Icon of a person with connecting circles reaching outwards.


To improve campus life through student-centric design.

Interconnected people with a heart in the middle.


A campus experience designed for every student to flourish academically, socially, and personally.


Icon of a globe with a universal key.

Accessibility by Design

Accessibility shouldn’t be an accident or an add-on. We design with accessibility in mind from the beginning, so our projects, events, and materials are available to as many people as possible.

Individuals interconnected.

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

We want to learn about more than one group of UofT students; we want to learn and design for everyone. By practising Equity-Centred Community Design, we find insights and solutions that include all students and community partners.

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Inspire with Meaningful Data

We use design-thinking, user-experience, and qualitative research techniques to find and query data on underlying needs. By combining evidence and empathy, we help the UofT community better understand its members.

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Learn Together

We work with both students and staff. Our interdisciplinary teams use curiosity to learn new techniques and solve problems together.

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Listen to Student Experiences

We’re driven by student stories. We think understanding their journeys is the key to cultural change.

A colourful graphic that says 'Innovation Hub Domains' in the centre. The five domains surround it, all interconnected.

Five domains underlie our projects. No matter what issue we’re working on, at least one of these areas drives student flourishing.

  • Access for Every Student
  • Fostering Connectedness
  • Future-Ready Students
  • Integrated Learning Experience
  • Whole Student Development

We co-created these domains with students, staff, and faculty, and we’re working towards a university where the following domain goals come true for every student:

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Access for Every Student

All students have equitable access to programs, services, resources, and spaces.

Domain Goals

  • Create accessible digital and physical spaces
  • Remove financial barriers
  • Support under-represented and diverse groups
  • Streamline institutional navigation
  • Encourage participation and engagement
  • Improve financial literacy

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Fostering Connectedness

Students experience a sense of belonging and connection within the UofT community.

Domain Goals

  • Nurture international engagement and intercultural understanding
  • Cultivate relationships
  • Increase peer connections
  • Build and connect communities
  • Bring different groups together

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Future-Ready Students

Students have opportunities to develop their skills and build their confidence beyond academics.

Domain Goals

  • Prepare students for a changing world
  • Provide more work-integrated learning
  • Expand mentorship opportunities
  • Develop leaders
  • Help students explore and develop their careers
  • Foster lifelong learning

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Integrated Learning Experience

Students engage fully in learning experiences both within and outside of the classroom.

Domain Goals

  • Foster academic and co-curricular connections
  • Facilitate experiential and immersive learning
  • Encourage in-class engagement
  • Equip faculty with information to support students
  • Encourage self-directed learning
  • Improve online learning options

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Whole Student Development

Students receive the support they need for their holistic well-being (physical, psychological, social, and emotional).

Domain Goals

  • Cultivate mental, physical & spiritual health
  • Build self-efficacy and self-motivation
  • Foster resilience and self-care
  • Help students develop senses of identity, meaning, and purpose


Student experiences, like all human experiences, are diverse and complex. We need many lenses to understand them, so we draw inspiration from several methods.

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Design Thinking

People solve problems to meet human needs. Yet too often, problem-solvers put on their technician hats (asking “What is feasible and viable?”) rather than their fellow-human ones (asking “How do people feel about this? What do they really want?”). Design thinking brings us back to the human, through empathy-based observations and interviews. It reminds us to fit design to human needs, rather than humans to design specifications.

Sticky note with a profile of an individual and two machine gears.

Integrative Thinking

Tricky problems spawn multiple solutions. That’s a feature, not a bug. Rather than arguing about “either-or,” we can choose “both-and.” Integrative thinking challenges us to face seemingly conflicting ideas and take the best of each, to produce something different and better yet.

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Ethnographic and Empathy-based Research

Ethnography is the study of how people live their lives. Ethnographers—usually anthropologists and sociologists—immerse themselves in the worlds of other people to see how their experiences are felt and created. We use the techniques they developed to delve into the hopes, fears, desires, and needs that underlie the student experience. 

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Community-Based & Collaborative Methodologies

Each person is an expert on their own life and experiences. By recognizing this expertise, designers and community organizers can enrich their ideas for community growth. We treat students as experts in the student experience, no matter their program or degree level, and empower them to connect with other students, faculty, and staff to improve life at UofT.

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Equity & Anti-Oppressive Practices

Designing for all students means recognizing and including their diversity. We commit to equity, inclusivity, and accessibility. Our professional and volunteering opportunities are open to students from all backgrounds and at all stages of education. We provide equity and anti-oppression training for our team members, and we connect with communities to include diverse voices. 


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Our Commitment

At the Innovation Hub, accessibility is not an afterthought—it's an integral part of who we are. We are committed to fostering an inclusive environment where everyone, regardless of ability, can participate, contribute, and thrive. This dedication extends to every aspect of our operations, from our physical spaces to our virtual interactions, and from our day-to-day activities to our special events. We align ourselves with Accessibility Services' vision for "a campus environment where disability is understood and embraced as a characteristic of human diversity." 

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Our Approach

We continuously strive to exceed compliance with accessibility regulations and guidelines, and we consider accessibility in every decision we make. Our approach is iterative and responsive, adjusting to the needs of our diverse community and welcoming feedback as part of our commitment to ongoing improvement.

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Events Accessibility

Inclusivity is at the heart of all our events. We aim to ensure our events, whether in-person or virtual, are accessible and engaging for all participants. While specific accommodations may vary depending on the event, participants can expect a proactive approach to accessibility that includes considerations for technology, sound, materials, and participation. Detailed information about our event-specific accessibility considerations can be found on the event page.

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Physical Space Accessibility 

We've designed our physical spaces to be welcoming and accessible. From the exterior of the building to the interior layout, we've taken measures to facilitate ease of access and comfort. For a detailed breakdown of our facilities' accessibility features, click here.

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Digital Accessibility

Our commitment to accessibility extends to our digital platforms. We ensure our website, digital tools, and online events are designed and updated in line with best practices for digital accessibility.

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Accommodations and Support

At the Innovation Hub, we embrace human diversity and uphold the dignity of every individual in our community. We're here to ensure everyone has the chance to fully participate. If there's anything we can do to support your full participation, we want to hear from you. Please reach out to us at innovationhub@utoronto.ca. 

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Your Feedback

We acknowledge and appreciate that accessibility is a continuous journey, and while we are proud of the strides we've made, we recognize there is always room for growth and improvement. We are eager to hear from you, to learn from your experiences, and to continually enhance our practices. If you have feedback or suggestions, please share them with us at innovationhub@utoronto.ca or by speaking to any member of our team.

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If you have other questions about this event, please feel free to contact us at innovationhub@utoronto.ca.


Hand & Heart

 Innovation Hub team members commit to being equitable and anti-oppressive and will prioritize the lived experiences of marginalized students. As such, any forms of discrimination will not be tolerated, including but not limited to racism, sexism, Islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, and anti-Semitism. Find more information on the University of Toronto’s commitment to Anti-Oppression and related policies in the University of Toronto’s Statement on Anti-Semitism and Racism here: http://www.president.utoronto.ca/statement-on-anti-semitism-and-racism   


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Members of the Innovation Hub wish to acknowledge this land on which the University of Toronto operates. For thousands of years, it has been the traditional land of the Huron-Wendat, the Seneca, and the Mississaugas of the Credit. Today, this meeting place is still the home to many Indigenous people from across Turtle Island and we are grateful to have the opportunity to work on this land. 

The Innovation Hub acknowledges the respective spaces we work and collaborate from, whether in-person or virtually. As we carry out our work, we visit resources such as https://native-land.ca/ to learn more about the lands where we work and reside and understand their history. We consult Indigenous U of T and other resources to continue our learning. 


  • [Ongoing] Moving Forward

    Light bulb wiht rays of lights with one ray a twirled arrowWe continue to navigate our work through student consultation sessions, co-design projects, community events, and more! We can’t wait for you to be a part of this journey!

  • [2021] A Hub for Innovation

    A open, brightly lit room with moveable furniture and white boards along the side. We opened our space at 230 College Street, at the Student Commons Building. A space for innovationcollaboration and connection, and to inspire further change with students.



  • [2020-2021] The Pandemic – Working Remotely

    A mosaic of students connecting over Microsoft Teams, with sticky notes around the outside with writing on them such as "navigating resources" or "commuting students". Dashed lines and icons are connecting with one another to visualize collaboration in research.

    We continued our design research projects virtually, prototyping new ways to engage with students by launching the Stories from a Distance program to support student social connections. This inspired a design research project on Building Digital Connections in Uncertainty. We also ran 'How are you doing?' virtual feedback sessions with students to check in and understand student needs in changing times.

  • [2020] What Matters to UofT Students?

    Team members using sticky notes as design toolsFour years later, we reflect on our research, domains of innovation, and hundreds of interviews from students, instructors, and UofT community members. We shared and presented a final report on What Matters to UofT Students?'


  • [2019] Presidential & Provostial Task Force on Student Mental Health

    An arch that reads The University of Toronto, on a bright and sunny day.We engaged with students across UofT through a multi-staged consultation process in partnership with the Presidential & Provostial Task Force on Student Mental Health. We shared our recommendations with the Task Force, provided insights to our community, and shared  Designing a Culture of Care at the University of Toronto.

  • [2019] Chill Spots Becomes a Reality!

    Students working together on a board game. The Provost launches the Student Space Enhancement fund for Chill Spots to be built across three campuses, based on the Chill Spots for student spaces Idea from our first year of work!

  • [2018-2019] The Design Thinking Experience Program

    Students collaborating together in a brightly lit room with a variety of activities on a tableWe delivered a new program for students and staff who want to gain hands-on experiences with design thinking in partnership with the Centre for Learning, Leadership & Culture, expanding the reach of our human-centered approach.

  • [2018] Building Partnerships & Community Connections

    An event space that has students walking around ,attending booths for activities and information.This foundation helped to begin fostering community partners across different departments and divisions, moving to a student-led design thinking consultancy model with various partners at UofT & co-creating togetherOur pilot report reflects on the first two years at the Innovation Hub, and goals for the future.

  • [2017] Ideating Five Big Ideas

    chill spots presentationAfter our launch and a research survey of the UofT student experience, 25 innovative ideas designed to create a better student experience. Of these 25, the following five ideas emerged as the most promising: 

    • Chill Spots 
    • U of T Concierge 
    • Neighbourhood Communities 
    • Future Readiness Course 
    • Student-Faculty Exploration Café 

    Through the Big Ideas event we continued to explore opportunities to bring these ideas to life.

  • [2016-2017] Innovating Together with our Communities

    Individuals surround paper posted to a wall, discussing ideas and writing down concepts.Working with students & instructors for the first time and ideating togetherwe co-created our Domains of Innovation to better understand student experiences & generate innovative ideas.

  • [May 2016] The Innovation Hub Launches

    image of students, staff and faculty sitting in a circle and discussing the innovation hub team structureThe Innovation Hub begins, where 250+ community members came together to support our launch & imagine future possibilities for the Innovation Hub.