in a bit further is a student lounge. It’s relatively quiet (almost) like a library, but not so restrictive. You can eat and talk in here:
Next, the Registrar’s Office! Like New College, it was a little hard to find. I almost passed it because I didn’t recognize that it’s the Registrar’s Office! It looks like Health Services, actually – the office isn’t open like Trin’s, where you can actually go up to the staff’s desks, and you’re separated from the staff by partitions:
But the reception area is nice and spacious, and it reminds me a little of St. Mike’s:
After visiting the Registrar’s Office, I walked around the corridors for a bit. The halls look like a modern version of the insides of Munk’s Centre – less wood-y, and more… marble-y:
Finally, I left the college through this entrance. From this angle, it’s quite epic, and very apropos for the last picture of this journey:
This wraps up the heptadic saga, dear readers! It’s really been quite the ride, and I’m happy to have had you alongside me the entire way! Over the holidays, I will update the original post with links to all seven interviews, as well as answer the questions you’ve asked. If you have questions regarding the colleges, feel free to leave them there.
Have a wonderful holiday, dear readers! I’ll see you when we get back in January.