As part of the process for self-evaluation, strategic planning, and establishing best practices, the Yeates School of Graduate Studies (YSGS) regularly completes reports that include internal and external scans of a variety of topics. These reports may be completed by working groups, committees, task forces, or staff teams and they provide opportunities to highlight best practices, to celebrate accomplishments, and to outline recommendations for continued enhancement of the graduate student experience at Toronto Metropolitan University.
This report was produced as part of the Dimensions Pilot Program at Toronto Metropolitan University, a program aimed at enhancing equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in all aspects of and endeavours related to scholarship, research and creativity (SRC), as well as addressing and eliminating systemic and structural barriers to engagement in research and scholarship. Through the work of the 17 pilot project institutions across Canada, the nation-wide Dimensions project has the potential to “foster transformational change within the research community at Canadian post-secondary institutions by identifying and eliminating obstacles and inequities” (Government of Canada, 2021).
Accessibility to graduate programs is a key area to explore, when considering how to enhance equity, diversity and inclusion in graduate studies. In this report, we focused on recruitment, outreach, and admissions processes that are in place for graduate programs, on identifying barriers to access for diverse inclusion in graduate education and on exploring initiatives intended to reduce these barriers.
The mental health and wellness of graduate students is an important priority. This study, commissioned by YSGS, was undertaken by graduate students in late 2020. The study involved data collection via a secure online survey aimed to assess factors that may have an impact upon graduate student wellness (e.g., student-supervisor relationships, financial challenges, isolation related to COVID-19), to help identify rates of psychological distress, and ultimately to provide recommendations for supporting the mental health and wellness of graduate students, going forward.
The impact of COVID-19 in Spring 2020 necessitated the need for a rapid shift from in-person graduate education to online programming and delivery. These reports include internal and external scans of best practices and provide recommendations for future enhancement of ongoing graduate-level online teaching/learning and co-curricular student engagement. The best practices outlined in these reports provide YSGS with clear direction and opportunities for continued development, engagement, and innovation in online programming.
The YSGS Council sub-committee for Academic Accommodation and Consideration for Graduate Students was struck in 2019, in part, to conduct a review of access to graduate education, and the supports available for graduate students with disabilities. This report reflects the first steps of this process of review and provides recommendations for making continued progress.
In response to the release of the Toronto Metropolitan University's Building a New Foundation for Generations to Come report, YSGS began evaluating how to address a number of the next steps and recommendations that apply to the work we do. This report and framework is the product of our initial evaluation of the current state of graduate education at Toronto Metropolitan University, within Canada, and internationally in regards to truth and reconciliation. It also includes a framework for moving forward with our commitments to truth and reconciliation.