Ontario's Universities Spark Conversation about the Future - Are You Ready?

TORONTO, Sept. 23, 2016 /CNW/ - Ontario's universities are asking students and their parents what excites them and what concerns them about the future, to spark a province-wide conversation about how universities can be good partners in ensuring the future is brighter for everyone.

Students and parents are asked to imagine the future and their place in it, in an online survey at ontariosuniversities.ca. They can also join the conversation on social media @futuringON and #futuring.

"We're asking people 'what keeps you up at night?'" says David Lindsay, President and CEO of the Council of Ontario Universities (COU), who is kicking off the #futuring initiative today on behalf of all 21 Ontario universities.

"The world is changing so quickly and in ways we couldn't have imagined possible. Disruptive technology, demographic shifts and globalization bring tremendous opportunities, but all that uncertainty can also make people anxious. Universities want to have a conversation about what we can all do together to help shape tomorrow, and to make sure no one is left behind."

The #futuring campaign launches today at the Ontario Universities' Fair with a news conference at 10:30 a.m. at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Main Exhibit Hall, Lower Level 800, South Building, 22 Bremner Blvd.

Over the next three days, universities will invite 120,000 high school students and their parents who attend the fair to consider the future as they gather information about which university is right for them.

Survey questions include what skills students and parents think Ontarians need to prepare them for the future. Is it problem-solving, or communication? Just-in-time knowledge, or the ability to adapt to change? Leadership qualities, or an entrepreneurial spirit?

Universities also want to tap into ideas and aspirations about the future from among a broader audience. They will spend the year in their communities asking  businesses, health and social service agencies, arts and cultural creators, not-for-profits, researchers, municipal governments and more what they think about the future.

Universities want to hear ideas and advice, for example, on how, together, we can build strong industries and jobs for the future, how we can strengthen our growing service sectors, how we can support our artists, how we can protect our natural heritage and how we can promote good health.

Universities will be holding one-on-one meetings, discussion groups and roundtables in their own communities as they gather this input.

Findings will be made public throughout the year in a series of online postings, blogs and reports, culminating in a summit next year on Ontario's future and how universities can partner to help Ontarians succeed.

"The pace of change is rapid, and Ontarians are wondering how we can draw on the talents and resources Ontario has to offer to make sure they are successful, and to make sure Ontario is successful," says Lindsay.

"That's why we are inviting anyone who shares an interest in the future to join the conversation."

COU is the voice of Ontario's universities, promoting the value of education, research and innovation that leads to social, cultural and economic success. The #futuring campaign by Ontario's Universities is creating conversation for a better future.

Follow the #futuring campaign on Twitter | Like us on Facebook | Join us on LinkedIn | Connect with us on Instagram | Add us on Snapchat | Visit our website

SOURCE Council of Ontario Universities

For further information: Wendy McCann, Senior Director, Communications, The Council of Ontario Universities, 416-979-2165 ext. 233, 416-473-4829 (cell), Email Wendy McCann: wmccann@cou.on.ca

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