What’s Your Why: A Commitment for Change

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”.  

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

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

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

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. 

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.

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.  

Returning to Campus: New Directions

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.