Graduation Education Innovation Fund Winners


The Graduate Education Innovation Fund (GEIF) contributes to the mission of School of Graduate Studies, by fostering excellence in graduate education, including an exceptional student experience. The purpose the GEIF is to enrich the learning experience of graduate students in both our research-based and professional degree programmes, by supporting projects within and across academic divisions and units, that create positive, innovative changes in the design and delivery of graduate education at the University of Toronto.

This three-year pilot project was launched in Fall 2021. A review process will ensue to ensure that the initiative meets its goals. Learn more and apply.  

Read further to learn about the winning applications from previous cycles.

Previous Winners

Year / MonthProject TitleApplicant(s)FacultyDepartment(s)Lay Summary
2024 / 04Sediments Remember: Building Communities of Sustainable GeoarchaeologicalDonald Butler, Selina Amaral, Lachlan Kyle-
Robinson, Romina
Atashrazm, Candice Shaw, Melanie
Faculty of Arts and ScienceAnthropologyBreakthroughs in geoscientific archaeology are diversifying understandings of how people improve and maintain lands through time. Sediments Remember is an experiential, interdisciplinary geoarchaeology centered curriculum renewal initiative that engages with decolonizing how we find, show, and mobilize these histories. In our graduate geoarchaeology course, Indigenous learning circles and laboratory training intersect to teach ways of working with human-environment histories that align with Indigenous rights and their goals of learning from and protecting their lands.

Indigenous communities have a growing interest in underlining their ways of knowing with minimally invasive, sustainable archaeological methods to clarify aspects of their land management histories. Landscape sediment surveys are valuable here – because sediments remember. The chemical/physical fingerprints archived in sediments offer sustainable ways of tracking woven societal and environmental histories. Our goal is to establish an Indigenized, experiential, interdisciplinary course to teach new approaches in these areas. GEIF funding will create the learning circle x laboratory training opportunities students need to build communities of sustainable archaeological practice. In our course, students will make a training sourcebook and micro-credential that teach us how convergent Indigenous and geoarchaeological perspectives can open new pathways toward mitigating crises of climate change and habitat loss.
2024 / 04Better Together: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Pressure Injury Prevention and ManagementSharon Gabison, Sylvia
Langlois, Cathy Craven
Temerty Faculty of MedicinePhysical TherapyPressure injuries (PIs) occur when an individual is unable to reposition themselves leading to tissue damage over a bony area of such as their low back, pelvis, or heels. Individuals who spend a lot of time in one position are at risk of developing a PI. PIs can cause tremendous pain and suffering, infection, or death. Sometimes the person who is at risk for developing a PI doesn’t realize how serious they are until it is too late.

Preventing and managing PIs requires many healthcare professionals (e.g., physicians, nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists, social workers) to work together. More importantly, the individual living with a PI must be actively involved in their care including receiving education on how to prevent and manage PIs. Individuals living with PIs must also be provided with information about how to recognize when they need the care of an interprofessional team. The interprofessional team must know how to work together to best help the person living with or at risk of developing a PI. We are co-creating an interprofessional PI curriculum with individuals who have experienced a PI or looked after someone with a PI. This curriculum will be for future healthcare professionals so that they can learn about the roles each profession plays in interprofessional PI prevention and management and gain experience in collaboration, communication and the development of patient-centred approaches.
2024 / 04Visualization and design of drug candidates and biomolecules in virtual realityHaissi Cui, Mark Nitz, Amanda
Hargrove, Helen Tran, Alana Ogata, Xiao-an Zhang, Madeline Gerbig
Faculty of Arts and ScienceChemistryChemistry is a major determinant in our daily lives and its influence ranges from the materials we use, to the medication we take, to the cellular processes that keeps us alive. Therefore, in the chemistry graduate program understanding how matter is built and how molecules interact, is key to understanding the processes that in turn manipulate and influence. Molecules are three-dimensional objects but interactions between molecules are usually studied on a flat screen, which only allows a two-dimensional projection of the three-dimensional space. Recently, software packages have been developed that allow interactive and immersive viewing as well as manipulation of small molecule/biomolecule-interactions in virtual reality (VR). For the first time, this technology allows us to interact with molecules at the nanometer scale. One potential use case would involve the study of potential drug candidates and how they fit into the binding pockets of the proteins that they specifically target – we can now view them as if we were standing inside them, enabling a new appreciation of the geometry and interactions driving their binding. Here, we propose the acquisition of VR headsets and software packages to view molecular structures in virtual reality and to model, predict, and design small molecule modulators of these biomolecules. This technological innovation will support graduate education through the integration into existing courses and enable the development of new courses.
2024 / 04Inspire Pedagogy: A Model for Training Future Teachers in Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Prevention EducationMiglena TodorovaTemerty Faculty of MedicinePhysical TherapySexual and gender-based violence is an urgent global issue requiring well-trained teachers, educators and facilitators who can design and deliver potent violent prevention content aimed at diverse groups of learners. We lack presently advanced graduate courses where students in the field of education could develop professional skills in sexual violence prevention education targeting secondary and postsecondary learners.
We propose a graduat
e practicum designed to provide students at the Ontario Institute for Studies of Education with rigorous theoretical and practical training in designing and delivering sexual violence prevention curriculum targeting specific groups of learners and communities. The course will enact “inspire pedagogy” defined as an educational approach that translates critical theories into robust and evidence-informed practice for delivering training on sensitive social topics such as intimacy, sexuality, gender, and violence (Moore &Whitfield, 2008; Vanner, 2021, 2024).

The proposed training will enhance an existing graduate course entitled SJE 1978 “Sexual and Gander-Based Violence Prevention in Higher Education.” We seek funds to develop a practicum leg of the course allowing students to design and deliver sexual violence prevention workshops on selected topics to stakeholders such as K12 students, postsecondary students, school administrators, and community members who will provide feedback that will be incorporated in the student workshops.
2024 / 04Development of an innovative, simulation-based Graduate Research Interactions with Human Participants (GRIHP) Training programSamantha Mayo, Kimberley Widger, Erica Cambly, Robyn Stremler, Christopher
Bergeron, Jordana
McMurray, Andrea Johnson
Lawrence Bloomberg Faculty of NursingNursingGraduate students in health sciences commonly interact with human participants as part of their research, and are expected to consider individual circumstances (e.g., age, health conditions, literacy, race, ethnicity) to ensure equity, safety, and scientific rigor within these interactions. Without a systematic way to develop these skills, the quality and impact of students’ research can vary. The objective of this project is to develop an innovative, simulation-based training program to support graduate student confidence and competency in fundamental research interactions with participants. The Graduate Research Interactions with Human Participants (GRIHP) Training program will support critical experiential learning through the novel application of simulation-based techniques in four common scenarios: (1) obtaining informed consent for research participation; (2) one-on-one qualitative interviewing; (3) focus group facilitation; and (4) dealing with strong emotions. Building on our expertise in simulation-based training at the Lawrence Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, this project will comprise focus groups, simulation development using best practices, and testing of the simulations with students in our research-based and professional doctorate programs. Our goal is to integrate the GRIHP training program as a standard part of our doctoral programs, with potential expansion to include additional types of research interactions and relevance to other graduate programs.
2024 / 04Indigenous Sovereignty and De-Colonial Research in Conservation, Ecology, and Evolutionary Biology: Concepts and MethodologiesShelby Riskin, Madeline
Jarvis-Cross, Jaime Grimm
Faculty of Arts and ScienceEcology and Evolutionary BiologyResearch in Conservation, Ecology, and Evolutionary Biology (CEEB) is built from a legacy of colonization and exclusion of Indigenous Peoples. Western universities and the Canadian federal government are increasingly acknowledging Indigenous Peoples’ rights to self-determination and governance. However, policies on research ethics primarily focus on mitigating harm to human participants. When we exclude Indigenous people from research on their Lands and Waters, unanticipated impacts may undermine their livelihoods, cultures, and well-being.

To mitigate the harms and create more inclusive methods, researchers must first understand the ethics of co-producing knowledge with Indigenous communities, and the collection/use of environmental data. To meet these goals, we seek GEIF funding to develop and deliver a 6-week module to train U of T graduate students in CEEB in concepts and methodologies around Indigenous sovereignty and decolonial research. We will guide discussions around interdisciplinary readings, case studies, and guest lectures. Funding from GEIF provide stipends for a graduate student project manager and research assistant, honoraria for guest speakers and support students in pursuing additional training (e.g. the First Nations Information Governance Centre’s course on the Fundamentals of data Ownership, Control, Access and Possession®). In future years, we aim to expand our delivery to include undergraduate students and people taking field courses.
2023 / 11A Land-Based Learning Partnership (University of Toronto x Johnny Therriault First Nation School)Laurie Faith, Yiola CleovoulouOntario Institute for Studies in EducationApplied Psychology and Human DevelopmentWe are seeking funding to add an experiential learning opportunity for teacher candidates in the Master of Arts in Child Study Education program. In addition to our three standard local teaching placements, we would like to create a fourth monthlong Spring placement for 3 specially selected and trained teacher candidates in a remote First Nation community – five hours north of Thunder Bay in Treaty 9.

The proposed Land-Based Learning project is the next step in a longstanding partnership between the Robertson Program for Inquiry Based Teaching in Math and Science (Robertson), the Master of Arts in Child Study and Education (the MA CSE) teacher training program at OISE, and the Johnny Therriault First Nation School in Northern Ontario. The Robertson and MA CSE Programs have worked in reciprocal relationship with the students, teachers, and principals at Johnny Therriault for 7 years across multiple projects. In partnership, we have increased Johnny Therriault’s access to STEM education, and increased the MA CSE’s knowledge about land-based education, Indigenous ways of knowing, reconciliation and decolonization, and how to meet the unique needs for education in northern Indigenous communities. The relationship also serves to help Johnny Therriault attract qualified teachers to the region.
2023 / 11Footsteps Towards Reconciliation: Indigenous Cultural Sensitivity in Clinical Research Using Virtual RealityNicole Harnett, Nairy Khodabakhshian, Kyla Lee, Sobiga Vryavanathan, Tulip Marawi, Maryam Sorkhou, Ted Brown, Evan TannenbaumTemerty Faculty of MedicineInstitute of Medical ScienceA key priority outlined by the Canada Research Coordinating Committee is promoting reconciliation with Indigenous communities. At the IMS, we have identified a lack of Indigenous representation in the graduate curricula and hesitation among students to engage confidently with these populations. To address this, we propose using virtual reality (VR) as a transformative education tool.

Over the past two years, our team has demonstrated the feasibility of using VR in graduate education. We have developed and successfully integrated a Clinical Research Skills course (MSC1121H) at IMS, which combines traditional lectures with cutting-edge VR technology. To date, we have developed one fully immersive VR module, with a second in progress, focusing on obtaining patient consent and understanding the ethical nuances of patient recruitment. Our next objective is to develop a third module which addresses the gaps described above.

Our proposed VR module aims to equip graduate students with cultural sensitivity training to engage respectfully with Indigenous individuals in clinical research. This module will shed light on the unique sociopolitical factors influencing Indigenous populations and foster a deeper understanding of their distinct cultural contexts. This aligns with the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions’ goals and acknowledges the significance of Indigenous representation in healthcare curriculums. VR allows us to recreate a range of patient interactions that is safe, accessible, and cost-effective. Our commitment to expanding the MSC1121H course with a dedicated VR module for Indigenous cultural sensitivity training is an important step towards rectifying historical disparities and fostering a culturally competent clinical research experience.
2023 / 11Re-storying autism through neurodiversity-affirming pedagogy and practice in occupational therapy educationChristie Welch, Yani HamdaniTemerty Faculty of MedicineOccupational Science and Occupational TherapyBuilding on work from the Re-Storying Autism Project ( and in collaboration with Dr. Patricia Douglas at Queens University, this project will develop, pilot, and evaluate a learning module designed to promote neurodiversity affirming concepts and practices for future occupational therapists. The learning module will draw on personal stories of autistic people to stimulate critical thinking and sensitize students to concepts of disability justice in healthcare. Students will watch the restorying videos and engage in facilitated group discussions to link concepts to practical approaches in future practice. The pilot will be conducted specifically with occupational therapy (OT) students and lay the foundation to scale up to interprofessional education across Temerty Faculty of Medicine programs and beyond.
2023 / 11Advancing Architectural Education through AI IntegrationVivian LeeJohn H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, & DesignArchitecture, Landscape, & DesignWhile many disciplines are grappling with the recent advancements of AI technology in both practice and academia, much of it driven by the fear of replacement or academic integrity, this research proposal aims to harness AI’s image processing abilities in architectural education. In Research Studio ARC3020 conducted with Daniels Faculty’s graduate students of architecture, the goal is to integrate image processing AI tools in architectural design while evaluating with students the pedagogical lessons learned on topics of composition, materiality, labor, and building systems integration in architecture.

Our experiential learning research is twofold: 1) to investigate with students the active use of AI in architectural design and document this design process, and 2) to reflect on how architectural education and learning will be changed by this new powerful tool. The findings of this research will be shared with the Daniels Faculty community in a one day symposium as well as a report publication to be disseminated with the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) and Canadian Council of University Schools of Architecture (CCUSA).
2023 / 11Conferencing Skills in Literary Studies: A Community of Practice Working GroupDaniel Newman, Nicole Birch-BayleyFaculty of Arts and ScienceEnglishDoctoral students are expected to participate in the professional life in their field. Too often, these expectations are implicit, and the knowledge required to navigate professional life are often tacit. In literary studies, one such activity is participating in academic conferences. While some students are lucky enough to get thorough guidance and mentorship, many must learn the conferencing ropes on their own, by observation, emulation, and a lot of trial and error. In short, conferencing is for many doctoral students a mystified and stressful process, which can discourage participation or lead to uninformed (and financially costly decisions) about what conferences to attend and how often.

Our project aims to provide doctoral students in English with a deliberate,experiential immersion into the “life cycle” of academic conferencing—from searching for conferences to crafting calls-for-participants; from writing strong paper and/or panel proposals to writing and delivering effective presentations. The program will include informational workshops and, more importantly, a small community to foster peer-learning. As a capstone for the project, participants will all attend a conference where their proposed panels or papers will be presented. The idea, then, is to apply a deliberate Community of Practice (CoP) approach to demystify a key part of academic life by making the skills and competencies of effective conferencing more accessible and achievable for graduate students.
2022 / 11Faculty and Students in Conversation: A collaborative model for anti-oppression pedagogy and practices in higher educationYiola CleovoulouOntario Institute for Studies in EducationApplied Psychology and Human DevelopmentFaculty and Students in Conversation is a student-driven model involving a series of events for collaborative engagement of brave conversations about anti-oppression and equity practices between faculty and graduate students. The purpose is to deepen faculty and student understanding of the complexities of anti-oppression work in higher education. This model advances understanding of student experiences that will contribute to creating relevant and actionable items for improving equity pedagogy and practices. The model is grounded in community, care, and trust. Its innovation lies in the move away from typical town hall processes and centres collaboration and understanding as its goals. The model is one that graduate programs can adopt for improved equity implementation. The Graduate Education Innovation Fund (GEIF) is an ideal opportunity to engage faculty and students in the process for contributing to program improvement.

The inaugural Child Study in Education program “Conversation” began in August 2022, with over 60 program community members, including 45 graduate students and 15 faculty members and received positive feedback from both faculty and graduate students. We are looking for funding to support work related to documentation, design, and dissemination of the model with other programs. A team of students and faculty will work with Professor Yiola Cleovoulou to systematize the model and create a template to be used broadly across university programs.
2022 / 11PT Games: Physical Therapy Gaming Applications for Motivating and Engaging StudentsSharon Gabison, Jaimie Coleman, Sonya AllinFaculty of MedicinePhysical TherapyComputer-based simulation is an emerging technology in health professional education enabling students to practice procedural skills while reducing equipment and human resource needs. Our team is developing computer-based simulations (“PTGames”) to teach Physical Therapy students the skills required for accreditation (e.g. supplemental oxygen administration and titration and the application of electrophysical agents). To date, a selection of desktop narrative and video based simulations have been developed. Each simulation walks a student user through the process of making clinical decisions on a simulated patient. Development has been championed by physical therapy trainees working in concert with computer science students and under the guidance of interdisciplinary faculty. Games have been built using a variety of technologies (Javascript, H5P, Unity). A selection of the games are actively in use within Quercus course shells.

The goal of this proposal will be to extend this work with the help of an industry partner, SilicoLabs, a Toronto based software development company that markets robust tools to create Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and desktop simulations of clinical tasks. Our collaborations will enable us to translate our existing desktop simulations (oxygen titration and shockwave therapy) into immersive AR games while integrating usability and learning outcome analytics. Additionally, we will pilot test the immersive AR games. 
2022 / 11A Quality Improvement Community of Practice for Health Profession Graduate StudentsCertina Ho, Annie Yao, Eulaine Ma,Faculty of PharmacyPharmaceutical SciencesThis project is a collaboration between the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, the Department of Psychiatry, and the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE/UT). Subject matter experts from OISE/UT, including Dr. Jim Hewitt, has kindly offered their expertise to help make PeppeR the online solution or technological innovation for the Quality Improvement Community of Practice (QI CoP). PeppeR is a web-based collaborative workspace where health profession graduate students and healthcare professionals (HCPs) can engage in interdisciplinary inquiry, professional development, and exchange ideas and experiences. PeppeR offers a variety of knowledge building features and social networking tools that support graduate students and HCPs to share information, identify key ideas, and work collaboratively to improve those ideas.

This virtual QI CoP is a very exciting Graduate Education Innovation (GEI) that will provide an opportunity for peer learning and shared resources for graduate students in psychiatry, pharmacy, and other health profession graduate studies. This project is aligned with three GEIF themes – Interdisciplinary Learning, Technological Innovation, and Professional Development. The integration of the virtual QI CoP in graduate studies will allow more interdisciplinary learning opportunities for health profession graduate students and HCPs. It may also serve as a potential continuing professional development resource going forward.
2022 / 11Fostering Long-Lasting Career Development Opportunities through the Summer Psychology Research Initiative (SPRINT)Elizabeth Page-GouldFaculty of Arts and SciencePsychologyThe University of Toronto (UofT) Summer Psychology Research Initiative (SPRINT) is a two-week research training program for high-school students from underrepresented racial groups organized entirely by graduate students passionate about fostering an inclusive and anti-racist environment for learning and mentorship. Through the SPRINT outreach program, graduate students act as research mentors and lecturers to a large group of high-school students who may not have access to psychology research training. With SPRINT, graduate students will learn and develop teaching and mentorship philosophies informed by anti-oppression and anti-colonial perspectives when advising students from communities that are historically underrepresented in psychology research, providing an opportunity that is severely lacking in our current graduate training. SPRINT provides an avenue to grow and train a community of graduate students with the experience to teach and mentor the next generation of academics with perspectives rooted in equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI).

Now, we are seeking funding to further expand our program and create new training opportunities throughout the year with tools, resources, and workshops that will support graduate students as they develop their teaching and mentorship practices in a manner that best serves the needs of historically underrepresented communities.
2022 / 11Rethinking Computational Education: an Active and Experiential Learning Approach that Blends Theory, Coding and Real ApplicationsPiero TriverioFaculty of Applied Science & EngineeringElectrical & Computer EngineeringComputational thinking has become a critical skill for graduates in engineering, in science, and also in the humanities. To be taught effectively, computational skills require integrating theory, coding, and applications into every lecture. Due to technical and logistic reasons, the current reality is very different. Theory is covered in classrooms, with students performing coding experiments afterwards, in a computer lab. Furthermore, programming languages that work well for education, like Python, do not scale well to real-world applications.

We propose a new paradigm that blends theory, coding, and real-life applications. The instructor will begin lectures on a Jupyter notebook, a new software where one can include all the three key elements of computational science: text, formulas and code snippets that can be run live in the class. Through online access to the same notebook, students will be able to immediately tinker with the new concepts, and then take over and “own” the learning progress by solving, on the notebook, a series of problems in an active and experiential fashion. We will use Julia, a revolutionary programming language that is both suitable for education but can also attain high performance. With Julia, students will be able to apply their codes to real-world problems, drawn from the multi-year collaboration of the applicant with Advanced Micro Devices on the computational modeling of  integrated circuits. 
2022 / 04Virtual Reality: An innovative pedagogy for health care studentsAndrea Duncan, Emily Ho, Behdin Nowrouzi-KiaFaculty of MedicineOccupational Science and Occupational TherapyVirtual reality (VR) is a computer-generated experience in which a user is immersed in a simulated environment with the ability to interact and manipulate their surroundings. Despite the increasing interest in VR as a teaching tool, we currently do not have a strong foundation to understand the impact of VR within post-secondary education. Within medical education we have observed some promising applications of VR, however the mechanisms of how VR improves the learning experience when compared to traditional learning are still not well understood.

The objectives of this innovative pilot project are to: a) acquire and create VR experiential learning modules, b) pilot these modules with students and explore their perceptions of VR as a teaching tool and c) develop plans for a larger evaluation.

This pilot project is an ideal opportunity for the Graduate Education Innovation Fund; however, the larger impacts and outcomes include technology purchases that can be used for other teaching innovations, an informed understanding of how to roll out VR as a teaching tool and development of a broader evaluation.”
2022 / 04Project Management and Consulting Skills Module for International Virtual Engineering Student TeamsMarzi MarziFaculty of Applied Science & EngineeringMechanical & Industrial EngineeringEngineering students require global and professional competencies to help prepare them to work in an increasingly culturally diverse, complex, and interconnected global economy. Through the International Virtual Engineering Student Teams (InVEST) Initiative projects and modules, we are working to enhance international awareness and cultural sensitivities of engineering students while equipping them with professional skills to enhance their employability.

The initiative enables students at UofT to partner with students from international institutions to work on engineering design projects, interact with peers and build global perspectives. Each team comprised students from multiple countries, faculty, and engineering firms. Students’ understanding of professional skills and intercultural competence is assessed before and after the program to determine the impact of our program on their understanding of intercultural values and global virtual team collaboration.

We have found that blending professional skills and intercultural content with global projects is a successful strategy for helping students develop these essential competencies, in addition to engineering knowledge and global team collaboration experiences. To date, we have established 20 projects with over 11 Universities, and over 20 faculty advisors, and 42 students. We are looking to gain support from GEIF to expand our program and add two modules on Project Management and Consulting competencies.
2022 / 04Experiential Hands-on Training in Islamic Manuscript StudiesJeanne Miller, Ruba Kana’an, Walid Saleh, Maria SubtelnyFaculty of Arts & ScienceNear & Middle Eastern CivilizationsWe seek GEIF funding for a 3-day series of workshops at three major Toronto Islamic manuscripts collections, to train graduate students in Islamic codicology. This is a trial run for planning a regular week-long Islamic codicology “short course” every two years, in collaboration with the Fisher Rare Books Library at University of Toronto, the Aga Khan Museum (AKM), and the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM).

Codicology is a core skill in Islamic Studies and should be part of the regular training of graduate students, but it is rarely taught and remains under-researched. Dramatic recent expansions in Toronto-based Islamic manuscript collections make Toronto for the first time a viable site for Islamic codicology training.

We propose to use GEIF funding to bring in Evyn Kropf, Librarian for Middle Eastern & North African Studies and Religious Studies and Curator of the Islamic Manuscripts Collection at the University of Michigan Library. She is a well-published specialist in Islamic codicology who regularly teaches “short courses.” She will assess the three collections to help us push forward our “short course” plan, while directing the three codicology workshops for our current students as a trial run.
2022 / 04A pilot micro-credential in the DPES MEnvSc Program: Indigenous perspectives in environmental sciencesKaren Smith, David McLagan, Stuart Livingstone, Elyse Caron-BeaudoinUniversity of Toronto at ScarboroughPhysical & Environmental SciencesWe aim to redevelop the core seminar course (EES1100) of UTSC’s Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences’ (DPES) Professional Master of Environmental Science program to align more strategically with the critical professional competencies required by professionals working across the varied fields of Environmental Sciences. The course will be transformed into a suite of latticed micro-credentials that directly address these targeted competencies in order to better prepare students for the work-place, benefitting graduates and industry partners alike.

The vanguard of this program will be a micro-credential that addresses issues of Indigenous Sovereignty, environmental governance, and knowledge-valuing into practices in environmental sciences and management. We propose to explore and co-develop the structure and teachings of this micro-credential in the broad areas of: (i) recognizing Indigenous Peoples as key environmental rights and title holders by respecting Indigenous sovereignty and environmental stewardship, and (ii) more effectively acknowledging Indigenous Knowledges in quantitative environmental science and the environmental impact assessment process.

This micro-credential course will provide students with essential training on Indigenous environmental perspectives and improve the awareness of the next generation of
environmental scientists and managers of the critical role of Indigenous stewardship in guiding societies’ progress towards sustainability.
2022 / 04Reimagining the Graduate Student Handbook: A template to support graduate-level equity, diversity, and inclusion by prioritizing transparency, relationality, and demystification in a key document of graduate student life.Zoe WoolFaculty of Arts & SciencePsychologyA department’s graduate student handbook is a key document of graduate student life. As such, it has an important role to play in either maintaining practices of exclusion within the academy, or creating meaningful inclusion for students from groups traditionally marginalized with, or excluded from, a given field.

This project extends speculative work created in the graduate class “Anthropology Beyond White Supremacy” to develop an annotated graduate student handbook template that allows these handbooks to enact principles of transparency, relationality, and demystification–three principles the class identified as central to moving beyond white supremacist forms of knowledge and institutional reproduction.

The team of students will work with Professor Zoë Wool to create both a revised version of the Department of Anthropology’s Graduate Student Handbook, as well as a template that can be broadly used across the social sciences and humanities.
2021 / 10The MedGenIDP – A Web-based IDP Tool for Non-PhD StudentsErin Styles, Johanna Carroll, Matina Steiner, Nana LeeFaculty of MedicineMolecular GeneticsHow do I secure a job after graduation? This question is an important consideration for all graduate students. Finding a satisfying career that makes good use of skills and aligns with interests and personal values can be challenging, but the process can be streamlined by using an Individual Development Plan (IDP).

IDPs are very popular for PhD-level graduate students and post-doctoral trainees, and there are several excellent online platforms for generating personalized IDPs. However, none of these existing tools are  appropriate for non-PhD-stream graduate students, since most of the suggested careers require a PhD.

This project proposes expanding and improve an existing paper-based IDP tool called the MedGenIDP, developed for a group of graduate students in a professional Master’s of Health Science program in Medical Genomics. We propose to build an interactive, online IDP platform to enhance graduate professional development for these students. By helping students identify a clear career trajectory, the MedGenIDP will allow students to focus their graduate training and professional development, resulting in increased program satisfaction, and potentially a reduced time to employment after graduation.

This project represents a significant opportunity for the Temerty Faculty of Medicine and the School of Graduate Studies – we anticipate that this pilot project can be used as a template to design comprehensive IDP platforms for many other non-PhD-level graduate programs.
2021 / 10The Sound LabRebecca Woods, Auguste Nahas, Tamara Walker, Edward Jones-ImhotepFaculty of Arts & ScienceInstitute for the History & Philosophy of Science & TechnologyThis project seeks to build a “sound lab” designed to provide students with the opportunity for the creative communication of research to a broad public within and beyond the University. By training students in audio-based media such as podcasting, audio documentaries and experimental sound recording, the Sound Lab will provide the resources for sound-based learning and research inside and outside the classroom, and allow students to disseminate their work to make an impact outside of academia.

Through a range of programs within and beyond the formal classroom, students involved in the Sound Lab gain experience with the basics of sound recording and audio editing, allowing for the recording and dissemination of talks, events, and the production of podcasts. The lab also intends to foster creative, student-run initiatives to experiment with other creative sonic presentations of their research interests.

A joint project with the Department of History, in its pilot phase the Sound Lab will be housed primarily at the IHPST, with plans to expand into graduate pedagogy in History, and to build collaborative projects with other efforts internationally (e.g. Climate-Change Storytelling initiative).
2021 / 10Social media to enhance research productivity and impactLydia Wilkinson, Alison McGuiganFaculty of Applied Science & EngineeringChemical Engineering & Applied ChemistryResearch and innovation to solve global problems relies on interdisciplinary teams. Effective teams are built by establishing networks where community members interact to identify additional collaborators that can provide complementary expertise and receive feedback to refine their research ideas.

Social media has transformed our capacity to access diverse and international networks to increase the impact of research and innovation and establish an international research brand. Effective scientific networking on social media is built on accessible, impactful communication that connects people from disparate communities. Strategic communication through social media should not just report a final product but is central to the research and innovation process. Yet currently graduate students are not trained to leverage social media to build research teams, obtain feedback on research ideas, and maximize the impact of their research. This training is not only important during their graduate degree; it will be critical when they enter the workplace as the next generation of Canadian leaders.

We propose to: assess the social media strategies graduate students use; deliver a pilot workshop on social media for research; define social media learning objectives; and develop a plan to deliver these learning objectives. Through this process we will create a unique training experience that enables our graduate students to embrace social media as a strategic research and innovation tool.
2021 / 10Research toolkits for multiculturalism and diversity research in a multidisciplinary contextSherry YuFaculty of InformationInformationWhile multiculturalism is an everyday reality in Canada, there are limited opportunities for students to give deeper thought to this subject in terms of how their daily experiences are debated through multiculturalism theories, let alone how (or how much) diversity is researched or practiced in their own field of study or professional fields.

The iSchool’s ‘INF2319 Critical Approaches to Multiculturalism, Media, and Social Integration’ provides students with the opportunity to explore multiculturalism in their own fields of study. A challenge in doing so, however, is the great diversity of concentrations within the iSchool’s programs from which students enroll in the course, as the conceptualization and evaluation of knowledge is known to differ by disciplines (Kolb, 1981). Therefore, this project aims to develop concentration-specific research toolkits and provide students with a discipline-specific space to research multiculturalism.

The toolkits will consist of 1) a set of research inquiries raised in the field, and 2) a set of materials that helps explore those inquiries, with a focus on how diverse cultural perspectives are considered in their field as an effort to respond to decolonization, anti-oppression, and anti-racism. The toolkits will also be highly scalable and transferrable to other courses within the iSchool for instructors who understand the significance of multicultural education and seek pedagogical approaches to incorporate in their course design.
2021 / 10Summer Psychology Research Initiative (SPRINT)Elizabeth Page-Gould, Jennifer Chan, Sagana Vijarajah, Bryan Hong, Logan Doyle, Alexa Sacchi, Alexandra SamsonFaculty of Arts & ScienceAnthropologyThe Summer Psychology Research Initiative (SPRINT) is a two-week program created and run by graduate students as part of the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Initiative through the Department of Psychology at the University of Toronto (UofT). SPRINT is a high school outreach program that provides graduate students the opportunity to develop teaching resources and deliver lectures in their field of study. In addition, the SPRINT program presents graduate students with structured leadership experience as they mentor a group of high school students in the creation of their own original research project proposal. This program offers the rare opportunity to provide graduate students with valuable skill development and experience for their CV while simultaneously supporting students from groups that are typically underrepresented in Psychology at UofT.

The inaugural SPRINT was run online between July 19-30, 2021, with 25 high school students led by a volunteer team of over 30 UofT undergraduate students, graduate students, post-doctoral research fellows, and faculty members. The program received positive feedback from both high school and graduate student participants. Given the program’s initial success, we are looking for funding to expand by including more high school students and adapting the program to be run in-person. These changes will require the recruitment of many more graduate students and longer training sessions on the development of teaching materials. Additionally, these changes will lay the groundwork for future programs in the Psychology Department at the University of Toronto that are specifically geared towards underrepresented communities.
Graduation Education Innovation Fund Winners since Fall 2021.