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10 OISE facts to celebrate 50 years of impact

Did you know? 10 OISE facts to celebrate 50 years of impact

In honour of OISE’s 50th anniversary, we’re looking back at our 50 years of impact.

Read below for some fun, fascinating and little-known-facts about OISE.

1. How did OISE come to be?

OISE was formed in 1965 through the amalgamation of two departments of the Ontario College of Education (the Department of Educational Research and the Department of Graduate Studies) with a not-for-profit corporation, the Ontario Curriculum Institute.

The current OISE institution founded in 1996 as a merger of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education and the Faculty of Education in the University of Toronto.

2. It was labelled…WHAT?

The building at 252 Bloor Street West was opened in 1970, designed by the architect Kenneth R. Cooper. The style was labelled “brutalist”.

3. Paying the bills…

The building was leased by the government on a lease-purchase arrangement, with the government paying the annual rental of about $2,000,000 a year, with the option of buying the building for one dollar when the lease ran out in 1999.

5. OISE boomers

The baby boom was recognized back in the 1960s as a phenomenon that would create a wave of adults (and post-grad students looking to institutions like OISE), with a much smaller generation of students to follow.

6. Global roots

OISE’s long history of multiculturalism and international co-operation in education goes back to its first years, when already it had attracted educators from Africa, Britain, Japan, India, Yugoslavia, Australia, Latvia, Poland, Pakistan, Israel, Jamaica, and New Zealand, as well as U.S. universities like Yale, Harvard and Berkeley.

7. Computers to end exams?!

As reported in the Globe and Mail on September 29, 1967, a Toronto computer expert told the Canadian Education Association that computers would eliminate exams and most classroom activities. OISE’s Dr. L. D. McLean, director of the department of computer applications, said computers “will introduce a disorderly process into education.”

8. “Memory” in the 1960s

The IBM 360 computer at OISE in the 1960’s had between 256 and 4096 kb of memory. An iPhone 5c (now several years old) has 1,048,576 kb of memory, and can be transported without the need for several moving trucks.

Predicting the future In 1967, Ontario Minister of Education William Davis stated, “In education, the computer’s potential is so profound that it will soon influence the basic structure of our organization.” He was right. Not only that, his statement would have fit into a tweet, with room for emojis. :)

9. Fit for royalty?

The OISE building in the 1960’s was once referred to as “palatial.” Of course, this may have just been due to the $60 million cost.

10. Jackson Lecture  1981 and today

The inaugural Jackson Lecture was held on Wednesday, September 30, 1981. The speaker was the Rt. Honourable Shirley Williams from Great Britain. Her address was called: “Education and Work: What will Happen to Our Young People?”

This year, the Jackson Lecture will mark OISE’s 50 Years of Impact with a special panel discussion led by TVO Host Steve Paikin with OISE experts Carol Campbell, Sherene Razack, Jean-Paul Restoule and Michael Skolnik. 

Register today to join the celebration. Hope to see you there!