Rick Halpern

What makes a good global citizen? Can knowledge alone bridge the many divides in our society, or is something else required to help us all thrive in an increasingly interconnected world?

Now, more than ever, it is incumbent upon educators and role models, as well as leaders of all sorts, to grapple with these questions. Amid global forces that link us closer together while driving us farther apart—such as economic downturns, energy dependencies and the climate crisis—we all need to ask ourselves if we are doing enough to help people understand one another’s unique struggles and perspectives.

Welcome to the second issue of UTSC Commons, in which we highlight some of the ways the University of Toronto Scarborough community is tackling these questions. Our theme—The Common Good—is a topic that our faculty, students and alumni are well positioned to contribute to.

On page 10, discover how one of our leading researchers is seeking solutions to world hunger. On page 23, find out how UTSC’s emphasis on experiential learning programs, wherein students actively engage with the world beyond the bounds of our campus, make a real difference in one of Toronto’s priority neighbourhoods—while the students themselves develop a sense of shared citizenship. On page XX, read about an alumnus whose life’s work is to help us understand the power and potential of our emotions, and how to use them for the common good.

A first-class education does not stop when a student closes a textbook, leaves a lecture hall or graduates from university. To the contrary, some of the best education begins once the books are closed and students return to the world-at-large in search of experience, armed with a well-honed, clearly defined set of values to guide them.

The requirements for a good global citizenry—a broad knowledge base, the ability to think critically, an appetite for equality and concern for our neighbours—are precisely the values we strive to instill in our students while they are here at UTSC. When it comes to building a global society that works for everyone, knowledge, by itself, is never enough.

Professor Rick Halpern
Dean and Vice-Principal (Academic), University of Toronto Scarborough