We work with partners within the UofT community (e.g. internal divisions, departments, and student organizations) who are looking to assess and/or re-design some element of how they support students. This could be a program, service, resource, or space. Because of the diversity and complexity of this work, we draw from a variety of methodologies to conduct our research. Our current projects include:
Academic & Campus Events: Transforming the Instructional Landscape
How might we redesign learning spaces to better serve a wide range of students? How does the physical instructional landscape enhance or detract from student learning? What key elements of the classroom do instructors find useful, engaging or interesting, and which elements can be improved? We explore these questions and suggested design improvements by engaging with students through a variety of media, including student-guided tours of learning spaces, interviews, post-it note sessions, social media surveys, and direct observation of how students and instructors use learning spaces. Learn more about the project here.
Family Care Office
The Innovation Hub is partnering with the Family Care Office to explore the experiences of students with family responsibilities at the University of Toronto. With a particular focus on the experiences of student parents, this is an opportunity for folks to share what opportunities, challenges, and barriers they face as they navigate their dual roles as parents and students.
First Nations House
Over the 2018 summer term, the First Nations House and the Innovation Hub partnered to investigate the ways that students engage with First Nations House here at the University of Toronto. Through that process it was discovered that students desired more cultural and social programming. As the fall semester gets underway, First Nations House and the Innovation Hub are working together to collect additional insight into this feedback. In order to help First Nations House get a better idea of what activities students want, we are conducting a follow-up event to solicit their opinions.
Food Services: New College Dining Hall
The New College Dining Hall, also known as the Audrey Taylor Dining Hall, is one of the busiest dining halls at UofT. We are teaming up with the University of Toronto Food Services to explore how this dining hall can be redesigned to offer students and staff an innovative multi-use community space for eating and socializing. We will be engaging with students through a variety of methods (including interviews, social media surveys, and direct observations) and using this information to suggest design improvements.
In a partnership with University of Toronto Housing Services, the Innovation Hub is facilitating a research event with the guiding question: “What do students want out of a residence application process?” This research is being done in support of a rework of Housing Service’s current application system and will be used to inform the development of a new application portal.
The Multi-Faith Centre (MFC) at the University of Toronto aims to provide space and services to those in the U of T community seeking to make meaning and find purpose in their everyday life. The Innovation Hub is partnering with the MFC to explore how students currently make use of its existing facilities and services and how the MFC can further cater to the needs of U of T’s diverse student body including those who do not necessarily prescribe to a particular religious group or faith. We explore these questions and suggest by engaging with students through a variety of methods, including: group interviews, individual interviews, and direct observation of how students and use the MFC. The goal of the research is to understand how students practice faith at the University of Toronto, where their needs remain unmet by existing spiritual/religious programming, and how they can better be supported by the MFC.
Student Life Professionals
Student life professionals (SLP) help students through their journey at university, but they need support as well to best support students. What should the future of the SLP Network look like? How should this community of practice be redesigned to better serve the needs and wants of all its members?
Trademark & Licensing: What’s in a Name?
Trademark Licensing is partnering with the Innovation Hub to explore how student narratives regarding institutional pride can lead to positive engagement with University of Toronto brands. The Innovation Hub will use empathy-based research methods to understand emotions, experiences, and desires students related to this question.