Implementing Our Plan
Since the creation of our 2020-2025 Academic Plan, the Faculty of Arts & Science has made considerable progress in meeting established goals — while also rising to challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to intensifying our efforts in research capacity, teaching distinction, student well-being, and equity, diversity and inclusion, we have initiated and played a key role in several important institutional partnerships. We have also extended our commitment to sustainability and remain focused on implementing a digital learning strategy to provide our community with the best tools and resources available both inside and outside the classroom.
How are we doing?
Key highlights and progress to date.
- Increased support for Research Services
To magnify the scope of our research services, A&S has improved support for the grant application process, and delivered a host of new research information sessions, workshops, panel discussions, peer review sessions, and grant writing bootcamps.
- Dean’s Research Excellence Awards
This awards program recognizes the achievements of outstanding mid-career faculty, positioning them to compete successfully in national and international awards competitions.
- Data Sciences Institute (DSI)
A&S played a central role in establishing the Data Sciences Institute, which provides the leadership and capacity to catalyze data sciences across all disciplines.
- Acceleration Consortium (AC)
Research capacity is being strengthened thanks to the Faculty’s involvement with and support for the Acceleration Consortium — a new global coalition of academia, industry, and government that uses artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics to accelerate the design and discovery of affordable and sustainable materials.
- Schwartz-Reisman Institute for Technology & Society (SRI)
As a key partner of the Schwartz Reisman Innovation Centre, A&S is advancing the next wave of Canadian innovation, enabling AI, biomedicine and other disruptive technologies to enrich lives.
This free online program is available to all 7000 incoming first-year A&S students. With a mix of faculty lectures, skill-building exercises, and peer-led study groups, it supports students in finding community at U of T.
- New degree programs
Two new degree programs — an Honours BSc major in Quantitative Biology and an Honours BA major in Work & Organizations — were launched in 2021 and 2022, respectively.
- Arts & Science Internship Program
Launched in fall 2021, the Arts & Science Internship Program provides students with an exceptional range of paid work opportunities couple with specialized professional training. Plans are underway to expand ASIP opportunities to additional units in 2023.
- Mental Health support
In recognition of the importance A&S places on mental health support, the Faculty has offered an extensive series of workshops and training sessions to promote mental health literacy.
In response to COVID-19, the A&S mental health team hosted a series of 17 virtual, and later in-person, Wellness In Practice activities for faculty, staff and graduate students.
- MindsRedefined Conference
A&S’s second Faculty-wide mental health and wellness conference, 2022 Minds Redefined, explored themes of resilience, wellbeing, and how to cultivate spaces that de-stigmatize mental illness, prioritize wellbeing, and encourage help-seeking.
- Centre for Caribbean Studies
The Centre for Caribbean Studies was established as an EDU:B on July 1, 2022. The Centre will be the home of the only programs in Canada specifically dedicated to the study of the Caribbean and its people. The Centre will facilitate the strategic broadening and deepening of teaching and research in Caribbean Studies.
- School of the Environment
The Faculty has supported the School of The Environment through a conversion from EDU:B to EDU:A status, effective July 2021. This change will facilitate the School’s role as an international leader in interdisciplinary environmental research and teaching, and responds to the growing urgency of global environmental crises and the demand from students that universities play a leadership role in responding to these crises.
- Centre for Indigenous Studies
The Faculty has supported the Centre for Indigenous Studies through a conversion from EDU:B to EDU:A status. This change will allow the Centre to broaden its strategic mission and increase teaching and research expertise, in part through new majority appointments.
- Appointment of Elder and Special Advisor to the Dean
The Faculty of Arts & Science recently appointed Eileen Antone in the role of Elder and Special Advisor on Indigenous Affairs to the Dean.
- Hiring of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Director
In 2021, A&S hired its inaugural Director of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion to provide strategic leadership and enhance a sense of belonging across the A&S community.
- New staffing to support EDI
The Faculty also hired a Student Recruitment Officer and a Student Success Program Officer to reinforce unit support.
More information about Arts & Science EDI initiatives can be found in the annual EDI report released by the University’s Division of People Strategy, Equity & Culture
- Palette Skills Inc.
A unique new partnership with Palette Skills Inc. has made A&S the national host of this ground-breaking not-for-profit on behalf of U of T. Under this agreement, students will receive superior skills training and certification to fortify their work experience.
- Memorandum of Understanding with Kyiv-Mohyla Academy
Under an agreement with Ukraine’s National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy (KMA), A&S will collaborate on a variety of educational and research initiatives. During 2022-2023, the Faculty will welcome more than 200 KMA students on exchange, supported by the Temerty Foundation.
- Centre for Entrepreneurship
The new Centre for Entrepreneurship is home to entrepreneurship education, co-curricular programs, venture incubation and acceleration in the Faculty of Arts & Science. In 2023, it will move into a dedicated space in the Schwartz Reisman Centre.
- Experiential Learning Commons
The new Experiential Learning Commons (ELC) will open during the 2022-2023 academic year, in partnership with the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering and the Provost’s Office.
- Digital Learning Strategy
A&S’s Digital Learning Strategy has been developed to foster a wealth of new tech-based teaching and learning options. 2020 saw the launch of the Online Learning Academy, an instructor-to-instructor network created to assist the delivery of such options.