University of Toronto Statement of Institutional Purpose

A Brief History of the University of Toronto

The University of Toronto was founded as King’s College in 1827 and has evolved into a large and complex institution. It now occupies three campuses: Scarborough and Erindale and the historic St. George campus. It has federated with three smaller universities which are on the St. George campus, and is affiliated with several colleges and institutes. There are ten fully affiliated teaching hospitals in metropolitan Toronto. Faculty conduct research in many places in Canada and around the world.

The University is Canada’s most important research institution and has gained an international reputation for its research. It enrols more students, employs more faculty, and offers a greater range of courses than any other Canadian university.

A liberal arts education is the heart of the undergraduate curriculum at Toronto, and the Faculty of Arts and Science has more students than any other faculty.   The education of students for the professions has always been an important part of the University’s role, and the University accordingly maintains a wide range of professional faculties. The University’s insistence on the importance of research in all disciplines has made it the major centre for graduate education in Canada.  In many fields it produces a majority of the nation’s doctoral candidates. The quality and range of the programs - undergraduate, graduate and professional - attract students from all parts of the province, from around the country and from abroad.

To support its work of teaching and research, the University has collected a library that is the largest in Canada and among the best in the world. The University maintains many laboratories and specialized aids to research. The Library and many of these research facilities are available for use by members of other universities. The University of Toronto Press Inc. is the chief institution of its kind in Canada and one of the most important scholarly publishers in North America.


The University of Toronto is committed to being an internationally significant research university, with undergraduate, graduate and professional programs of excellent quality.

Purpose of the University

The University of Toronto is dedicated to fostering an academic community in which the learning and scholarship of every member may flourish, with vigilant protection for individual human rights, and a resolute commitment to the principles of equal opportunity, equity and justice.

Within the unique university context, the most crucial of all human rights are the rights of freedom of speech, academic freedom, and freedom of research. And we affirm that these rights are meaningless unless they entail the right to raise deeply disturbing questions and provocative challenges to the cherished beliefs of society at large and of the university itself.

It is this human right to radical, critical teaching and research with which the University has a duty above all to be concerned; for there is no one else, no other institution and no other office, in our modern liberal democracy, which is the custodian of this most precious and vulnerable right of the liberated human spirit.

Objectives of the university of toronto

The University of Toronto is determined to build on its past achievements and so enhance its research and teaching. The University anticipates that it will remain a large university. It will continue to exploit the advantages of size by encouraging scholarship in a wide range of disciplines in the humanities, social sciences, sciences and the professions. It will continue to value its inheritance of colleges and federated universities that give many students an institutional home within  the large University. It will strive to make its campuses attractive settings for scholarly activity.


The University will continue to promote high quality research. The University is committed to:

  1. Providing an environment conducive to research;
  2. Emphasizing research, publication and related professional contributions in defining the career expectations of professorial staff;
  3. Ensuring that faculties and schools engaged in undergraduate teaching also engage in graduate teaching and research;
  4. Maintaining a capacity to respond selectively to new fields of research as they emerge;
  5. Requiring national and international peer assessment of the quality of its programs;
  6. Collaborating with other universities, industry, business, the professions, public sector institutions and governments, where appropriate to research objectives;
  7. Providing information, library and research services of the highest international standards.


The University will strive to ensure that its graduates are educated in the broadest sense of the term, with the ability to think clearly, judge objectively, and contribute constructively to society.

The University wishes to increase its ability to attract students from elsewhere in Canada and abroad, in the belief that while these students gain an education their presence will enrich the experience of students from the local community. In all its teaching programs, the University is committed to:

  1. Achieving the highest academic standards;
  2. Attracting students whose abilities and aspirations match the programs available;
  3. Responding to the needs of a diverse student population;
  4. Providing the best possible facilities, libraries and teaching aids;
  5. Insisting on the importance of teaching in the career expectations of the professorial staff, recognizing excellence in teaching and providing opportunities to improve teaching;
  6. Ensuring that professorial staff normally teach both graduate and undergraduate students;
  7. Continuing to attract students from other provinces of Canada and from abroad;
  8. Enriching the experience of students by cooperating with and assisting them in the realization of their educational goals especially as these involve their life-long learning and career development, their physical and emotional growth and well-being, their needs, including special or temporary ones, and their cultural and recreational activities.

Undergraduate education

Undergraduates are taught in the Faculty of Arts and Science and in a number of professional faculties. Students in Arts and Science are registered in a college. They can take classes in their college and use college libraries; some students live in their college; for many their college is the locus of social and sporting activities. For many years there were four colleges on the St. George campus; University College and those of the federated universities, Victoria, St. Michael's and Trinity. In the 1960s, the University reaffirmed its commitment to the college system on the St. George campus by founding Innis, New and Woodsworth colleges to accommodate the increased number of students. At the same time, it founded Scarborough and Erindale colleges. The University continues to regard college life as an important part of undergraduate education.

College life is experienced most fully when students live in residence. The University would like to make it possible for more undergraduates, in Arts and Science, and from the professional faculties, to live in residence.

The University is committed to:

  1. Ensuring that the teaching and counselling of undergraduates is a normal obligation of every member of the faculty;
  2. Ensuring that professorial staff draw on their research to enrich their teaching;
  3. Continuing to welcome, and serve the needs of, qualified students, both full- and part-time, from Metropolitan Toronto and the Province of Ontario and elsewhere;
  4. Providing for breadth and depth in all undergraduate programs.

Graduate education

The quality of graduate education and the quality of research are closely linked in this as in any university. The University of Toronto's determination to remain a major research institution is therefore in itself a commitment to high quality graduate teaching.

Additionally, the University is committed to:

  1. Ensuring the provision of a broad range of graduate programs;
  2. Ensuring that high standards of scholarship are maintained in all graduate programs by submitting them regularly to international peer review, and strengthening or discontinuing any found wanting;
  3. Increasing its ability to provide adequate financial support for graduate students.

Life-long learning

The University wishes to encourage learning as a life-long activity, and is committed to:

  1. Providing to persons in professional practice and to members of the community at large opportunities to study and to use its facilities;
  2. Helping other institutions, professional organizations and learned societies through the provision of facilities and expertise.

the university community

The University of Toronto believes that it best serves Canada and the wider world by pursuing to the limit of its abilities its fundamental mandates of research and teaching in the spirit of academic freedom. In seeking to achieve the above objectives, the University of Toronto is committed to four principles:

  1. Respect for intellectual integrity, freedom of enquiry and rational discussion;
  2. Promotion of equity and justice within the University and recognition of the diversity of the University community.
  3. A collegial form of governance;
  4. Fiscal responsibility and accountability.

The University values its graduates as life-long members of the University community who make significant contributions to its on-going life and reputation.

The University recognizes that in the foreseeable future the majority of its  funding will come from public sources, and thanks the people of Ontario and of Canada for this support. The University also recognizes that the fulfillment of its mission requires an increase in the level of funding, public and private, and will work to bring this about.

Approved by Governing Council October 15th, 1992