I’m Alexandra, a PhD student in Sociology here at the University of Toronto, and I am going to be contributing posts about the research side of things to the Innovation Hub blog. Whether you’re new to the Innovation Hub or have participated in some part of creating the Hub, you may be asking yourself “what is an innovation hub?” To answer this question we need to think about the concept of innovation and the postsecondary context. There are over 87,000 students at the University of Toronto who are enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs. The UofT student demographic today is vastly different than a generation ago and is also different than it will be in the future. If student demographics are changing it raises the question of how student services need to change in response. This is where innovation comes in!
Imagine a University of Toronto where every student’s experience is seamless from initial contact to graduation and beyond. A place where students feel a sense of community and connectedness, experience both academic and personal success and feel well equipped for their futures.
The Innovation Hub doesn’t see this as a distant reality – we are seeking to better understand the unique needs of U of T students through the use of student-centred design thinking. We value listening and empathising with our students, we seek out their voices whenever we plan, program and make decisions. We have carefully crafted a team which will collaborate with a diverse range of U of T students, community members and staff to explore the future of student experience at the University of Toronto. The team members’ different experiences, skill sets and educational backgrounds will provide a constant, authentic and diverse presence of student voices throughout the project.
Happy Monday! It’s the first day of classes for most students in our St. George community, so let me begin by wishing you an incredible start to the new school year. Amidst the whirlwind of activity going on around campus this week, I hope you can take a few moments to breathe that crisp fall air and appreciate the beautiful campus that surrounds you!
I’m excited to let you know that our student leadership team is now established and you’ll have a chance to meet them later this week as they introduce themselves on the blog. I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but I can say that we have a fantastic team of students to lead our Hub.