Meet the Summer 2022 Team!

As we begin to barrel into a new and exciting term, the Innovation Hub is thrilled to welcome our Summer 2022 Team! Filled with some new, and some familiar faces, the Innovation Hub has continued to expand our team to work on new and ongoing projects at the University of Toronto. We are grateful to support the diverse and thriving community at U of T, and continue our own growth at the Innovation Hub. 

We’re Hiring Great Leaders at the Innovation Hub!

Are you interested in communication, collaboration, leadership, and project management? Are you wishing to create change and improve the campus student experience at U of T? The Innovation Hub is hiring Team Leads to support the growth and development of many campus initiatives and you can play an integral role in them! We are seeking innovative, insightful, determined leaders to join our wonderful team!

The Art of Active Listening

Written By Betelehem Gulilat, Content Writer

Illustrated By Vlada Gorchkova, Digital Storyteller

Part of what makes us human is the need for forming connections that make us feel truly heard and understood. There is a sense of belonging that comes with feeling supported that allows us to deeply understand ourselves, one another and discover what we find meaningful in our lives. This wouldn’t be possible without the help of active listeners. Through the art of active listening, a simple conversation can inspire change, strengthen relationships, and lead to innovation.

Active listening is fundamentally the ability to attentively understand the meaning behind the words of the speaker without the intrusion of your own thoughts, opinions, and judgment on the matter. Unlike the simple act of listening to words, active listening involves understanding why the person may be feeling a certain way, where they are coming from, and the message you are receiving. (1)

Researchers Reflect: The Power of Empathy

This blog post is the first of Researchers Reflect, a new series where we embark on the journey of a design researcher at the Innovation Hub. Each post will spotlight a different design researcher sharing their stories, experience and learning moments throughout the course of their research.

Amal is wearing a jean jacket, smiling towards the camera with a whit ebackground.

Written by Amal Yusuf, UTQAP Research Coordinator  

Since 2019, I was given the privilege and trust to listen to students’ stories and experiences throughout a variety of projects, such as the Presidential and Provostial Task Force for Student Mental Health, Food Insecurity on CampusLet’s Talk About Failure Project, Student Experiences at Rotman Commerce, and much more! Being a part of this work has been a real growing experience for me. Today, I will be sharing a bit about this journey and how it has made an impact in my area of work and studies.  

Meet the Team 2021-22 Innovation Hub Team!

Betelehem outside smiling at the camera
Betelehem Gulilat, Content Writer

As we enter a brand-new term, the Innovation Hub is excited to welcome our Fall/Winter 2021-22 Team! Each year our team is expanding along with our growing number of partnerships and are pleased to continue designing with and for students at the University of Toronto. In support of our expansion, we are grateful to be transitioning to a new workspace on campus where we plan to follow a hybrid work model to provide flexibility & space for innovation.  

Reconciliation & Reflection: Orange Shirt Day and the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Please note that this post speaks about residential schools and the meaning behind Orange Shirt Day and the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. We acknowledge that the land in which we work from at the The University of Toronto has been, for thousands of years, 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. Learn more about which lands you may reside on, and the treaties and histories connected with it, at: https://native-land.ca/  or https://www.whose.land/en/


On September 30th we commemorate Orange Shirt Day, a day intended to raise awareness on the centuries long impact Canada’s Residential School System has had on Indigenous communities, knowledge, traditions, and beyond. Orange Shirt day comes from the experience of Phyllis Webstad (Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation), who was six-years-old when she first arrived to a residential school. On her first day of arriving at the school she was stripped of her new orange shirt. This is what she has shared on what it felt like – and you can learn more about Phyllis’s story in the link provided:   

Community Repost: Introducing the Tech2U Initiative

Tech2U is an exciting new pilot program that employs over 125 students to provide instructors with personalized tech support as they make their long-awaited return to teaching on campus. This week’s post is a repost from U of T News, where Tech2U was featured in a recent article written by Staff Reporter at U of T News, Rahul Kalvapalle.

All about the TIL Operations Working Group

Georgia is outside, smiling towards the camera and wearing. a dark blue shirt.

Written by Georgia Maxwell – Senior Research Assistant for Transforming the Instructional Landscape

Transforming the Instructional Landscape (TIL) is an ongoing project at the University of Toronto that examines how learning environments can be improved for both instructors and students. TIL employs design thinking to help build better learning environments with students rather than for students. A wide range of professionals from across UofT are also involved in the project’s exciting and innovative work. 

Delving into the Digital Campus: The Many Faces of Vulnerability

By Ayaan Hagar, Design Researcher & Project Team Lead  

Ayaan Hagar

This blog post is part of Delving into the Digital Campus, a four-part series in collaboration with the Digital Community & Connectedness Project, aimed at understanding how students find and make connections in digital spaces. Each post is a written reflection from our Design Researchers, sharing how the insights from their project has resonated with them in their own lived experiences. 


What does it mean to connect in an age where we’re constantly connected? 

It’s a question that’s been on my mind since the start of the pandemic; with a parent working on the frontlines, I heard accounts of the virus’ impact that didn’t give me much hope for returning to campus anytime soon. I had always had a bit of hard time finding my place on campus until I switched my program last year and became a part of a tight-knit, cohort of students. It wasn’t until the pandemic hit that I realized how much of that connection was forged over months of FaceTime, group trips to Kensington Market, shared triumphs and troubles over coffee, and daily lunches in the student lounge. With my younger brother entering university in the fall, I wondered what his experience and so many other new students would look like.