Student Diversity Data Centre
The data available on this website provides details about the representation of undergraduate and graduate students from six equity groups: women, racialized people, Black people, First Nations, Métis and Inuit Peoples, persons with disabilities and 2SLGBTQ+ people.
Self-identification data was voluntarily provided by students who completed the Student Diversity Self-ID.
Students who self-identify as a member of more than one equity group are counted under each group, and so may be counted more than once.
Sources for the community data and explanations of terminology are detailed in the glossary.
The first Student Diversity Self-ID report showed the diversity of our student population in the 2018-2019 academic year, with representation of undergraduate women, racialized, Black and 2SLGBTQ+ students reflecting the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) community within which TMU is located.
At the same time, the first report showed that more intentional action was needed to increase access to undergraduate programs for First Nations, Métis and Inuit (FNMI) students and students with disabilities. There were also substantial gaps in representation of racialized, Black and FNMI students, and students with disabilities in graduate programs.
This second, updated report, with data from the 2020-2021 academic year, was meant to provide an opportunity to check if progress is starting to be made towards shrinking the gaps.
However, because of the pandemic and its impact on students, we have to understand the diversity data from 2021 in the context of the unique circumstances over the past two years. We don’t know what the representation would have been if lockdowns during different waves of the pandemic had not disrupted in-person learning and everyone’s lives in a variety of ways.
We don’t know if the data over time will show this period as a blip, an anomaly, or the start of a new reality for learners and learning at the university. It will be some time before we can start to see any patterns or trends that we can use to measure the impact of our efforts to embed EDI into admissions and learning at TMU.
The data presented on this website can still be used to inform student recruitment strategies. The data simply needs to be understood in the context of the pandemic and the period from March 2020 to when the data was collected in May 2021.
More than 40,000 undergraduate and graduate students have completed the survey, for a response rate of 98 per cent, an increase from 96 per cent in 2019. The results presented here add another snapshot of the data gathered from student diversity self-ID responses from the 2020-2021 academic year.
This recent data shows that representation of undergraduate and graduate students in most equity groups has remained the same from 2019 to 2021. In addition, representation has increased for racialized undergraduate students (from 48% to 50%), and Black(from 4% to 5%) and 2SLGBTQ+ (from 7% to 9%) graduate students.
While the high level data might show fairly high representation for some equity groups in undergraduate and graduate student populations, it is not evenly distributed. For example, the representation of undergraduate women overall is high, but it is low in many programs, including those in STEM. That is why it is important to look at the Faculty and program-specific data. While it may appear as though there has been no change in the undergraduate or graduate student representation overall, this masks increases and decreases at the program level. Faculty and academic leaders in Faculties, departments and schools have the context to understand and take action on what the data, and students from equity groups, are telling them about their experiences, and work with partners across the institution, such as Indigenous Student Services, the Registrar’s Office, Student Affairs, Access TMU and more, to remove barriers and increase access for students from underrepresented groups.
It bears repeating from the previous report that access to education is an important determinant of social mobility and a critical factor in redressing social inequities.
Barriers can begin early on with child poverty or with the types of toys and activities encouraged for young children to interact with. Other barriers in K-12 education have been documented by some school boards, such as disproportionate rates of suspension and expulsion for Black and Indigenous students and students with disabilities.
We are also starting to see evidence that the pandemic had a disproportionate impact on equity groups, potentially further exacerbating poverty and educational obstacles. It will take some time before we understand the impact of the disruption to learning on students in K-12. Governments and school boards are starting to put in place measures to help students “catch-up,” but we won’t see the effectiveness of those actions for some time.
Universities must start to identify new or enhanced academic and non-academic support for students, and this may be different for students from equity groups. They should consider providing further access to social and economic resources, different ways to measure the knowledge and academic potential of students rather than relying substantially on high school grade averages, and flexibility in the delivery of programs and education to include new types of learners who are looking to find more meaningful careers, enhanced skills, to start their own businesses and find new ways of working and earning a living.
Balancing education with caregiving responsibilities and health and wellbeing may also be something that TMU should take further action on for a growing range of students with varying backgrounds and circumstances.
Students from equity-deserving groups are more likely to live in poverty, be imprisoned, drop out of high school, be unemployed and experience poor health outcomes like diabetes, heart disease, depression and other potentially fatal diseases. These disadvantages created by a history and persistence of discrimination, does not equate to capability. However, it makes it difficult to demonstrate capability, particularly academic capability, when there is a reliance on proxies such as grades. Grades are an indicator of who gets into university, but that is not the same thing as predicting who is capable of performing well and succeeding academically.
Consider the following:
- First Nations, Métisand Inuit students – Commitments to truth and reconciliation and decolonization are a priority at TMU. Many have family histories that include intergenerational trauma due to ongoing colonization, oppression and lack of access to education funding. They also may not want to incur debt through student loans and might work to support themselves and their family. If they live with their Nations and communities in order to be closer to family and social service supports, they may not have easy access to larger urban centres.
- Black students – Many come from communities with histories of oppression that continue to impact their opportunities today, including slavery, racial segregation, stereotypes and biases affecting educational and employment opportunities, and disproportionate representation in foster care, school suspensions and expulsions, police violence, arrests and incarceration.
- Women may have caregiving responsibilities that limit their ability to participate in full-time programs and/or support themselves and their families while enrolled in undergraduate or graduate programs.
- Persons with disabilities may be influenced away from a career in STEM by societal stereotypes and biases.
- 2SLGBTQ+ students may live in unstable and/or unsafe conditions and experience bullying in school.
Here are some of the ways data has been used to identify and reach targets for improved access from equity groups:
- Many programs, such as Child and Youth Care, used student diversity data to identify goals and initiatives to increase the representation of equity groups.
- The Yeates School of Graduate Studies used the graduate student data to identify opportunities for additional equity group specific funding, recognizing that higher cost is a factor in the lower representation of some equity groups in graduate studies compared to undergraduate studies.
- The Faculty of Engineering and Architectural Science, together with the Office of the Vice President, Equity and Community Inclusion, used the data on student representation in the faculty to discuss ways to increase its outreach focus on Black and Indigenous students, as well as women with intersectional identities.
- Access TMU used data on students with disabilities to identify goals and strategies to increase the representation of students with disabilities.
- The Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching worked with the Office of the Vice President, Equity and Community Inclusion to incorporate program-specific student and faculty data into an EDI tool for periodic program reviews, using the data for discussion and reflection. Considerations include increasing the diversity of faculty role models who can encourage students from equity groups to see themselves in specific programs where they are underrepresented, and how a curriculum that reflects diverse knowledges, perspectives and experiences can attract students from underrepresented equity groups.
- The Ted Rogers School of Management used data on faculty co-op students in presentations to potential employers who want to increase the diversity of their workforce, thereby providing additional opportunities for financial support for students, and to gain experience that can help them find work after graduation.
The data centre shares quantitative data from the student diversity self-ID responses, which can be used to assess the current state, and to discuss and explore issues so that barriers can be identified and removed. The data presented here can inform evidence and dialogue-driven action toward enhancing the student experience and increasing student success. It can assist the university in all areas, including recruiting high-calibre students of diverse backgrounds.
It is important to note that data are artifacts of human experience. Data doesn’t provide the whole story, but provides insights and pinpoints areas to explore further.
This availability of data has the potential to empower individuals, groups and communities, and lead to personal, communal, environmental and even political change as these technologies become tools for reflection, discussion and decision making.
For data to become meaningful to people, there needs to be a strong and direct connection to their own experiences, activities, or situations. Bringing data close to those personal experiences leads to interactions or understandings that leverage the data to create more informed and actionable objectives.
The navigation bar to the left provides links to pages with bar charts providing data on the equity group representation of undergraduate or graduate students by program, organized by Faculty. Data from the 2018-2019 and 2020-2021 academic years is available in the bar charts. If a new program did not exist in 2018-2019, data is only provided for the 2020-2021 academic year. If a program has been discontinued, data is only provided for the 2018-2019 academic year. If the name of a program has changed, the program name for the 2020-2021 academic year is used.
In addition to viewing the data in the bar charts, you can also download the data and convert it to an MS Excel file or CSV file.
To protect individual privacy, data is only made available for programs with 20 or more students. To make sure that data for as many programs as possible are provided, students in the same program, but in part-time, co-op or other options, are combined. In addition, some related programs are combined, such as professional diploma programs in the Ted Rogers School of Management. In double major programs with less than 20 students, the data is added to each of the programs in the double major.
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