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Ryerson Cairo Offers Cutting-Edge Courses in Fashion Design and Geomatics in Egypt – Al-Fanar Media

Ryerson Cairo is a branch of Canada’s Toronto Metropolitan University, which was known as Ryerson University until earlier this year. The new campus, hosted by Universities of Canada in Egypt, starts teaching this fall. (Photo via the university)
Ryerson Cairo, a campus of Canada’s Toronto Metropolitan University, formerly known as Ryerson University, will start teaching this week.
Hosted by Universities of Canada in Egypt, the campus is located in Egypt’s New Administrative Capital on the outskirts of Cairo. It offers hands-on programmes in creative disciplines like fashion and sport media, and emerging engineering fields like geomatics.
Al-Fanar Media spoke to the leaders of its two faculties, The Creative School and the Faculty of Engineering and Architectural Science, about the Cairo campus’s plans.
Robert Ott, vice dean of The Creative School at Ryerson Cairo, said that the school was launching three programmes this fall: fashion, media production and sport media.
The Creative School at Toronto Metropolitan University, he added, is Canada’s leading career-oriented university centre that offers hands-on programmes in the communication, media, design and culture industries.
Ahmed Shaker, vice dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Architectural Science at Ryerson Cairo, said the campus would offer four engineering programmes this year: civil engineering, mechanical engineering, computer engineering and electrical engineering.
He added that the university’s engineering programmes are among the leading programmes in Canada. Toronto Metropolitan (Ryerson) University was ranked 12th in Maclean’s magazine’s rankings of Canadian universities in 2020. The same year, it ranked 453rd in the Webometrics Ranking of World Universities, published by a Spanish research group.
Toronto Metropolitan University has its headquarters in the heart of Toronto, Canada’s largest city. It changed its name from Ryerson University this year.
“The Ryerson fashion programme is Canada’s leading degree programme” in the field, Ott said. “It has also been ranked as one of the best programmes in the world, by Business of Fashion, one of the leading voices working in the fashion industry.”
Students learn “how to communicate effectively through fashion, and skills like image making, photography, web design, advertising and layout. We translate these hard skills into soft skills, to reach what we call ‘design leadership’.”
Robert Ott   Vice dean of The Creative School at Ryerson Cairo
The programme’s hands-on, real-world approach not only allows students to pursue their passion about fashion but also gives them experiences and exposure to various aspects of the industry. So, obviously, it is about design, business and sustainability, Ott added.
The programme’s interactive learning approach includes an internship placement, workshops and working closely with industry professionals, Ott said. Students learn “how to communicate effectively through fashion, and skills like image making, photography, web design, advertising and layout.”
The programme “translates these hard skills into soft skills, to reach what we call ‘design leadership’,” Ott said. Fashion professionals need this skill set, he said, to deal with problems confronting the fashion industry, such as overconsumption, overproduction and inclusion.
Shaker said the Faculty of Engineering and Architectural Science’s programmes offered students the opportunity to explore a number of new technologies.
In the civil engineering programme, he said, “we teach our students new technologies of building, using different materials and new materials, like using glass-fiber-reinforced polymer bars instead of steel bars in building bridges.”
Civil engineering students can choose specialties like structural, transportation, or environmental engineering, he said. “Another speciality as a core for civil engineering is geomatics engineering,” he added.
Geomatics engineering, he explained, it is about using satellite images, laser scanning technologies, and photogrammetry, or collecting data from aircraft.
In the transportation specialty, Shaker said, “we are teaching our students mobility, how things move and communicate with each other, and new technologies related to artificial intelligence.”
In environment, students study problems like how societies can deal with solid waste, water waste, and other things affecting the environment.
He noted that Ryerson Cairo would be bringing in more programmes next year, like aerospace engineering, which at the parent university is one of the leading programmes in Canada, he said.
Robert Ott said media production and sport media students at Ryerson Cairo could participate in an extracurricular activity called the Innovation Studio.
“We welcome students from the creative and engineering schools to tackle a specific problem or question, and it is really through collaboration and interdisciplinarity where they will be able to find solutions.”
One of the main elements in the Creative School’s disciplines, Ott said, is image making and management. “In terms of delivering authenticity, so that the consumer gains trust with the brand or the particular organisation, and our students really looking at this from a creative perspective, yes, we deliver all the technical bits and pieces,” he said. “But it is how you connect all that and do this through storytelling,” he said.
“Storytelling needs to have a much broader strategy, in terms of who are you trying to speak to? What tone do you need to use? How often do you have to deliver the message?” Ott added. “This what our students are doing extremely well,” he said.
“Image management is one of those codes that we infuse into every single one of our Creative School programmes.”
Ahmed Shaker said that the engineering faculty has co-op programmes where students go out and work in a specialised firm, adding to their skills and gaining hands-on experience.
“Part of what we try to do is to bring our students to the stage where, after they have graduated, they know where to go. Some 80 to 85 percent of our students get hired within six months of graduating, which is a huge success.”
Ahmed Shaker   Vice dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Architectural Science at Ryerson Cairo
“We have also the DMZ (Digital Media Zone) from Ryerson opening a branch here in Cairo,” he said. “This is one of the top tech start-up incubators in the world, not only in Canada.”
“Connecting all these dots gives a completely different experience to our students,” Shaker said.
“Part of what we try to do,” he added, “is to bring our students to the stage where, after they have graduated, they know where to go. Some 80 to 85 percent of our students get hired within six months of graduating, which is a huge success.”
Shaker also stressed the importance of linking what students learn to community needs. For example, he said, “We try to teach our students how they can design a landfill and collect methane gas from the garbage and use it as a source of energy. In addition to reducing the landfill’s impact on the environment, it is an example of how we can manage solid waste.”
In another example, he said: “We have scarcity of water around the world. How can we get benefits from reusing the water? This is how we train our students, not only theoretically and academically, but also through practical projects, in addition to co-op programmes.”
Toronto Metropolitan University’s sport media programme teaches skills like sport entertainment management, sport journalism, live production, on-air hosting and multiplatform marketing. It is the first programme of its kind in the world, Ott said.
“With the tremendous interest that the MENA region has in sport, it is one of the booming industries,” he added. “We all are consumers, whether we are active or passive participants.”
The programme is not just about sports reporting and “in front of the camera” skills, but it looks at all areas the industry is moving into, Ott said. These include “producing, behind the scenes management, and also working for premier league agencies, which might even include presenting athletes,” he added.
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“It is very complex operation,” he said. Everyone has the tools to create a podcast now, he said. Sport media is “much more complicated than that because it is a whole package. It needs to include your social media, website, podcast, the way you post it, market it.
“It all needs to be a single message that requires skills and talents that quite often we as individuals don’t possess,” Ott said. “This is about developing teams.”
Also see Al-Fanar Media’s curated database of the latest and best local and international scholarships available to Arab students and refugees.
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