By The Robarts Library Team (Philippa Gosine – Senior Research Assistant, Mac Morgan – Design Research Team Lead, Manaal Mirza – Data Analysis Researcher, and Anshika Seth – Data Analysis Researcher) & Betelehem Gulilat – Lead Editor and Writer
As a keeper of knowledge and endless possibility, a library occupies a key place in a student’s campus experience. Robarts Library, the largest of the UofT libraries, brings in thousands of students each day to support the diverse student population at every stage of their academic careers. Since September 2020, the Innovation Hub has worked closely with Robarts Library in seeking to understand what students truly desire from a redesigned library space. We shared a call for participation to the broader UofT community and received an overwhelming amount of interest for our virtual feedback sessions – in which students had an opportunity to share their unique stories with library spaces.
By Ayaan Hagar – Project Team Lead, Kethmi Egodage – Community, Social Connection & Support for Students Team Member, and Betelehem Gulilat – Lead Editor & Writer
Our new reality has accelerated change in all areas of our lives, from work to socializing, we’re staying connected to our communities through the most hyper-connected platform called the internet. What elements of digital connections and communities help students feel like they’re connected with one another? With this question in mind, we’d like to introduce the Digital Community & Connectedness Project. Building on our previous work, this project is exploring how the student experience of finding and engaging in community continues to shift during this time, and what implications this has for those who build and facilitate connections within the online UofT community.
Well into our fourth year at the Innovation Hub, we continue our mission to improve campus life through student-centric design. Over the last four years, we have collected an immense amount of data, including over 600 interviews from students and other community members from across campus. Our diverse teams of students have logged over 4,600 hours of data analysis to generate empathy for students and their experiences on campus.
There is tension in our work, and our teams have learned that we must recognize the biases we carry from our respective capacities. The diversity of our teams is a strength and we challenge each other daily to understand how our own perspective is just one perspective, shaped by our own positionality. I feel so privileged to lead these diverse teams of students in this work and I learn alongside of them each day. I also feel honoured that so many students have felt safe to share stories of their experiences with us. Our job is to constantly think about how we honour these stories and ensure that they are shared back to the larger UofT community.
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…
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.