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

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…

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

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 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’

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

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!

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

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 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

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!

We want to share what we heard from you and gather more feedback on your experiences of classroom accommodations and accessibility!   Sign up to share. Receive a $10 gift card as a thank you!  In summer 2021, the Innovation Hub partnered with Accessibility Services to gain…