Whether walking the halls of the University of Toronto or visiting its online spaces, it is easy to notice the stories of successful students and alumni. There are also, however, important questions that we must ask about our students. Where are students struggling? When do they feel victorious? What are their challenges? What do they enjoy most about UofT? What do the myriad of daily student experiences look like and how might we use this information to make every UofT student’s experience a successful one?
The Innovation Hub teams support the University of Toronto by using empathy-based research methods to gain a deeper understanding of students’ needs and perspectives. That information is then used to inform the design and re-design of programs, services and resources that better meet students’ needs. All of this work is done using collaborative processes that involve designing with students rather than for them. In order to accomplish this work, we draw from several methodologies.