The Innovation Hub: Our Vision for 2019–20

Julia Smeed, Innovation Hub Project Leader

At the Innovation Hub, we are what we do. We commit ourselves to community growth through prototyping and iteration, not only in the design projects we take on, but also in designing our own work processes. By being responsive to the changing needs of the community—both internally, within our own team, and externally, with our project partners—we continually improve our practices. Continue reading “The Innovation Hub: Our Vision for 2019–20”

Project Primer: The Student Life Strategy Project

Sujaya Devi, Design Thinking Team Lead

How do students understand and navigate the University’s programs and services? How might students become active participants in the process that the Division of Student Life uses to design and redesign programs, services, resources, and spaces? What could meaningful student engagement look like in this process? Continue reading “Project Primer: The Student Life Strategy Project”

Join the Innovation Hub’s Design Thinking Experience Program!

Julia Smeed, Innovation Hub Project Leader

The Innovation Hub is looking for committed volunteers who are interested in improving campus life by joining our Design Thinking Experience Program in 2019-2020.  If you’re keen to join a high-performing team learning design thinking while working with a campus partner on a challenge/issue that impacts the UofT student experience, we’d love to have you join us!

Continue reading “Join the Innovation Hub’s Design Thinking Experience Program!”

Project Primer: Data Analysis

Danielle Baillargeon, Data Analysis Team Lead

What happens to all the interviews and data that the Innovation Hub collects?  Over the past three years, over 450 students and staff have shared their experiences with our teams. We are honoured that so many were willing to entrust us with their stories and experiences, which helped us identify their needs, suggest and prototype services and supports, and contribute to substantive changes at U of T through over a dozen collaborative projects. The interviews and feedback we receive are the basis from which we advocate for change in all our collaborations, including the New College Dining Hall redesign, the Family Care Office projects, and the classroom redesign under the Transforming the Instructional Landscape Project.  Continue reading “Project Primer: Data Analysis”

The Innovation Hub is Hiring!

Julia Smeed, Innovation Hub Project Leader

As we look forward to the new school year, the Innovation Hub is excited to assemble a team for our upcoming and continuing projects. We want to offer our potential team members the opportunity to both contribute to the university and learn new skills: we’re looking for dedicated students who are interested in improving campus life by focusing on student needs, and we’re also offering those students training and hands-on practice in human-centred design. We hope to put together a diverse team that enjoys the challenges of our work!

Read below for job descriptions, and go to the Career & Co-Curricular Learning Network work study job board to learn more and apply.

Continue reading “The Innovation Hub is Hiring!”

Project Primer: Transforming the Instructional Landscape

Nick Smith,
Design Thinking Team Lead

In the Transforming the Instructional Landscape (TIL) project, we try to understand what makes a classroom work as a productive learning environment. As this work has progressed, it has expanded to include many perspectives: we started by focusing on the student experience, but came to realize that student experiences are entangled with the experiences of other people who spend time in and around classrooms, and with the spaces and things that promote learning. Continue reading “Project Primer: Transforming the Instructional Landscape”

Project Primer: Family Care

Shirin Gerami, Design Research Team Lead

Student parents are a growing group of students at the University of Toronto, and they face unique challenges that are invisible to those who do not share their experiences. These challenges create emotional and mental pressures which are exasperated by the limited support available for their practical needs.

To capture these challenges and the overall experiences of student parents at the university, the Innovation Hub partnered with the Family Care Office last year. Through that partnership, we showed that student parents are often unable to find a sense of belonging during their time at U of T. A sense of belonging is important for forming meaningful interpersonal connections, better coping with school and life challenges, and deriving comfort from the knowledge that one is not alone. Continue reading “Project Primer: Family Care”

The Power of Student Stories Through Data: Wellness and Academia at U of T

 

Kaitlyn Corlett, Project Assistant

As a graduate student at U of T with a focus in community development, I look a lot at community-based models and theories for change. I firmly believe that by connecting with one another in authentic and needs-based practices, we can find a sense of community for belonging and support. However, this belief often competes with my role in an academic field fuelled by excellence. This is a reality that I am simultaneously proud of and struggling with, as I try to prioritize my studies alongside work, my artistic practice, mental health, and well … the list goes on!

‘Mental health in academia is too often a forgotten footnote. That needs to change.’ Arnav Chhabra

In light of recent dialogues and initiatives on campus regarding mental health and wellness, the Innovation Hub has been looking at this reality. Over the past three months, our team reexamined the data from our three years of empathy-based inquiries, which include over 400 student voices, to articulate some core themes and insights into how an academic environment can impact one’s mental health and wellness. We also wanted to use these insights to propose possibilities for change, and we were honoured to share our work on these topics with a range of audiences.

Continue reading “The Power of Student Stories Through Data: Wellness and Academia at U of T”

Project Primer: Accessibility at Convocation

In the Project Primer series, we’ll be introducing the design projects our team members are tackling this summer. Stay turned to learn about our work in five different areas! First up: Accessibility at Convocation…

People gathering for ceremony at Convocation Hall

Written by Alex, Rhea Makund, Natasha Cuneo, and Kate Welsh

Did you attend your convocation? For increasing numbers of University of Toronto graduates, the answer is yes. In the past five years, the number of graduates participating in their convocation ceremony has risen by 20 %.

Thus, creating an inclusive community for graduating students is becoming increasingly important. Continue reading “Project Primer: Accessibility at Convocation”