Blog

BLOG

What’s new at the Innovation Hub

INNOVATION HUB BLOG

Welcome to the Innovation Hub’s blog. Here you’ll find all the latest news and events, our job postings, as well as articles about our work in design research, innovation & design thinking and equity, diversity & inclusion. We’re glad you’re here and invite you to subscribe for regular updates.

BLOGS

Team Reflection: Empathy and Understanding with Students Who Are Also Parents 

By hayleypark | July 17, 2024
Team photo of the Experiences of Students Who Are Also Parents Design Research team. 5 people standing on a staircase.

This past year, an Innovation Hub Design Research team worked on a project focused on the experiences of students who are also parents. In this blog, team members reflect on the importance of empathy in listening deeply to student parent stories and understanding their needs. The team shares some of their reflections from the work, what they learned, and their hopes for how the university can continue to become family friendly.  

Written by the Innovation Hub’s Experiences of Students Who Are Also Parents Design Research Team

The Innovation Hub is Hiring a Full Time Project Assistant

By Julia Allworth | July 12, 2024
we are hiring a project assistant

Are you interested in design thinking, qualitative research, leadership, and project management? Do you wish to create change and improve the campus student experience at U of T? The Innovation Hub is hiring a full time Project Assistant to support everything we do! We are seeking a high-capacity person with superior tech skills who wants to join our vibrant team!

Supporting all teams at the Innovation Hub is also a big commitment – but with it comes a great reward. Our past employees have gone on to have successful careers in a variety of industries. You will absolutely build confidence in this role! Our work is fast paced and involves managing tight and often competing deadlines and coordinating with various stakeholders and partners. The Project Assistant role is an incredible opportunity for you to advance your skillsets, learn through design thinking, and discover something new! 

Embracing Disability Pride Month: Celebrating History and Community

By maribethtabanera | July 10, 2024
Headshot of Ness Maloney
Headshot of Maribeth Tabanera

July is Disability Pride Month! In this article, Innovation Hub team members Maribeth and Ness share reflections on what Disability Pride Month means to them personally and for our broader community. This article features discussion about the Toronto Disability Pride March, and features a conversation with Spencer West, one of the organizers of the march. 

Written by Maribeth Manalaysay Tabanera, Blog Writer and Content Writer, Master of Education in Social Justice Education and Ness Maloney, Design Researcher, Engagement & Belonging – Students with Disabilities, PhD candidate, Socio-Cultural Anthropology

Team Reflections: Commuter Student Spaces Project — It’s the small things that make a big difference 

By ajeethavithiyananthan | July 3, 2024

Over the past year, the Innovation Hub worked in partnership with Spaces & Experiences to understand the needs of commuter students to support the design of future spaces intended to support them. In this blog, the Innovation Hub’s design research team reflects upon learnings from working on the year-long commuter spaces project, emphasizing that many students’ needs can be met in relatively simple ways.   

Written by the Commuter Student Spaces team

Working at the Innovation Hub – 2024-25

By hayleypark | July 2, 2024
Working at the Innovation Hub banner

Are you curious about what we do at the Innovation Hub? Are you interested in working during the Fall-Winter 2024-25 Work Study term?  

On July 15, 2024 from 12pm-1pm, we’ll be hosting a special event via Zoom, sharing all about the Innovation Hub: who we are, what we do, and why we do it!    

Honouring National Indigenous Peoples Day: Reflections & Land Acknowledgements 

By maribethtabanera | June 21, 2024
Headshot of Ruth

The history of National Indigenous People’s Day mirrors the norms of ongoing Indigenous advocacy in Canada. In this blog, Ruth reflects on the meaning of this important day, and explores the original intention behind the federal holiday, and shares her learnings about the importance of land acknowledgements. Ruth suggests best practices to foster engagement with Indigenous people all year round. 

Written by Ruth Rodrigues, Qualitative Data Archivist Team Lead, Master of Education in Social Justice Education

The Innovation Hub is Hiring Leaders for Fall-Winter 2024-25 

By hayleypark | June 20, 2024
We're Hiring Student Leaders banner

Are you interested in design thinking, qualitative research, leadership, and project management? Do you wish to create change and improve the campus student experience at U of T? The Innovation Hub is hiring leaders 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! 

Leading a team at the Innovation Hub is also a big commitment – but with it comes a great reward. Our past Team Leads have gone on to have successful careers in a variety of industries. We encourage our space of learning, and we really want you to feel comfortable in a space of failure and iteration. Our work is fast paced and involves managing tight and often competing deadlines and coordinating with various stakeholders and partners. This is an incredible opportunity for you to advance your skillsets, learn through design thinking, and discover something new! 

#DisplayYourPride 2024: Celebrating Pride at the Innovation Hub

By ajeethavithiyananthan | June 11, 2024

June is Pride Month! From attending a U of T pride event to hosting our own, here is how we’re celebrating and honouring Pride month and reflecting how we can continue fostering inclusivity and diversity on campus throughout and beyond June.  

Written by Ajeetha Vithiyananthan, Blog Writer, Bachelor of Science, Psychology specialist and Sociology minor & Ruth Rodrigues, Qualitative Data Archivist Team Lead, Master of Education, Social Justice Education 

Meet the Summer 2024 Team!

By ajeethavithiyananthan | June 5, 2024

The Innovation Hub welcomes a wonderful group of students into the team each term. We are starting our new academic term with a team of 40 students and Team Leads. Let’s meet them! 

Written by Ajeetha Vithiyananthan, Blog Editor & Digital Content Writer, Honours Bachelor of Science, Psychology specialist & Sociology minor 

Team Reflections: Where Qualitative Research Can Take You

By josephlek | May 29, 2024
QDA Team sitting by couches

The Qualitative Data Archivist Team supports Innovation Hub projects using qualitative research skills, with each team member taking away something different from their experience. The 2023-2024 team reflects on how their dynamic workload fosters collaboration and how this can also lead to personal growth. 

Written by the Innovation Hub Qualitative Data Archivist Team

Fostering Connection and Change Through Furniture

By josephlek | May 22, 2024
Headshot of Jennifer Ayow

When physical spaces are intentionally designed with different layouts and types of furniture, this can foster collaborative environments that meet various needs. In this blog, Jennifer shares her experiences of looking for a study space after graduation and how this exploration helped create positive change in other areas of her life. Jennifer’s personal experiences align with the classroom redesign research conducted by the Innovation Hub through Transforming the Instructional Landscape (TIL)

Jennifer Ayow, Blog Writer, Honours Bachelor of Science, Neuroscience Major, Psychology and Digital Humanities minors

Team Reflections: International Students: First 48 Hours in Canada

By paulkaita | May 17, 2024
Group of the Innovation Hub Team and Cohort of Students

Our Design Research Team for the International Students: First 48 Hours in Canada project reflect on their experience working with eight international students as they travel to Canada to study at U of T to create an impactful documentary and report of findings. The team shares how much empathy they felt for the students hearing their stories throughout the process, and expresses appreciation for Cal Campos, an incredible filmmaker who worked with us over the last year to produce the documentary.   

Written by the Innovation Hub International Students First 48 Hours in Canada Design Research Team

Team Reflections: Co-Creating the Future of Sport & Rec 

By loislee | May 15, 2024
Sport & Rec team standing outside and smiling

Through co-creation sessions, interviews, and a journal activity, the Innovation Hub team working with Sport & Rec strived to understand what makes or breaks a student’s experience when they engage in movement. The Design Research team reflects on valuable lessons they learned and how they honed their ability to collaborate as a team.  

Written by the Innovation Hub Sport & Rec Team

Alternative Reading Week 2024: Integrating Inclusivity in the Workplace

By paulkaita | May 8, 2024
Group photo of students at the Innovation Hub participating in Alternative Reading Week

In February 2024, the Innovation Hub provided a series of workshops during Reading Week for students participating in the Alternative Reading Week program through Centre for Community Partnerships. The aim of the workshops were to apply design thinking methods to a “wicked problem”: How can workplaces be more inclusive? Our facilitators, Cheryl, Mike and Lidiia shared the importance of embedding inclusivity and constructive discussion in event organization. 

Written by Mike He, Digital Communications Coordinator, Master of Information, User Experience Design 
 


Community Animation Team Reflection: Cultivating a Learning Organization 

By loislee | May 1, 2024
Community Animation team sitting on bench and smiling

The Community Animation Design Researcher team reflects on their year designing social programming, professional skill-building events, and student feedback sessions together. 

Written by Cheryl Nong, Research Coordinator, Honours Bachelor of Science, Psychology and Neuroscience Double Major 

The Brain Science of Storytelling: Finding the Connection Between Storytelling and Academics   

By avahawkins | April 24, 2024
Ava standing in front of trees and flowers.

At the Innovation Hub, we use storytelling as part of our design thinking approach to create meaningful, impactful messages. Ava reflects on the brain science of storytelling through its connection to her undergraduate studies in Cognitive Science and Psychology.  

Written by Ava Hawkins, Blog Editor & Digital Content Writer, Honours Bachelor of Science, Cognitive Science & Psychology  

Nothing For Us, Without Us Film Reflection: The Importance of Equity-Driven Advocacy  

By loislee | April 17, 2024
Lois smiling outdoors.

As part of an ongoing dialogue about anti-Black racism in Canada, the School of Cities at U of T premiered a documentary about how Canadian city planning harms Black communities. Lois, Cheryl and Paul attended the film screening and reflected on the importance of shared responsibility in advocacy and equitable consultation—things that are important to the work at the Innovation Hub.  

Written by Lois Lee, Blog Editor & Digital Content Writer, Master of Information, User Experience Design and Archives & Records Management  

Team Reflections: Perspective Shifts and Community Impact Through Partnerships with Arts & Science University of Toronto Quality Assurance Process 

By loislee | April 10, 2024
Team coordinators smiling and sitting together

The Innovation Hub continued its partnership with the Arts & Science University of Toronto Quality Assurance Process (UTQAP) this year by conducting design research-based student consultations for academic programs. The Arts & Science UTQAP Design Research Team reflects on the research journey recognizing the importance of finding meaning and achieving personal growth, through understanding student academic community and stories.

Written by the Innovation Hub A&S University of Toronto Quality Assurance Process Design Research Team

Innovation Hub Work Study Summer 2024 Hiring

By loislee | April 3, 2024

We’re incredibly excited to kick-start the Summer 2024 Work Study season at the Innovation Hub! We are happy to announce that we have some amazing opportunities available to students for this upcoming summer. The deadline to apply for positions is Wednesday, April 10, 2024, at 11:59PM.

Team Reflections: The Multiple Facets of Communications 

By loislee | March 27, 2024
Communications team sitting together indoors

The Innovation Hub Digital Communications Team reflected on their work in the past year and how working at the iHub fostered their personal growth. They highlight the use of collaboration and storytelling within the team, recognizing that even though there are different roles, working together and sharing stories can help to inspire change.

Written by the Innovation Hub Digital Communications Team

Looking at the World Through Stories 

By avahawkins | March 20, 2024
Katrina outdoors in front of leaves.

Stories have existed throughout much of history and even now we are fascinated by them and enjoy them regularly. Katrina reflects on how and why stories offer new ways to look at the world. 

Written by Katrina Sze Ching Soong, Qualitative Data Archivist, Honours Bachelor of Arts, English & Philosophy Double Major, History Minor 

Celebrating Design Leadership in Black-Identifying Communities  

By avahawkins | March 13, 2024
Three people are connected to a fourth person by a heart string. They are surrounded by a circle and stars.

Design leadership in Black-identifying communities has been incredibly influential in equity-centered design research. Ava and Lois spotlight two leaders in equity design thinking whom we continually draw inspiration from to reflect on our positionality and address complex topics with empathy, courage, and care. 

Written by Ava Hawkins, Blog Editor & Digital Content Writer, Honours Bachelor of Science, Cognitive Science & Psychology & Lois Lee, Blog Digital Editor & Digital Content Writer, Master of Information, User Experience Design and Archives & Records Management

We’re Hiring Our Design Research Team Leads and Qualitative Data Archivist Team Lead 2024-25

By paulkaita | March 4, 2024
Design Research Team Lead & Qualitative Data Archivist Team Lead Job Posting Banner

Are you interested in design thinking, qualitative research, 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!

Working at the Innovation Hub 2024

By mike98 | February 28, 2024

Are you curious about what we do at the Innovation Hub? Are you interested in working during the Summer 2024 Work Study term? 

On March 18, 2024 from 12pm-1pm we’ll be hosting a special event via Zoom, sharing all about the Innovation Hub: who we are, what we do, and why we do it!   

World Day of Social Justice 

By avahawkins | February 20, 2024
Cheryl smiling while sitting outdoors.

To recognize the World Day of Social Justice on February 20th, Cheryl spoke with team members at the Innovation Hub to explore their views on social justice and how it appears in their everyday lives. 

Written by Cheryl Nong, Research Coordinator, Honours Bachelor of Science, Psychology and Neuroscience Double Major 

“Black Flourishing” Installation: Using Art to Inspire Change  

By avahawkins | February 14, 2024

After visiting the art installation “Black Flourishing” at the Daniels Building, Ava reflects on art installations that highlight Black student voices and that inspire new questions, solutions, and ideas for change through art thinking and art activism.

Ava Hawkins, Blog Editor & Digital Content Writer, Honours Bachelor of Science, Cognitive Science & Psychology 

We’re Hiring at the Innovation Hub – Senior Leadership Roles

By paulkaita | February 5, 2024

Are you someone who has a passion for community, storytelling, and improving the student experience? Are you a creative, curious, and out-of-the-box thinker? Do you already have a wealth of experience on your resume? We’re excited to share our postings for roles at the Innovation Hub: Senior Project AssistantResearch Coordinator, and Digital Communications Coordinator. To learn more about these roles and how to apply, take a look below.

Honouring Individuality: How Accessibility is Constantly Evolving

By loislee | January 31, 2024
Lois smiling outdoors.

Accessibility is fundamentally about accommodating and celebrating individual experiences; therefore, it is important for us to actively think about how we can reimagine accessible practices in new and creative ways. Lois spoke with 3 disability advocates in the U of T community to discuss how we can begin to take a more proactive and innovative approach towards accessibility. 

Written by Lois Lee, Blog Editor & Digital Content Writer, Master of Information, User Experience Design and Archives & Records Management  


Prototyping as a Mindset

By loislee | January 24, 2024
Cheryl smiling while sitting outdoors.

When submitting work for feedback, it can feel like “conventional” expectations always demand complete, polished submissions. Cheryl reflects on how taking a more iterative approach helped her build confidence, closer relationships, and stronger finished work. 

Written by Cheryl Nong, Research Coordinator, Honours Bachelor of Science, Psychology and Neuroscience Double Major 

We’re Hiring the Research Coordinator and Digital Communications Coordinator 2024-25

By paulkaita | January 17, 2024
Coordinator Hiring Banner

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 Research Coordinator and Digital Communications Coordinator. We are seeking innovative, insightful, determined leader to join our team!

Call for Participants: Commuter Student Spaces Co-creation Sessions

By avahawkins | January 10, 2024
Want to help shape the future of commuter student spaces on campus?

We want to hear from you!

In partnership with Spaces & Experiences, the Innovation Hub is hosting co-creation sessions to explore the needs of commuter students. Student feedback will be used to generate insights that will inform design decisions for current and future campus spaces. We invite you to share your experiences and help the university foster a better sense of belonging on the St. George campus.

Call for participants: Co-Create the Future of Student-Parent Experiences

By loislee | January 3, 2024
Want to help create the future of the student-parent experiences on campus?

Are you a student who is also a parent? Do you want to share your experience navigating parenting while studying at UofT?

We’re Hiring for Full-Time Roles! Innovation Hub Research Lead and Senior Project Assistant 2024-2025

By paulkaita | December 13, 2023
Were Hiring Research Lead  Senior Project Assistant

Are you someone who has a passion for community, storytelling, and improving the student experience? Are you a creative, curious, and out-of-the-box thinker? Do you already have a wealth of experience on your resume? We’re excited to share our postings for two full-time roles at the Innovation Hub: Research lead and Senior Project Assistant. To learn more about these roles and how to apply, take a look below.

The Innovation Hub is committed to providing a high-performing work-integrated learning environment for our student staff while delivering high-quality design research to our clients. Reporting directly to the Manager, Innovation Projects, both the Research Lead and the Senior Project Assistant are 14-month full-time casual contract roles designed to be an intensive learning opportunity for recent graduates and/or part-time students with a resume already full of leadership and relevant experience related to the respective role. These two roles are designed to be intensive and challenging and offer a rewarding experience of growth and career development.

Each role’s contract is April 2024 – June 2025 inclusive. The deadline to apply is January 14, 2024. To learn more about the roles, hear from our current incumbents and learn how to apply, take a look below. 

What Matters to U of T Students

By avahawkins | December 6, 2023
A person in the center of a large community made up of smaller, unique, groups.

In the What Matters to U of T Students? report, the Innovation Hub compiled student stories, highlighting the important connection between identity exploration and the university community. Ava shares her personal testimony highlighting her journeys in self-discovery at U of T.  

Ava Hawkins, Blog Editor & Digital Content Writer, Honours Bachelor of Science, Cognitive Science & Psychology 


How Rekindling Creativity in My Life Led to Empowerment

By loislee | November 30, 2023
Lois smiling outdoors.

In this blog post, Lois shares how she accidentally rekindled her passion for creative endeavours during her work at the Innovation Hub and how this empowered her to dive into creative pursuits outside the university. 

Written by Lois Lee, Blog Editor and Digital Content Writer, Master of Information, User Experience Design, and Archives & Records Management


Transgender Day of Remembrance 2023

By loislee | November 24, 2023
Chery and Ruth sitting on stairs and smiling.

Cheryl and Ruth share the importance of memorializing the lives lost due to anti-transgender violence on Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR). They also highlight the importance of celebrating trans lives by supporting their work, art, and history, based on their experiences. 

Written by Cheryl Nong, Research Coordinator, Honours Bachelor of Science, Psychology and Neuroscience Double Major and Ruth Rodrigues, Qualitative Data Archivist Team Lead, Master of Education, Social Justice Education 


Call for New Innovation Hub Projects 2024-25

By paulkaita | November 22, 2023
Call for New Projects - Partner with the Innovation Hub

Partner with the Innovation Hub!

The Innovation Hub is ready to take on new design thinking projects for the 2024-25 academic year. We can help your team to co-create programs, services, resources, and spaces with students. Working together, we help you build positivity around your project and ensure the highest possible student engagement in the process. Our student teams are hired and trained specifically for your project and work directly with you and your teams throughout the process.

Innovation Hub Annual Report 2022-23

By paulkaita | November 15, 2023
Innovation Hub Annual Report 2022-2023

Check out the Innovation Hub Annual Report 2022-23. Learn about what we have been up to and discover how to get involved in the work. 

Written by Julia Allworth, Manager, Innovation Projects

Indigenous Education Week: Storytelling Through Fashion

By loislee | November 3, 2023
Tiffany smiling

Every year at U of T the First Nations House – Indigenous Student Services – hosts Indigenous Education Week, a week for education, community, and engagement with Indigenous culture and history. One of our team members, Tiffany, attended an event and shared her reflections on why storytelling is impactful for cultural preservation. 

Written by Tiffany Cao, Research Lead, Honours Bachelor of Science, Environmental Science and Human Geography.  

Faculty of Arts and Science Entrepreneurship Quick Student Consultation: Call for Participants

By loislee | November 2, 2023
What does entrepreneurship mean to you?

We want to hear from you!

In partnership with the Faculty of Arts & Science Centre for Entrepreneurship, the Innovation Hub is interested in exploring what entrepreneurship means to you. We are looking to hear from students in the Faculty of Arts & Science from all academic disciplines, programs, and degree levels, to build a deeper understanding of entrepreneurship.

Call for Participants: Robarts 5th Floor Design Charette

By paulkaita | October 26, 2023
Robarts is Redesigning it 5th Floor Banner

Share your feedback and vision on the library space that fosters innovative digital data research and connections! Sign up to share. Receive a 10$ gift card as a thank you! 

Meet the Fall/Winter 2023-2024 Team!

By avahawkins | October 12, 2023
Innovation Hub Team Collage

The Innovation Hub welcomes a wonderful group of students into the team each year. We are starting our new academic term with the largest team we’ve ever had, with 76 students. Let’s meet them!

Written by Ava Hawkins, Blog Editor & Digital Content Writer, Honours Bachelor of Science, Cognitive Science & Psychology

Call for Participants: Centering Accessibility in Commuter Spaces

By paulkaita | October 10, 2023
Centering Accessibility in Commuter Spaces Banner

In partnership with Spaces & Experiences, the Innovation Hub is hosting student-led feedback sessions to inform design decisions for future spaces for commuters. The feedback session invites all students with disabilities to share their stories, perspectives, and experiences. The aim is to create a barrier-free environment for students to speak openly about their lived experiences. 

Call for Participants: Honouring Black Student Stories in Commuter Spaces

By paulkaita | October 6, 2023
Honouring Black Student Stories Banner

In partnership with Spaces & Experiences, the Innovation Hub is hosting student-led feedback sessions to inform design decisions for future spaces for commuters. Our discussion will invite Black-identifying students to share their stories, perspectives, and experiences in a safer space for participants with lived experience to speak openly. 

Commemorating Orange Shirt Day at the Innovation Hub

By loislee | September 29, 2023
Four students standing in front of a door surrounded by the Orange Shirt Day mural.

Every year on September 30, we recognize National Truth and Reconciliation Day, commonly known as Orange Shirt Day. On this day, we take the time to spread awareness and reflect upon the intergenerational impacts of Canada’s Residential School System on Indigenous communities.  

Written by Lois Lee, Master of Information, Blog Editor and Digital Content Writer

We’re Hiring Digital Communications Coordinator for Fall-Winter 2023-24

By paulkaita | September 29, 2023
Digital Communications Coordinator Banner

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 Digital Communications Coordinator. We are seeking innovative, insightful, determined leader to join our team! This is a role that works Monday – Friday from 9am – 4pm at the Innovation Hub, and is suitable for students with evening courses and/or part-time students, or recent graduates.

Call for Participants: Co-Creating the Future of Sport & Rec

By paulkaita | September 28, 2023
Want to help shape the future of Sport & Rec programs, services, and spaces?

In partnership with Sport & Rec, the Innovation Hub is hosting co-creation sessions to hear from students on reimagining programs, services, and spaces to better serve students with unmet accessibility needs. Feedback will inform changes to make Sport & Rec offerings more welcoming to students of all backgrounds, abilities, genders, races, and bodies. Participants will receive $25 in TBucks after attending the session as a thank you!

Call for Participation: Experiences of Students who are Also Parents

By paulkaita | September 25, 2023
Student Parents: We want to hear from you

Are you a student who is also a parent? Do you want to share your experience navigating parenting while studying at UofT?

Call for Participants: Reimagining Commuter Spaces

By paulkaita | September 12, 2023
Reimaining Commuter Spaces

With a large commuter student population, U of T needs spaces for students to spend time and feel a sense of home. In partnership with Spaces & Experiences, the Innovation Hub is hosting student-led feedback sessions to inform design decisions for future spaces for commuters. We invite you to share your experiences and help the university design new spaces on campus. 

We’re Recruiting Volunteer Blog Writers!

By anushkasainii | September 6, 2023
Visual poster with the text 'We're recruiting Volunteer Blog Writers, apply at clnx.utoronto.ca and learn more at uoft.me/innovationhub'

Are you interested in storytelling, content creation, and community connection? Do you want to craft stories that drive impact?  The Innovation Hub is recruiting talented, creative, and empathetic Blog Writers to join our engaging community of writers to bring the blog to life! 

How Student Participation Can Combat Social Inequality

By paulkaita | August 30, 2023
Ruth Smiling

Equity-focused research methods aim to inform us of our participants’ needs, not justify why those needs aren’t met. Ruth shares her experience exploring equitable research methods. 

Written by Ruth Rodrigues, Master of Education, Social Justice Education, Qualitative Data Archivist Team Lead

Project Reflections: Faculty of Arts & Science University of Toronto Quality Assurance Process Student Consultations 2022-23

By paulkaita | August 23, 2023

The UTQAP Design Research Teams reflect on their journey through these projects and the importance of collaboration and empathy in the design research process uncovering the value of human connection in both data collection and data analysis. 

Innovation Hub Work Study Fall-Winter 2023-24 Hiring

By doriafu | August 16, 2023
Apply Now

We’re thrilled to kick-start the fall/winter season at the Innovation Hub! We are excited to announce that we have some amazing opportunities available this Fall/Winter 2023-24! The deadline to apply for positions is August 20, 2023 at 11:59pm.

Project Insights from the Sport & Rec: Expanding Access Project

By paulkaita | August 9, 2023
Francesca smiling against a white background.

The Innovation Hub recently concluded its Expanding Access: Sport & Rec project. Francesca, Design Research Team Lead, reflects on how stories can build empathy in understanding others throughout the research process.  

Written by Francesca Pabale, Design Research Team Lead, Master of Education, Higher Education 

Therapy Dogs at the Student Commons – August 18 2023

By paulkaita | August 2, 2023
Therapy Dogs at the Student Commons

Having a “ruff” day? Join us in welcoming some guests from Sunshine Therapy Dogs for an afternoon of wellness and destressing. Several dogs will be in the Innovation Hub space on Friday, so take a study break and have a ball!  

Redesigning the Classroom Experience: How Tech2U is Supporting both Students and Instructors

By paulkaita | July 26, 2023
Innovation Hub Transforming the Instructional Landscape TIL Team

One Innovation Hub team shares their experience working with Tech2U, a program that provides direct technical support to instructors in their classroom. The team reflects on how they feel Tech2U is a program that supports both students and instructors and enhances the learning experience at the University of Toronto.  

Written by Tiffany Tan, Chenyu Huang, Cindy Ly, Jackie Betel (Design Researcher); Anchana Kuganesan, Design Research Team Lead

Project Insights: Academic Integrity “It’s Okay to Ask for Help” Video Campaign

By paulkaita | July 19, 2023

The “It’s Okay to Ask for Help” Video builds upon the Learning with Integrity Campaign and educate students on topics of academic integrity. The Academic Integrity team reflects on what they learned from the project and hopes to inspire others to reach out and ask for help. 

We’re Hiring Digital Communications Coordinator!

By paulkaita | July 14, 2023
Digital Communications Coordinator Banner

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 Digital Communications Coordinator. We are seeking innovative, insightful, determined leader to join our team!

Empowering Growth and Building Community through Team Takeovers at the Innovation Hub

By paulkaita | July 12, 2023
Innovation Hub Community Animation Team, Delphine, Rayna, Alan, Jenny, Anunita smiling with their hands in the shape of a heart

Community Animators, Alan and Anunita share the value of team takeovers in fostering a positive, empowering, and inclusive environment at the Innovation Hub and explain how these events fostered personal growth, skill development and team building. 

Written by Delphine Ji, Design Research Team Lead, Alan Sivabalan, Community Animator, Anunita Wazir, Community Animator

Working at the Innovation Hub Fall-Winter 2023-24

By paulkaita | July 5, 2023
Working at the Innovation Hub Banner

Are you curious about what we do at the Innovation Hub? Are you interested in working during the Fall-Winter 2023 Work Study term? 

On July 31, 2023 from 12pm-1pm we’ll be hosting a special event via Zoom, sharing all about the Innovation Hub: who we are, what we do, and why we do it!   

National Indigenous Peoples Day 2023

By tangyihu | June 21, 2023
“Intertribal, 2022” is a mixed media mural by Quinn Hopkins installed at Hart House. (photo by Moussa Faddoul)
“Intertribal, 2022” is a mixed media mural by Quinn Hopkins installed at Hart House. (photo by Moussa Faddoul)

June 21st is National Indigenous Peoples Day, and June is National Indigenous History Month. For many Canadians, these events might sound unfamiliar—so let’s unpack together what they are and why we celebrate them. 

Innovation Hub Team Lead Hiring Fall-Winter 2023-24

By paulkaita | June 20, 2023
We're Hiring Design Research Team Leads


Are you interested in design thinking, qualitative research, 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 Design Research 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!

Meet the Summer 2023 Team!

By tangyihu | June 16, 2023
2023 Summer Team Photo
2023 Summer Team Photo

Meet our team and learn about our current projects for the new academic year. Stay engaged and get hyped for what the year has in store.  

#DisplayYourPride 2023: Collectively Changing Our Culture

By tangyihu | June 13, 2023
Image of a colorful lion drawn by the members from the Innovation Hub.
Cheryl smiling

June is Pride month! From flag raisings to arts and crafts, here’s what we’re doing at the Innovation Hub this year to commemorate the occasion and honor our commitments to equity, diversity, and inclusion—even after the festivities come to an end. 

Project Insights: Campus Hub for the Faculty of Arts & Science – Sidney Smith Hall Redevelopment

By paulkaita | May 25, 2023

Early plans are underway to redevelop Sidney Smith Hall as an iconic building at the University of Toronto. The Design Research Team reflects on the design thinking process, highlighting the importance of collaborative approaches to understanding the core needs of U of T community members.

Emily Ha-Tchong, Martha Khoshabeh, Aleksandra Adach, and Gauri Sachin Patki, Design Researchers, and Yunlong (Justin) Feng, Design Research Team Lead

Project Insights: Co-Creating Identity at University College

By paulkaita | May 17, 2023
University College Team Photo

The Innovation Hub recently concluded its project, Co-Creating Identity at University College, a partnership with University College. The Design Researcher Team reflects on the value of building an evolving identity co-created by its community.

Lending an Ear for Empathy

By paulkaita | May 10, 2023
Lisa smiling against a grey wall.

Listening can seem like a passive action, but there’s so much more to hearing someone’s story. Lisa explores how empathetic listening has the power to transform tough situations into safe spaces that foster creativity.

Written by Lisa Yuwen Hu, Design Research Team Lead, Honours Bachelor of Science, Psychology Research Specialist 

Project Insights: Supporting Our Mental Health

By paulkaita | May 3, 2023

This year, the Innovation Hub partnered with Health & Wellness to focus on how students take care of their mental health. The Design Research Team discovered the importance of working together to conduct inspiring work that was grounded in the experiences that students shared.

We’re Hiring a Design Research Team Lead

By paulkaita | April 24, 2023
We're Hiring Design Research Team Lead Banner

Are you interested in design thinking, qualitative research, 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 a Design Research Team Lead 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!

Innovation Hub Work Study Summer 2023 Hiring

By paulkaita | April 17, 2023
Innovation Hub is Hiring Summer 2023 Work Study

The sunshine is beaming at the Innovation Hub and we are so excited to kick off our Summer 2023 Work Study. We have some amazing opportunities and projects for students to apply and learn skills and gain experiences for their future. The deadline to apply for positions is April 23rd, 2023, at 11:59pm. Job postings are now live on CLNx. 

The Power of Team Building

By jpolochansky | April 12, 2023
Anchana smiling while leaning against a wall

Anchana Kuganesan, Design Research Team Lead, MASc, Biomedical Engineering-Clinical Stream 

Team building is crucial to motivate my teams about their work. Anchana reflects on team building and socials, creating trust and collaboration that ignites a passion in each of her team members.  

Learning through Stories: Honouring & Celebrating Black History Month

By jpolochansky | April 5, 2023
Eli standing facing the camera, with a blurred background of a hallway
Paul smiling against the backdrop of a lake with rocks

For Black History Month, the Innovation Hub took February to reflect and attend events in the community. Eli and Paul reflect on the stories they heard after attending events on campus and acknowledge applying their learnings for the future. 

Join Us at ‘Working at the Innovation Hub’ Summer 2023

By paulkaita | March 29, 2023
Working at the Innovation Hub Banner

Are you curious about what we do at the Innovation Hub? Are you thinking of applying to any of our upcoming roles for the Summer 2023 Work-Study term, or know of someone who might want to apply?

Project Insights: Cultivating Reciprocity at Chestnut Dining Hall

By jpolochansky | March 22, 2023

The Innovation Hub recently concluded its project, Cultivating Reciprocity at Chestnut Dining Hall, a partnership with Food Services. The Design Researcher Team reflects on the value of co-creation in designing the future of dining at Chestnut.

What’s Your Why: Empathy to Amplify Voices

By paulkaita | March 15, 2023
Reese

In Reese’s What’s Your Why, she explores her journey as a Design Researcher and the many important skills and techniques she has gained, reflecting on how the role emphasizes the effectiveness and importance of human-centric design. 

Written by Reese Halfyard, Design Researcher, Bachelor of Information  

We’re Hiring Our Design Research Team Leads and Qualitative Data Archivist Team Lead

By paulkaita | March 8, 2023
Design Research Team Lead & Qualitative Data Archivist Team Lead Job Posting Banner

Are you interested in design thinking, qualitative research, 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!

Take a Paws – Therapy Dog Event Reflection

By jpolochansky | February 15, 2023
Milo, a therapy dog, smiling and wagging his tail at the camera

Written by Innovation Hub Community Animators and Design Researchers Alan, Anunita, Jenny, Rayna, Ramzy, and Delphine. 

Relieving stress and community bonding are important parts of maintaining healthy mental and physical wellbeing. In December, the Innovation Hub held an event featuring Sunshine Therapy Dogs. Students bonded with canine friends Milo, Tasman, and Flurry as they prepared for final exams. 

Project Insights: Digital Scholarship at Robarts Library

By paulkaita | February 8, 2023
Spencer smiling in front of a wood wall.

Written by Spencer Ki, Design Research Team Lead, Honours Bachelor of Science, Physics and Statistical Sciences 

The Innovation Hub recently concluded its Innovation in Digital Scholarship on the Robarts Library Fifth Floor project. Spencer Ki, Design Research Team Lead, reflects on the power different perspectives can have when untangling a wicked problem. 

We’re Hiring the Research Coordinator and Digital Communications Coordinator 2023-24

By jpolochansky | January 25, 2023
Coordinator Hiring Banner

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 Research Coordinator and Digital Communications Coordinator. We are seeking innovative, insightful, determined leader to join our team!

Sidney Smith Hall Development: Focused Sessions

By jpolochansky | January 20, 2023

We want to hear from you! 

Icon of a landmark surrounded by a magifying class, heart, building, pencil, book, and plant

Early plans are underway to redevelop Sidney Smith Hall as an iconic building that integrates accessibility, sustainability, and inclusivity. In partnership with the Faculty of Arts & Science, the Innovation Hub is looking for feedback to inform the redevelopment. 

Supporting Our Mental Health: A Co-Creation Event 

By jpolochansky | January 18, 2023
Supporting Our Mental Health: A Co-Creation Event

We want to hear from you! 

In partnership with Health & Wellness, the Innovation Hub wants to hear about how you take care of your mental health. . Join fellow students to generate ideas about programs and services to support mental health.

Faculty of Arts & Science Registrar Quick Student Consultation: Call for Participants

By paulkaita | January 11, 2023

We want to hear from you!

Are you a student in the Faculty of Arts & Science? Have you used the Registrar’s services? Do you want to make an impact on your student experiences and services? 

Reimagine Access with Sport & Rec

By jpolochansky | January 4, 2023
Reimagine Access with Sport & Rec

We want to hear from you! 

Sport & Rec is reimagining access to future programs, services, and spaces to ensure equity across a full spectrum of experiences. In partnership with Sport & Rec, the Innovation Hub is hosting feedback sessions that aim to hear from students about how future programs and services can better serve students with unmet accessibility needs, and be more welcoming to students of all backgrounds, all abilities, all genders, all races, and all bodies from equity-deserving communities.

Work with the Innovation Hub as the Research Lead

By paulkaita | December 16, 2022
Research Lead Hiring Poster

Are you someone who has a passion for research, storytelling, and improving the student experience? We’re excited to share our posting for the full-time Research Lead role here at the Innovation Hub! Apply by January 15, 2023. To learn more about the role and how to apply, take a look below. 

Co-Creating University College Spaces: Redefining the Student Experience

By jpolochansky | December 14, 2022

We want to hear from you! 

The University College community values equity, diversity, and inclusivity, and strives to create sustainable spaces. In partnership with UC, the Innovation Hub wants to hear from you to co-create the future of University College spaces. 

Call for New Innovation Hub Projects 2023-24

By paulkaita | December 9, 2022
Call for New Projects - Partner with the Innovation Hub

Partner with the Innovation Hub!

The Innovation Hub is ready to take on new design thinking projects for the 2023-2024 academic year. We can help your team to co-create programs, services, resources, and spaces with students. Working together, we help you build positivity around your project and ensure the highest possible student engagement in the process. Our student teams are hired and trained specifically for your project and work directly with you and your teams throughout the process.

Making Ideas Concrete: Sketching Helps me Communicate my Thoughts

By paulkaita | November 23, 2022
Paul smiling against the backdrop of a lake with rocks

Written by Paul Kaita, Senior Project Assistant, Master of Education, Higher Education 

The design thinking process is never straightforward. In fact, it’s usually a bit messy. Paul shares how he uses sketching to prototype ideas, share them with others and refine along the way. 

Take a Paws – Therapy Dog Event at the Innovation Hub

By jpolochansky | November 16, 2022
Banner of Therapy Dogs at the Innovation Hub

Having a “ruff” day? Join us in welcoming some guests from Sunshine Therapy Dogs for an afternoon of wellness and destressing. Several dogs will be in the Innovation Hub space on Friday, so take a study break and have a ball!  

Writing from Experience

By jpolochansky | November 2, 2022

Written by Jeanne Polochansky, Digital Content Writer, Psychology Specialist 

An image with an open laptop facing the reader.

Despite how daunting writing may seem, everyone has the skills to do it well. Jeanne shares how she overcomes her anxiety about the writing process through a set routine of reflecting, selecting, and revising. 

Gamification at the Innovation Hub

By paulkaita | October 26, 2022
Video game controller, tv, and and desktop computer

Written and Illustrations by Paul Kaita, Senior Project Assistant, Master of Education, Higher Education 

Games bring people together and can change the world. Paul reflects on his classroom experience and how gamifying Innovation Hub workshops evokes positive emotions and creates memorable learning moments. 


Working with Wellbeing in Mind

By jpolochansky | October 19, 2022

Jeanne looking at the camera standing infront of a wall with a lamp in the background

Jeanne shares the necessity of pursuing a non-academic passion and how it enriches her studies, work, and mental health.  

Researchers Reflect: My Design Thinking Journey

By paulkaita | October 12, 2022
Eli standing facing the camera, with a blurred background of a hallway

Written by Eli Rose, Design Research Team Lead, Food Services

The Innovation Hub has allowed me to continue my design thinking journey, and I am excited to apply my experiences to design problems in the future.

iExplore U of T Learning Abroad Information Session

By paulkaita | October 5, 2022
iExplore U of T Learning Abroad Info Session

Hosted by the Centre for International Experience, discover U of T Learning Abroad opportunities and see how you can engage with them during your time at the university.

Reflections Together: National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

By jpolochansky | September 30, 2022
September 30 commemorates Orange Shirt Day. The Innovation Hub Team reflects together on the importance of this day, and of…

Meet the Fall-Winter 2022-23 Team

By paulkaita | September 28, 2022

Written by Paul Kaita, Senior Project Assistant, Master of Education, Higher Education 

Meet our team and learn about our current projects for the new academic year. Stay engaged and get hyped for what the year has in store

Photo collage of the Innovation Hub Team
icons of houses, books, landmark icon, heart, and leaf

Sidney Smith Hall Redevelopment: Call for Participants 

By paulkaita | September 26, 2022
Do you spend time at Sidney Smith? Are you part of the Faculty of Arts & Science? Do you want…

Call for Participants: Tell Us About Your Experiences With Mental Health

By paulkaita | September 23, 2022
In partnership with Health & Wellness, the Innovation Hub is interested in hearing about how you are taking care of your…

Project Insights: Future of Dining at Chestnut Residence

By paulkaita | September 14, 2022

Written by Eli Rose, (Design Research Team Lead), Bo Phi, Kimberly Mak, Yin Chen Wan (Design Researchers) 

In this project, we partnered with Chestnut Residence to gain a deeper understanding of the student experience at the dining hall and help Food Services build a positive and collaborative relationship with students and staff. In this work, the Food Services Design Research Team reflects on their experiences. 

Connecting to Campus as a Team

By paulkaita | September 7, 2022

Written by Anchana Kuganesan – Design Research Team Lead Transforming the Instructional Landscape


Anchana smiling while leaning against a wall
Anchana Kugansesan

After joining the design research leadership team at the Innovation Hub, I had the chance to learn more about my colleagues during our team retreat day on August 8th. In the morning we took turns taking the team to different spots on campus that were memorable to us. We shared stories about how these places evoked emotions and memories about our time on campus, and how we are all connected through these feelings. We used design thinking methods to ask one another questions that probe more deeply into each other’s experiences and build empathy and we had great conversations as a team throughout the tour. Not only did this make us pay closer attention to our team members, but it also evoked new ways of thinking when we revisit these spaces on campus in the future. 

Reflections on the Return to In-Person Work

By kzheng | August 31, 2022

Written by Delphine Ji (Design Research Team Lead), Austin Go, Ting Bai, Izzy Friesen, and Hong Shu (Design Researchers)

Over the course of the summer, one team at the Innovation Hub has been dedicated to ensuring that returning to work in person is a positive experience. The team hosts team-building activities during our Friday workshop meetings and has been gathering feedback from team members. To grow and improve the Innovation Hub, a key focus is identifying aspects that are working well, and what to improve. With this term, the Innovation Hub has moved back into in-person work, and a few team members took a moment to reflect on their experiences. 

Conversations with our Partners at Robarts Library: Revitalizing the Iconic Fourth Floor Reading Room

By kzheng | August 24, 2022

Written by Katherine Zheng – Digital Content Writer, Emily Ling – Manager, Capital Projects & Planning, UTL & Glen Morales – Chief Administrative Officer, UTL


Innovation Hub Work Study Fall-Winter 2022-23 Hiring

By kzheng | August 15, 2022
Julia smiling against a white background
Julia Allworth, Manager, Innovation Projects

We are so excited to be starting off the fall/winter season on campus at the Innovation Hub. This is our 7th year of welcoming new students into the work, and we’re so grateful for our new space in the Student Commons. We are excited to announce that we have some amazing opportunities available this Fall/Winter 2022-23! The deadline to apply for positions is August 21 at 11:59pm. Job postings are now live on CLNx. 

Finding Inspiration in Research

By kzheng | August 10, 2022
Rion smiling in front of a Christmas tree outdoors

Written by Rion Levy, Design Research Team Lead: University College

Prior to coming to the Innovation Hub, my design research experience was sporadic. I have a few years of informal, self-led design research experience under my belt, but most of my formal training has been tied to the Academy. I’ve worked as a part of a team, as a team lead, and independently in the humanities, social sciences, and in design research.  

The Tech2U Pilot Program: Through the Eyes of Student Classroom Ambassadors

By kzheng | August 3, 2022
Written by: Anchana Kuganesan (Design Research Team Lead), Nia Spooner, Cathy Li, Ashley Vadivelu, Garima Sharma (Designer Researchers) The Tech2U…

Interested in Working at the Innovation Hub?

By paulkaita | July 27, 2022
Poster with a loudspeaker, projecting the event details

Are you curious about what we do at the Innovation Hub? Are you interested in working during the Fall/Winter 2022-23 Work Study term?  

On August 10th we’ll be hosting a special event via Zoom, sharing all about the Innovation Hub: who we are, what we do, and why we do it! 

Join Us at ‘Working with Tech2U’

By kzheng | July 25, 2022

Are you interested in what the Tech2U Classroom Ambassador experience is like? Are you thinking of joining the team as a Classroom Ambassador for the upcoming Fall/Winter 2022-23 Work-Study term, or know of someone who might want to apply?

Working with Tech2U

What’s Your Why: Personal Connection in Stories

By kzheng | July 20, 2022
In this installment What’s Your Why, a blog series aimed at highlighting the importance of connecting back to the “why”…

Commuter Experience: The Magic of Transit

By kzheng | July 13, 2022
Written by Katherine Zheng, Digital Content Writer; Illustrations by Tehseen Sarwar, Digital Storyteller There is something almost magical about the…

Project Insights from “Trans and Non-binary Student Experiences” Project

By paulkaita | June 29, 2022

Written by: Sabrina Wu, Senior Research Assistant

Sabrina smiling with plants in background

There are many student groups and communities – each contributing to the University in various ways. In partnership with the Sexual and Gender Diversity Office (SGDO), the Trans and Nonbinary (TNB) Student Experiences Project set out to seek a deeper understanding of TNB student experiences in two phases.

We’re Hiring at the Innovation Hub!

By paulkaita | June 22, 2022
We're Hiring Great Leaders at the Innovation Hub! icons of a microphone and briefcase and hands drawing a magnifying glass, light bulb, book, and graph.

Are you interested in communication, 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 that you can play an integral role in! We are seeking leaders to join our wonderful team! 

#DisplayYourPride 2022: What Pride Means to Us

By kzheng | June 15, 2022
A fist pointed up with a rainbow

Written by Katherine Zheng, Digital Content Writer

On June 15th, 2022, U of T celebrates Pride Month with the annual #DisplayYourPride event. For many people who are part of the LGBTQ community—including myself—Pride is a time of celebration and validity to show our authentic selves and embrace that the hardships we have been through do not erase our identity. Pride is about the continual fight for equality and acceptance for the queer community, but the differences in what pride means to us.  

Meet the Summer 2022 Team!

By kzheng | June 10, 2022

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. 

University College Spaces: Redefining the Student Experience – Call for Participants

By paulkaita | June 8, 2022
Graphic promoting feedback sessions

Do you spend time in University College spaces? Have you created memories and stories with University College communities? Are you curious about reimagining UC physical spaces? 

Project Insights from “Co-Creating Accessible Classrooms: Student-Instructor Collaboration”

By paulkaita | June 1, 2022
Written by: Sabrina Wu, Senior Research Assistant In partnership with Accessibility Services, we consulted with students in two phases to…

Project Insights from “Fostering the Courage to Learn: Student Experience at the Faculty of Dentistry”

By paulkaita | May 25, 2022
Lightbulb in shape of a tooth

Written by: Sabrina Wu, Senior Research Assistant

In the Faculty of Dentistry Student Experience project, we partnered with the Faculty of Dentistry to gain a deeper and nuanced understanding of the current Dentistry student experience and how it can be strengthened. While this project was specific to the Dentistry student experience, I found that the student needs around learning resonated with our team as well in our own learning experience. I have learned a lot through this project about the courage it takes to continue down the path of learning, as well as how to communicate what I have learned.  

Tech2U – Humanizing Classroom Technical Support

By paulkaita | May 18, 2022

Written by Sanskriti Maheshwari, Senior Research Assistant, Transforming the Instructional Landscape 

Sanksriti is wearing a blue shirt, standing outside

The Tech2U program launched in the fall of 2021 with the goal of humanizing classroom technical support to foster innovative teaching and learning in an increasingly technological classroom landscape. The initiative was launched as part of Transforming the Instructional Landscape (TIL). Tech2U is a partnership between Learning Space Management and the Innovation Hub. 

Robarts is Re-designing its 5th floor! Call for Participants

By paulkaita | May 11, 2022
Robarts is Re-Designing its 5th Floor

Share Your Feedback and Vision for Robarts Library 5th Floor

Sign up to share. Receive a $10 gift card as a thank you! 

Are you interested in digital humanities? Are you curious about a space for innovative digital scholarship? Have you ever used digital tools like GIS, SPSS, or more? 

What’s Your Why: Co-Creation

By paulkaita | May 4, 2022
Photo of Vlada
Vlada Gorchkova

This blog post is the fourth installment of What’s Your Why, a new blog series aimed at highlighting the importance of connecting back to the “why” that drives you and the work you are involved in. Our digital storyteller, Vlada, reflected on her work and process that entails designing visuals for the Innovation Hub. We hope this story inspires you to take a moment to reflect on your own individual “why”.  

Project Insights: 2021-22 Mental Health Care Delivery on Campus 2021-22

By paulkaita | April 27, 2022

Written by Marcus Lomboy (Senior Research Assistant), Tiffany Lee , Christopher Simpson, Isabel Bowman & Maliha Sarwar (Design Research Assistant)

Icon of a house with an blue heart in the middle and ring

Mental health is a complex issue. And designing a service that effectively meets the needs of a diverse student body is an equally wicked problem. In an effort to better understand the experiences of students accessing campus mental health supports, the Innovation Hub partnered with Health & Wellness (H&W) at the University of Toronto (U of T). The partnership began over the summer of 2021 over a series of group co-creation sessions. Continuing into the 2021-2022 fall and winter terms, we continued the co-design process by reaching out to students who accessed same-day appointments. 

Tech2U Summer 2022 Hiring Promotional Banner

We’re Hiring Summer 2022 Tech2U Classroom Ambassadors!

By paulkaita | April 20, 2022
Are you looking for an exciting work-study opportunity this summer? Tech2U is employing 40 students to provide U of T instructors…

The Innovation Hub is Hiring for the Summer 2022 Work Study Term!

By bgulilat | April 18, 2022
In continuing our work with rather than for students, we’re sharing some amazing opportunities available this Summer 2022 at the…

What’s Your Why: Prioritizing Perspectives

By paulkaita | April 13, 2022

This blog post is the third installment of What’s Your Why, a new blog series aimed at highlighting the importance of connecting back to the “why” that drives you and the work you are involved in. This week we will be featuring the story of our Writer & Editor, Spencer, who shares his experience supporting the research we do at the Innovation Hub. 

The Writer & Editor at the Innovation Hub communicates the insights from our project-specific work in our final reports to our partners and the broader U of T community in an easy-to-understand, accessible format. 

Image of Spencer, who is wearing a light blue button-up shirt and glasses, smiling towards the camera.

Written By: Spencer Ki, Writer & Editor 

What’s Your Why: A Curiosity for Human-Centered Design

By bgulilat | April 6, 2022
This blog post is the second installment of What’s Your Why, a new blog series aimed at highlighting the importance…

What’s Your Why: A Commitment for Change

By bgulilat | March 30, 2022
Betelehem outside smiling at the camera

This blog post is the first installment of What’s Your Why, a new blog series aimed at highlighting the importance of connecting back to the “why” that drives you and the work you are involved in. Each post is a written reflection from our team members, who took the time to graciously share their passions and purposes that drove them to their particular work at the Innovation Hub. We hope these stories inspire you to take a moment to reflect on your own individual “why”.  

Join Us At ‘Working at the Innovation Hub’

By bgulilat | March 23, 2022
Are you curious about what we do at the Innovation Hub? Are you thinking of applying to any of our…

Why Mindset Matters

By bgulilat | March 16, 2022
Written By: Betelehem Gulilat, Content Writer  Contributors: Shankeri Vijayakumar (UTQAP Research Coordinator), Lidiia Tulenkova and Maliha Sarwar (Design Researchers) Have…

We’re Hiring Great Leaders at the Innovation Hub!

By paulkaita | March 7, 2022

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!

Community Repost: Supporting Student Caregivers at University of Toronto’s Libraries

By bgulilat | March 2, 2022

By Yusur Al-Salman, Redefining Traditional Project Lead

Between the rising costs of childcare and the COVID-19 pandemic, entering parenthood as students seems more challenging than ever. And yet, there is growing effort to accommodate the practical needs of student-parents and to address them meaningfully, and one example is in making university libraries family-friendly. 

Icon of Library with red book on facade

How Iteration Connected Me to My Superpowers

By bgulilat | February 23, 2022

Written by Kaitlyn Corlett, Senior Project Assistant

A photo of Kaitlyn smiling to the camera, with trees and buildings in the background

When we think about superpowers our minds usually go to magical abilities or the supernatural. However, I believe that we all have superpowers and they’re our unique strengths we bring to this world. We might not know what they are at first, and it takes moments like navigating failure, overcoming obstacles, or facing uncertainty to begin learning what they might be. This requires learning from these experiences to gain a deeper sense of self, and a process that supports embracing uncertainty. 

Researchers Reflect: The Impact of Small Interactions

By bgulilat | February 16, 2022

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

Written by Sabrina Wu, Senior Research Assistant

In the past, I often associated research with substantial findings and grand theories. But the key to needs-finding and design thinking research can actually lie in what is ordinary and familiar – small daily interactions. My work at the Innovation Hub allowed me to closely experience and hear the impact small interactions have on students and researchers. 

Celebrating Black History, Excellence, and Community

By bgulilat | February 1, 2022

Magnifying glass with a heart in the centreAt the Innovation Hub, our mission is to design an equitable campus experience for students to flourish in and recognize at the core of our work are the diverse voices of students and communities across U of T.

The Quiet Power of Silence

By bgulilat | January 26, 2022

Written by Betelehem Gulilat, Content Writer 

Illustrated by Nikhil Parwar, Digital Storyteller 

Why do we as humans feel uncomfortable being in a space of silence? Whether it’s in the middle of a conversation, a work meeting, a stroll outdoors, or staying indoors in solitude, most of us feel unsettled by the absence of sound in almost every aspect of our lives. When silence is used with the right intentions, it can bring a world of meaning to our lives. It leaves us no other choice but to express empathy towards ourselves and others around us.

Researchers Reflect: The Value of Human Connection in Research

By bgulilat | January 19, 2022

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

Written by Shankeri Vijayakumar, UTQAP Research Coordinator  

Shankeri is standing outside, wearing a yellow top with a white blazer.

The relationship between researchers and participants is a unique one. Think about it, it’s an opportunity to hear stories and gain insight through an exchange of personal answers to deep questions. There is quite no other interaction like it and it’s part of what makes qualitative research such a powerful tool in design thinking. At the Innovation Hub, these in-depth qualitative research methods we follow have allowed me to connect with a diverse number of students united over a passion to enhance campus life at UofT.  

Community Re-post: Finding Academic Success and Balance As a Postsecondary Student Parent

By bgulilat | January 12, 2022

This is a re-post from Redefining Traditional, a community aiming to equip student parents with the tools to navigate their various roles, build a community of support and belonging, as well as providing a space for productive dialogue amongst policy-makers to help reimagine higher education. If you’re interested in contributing to our online community, we encourage you to share your story as a student parent by filling out this form.


Written by J. Sparks – Redefining Traditional Team Member

“How do you do it?”  As a postsecondary student parent, other parents have asked me this question.  When you are a parent, the idea of taking on more responsibility by going back to school can feel discouraging.  “How can I do it?  Can I be academically successful and take care of my family?”  I had asked myself these questions and deliberated before enrolling in graduate studies as a student parent. 

Start off 2022 by Learning Design Thinking at the Innovation Hub!

By kcorlett | January 5, 2022
A magnifying glass with a question mark and a lightbulb are connected by a circle, while being hand drawn by two hands.

It’s a new year – and with that comes new and exciting opportunities here at the Innovation Hub. As we return to campus this semester we wanted to remind our community about the Design Thinking Experience Program. Applications close January 19th – learn more & register for an information session below!


Are you a student or staff at U of T who is passionate about making a difference? Join our Design thinking Experience Program where we explore the student experience and learn about design thinking to make change. We are thrilled to be launching our Design Thinking Experience Program this Winter 2022 semester. Running weekly on Wednesdays 2:00-4:00PM from February 2 until April 6, this is a 10-week boot-camp style program that will provide you with: 

Work with Us and Support the Growth of the Innovation Hub!

By kcorlett | December 16, 2021

By Julia Allworth, Manager Innovation Projects

Are you someone who has a passion for community, creativity, and accessibility? We’re excited to share our posting for the Senior Project Assistant role here at the Innovation Hub! To learn more about the role and how to apply, take a look below.


A megaphone

Working as the lead administrator for the Innovation Hub and directly supporting the Manager, Innovation Projects, the Senior Project Assistant takes a leadership role in all elements of strategic and operational planning and communications for the Innovation Hub. They also provide leadership and support to the Innovation Hub teams in carrying out their work.  

Project Insights from ‘Celebrating International Students: Being Brave Away from Home’

By bgulilat | December 15, 2021

Written by Robin Martin, Serena Tran & Yuwei Jiang, Design Research Assistants for the Celebrating International Students Project

Illustrations by Nikhil Pawar & Marielle Dilla – Digital Storytellers

The international student experience at the University of Toronto (U of T) is anything but homogenous. The Celebrating International Students project began during the  2019-2020 Design Thinking Experience Program (DTEP), and quickly took off after recognizing just how complex, and at times similar, the challenges of being an international student truly is. Over the last year and a half our research teams have delved into our archive of more than 600 interviews to get a broadened sense of the international student experience from before and during pandemic. We were also grateful to have interviewed several U of T staff in October to round out the data even further. 

In this blog post, we will be sharing the main insights we have uncovered after interviewing and carefully analyzing our existing data, as well as our team members’ personal reflections from this project. We also share Building Bravery Design Principles to empower one another in celebrating international students at U of T, and a link to our report.

The Art of Active Listening

By bgulilat | December 8, 2021

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)

Exciting Opportunity to Learn Design Thinking and Be Involved With the Innovation Hub!

By kcorlett | December 1, 2021

Are you a student or staff at U of T who is passionate about making a difference? Join our Design thinking Experience Program where we explore the student experience and learn about design thinking to make change. We are thrilled to be launching our Design Thinking Experience Program this Winter 2022 semester. Running weekly on Wednesdays 2:00-4:00PM from February 2 until April 6, this is a 10-week boot-camp style program that will provide you with: 

  • an introduction to innovation and Design Thinking 
  • experience conducting qualitative research 
  • teamwork skills and connections on campus 
  • an opportunity to generate ideas to improve the student experience at U of T 
A blue and white graphic that reads 'The Design Thinking Experience Program' with colourful icons representing innovation and collaboration

Researchers Reflect: Failure as the Root of Innovation

By bgulilat | November 24, 2021

This blog post is part 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’s experience, stories, and learning moments throughout the course of their research.

Written by Sanskriti Maheshwari, Senior Research Assistant for Transforming the Instructional Landscape

Sanksriti is wearing a blue shirt, standing outside

When the University moved its operations online during Summer 2020, I took a chance and applied for a work-study position with the Innovation Hub. When my application was accepted, I was extremely excited. Like many students, I was trying to stay connected to life at the university, and my position with the Stories from a Distance Team gave me just that opportunity.

In Conversation with Julia Allworth: A New Space for Innovation and Community at The Student Commons

By kcorlett | November 17, 2021

 By Betelehem Gulilat, Content Writer & Julia Allworth, Manager of Innovation Projects  

When you hear the word collaboration, what comes to mind? Likely a group of people working collectively with a shared goal and ultimate purpose. In the age of technology and COVID-19, we discovered that collaboration does not have to be confined to a physical space but can in fact exist virtually to enable team members to work together from just about anywhere in the world. We discovered the values, setbacks and new approaches that come with collaboration virtually and for nearly two years this was our reality, up until this early October 2021… 

Reflecting on Future Impact: Trans Awareness week & The Innovation Hub

By bgulilat | November 10, 2021

Written By Sofia Callaghan, Izzy Friesen, Serena Singh – Design Research Assistants for the Trans and Nonbinary Student Experiences Project 

Sofia Callaghan

Izzy Friesen

Serena, Singh

Trans Awareness Week (November 13th-19th), and Transgender Day of Remembrance (November 20th) is approaching, and so we’d like to share some research that the Innovation Hub is working on with the Sexual and Gender Diversity Office (SGDO) 

Students are often queried by the University for their name and gender, which they can change using the change of name and gender request form; we wanted to learn more about the experiences of trans, nonbinary and/or otherwise gender nonconforming students navigating this form and other gender queries made by the University.  

Share your experiences with Classroom Accommodations: Call for Participants!

By kcorlett | November 9, 2021
We want to share what we heard from you and gather more feedback on your experiences of classroom accommodations and…

How We Co-Design to Center Student Voices

By kcorlett | November 8, 2021

Written by Georgia Maxwell & Marcus Lomboy (Senior Research Assistants), Sanskriti Maheshwari (Design Research Assistant), Amal Yusuf (Design Research Assistant), and Carla Montgomery-Alexander (Content Writer)


An illustrated icon of an individuals smiling, with a heart in the background representing care

In Summer 2021, The Innovation Hub was approached by Health and Wellness to help with their services redesign project, an initiative seeking to improve the delivery of mental health services on campus. Central to this service improvement work was having students directly contribute to the design of mental health service delivery, for Health and Wellness wanted to implement a model that ensures the best experience possible for any student who needs it. 

Join the Innovation Hub & Improve Student Experience as a Community Animator!

By kcorlett | October 28, 2021
Applications are now open We’re looking for students who would love to volunteer and contribute to our community! Deadline to…

Returning to Campus: New Directions

By bgulilat | October 27, 2021

Beth smiling towards the camera in a bright and sunny garden.

Written by Betelehem Gulilat, Content Writer 

Illustrated by Anna Tram, Digital Storyteller

We are two months into the fall semester. Classes have picked up, we are in the heart of midterm season and students are establishing a routine across their academic, work and social lives. Yet similar to last year, this school year is not quite like the rest. After spending the past year and a half at Zoom University, UofT students are returning to campus with mixed emotions from excitement, frustration, joy, anxiousness, more and everything in between. 

Fragments of normalcy can be seen walking through St. George Street, while waiting in line at the bookstore, or finding a seat at the library. But despite this ‘normalcy, we cannot deny the gaps that endured in pre-pandemic student life as much as the ones emerging post-pandemically. recent poll conducted by KPMG surveyed more than a thousand Canadian postsecondary students and discovered that 78 percent of students agree the pandemic has “fundamentally changed” their expectations of their higher education experience.   

Researchers Reflect: The Power of Empathy

By bgulilat | October 20, 2021

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.  

Join us! Trans and Nonbinary Student Feedback Sessions

By kcorlett | October 13, 2021
Inviting students who are trans, nonbinary, and/or otherwise gender nonconforming for feedback! In summer 2021, the Innovation Hub partnered with the Sexual…

Call for Participants: Student Experiences at the Faculty of Dentistry

By kcorlett | October 6, 2021
As the oldest, largest and top-ranked dental school in Canada, the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Toronto aims to provide…

Meet the Team 2021-22 Innovation Hub Team!

By bgulilat | October 5, 2021
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

By kcorlett | September 30, 2021

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:   

Call for Participants: Student Experience in Accessing Enrolment Services (Client Services) Inquiries

By kcorlett | September 29, 2021
Have you ever had a question about your transcript, financial aid & awards, or ACORN?  We want to know about your experience…

Community Repost: Introducing the Tech2U Initiative

By kcorlett | September 15, 2021

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.

Call for Participants: How can UofT Best Respond to Mental Health Crises?

By kcorlett | September 2, 2021

Join our sessions to explore recommendations from the community regarding the role of Campus Safety Services including recommendations around possible alternative models to better support students in mental health crises. 

Community Repost: Four Thrifty Tips for Managing Your Family Budget as a Postsecondary Student Parent

By kcorlett | August 25, 2021

This week’s post is a community repost from our Redefining Traditional Team! If you are a student parent or are a student parent supporter we invite you to take a look at many other fantastic works we post on the Redefining Traditional Website, and join our Facebook Group to support and learn from one another!


By J. Sparks – Redefining Traditional Project Team Member

Icon of a piggy bank, with coins going into it. Icon made by https://www.freepik.com from https://www.flaticon.com

As the start of another academic year approaches, tuition, books and material fees begin to mount and money management becomes top of mind for many postsecondary students, especially for those with family responsibilities.  When I enrolled in graduate school as parent, not only did becoming a student effect our household schedule and routines, it also impacted our family budget.  If you are presently facing the task of doing it all and paying for it all too, below are a few financial tricks and tips that I have found helpful during my postsecondary journey with kids.   

The Innovation Hub Is Hiring For The Fall/Winter 2021-2022 Study Term!

By kcorlett | August 16, 2021
This Fall-Winter term, we have a wide scope of exciting projects and opportunities available to students at the University of Toronto! These positions…

The Importance of Fostering Connectedness

By carlaalexander | August 11, 2021
Written by Carla Alexander, Content Writer Fostering connectedness with one’s peers is an important part of the student experience. That connectedness can take many…

Innovation & Compassion: The Importance of Design Thinking

By carlaalexander | August 4, 2021
An image of Carla, with short reddish-brown hair, wearing a light blue coat

Written by Carla Alexander, Content Writer

Students often face complex challenges. When it comes to topics like mental health, success in the classroom, food insecurity, we may stop ourselves and think: how can these issues ever truly be understood? After all, many universities have been in business for centuries, and these issues are still as prevalent amongst their students as they were decades ago. However, there is a way to approach these ‘wicked’ problems, no matter how difficult they may seem: design thinking. 

An illustrated icon of three people around a lightbulb. Around the three people is a dotted line, illustrating their connectivity

Design thinking forms the foundation of our work at the Innovation Hub. Our methodology involves a “human-centred” approach to student issues — but what does that mean, exactly? What is design thinking, and how can it be used to solve the hard-hitting issues that students face? 

Interested in Working with us? Join us at ‘Working at the Innovation Hub’!

By kcorlett | July 28, 2021

Are you curious about what we do at the Innovation Hub? Are you thinking of applying to any of our roles for the Fall Winter 2021-22 Work Study term, or know of someone who might want to apply?

A blue graphic with a variety of colour icons on it. The graphic reads "Working at the Innovation Hub".

On August 11th from 1-2pm EST (via Zoom), join us at ‘Working at the Innovation Hub’, a virtual event where we share what we do and why. Learn more about Design Thinking, our projects, and insights from our team! We will also share the variety of opportunities available for the Fall Winter Work Study Term, and what elements are important to consider in the application process.

Community Event: Crushing Impostor Phenomenon in Graduate School

By kcorlett | July 26, 2021

We would like to share this wonderful community event with our graduate student communities at UofT! ‘Crushing Impostor Phenomenon in Science’ is an initiative aimed towards minimizing patterns of Imposter Phenomenon, through a set of seminars and workshops for graduate students in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto. If you are interested, or know of individuals who would be interested in joining this community, continue reading!


Do you experience feelings of isolation and imposter phenomenon in graduate school? If you’re unsure, you can take this test to find out: http://impostortest.nickol.as/. Most graduate students do, but not many talk about it. 

We are inviting you to join the conversation by – “Crushing Imposter Phenomenon in Science”!

Commuting and COVID-19: Moving Into The Future

By carlaalexander | July 21, 2021
Written by Carla Alexander, Content Writer Icons illustrated by Vlada Gorchkova, Digital Storyteller University of Toronto is considered by many…

Revisiting the Domains of Innovation

By carlaalexander | July 14, 2021
An image of Carla, with short reddish-brown hair, wearing a light blue coat

Written by Carla Alexander, Content Writer

So much has changed within the past year — not only within the world, or the university, but within the Innovation Hub as well. As the Innovation Hub progressed throughout the pandemic, our projects have highlighted new and continuing issues students navigate, such as flourishing in online classrooms or maintaining connectiveness online. With this context in mind it’s important to begin thinking about the tools that guide, frame, and inspire our work, including the most important one of all: the Domains of Innovation.  

Cyberbullying and Mental Health: CAMH is looking for participants!

By carlaalexander | July 7, 2021
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health | CAMH
CAMH Logo- 2021

At the Innovation Hub, we see and experience how incredibly important student mental health is in our communities. In this community repost, we would like to highlight an important study by one of our community partners, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), and how you or a peer could participate in an important study this summer!


Mental Health Research Opportunity – Detection and Intervention of Cyberbullying on Social Media

Are you a social media user? Do you have thoughts and concerns about cyberbullying? Are you looking to get involved?

We are doing a study to better understand the needs and preferences of youth (ages 16-21) around cyberbullying on social media platforms. Our team is looking to engage with youth who are interested in collaborating with researchers to generate insights that will aid in the development of a digital tool to help prevent cyberbullying.

Community Repost: Reviewing Your Families’ Academic Year – Will it be Back to Virtual School for Yourself and Your Kids?

By kcorlett | June 30, 2021
This week’s post is a community repost from our Redefining Traditional Team! If you are a student parent or are…

All about the TIL Operations Working Group

By kcorlett | June 28, 2021
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. 

What We Learned from the ‘Let’s Talk About Failure’ Project

By kcorlett | June 23, 2021
Amal smiling to the camera, wearing a black and light pink outfit.
Rosemarie smiling at the camera against a light green background.
Sanskriti is smiling towards the camera, they are outside with trees and scenery in the background

Written by Sanskriti Maheshwari, Rosemarie Shephard, and Amal Yusuf, Data Analysis Researchers for the Let’s Talk About Failure project

alt=""

The Innovation Hub partnered with the Division of Student Life Academic Resilience Initiative to learn about UofT students’ experiences with failure: how they define failure, how they endure it, and the impact it has on their lives. We explored existing data on the topic in our archive of over 600 interviews and reached out to students at UofT to take part in our dialogue-based feedback sessions. We approached this project with the intention of hearing from and listening to students’ stories surrounding failure in their own words and on their own terms.  

Delving into the Digital Campus: Learning – and Growing – in Community

By kcorlett | June 18, 2021

By Kethmi Egodage, Design Researcher  

A photo of Kethmi, with a dark blue background. She's looking to the camera with long dark and red hair.

This blog post is the final post in the Delving into the Digital Campus series in collaboration with the Digital Community & Connectedness Project. It’s 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. This post will discuss how the shift to online learning has impacted students, instructors, staff, and our design researcher’s own experiences at UofT.  


An illustration of a laptop

Zoom School. That’s a buzzword students have been using to describe the transition to online learning. With a mix of synchronous and asynchronous classes and assignments, it’s no surprise that professors and students are overwhelmed and confused. Despite the best efforts made to continue providing a high standard of education, the question still remains: how do students feel about their community in the shift from in-person to online classes?  

#DisplayYourPride 2021: Centering Resistance, Joy, and Creativity

By kcorlett | June 17, 2021
Each year the Innovation Hub joins all three U of T campuses to celebrate Pride Month and #UofTPride with the…

A New Vision for TIL

By kcorlett | June 14, 2021
Kaitlyn smiling to the camera, wearing a dark top and long pink beaded earrings.
Georgia is outside, smiling towards the camera and wearing. a dark blue shirt.

Written by Georgia Maxwell (Senior Research Assistant) and Kaitlyn Corlett (Senior Project Assistant)

Since it was established in 2017, the Transforming the Instructional Landscape (TIL) project has renovated an impressive 93 classrooms to date. While classroom renovation and technology enhancement continue to be important TIL initiatives, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the integration of digital technology into teaching and pushed us to reimagine what learning spaces can look like.  

Share your experiences with classroom accommodations – Student Feedback Sessions

By kcorlett | June 7, 2021
Tell us about navigating classroom accommodations! The Innovation Hub and Accessibility Services (St. George) want to know about your experiences navigating accommodation from…

Share Your Experiences with UMLAP – Student Feedback Sessions

By kcorlett | May 31, 2021
UofT wants your feedback on the University Mandated Leave of Absence Policy!  The University of Toronto is seeking feedback for…

Meet the Summer 2021 Team!

By kcorlett | May 26, 2021
Julia Allworth smiling at the camera, wearing a striped shirt
Julia Allworth – Manager, Innovation Projects

The Innovation Hub is thrilled to introduce our Summer 2021 team, who will be using their knowledge, talents, passion and creativity to improve the lives of UofT’s students! Our multidisciplinary team will continue our work over the summer on improving student life through various partnerships and community collaborations.

Delving into the Digital Campus: The Many Faces of Vulnerability

By kcorlett | May 19, 2021

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. 

Transforming the Instructional Landscape: What We’ve Learned About Transcripts

By kcorlett | May 10, 2021
Marcus is outside, wearing a dark blue suit and smiling towards the camera
Georgia is outside, smiling towards the camera and wearing. a dark blue shirt.

Written by Georgia Maxwell (Senior Research Assistant) and Marcus Lomboy (Design Research Assistant for Transforming the Instructional Landscape)

For the past four years, the Innovation Hub has teamed up with the Learning Space Management (LSM) Team to examine how learning environments can be improved for both instructors and students.  

The Academic Integrity Project: Designing Student-Centered Academic Integrity at U of T

By kcorlett | May 5, 2021
Hai Dao smiling to the camera on a sunny day
Hai-Dao Le Nguyen
Shankeri outside, with a plain grey background, smiling to the camera
Shankeri Vijayakumar

By Shankeri Vijayakumar – Data Analysis Researcher and Hai-Dao Le Nguyen – Data Analysis Researcher 

Academic Integrity is essential to learning at the University of Toronto as students learn to engage with knowledge and ideas in a way that is respectful and honourable. This past year, the Innovation Hub partnered with U of T’s Provost’s Office to explore what academic integrity means and how it is experienced by students at the university.  

Delving into the Digital Campus: Birds of A Feather, Do Flock Together

By kcorlett | May 5, 2021
Sanskriti smiling to the camera outside

By Sanskriti Maheshwari, Design Researcher

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. 


Ever been told that opposites attract?

Through taking a course on Interpersonal Relationships, I uncovered something quite eye-opening. ‘Opposites attract’ is just a fantastical expression used to keep us invested in the romantic relationships and friendships that play out in front of our TV and movie screens. In reality, I have found that birds of a feather do in fact flock together. For example, in my own life I have observed that most of my closest friends have identical hobbies, personalities, political views, and so on. When meeting new individuals, any differences in interest or personalities can seem more pronounced than they really are. Possibly because a foundation built on a shared purpose hasn’t been established just yet.  This is also something I learnt from my experience conducting the Stories from a Distance Sessions and The Digital Community & Connectedness Project.  

An Exciting Opportunity to Learn Design Thinking and be Involved with the Innovation Hub!

By kcorlett | April 28, 2021

We are thrilled to be launching our Design Thinking Experience Program this summer! Running weekly on Tuesdays from 2:00-4:00PM between June 1st until August 3rd, this is a 10-week boot-camp style program that will provide you with: 

  • An introduction to innovation and Design Thinking 
  • Experience conducting qualitative research 
  • Teamwork skills and connections on campus 
  • An opportunity to generate ideas to improve the student experience at U of T 

Transforming the instructional landscape: The results from our Pilot program are in!

By kcorlett | April 26, 2021

Written by Nicholas Smith – Design Research Assistant for the Transforming the Instructional Landscape

What happens when you support instructors as they experiment with technology? During the Winter semester of 2021, the Transforming the Instructional Landscape (TIL) Pilot Project did just that. In the pilot, each member of our instructor cohort was provided with an individualized and adaptable classroom set-up, including high-quality recording equipment, stream decks, and monitor screens, alongside traditional teaching tools such as blackboards and lecterns. Our instructors were also paired with a technical “co-pilot” who ensured that the technology they employed ran smoothly by providing real-time support.  

Redefining Traditional: The Importance of Meaningful Land Acknowledgments (Part Three)

By kcorlett | April 22, 2021
tree with multicoloured triangles as leaves

This is a re-post from Redefining Traditional, a community aiming to equip student parents with the tools to navigate their various roles, build a community of support and belonging, as well as providing a space for productive dialogue amongst policy-makers to help reimagine higher education. If you’re interested in contributing to our online community, we encourage you to share your story as a student parent by filling out this form.

Our land acknowledgements series highlights important stories and teachings from each of the Redefining Traditional team members – Heather, Shamim and Kaitlyn. Through these posts, we aim for our community to think about how land acknowledgments are immensely important, and to ensure we engage in teachings about specific cultures beyond a day or month of recognition. We also highlight important questions to support our community so that an acknowledgement moves beyond a ‘script’ and towards an ongoing conversation.

Shamim Ahmed

Our final post in this series is by Shamim Ahmed! Our previous two posts are from:


The Innovation Hub is Hiring for the Summer 2021 Work Study Term!

By kcorlett | April 19, 2021
Julia Allworth – Manager
Innovation Projects

We’re excited to share some of the wonderful opportunities that are available for students at the Innovation Hub through the Work Study Program for Summer 2021! All of our work will continue to be virtual as we navigate new and continuing projects with our partners at UofT. We look forward to connecting with students, exploring new possibilities through our work, and inspiring innovation in community.

The deadline to apply to positions is Sunday, April 25th by 11:59pm. job postings are now live on CLNx.

Continue readings for job descriptions, to learn what working at the Innovation Hub means to our students, and more! To learn more about the positions and materials for applying please visit the Career & Co-Curricular Learning Network and search for the work study job board.

Nurturing Student Creativity

By bgulilat | April 14, 2021

By Betelehem Gulilat, Lead Editor & Writer

Betelehem outside smiling at the camera

What does it mean to be creative? At first thought, you may think of artists, designers, musicians as creatives, and indeed they are. However, being creative is more abstract than we imagined it to be. An entire field of creative studies exists that has dated back to the 1930s, simply dedicated to understanding the concept of creativity 1.  

Stories Through Research Wrap-up: Fostering Tenacity through Experiential Education

By kcorlett | April 13, 2021

In the fifth (and final!) instalment of Stories Through Research, we explored ‘Learning Through Experience: Fostering Tenacity Through Experiential Education’ at UofT. By holding space for the complexities, needs, and experiences of students, staff and stakeholders in Experiential Learning (EL) at UofT, we began to explore how could the benefits of EL occur throughout students’ whole time at the university?

Stories Through Research Wrap-Up: Meaningful Student Consultation

By kcorlett | April 8, 2021
Stories Through Research Spotlight

In the fourth instalment of Stories Through Research, our team discussed the many elements of meaningful student consultation and this might be realized in areas at UofT. Through interviews with staff and students, we were able to gain a deeper understanding of consultation from a variety of perspectives and experiences to ensure consultation is equitable to all involved. 

Stories Through Research Wrap-Up: Digital Community and Connectedness Project

By kcorlett | April 7, 2021
Stories Through Research spotlight icon

In our third session of Stories Through Research, the Digital Community and Connectedness team shared their findings on building digital connection in uncertainty, and what students need in online communities. From our interviews with students during these uncertain times, we were able to uncover important student needs that can support everyone in digital communities – no matter the platform.  

Stories Through Research Wrap-Up: Universal Design at the University of Toronto

By kcorlett | April 6, 2021

In the second session of Stories Through Research, we explored Universal Design at the University of Toronto and how we can break down barriers at UofT by centering students with disabilities. By understanding accessibility and equity in context at UofT, along with how interconnected this is with Universal Design, all of us can begin exploring how to make a difference in our contexts and reducing barriers in the student experience.  

Stories Through Research Wrap-Up: Food for Student Self-Fulfillment

By kcorlett | April 5, 2021

In our first Stories Through Research session, our team shared some of the many important insights that we learned and explored in ‘Food for Student Self-Fulfillment: Examining the Role of Food Insecurity on Campus’. By deeply understanding how present food insecurity is on campus and in higher education, while also centering student experiences and needs, our communities can understand how we can make steps to ensure that all students can experience food security during their studies.  

Join us at ‘Working at the Innovation Hub’!

By kcorlett | March 31, 2021

Are you curious about what we do at the Innovation Hub? Are you thinking of applying to any of our roles for the Summer 2021 Work Study term, or know of someone who might want to apply?

alt=""

On April 14th from 12-1pm EST (via Zoom), join us in a special event where we share what we do at the Innovation Hub and why. We will also share the variety of opportunities available for the Summer 2021 Work Study Term, and what elements are important to consider in the application process.

Delving into the Digital Campus: Let’s Talk About it – the Pandemic Hasn’t Been Easy

By kcorlett | March 24, 2021
By Mona Adibmoradi, Design Researcher    This blog post is part of Delving into the Digital Campus, a four-part series in collaboration with the…

Join us at Stories Through Research 2021!

By kcorlett | March 22, 2021
April 5th-9th, 2021 12-1pm EST over Zoom   Register at uoft.me/StoriesThroughResearch Stories Through Research: UofT Student Experiences from the Innovation Hub…

What’s Your Greatest Comeback Story?

By bgulilat | March 10, 2021
Life is filled with adversities. Without warning, it can place us in front of an obstacle we’d never imagine ourselves…

A New Opportunity at the Innovation Hub!

By kcorlett | March 5, 2021
A megaphone

Are you interested in working with us at the Innovation Hub in our leadership team? Do you have a passion for improving the student experience at UofT through innovation, research, and collaboration? Applications are now open for our Senior Research Assistant position!

In Community: the Importance of Reflection & Meaningful Work

By bgulilat | March 3, 2021

By Betelehem Gulilat – Lead Editor & Writer

Betelehem outside smiling at the camera

ZOOMlockdown and asynchronous. These are some of many words that come to mind for this academic year. It’s also been a year of many firsts. Many more students have been attending classes remotely, campuses have transformed, and the Class of 2020 has celebrated their graduation virtually in their homes within their bubbles.

The uncertainty unearthed many concerns for the future both near and far. Whether its deciding where to study or spend time with friends, or travelling amongst a sea of students, losses have been felt all around. For others, the pandemic might have also felt like an unexpected gift to reflect on what’s important. Perhaps it’s been a mix of everything, too! We have seen these realities in our work, both through research projects and in our own teams. Reflection on what we have accomplished this last year not only helped us learn from our experiences, but it also reaffirmed why holding space for meaningful work is so important.

Learning by Doing At The Innovation Hub

By bgulilat | February 24, 2021
By Betelehem Gulilat – Lead Editor & Writer Since our launch in June 2016, our work has been led by over 100…

‘Let’s Talk About Failure’ Call for Participation!

By bgulilat | February 22, 2021
We are excited to share another upcoming call for participation for all students of the UofT community!   When was the last time you experienced failure? What…

‘Tell Us About Your College Experience’ Call for Participation!

By bgulilat | February 17, 2021
Our team is excited to share our first call for participation for the year with our UofT student colleges community! The Colleges System at the St. George…

Acknowledging Black Experiences – A List of Resources for Learning & Growth

By bgulilat | February 10, 2021
Two message boxes on top of one another

When it comes to social justice everyone has a role in ensuring our society is equitable and fair for all its members – no matter their race, gender, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, or educational background. 

For generations, Black lives continue to be undermined within our society as a result of long-standing institutional racism embedded in daily practices. To dismantle these systems in place, and to truly be anti-racist, we must understand the experiences of Black lives in various communities and examine our view of ourselves and one another. 

Food Security: The Key to Student Self-Fulfillment

By bgulilat | February 3, 2021

By Johanna Pokorny – Senior Research Assistant, Amal Yusuf – Data Analysis Researcher, Rosemarie Shephard – Data Analysis Researcher and Betelehem Gulilat – Lead Editor & Writer

A vending machine next to a clock on the right hand side

In Canada alone, 2 out of 5 post-secondary students experience some form of food insecurity2Food insecurity is described as inadequate and insecure access to food as a result of financial constraints3. Its prevalence within the student population is overlooked by many considering the significant implications it has on students’ livelihood, learning and overall well-being. It’s complex and interconnected with our core needs and different for each and every individual in our communities.  

Applications for the Design Thinking Experience Program are Now Open!

By kcorlett | January 27, 2021

In March 2021, the Innovation Hub and the Centre for Learning, Leadership & Culture will launch a Design Thinking Experience Program (DTEP) for students and staff. Building on the success of the Innovation Hub’s student and staff DTEP bootcamps, this program will continue to address challenges in the student experience at UofT while providing participants with hands-on training in design thinking; moreover, it will bring staff and students together to encourage dialogue and broaden perspectives on what is possible at UofT. 

alt=""

In Honour of Black History Month: Shining A Light on Anti-Black Racism

By bgulilat | January 20, 2021
A magnifying glass looking into a heart

As we approach the month of February, the Innovation Hub will be recognizing and honouring Black History Month, a period dedicated to celebrating the centuries of traditions, heritage and achievements made by African Diaspora across the world. This upcoming month, a new chapter of history will be added to this powerful novel, based upon the series of unfortunate events that transpired over the past year. The previously existing racial injustices and violence faced by Black communities were for the first time observed on a world-wide scale. But most importantly, what was clearly observed was the concern of not only the past and present, but the future to come.  

‘Silence ensures that history repeats itself’  

Erin Gruwell

Using Design Thinking Mindsets For Rapid Change

By bgulilat | January 13, 2021
Two hands putting puzzle pieces together into a circle.

With restrictions in place in many of our communities being flexible and responsive to new ideas has become essential. By finding creative ways to work around limitations, design thinking has come to the forefront. Organizations (like the Innovation Hub) are using design thinking to solve their own unique set of challenges, and nurture mindsets that inspire change. Since the lockdown, our Leadership Team has been navigating and responding to internal challenges in new ways and are continuing to do so – many of which are explored in this post.  

The Varsity Spotlights Transforming the Instructional Landscape

By kcorlett | January 11, 2021
A spotlight on the new Pilot Project run by the Transforming the Instructional Landscape (TIL) team was published in The Varsity. Check out the article below…

Failing Forward: Embracing Failure In Our Work

By bgulilat | January 6, 2021
A side profile in front of a clock.

No matter how many times failure comes knocking at your door, it can feel like a stranger you don’t want to welcome in. Failure looks different for everyone, but the way we perceive it is often similar – a feeling of defeat after expending time and effort on a specific task. Although it sounds cliché, failure is a valuable learning tool. It presents an opportunity to put yourself out there and be vulnerable by attempting something for the first time. In fact, many organizations are beginning to adopt this practice of ‘failing forward’, a term coined by John C. Maxwell, as a mindset of separating mistakes from self-worth and intentionally stepping into unfamiliarity to seize more from life. At the Innovation Hub, failure has not only been welcomed but embraced in the work that we do. It is an essential part of solving complex problems to help us expand on our ideas and pivot towards the side of innovation. Much of our work won’t be where it is today without embracing failure.  

The Robarts Library Project: What do libraries mean to students?

By bgulilat | December 16, 2020

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

Icon of a book opening up, with a conversation bubble and ideas popping out of it.

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.  

Transforming the Instructional Landscape: Moving Towards Learner Centric Design in Times of Change

By kcorlett | December 9, 2020

By Philippa Gosine, Senior Research Assistant

Philippa Gosine, Senior Researcher, smiling at the camera in the sunny outdoors.

Through our user-centered consultations, we’ve realized that learning spaces are extremely personal and important places for the people that use them. Instructors and students have a strong sense of ownership over their classrooms and want to see their individual needs and preferences in the design of learning spaces.  

Journey of an International Student (Part One): “Much Ado About Nothing”

By bgulilat | December 2, 2020
This is a re-post from Redefining Traditional, a community aiming to equip student parents with the tools to navigate their various…

Our Final Week! What’s Happening November 30-December 4 on Stories from a Distance

By mujgan | November 30, 2020
The Stories from a Distance Team has had a wonderful time hosting weekly live sessions for you all! We started…

Designing Virtual Spaces with Accessibility in Mind

By bgulilat | November 25, 2020

By Betelehem Gulilat, Lead Writer & Editor and Philippa Gosine, Senior Research Assistant  

Betelehem outside smiling at the camera
Betelehem Gulilat
Philippa outdoors smiling at the camera
Philippa Gosine

Preserving a rich learning environment accessible for all students has been an ongoing commitment for many institutions. As faculties and administrators navigate the complexity of delivering courses online, it’s important for us to turn to our student community to understand the needs of students during this time. Our work at the Innovation Hub is centered around students and their unique stories with the goal of designing a campus experience inclusive for all. We recognize the importance of prioritizing accessibility and hope to inspire our community members to develop equitable strategies for accomodating students in their online learning.

What’s Happening November 23-27 on Stories from a Distance

By mujgan | November 20, 2020
Stories from a Distance encourages students to find community through conversation. Students can expect to be welcomed into a virtual space…

Student & Youth Mental Health Research Initiative – The Student Advisory Committee

By kcorlett | November 19, 2020

By Emma McCann – Engagement Lead & Kristin Cleverley – Chair, Student & Youth Mental Health Research Initiative

A headshot of Dr. Cleverley smiling to the camera wearing a dark blue blazer.
Dr. Kristin Cleverley

A headshot of Emma McCann smiling to the camera, wearing an olive green shirt.
Emma McCann

The Innovation Hub has been involved in a scope of conversations on mental health, wellness, and initiatives to support students. Most recently, our work with the Presidential & Provostial Taskforce on Student Mental Health shone a light on many needs in the community and has been a launch pad to important partnerships and initiatives to further support students at the University. We deeply understand how it’s so important to continue to highlight what is happening now in the community on student mental health and opportunities to be a part of these important conversations.

If you are a student and are passionate about improving campus mental health through collaborative research, we encourage reading this week’s special blog post on the Mental Health for Students & Youth Research Initiative!

*** Please note that the deadline to apply to this wonderful opportunity has been extended to January 11th, 2021! ***

It Takes A Village

By bgulilat | November 18, 2020

This is a re-post from Redefining Traditional, a community aiming to equip student parents with the tools to navigate their various roles, build a community of support and belonging, as well as providing a space for productive dialogue amongst policy-makers to help reimagine higher education. If you’re interested in contributing to our online community, we encourage you to share your story as a student parent by filling out this form.


Heather Watts smiling to the camera
Heather Watts, Design Researcher

Throughout my childhood, I lived in a number of different communities and homes. Burlington, Ottawa, and Cambridge, Massachusetts are just a few placed I have called ‘home’ over the years. Our moves across Turtle Island were a result of different career opportunities my father pursuing. I remember the networks of friends and family that supported me as a young child: Anna in Burlington, Tara in Ottawa, and Robin and Charmaine in Cambridge. I’m sure there are many others, but these are folks I have vivid memories of riding bicycles in the driveway, taking long walks down our residential street, and playing hours of Monopoly with (you know you’re making an investment of time when you sit down to play Monopoly!) To these people, I thank you. You weren’t merely babysitters, or but people who I looked up to, confided in, and leaned on during my younger years.

How Online Learning can be Improved through Learner-Centered Design

By kcorlett | November 16, 2020
Nicholas Smith, wearing a dark grey sweater and glasses.

Written by Nicholas SmithDesign Research Assistant for Transforming the Instructional Landscape

The COVID-19 pandemic greatly accelerated the integration of digital technology into instructional spaces, introducing discomfort and uncertainty into previously familiar terrain. Building on the healthcare concept of “patient-centred care,” this report proposes a model of “learner-centred design” as a means of contending with this discomfort in the implementation of new learning spaces. By putting users first, we hope to build learning spaces that empower instructors to experiment with new technology while meeting our users where they are—no matter if they are a technological expert or a complete novice. 

What’s Happening November 16-20 on Stories from a Distance

By mujgan | November 13, 2020
Stories from a Distance encourages students to find community through conversation. Students can expect to be welcomed into a virtual space…

A First Look at Our #LearnWithIntegrity Campaign

By bgulilat | November 11, 2020

What is academic integrity? Why is it important to understand? As we continue to learn and adapt to new changes, students are balancing new elements in their academic lives which can be immensely overwhelming. It’s important to think of how we can do this in the best way possible. In our #LearnWithIntegrity Campaign, we explored these themes for students by developing a visual campaign accessible for all, to help students learn and understand the meaning behind academic integrity.

What’s Happening November 9-13 on Stories from a Distance

By mujgan | November 6, 2020
Stories from a Distance encourages students to find community through conversation. Students can expect to be welcomed into a virtual space…

Delving into the Digital Campus – Exploring the Importance of Digital Communities to UofT Students

By bgulilat | November 4, 2020

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 ProjectBuilding on our previous work, this project is exploring how the student experience of finding and engaging in community continues to shift during this timeand what implications this has for those who build and facilitate connections within the online UofT community.

What’s Happening November 2-6 on Stories from a Distance

By mujgan | October 30, 2020
Stories from a Distance encourages students to find community through conversation. Students can expect to be welcomed into a virtual space…

In Conversation with Sebastian Smith: Understanding the Impact of COVID-19 for International Students in Higher Education

By bgulilat | October 28, 2020

By Betelehem Gulilat, Lead Writer and Editor 

What makes the international student experience different from those of domestic students?  Since the pandemica new set of challenges has emerged on top of the pre-pandemic realm of campus life that international students are valiantly navigating. In turning to our vibrant and diverse community at UofT, we hope to spark discussions by bringing student stories to light.

What’s Happening October 26-30 on Stories From a Distance

By mujgan | October 23, 2020
Stories from a Distance encourages students to find community through conversation. Students can expect to be welcomed into a virtual space…

Embracing Change – How our Process of Innovation Has Empowered New Areas of our Work

By bgulilat | October 21, 2020

Kaitlyn Corlett smiling at the camera
Kaitlyn Corlett, Senior Project Assistant

In times of uncertainty, navigating an unfamiliar space can feel like an impossible task to achieve. Last March, we were in this very spot where we didn’t know what our work at the Innovation Hub would look like. But what we did know is that whatever it may beit would be immensely valuable in these times. By embracing change we’ve been exploring new ways to support the UofT community and ensuring we continue to drive our work by students for students through our design research projects. We’re so excited to share that by embracing change, new channels of our work have been inspired to connect individuals and build community in dynamic ways.

What’s Happening October 19-23 on Stories From a Distance

By mujgan | October 16, 2020
Stories from a Distance encourages students to find community through conversation. Students can expect to be welcome into a virtual space…

What Matters to UofT Students? The Innovation Hub’s 4-year journey to understanding this question

By Julia Allworth | October 14, 2020

Julia smeed smiling at the camera, wearing a striped shirt
Julia Smeed smiling at the camera

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.

‘Tell us about being a graduate student’ Call for Participation!

By bgulilat | October 12, 2020

We’re excited to share a call for participation with our UofT graduate student community!

Banner illustrating various graduate student competencies

Graduate supervision and mentorship are the backbone of a graduate student’s experience at the University of Toronto. This is why the Innovation Hub, a student-led group which uses student-centric design to improve campus life, is looking for graduate students and postdoctoral researchers to take part in virtual feedback sessions on their mentorship and supervision experiences.

What’s Happening October 12-16 on Stories from a Distance

By gianinaramos | October 9, 2020
Stories from a Distance encourages students to find community through conversation. Students can expect to be welcome into a virtual space…

A Conversation On Building a Community of Care on Campus

By bgulilat | October 7, 2020
Kaitlyn Corlett smiling at the camera
Kaitlyn Corlett, Senior Project Assistant

Many of us have shifted into a new reality of learning, working, and connecting with our loved ones. As we return to campus in our relative capacities, we reflect on how this may look for everyone – especially within the scope of mental health. At a time of social distancing, it is incredibly important for every individual to have support and access to the resources they need. That’s why at the Innovation Hub, we’ve been thinking deeply of how our insights from previous (and ongoing work) with students can be shared to our campus community. Our objective is to help support students by designing spaces grounded in a culture of care at the University of Toronto.  

We connected with Joshua Grondin, a Master of Education student in Higher Education at OISE and past Vice-President of the University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU). Joshua is also a part of Students for Barrier-free Access, a levy-funded student group that advocates for disabled and mad-identified students on campus. Through these capacities, Joshua has a great deal of empathy for the many realities at the University. Especially when it comes to mental health, wellness and understanding where culture of care principles come into play between individuals and the University.  

What’s Happening September October 5-9 on Stories from a Distance

By gianinaramos | October 2, 2020
Stories from a Distance encourages students to find community through conversation. Students can expect to be welcome into a virtual space…

Reflections on Orange Shirt Day

By bgulilat | September 30, 2020

This is a re-post from Redefining Traditional in acknowledgement of Orange Shirt Day, a day to honour the lives of children impacted by the residential school system and its continued effect in Indigenous communities across the country. Our Design Researcher at the Innovation Hub, Heather Watts, has shared a thoughtful piece on the significance of this day – one that every individual should deeply reflect on. We also recognize that our learning about and with Indigenous folx and histories does not and should not be located only on specific days, and should be ongoing.


Heather Watts, Design Researcher

Last year around this time, I wrote the following post on my Facebook page: 

A lot of feelings as I dropped Nico off this morning, sporting his orange shirt. Today is Orange Shirt Day, a day designed to educate people and promote awareness about the Indian residential school system and the impact this system had on Indigenous communities for more than a century in Canada, and still does today. 

This system was assimilation and erasure packaged and tied as ‘education’. What do we mean when we use this word? What are we teaching? What are we intentionally leaving out? What narrative are we working to maintain? 

‘What do you do at the Library?’ Call for Participation!

By kcorlett | September 28, 2020
Our work is quickly progressing this term and we’re excited to share a call for participation with our UofT student…

What’s Happening September 28-October 2 on Stories from a Distance

By gianinaramos | September 25, 2020
Stories from a Distance encourages students to find community through conversation. Students can expect to be welcome into a virtual space…

Meet the 2020-2021 Innovation Hub Team!

By bgulilat | September 24, 2020

Betelehem outdoors, smiling to the camera
Betelehem Gulilat, Writer & Editor

This year at the Innovation Hub we are excited to continue our work for students by students with our largest and most diverse team yet! Like many, we have adapted to the “new normal” by re-directing our team into a collaborative virtual space to help keep our momentum going through the coming year. Despite these uncertain times, our multidisciplinary team continues to mirror the diversity of the University of Toronto community and is expanding to support our growing number of projects.

What’s Happening September 21-25 on Stories from a Distance

By gianinaramos | September 18, 2020
Stories from a Distance encourages students to find community through conversation. Students can expect to be welcome into a virtual space…

We’re back! September 14-18 on Stories from a Distance

By gianinaramos | September 11, 2020
We’re excited to announce that we are BACK! Stories from a Distance will be running a weekly 3-day rotation with…

What Does Trust Look Like in Online Spaces? An Overview of TIL’s Latest Report

By kcorlett | August 24, 2020
A photo of Nicholas Smith in a grey sweater, wearing dark rimmed glasses.

Written by Nicholas Smith – Design Research Assistant for Transforming the Instructional Landscape

As the UofT community continues to navigate the transition to online learning, maintaining bonds of trust amongst instructors, staff, and students has become increasingly important.  

Students need to trust that the quality of their education is not being compromised and that the University can accommodate the diverse ways that COVID-19 has affected their lives. Similarly, instructors and AV technicians need to be confident that the University will support them with the many ways that their roles and daily working lives have changed.  

alt=""

Stories Through Research Spotlight: Impact of COVID-19 on the Mental Health and Vulnerability of Sexual and Gender Minorities (SGM) Living in Toronto

By kcorlett | August 20, 2020

This guest blog post is part of our Stories Through Research Series: Learning from UofT Researchers on How Students are Impacted by COVID-19. Each post in this series highlights three UofT research projects helping us understand student experiences and challenges in these unprecedented times. Each spotlight includes a blog post and scheduled zoom session for individuals from all areas of the University to come together as we listen, learn, and share important elements that must be engaged through conversation. Learn more at uoft.me/storiesthroughresearch.

Icon resembling communitity with the colours and designs inspired by the LGBTQ+ flag.

Centering SGM voices for inclusive models of care. 

Project Team: Jessica Fields (UofT), James Gibb (UofT), Sarah Williams (UofT), Ali Greery (UofT), Leela McKinnon (UofT) 

To get in touch with and meet the team, come to our live zoom session next week, August 27th.

Stories Through Research Spotlight: Our Languages, Our Lives and the Global Pandemic

By kcorlett | August 19, 2020

This guest blog post is part of our Stories Through Research Series: Learning from UofT Researchers on How Students are Impacted by COVID-19. Each post in this series highlights three UofT research projects helping us understand student experiences and challenges in these unprecedented times. Each spotlight includes a blog post and scheduled zoom session for individuals from all areas of the University to come together as we listen, learn, and share important elements that must be engaged through conversation. Learn more at uoft.me/storiesthroughresearch.

Two speech bubbles overlapping with an icon of a globe in the top right-hand corner

Thinking deeply about how language in students’ lives has shifted during a pandemic.

Project Team: Dr. Maya Abtahian (University of Rochester’s Department of Linguistics) and Dr. Naomi Nagy (University of Toronto’s Department of Linguistics) 

To get in touch with and meet the team, come to our live zoom session next week, August 26th.

Stories Through Research Spotlight: Going Viral – COVID-19 and Risk in Young Adult Health Behaviour Models

By kcorlett | August 18, 2020

This guest blog post is part of our Stories Through Research Series: Learning from UofT Researchers on How Students are Impacted by COVID-19. Each post in this series highlights a UofT research project helping us understand student experiences and challenges in these unprecedented times. Each spotlight includes a blog post and scheduled zoom session for individuals from all areas of the University to come together as we listen, learn, and share important elements that must be engaged through conversation. Learn more at uoft.me/storiesthroughresearch.

Icon of a hand holding up an icon of an individual with a heart to convey support and trust

How are young adults experiencing fear and being brave as their worlds, online and offline, transform in the pandemic?

Project Team: Dr. Madeleine Mant (UTM), Dr. Alyson Holland (McMaster), and Dr. Andrew Prine (Groves Memorial Community Hospital)

To get in touch with and meet the team, come to our live zoom session next week, August 25th.


The Innovation Hub is Hiring for the Fall/Winter 2020-2021 Work Study Term!

By kcorlett | August 17, 2020
The Innovation Hub is Hiring: Work Study 2020-2021; white text on a purple background with an icon of a hand holding a post it note.

This Summer at the Innovation Hub we have been so grateful for continuing our work by students, for students. We have had opportunities to continue to grow ongoing partnerships, while also engaging in new work and ideating projects. In a time where we are uncertain about many things, we want to offer our potential team members the opportunity to both contribute to the university and learn new skills.

Julia smeed smiling at the camera, wearing a striped shirt
Julia Smeed – Manager, Innovation Projects

We’re looking for dedicated students who are interested in improving campus life by focusing on student needs, who want to work with design thinking inspired methods, or are passionate about engaging with communities and want to support students in a variety of ways. Individuals considering applying to a role must have the ability to work remotely and engage in virtual project work and in collaborative online environment.

What’s Happening August 10-14 on Stories from a Distance

By gianinaramos | August 7, 2020
Stories from a Distance encourages students to find community through conversation. Students can expect to be welcome into a virtual space…

What’s Happening August 3-7 on Stories from a Distance

By gianinaramos | July 31, 2020
Stories from a Distance encourages students to find community through conversation. Students can expect to be welcome into a virtual space…

The E-Motion of Research at the Innovation Hub

By terrilynnlangdon | July 27, 2020

By Terri-Lynn Langdon, Lead Editor and Writer – in collaboration with Johanna Pokorny (Ethnography and Insights Team Lead) and Danielle Baillargeon (Data Analysis Team Lead)

A mosaic of students connecting over Microsoft Teams, with sticky notes around the outside with writing on them such as "navigating resources" or "commuting students". Dashed lines and icons are connecting with one another to visualize collaboration in research.
Virtual Collaboration at the Innovation Hub, Summer 2020

At the Innovation Hub an intended focus of our research as a by and for student research Hub at U of T is empathy and the tapestry of it in the development of our questions, writing, and its role in research findings.

[1]The research process at the Innovation Hub includes design thinking supported by ethnographic research methodology, which seek to understand people in context. Where other qualitative methods (like survey work) operate through “extracting” data, ethnography is wholistic and expanding. The goal is not to be ‘statistically significant’ but rather to identify insights and themes from a few rich and unique stories.

What’s Happening July 27-31 on Stories from a Distance

By gianinaramos | July 24, 2020
Stories from a Distance encourages students to find community through conversation. Students can expect to be welcome into a virtual space…

In Conversation with Ngoné Lo: Insights into the Experiences of International Students with Disabilities and Musings on the Fall Semester

By terrilynnlangdon | July 20, 2020

By Terri-Lynn Langdon, Lead Editor and Writer

Questions around how the University of Toronto can support international students using an intersectional lens in the best ways possible are critical. We need to support students who have not been traditionally supported in their educational and skill development. In this role as a Lead Editor and Writer, I take great care to capture stories that need telling. I had the privilege to sit down and talk to Ngoné about what is going on in her life as a U of T student.

What’s Happening July 20-24 on Stories from a Distance

By gianinaramos | July 17, 2020
Stories from a Distance encourages students to find community through conversation. Students can expect to be welcome into a virtual space…

A Glimpse Into the Lives of Disabled Student Parents at the University of Toronto

By terrilynnlangdon | July 13, 2020
<