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Policy 169: Experiential Learning

Policy Information Details
Policy Number: 
Policy Approval Date:  June 2, 2020
Implementation Date:  June, 2020
Next Policy Review Date:  Fall 2023
Responsible Office:  Provost and Vice President Academic

1. Purpose of Policy

This policy governs authority and responsibility for experiential learning (“EL”) activities related to currently enrolled Toronto Metropolitan University (“Toronto Metropolitan”) students recognizing that Toronto Metropolitan desires students to have meaningful, relevant, and safe experiences that provide a nexus to their career and academic goals.

2. Application and Scope

Experiential learning at Toronto Metropolitan includes a wide range of opportunities inside and outside the classroom context. The scope of this policy covers:

2.1 All academically relevant experiential learning, as defined in Section 3, that is related to full and part-time studies, offered solely by Toronto Metropolitan or in partnership with any other post-secondary institutions.

2.2 In some academic programs, students may be required to abide by the standards of a professional code of ethics or code of conduct as a condition of successful completion of an EL opportunity. Violations of such codes are outside the scope of this policy and cannot be pursued under this policy.

3. Definitions

3.1 Core Defining Aspects of Experiential Learning

It is important that Toronto Metropolitan continues to offer multiple expressions of EL to ensure that we offer our students creative and valuable learning opportunities. As a way to encourage that creativity, the University has identified core defining aspects for all academically relevant experiential learning opportunities at Toronto Metropolitan. With these core defining aspects, EL opportunities can take many forms, while still maintaining academic excellence and alignment with students’ academic goals.

3.1.1. Clear Learning Outcomes - demonstrable and measurable statements that identify the intended knowledge, skills, values, and competency outcomes of EL;

3.1.2. Curated Experience - Intentionally selected experience that involves active engagement in learning by doing, hands-on involvement, and application of theory and practice;

3.1.3. Intentional Integration - For EL to be effective, each core aspect needs to be intentional and integrated. This means the experience, the prompts to facilitate reflection, and the method and logistics of assessment are aligned to the learning outcomes and each other, throughout;

3.1.4. Ongoing Reflection - Ongoing, and meaningful sense-making, directly connecting the students’ experience to personal and academic learning. There is a focus on what learning has occurred, and what that changes in the future; and

3.1.5. Constructive Assessment - The assessment of the EL opportunity provides generative feedback that evaluates students’ achievement of the intended learning outcomes to enhance learning and improve future performance. Constructive assessment may contribute toward the student’s grade in the course or may be done to facilitate student learning where a grade is not assigned.

Within this policy

3.2 Academically relevant means EL opportunities that are initiated and/or supported by a Faculty and which show clear learning objectives and direct connection to the program, department, school and/or Faculty mission. Such EL opportunities may be credit or non-credit bearing.

3.3 Academic Misconduct means behaviours that are identified by Toronto Metropolitan’s Senate Policy 60 Academic Integrity as constituting academic misconduct.

3.4 Functional area means a non-Faculty unit within the University that supports academically relevant experiential learning opportunities.

3.5 Toronto Metropolitan student means a currently enrolled undergraduate, graduate, law, and continuing education student.

4. Values and Principles

4.1 The values stipulated in the University’s Senate Policy Framework are applicable and fundamental to this policy.

4.2 Safety in Experiential Learning Opportunities

Toronto Metropolitan is committed to the wellbeing, health, and safety of its faculty, staff, and students and expects stakeholders, internal and external to Toronto Metropolitan, to comply with applicable laws, regulations, in the development and implementation of its workplace health and safety rules, policies, and procedures.

5. Policy

Each Faculty and Functional Area has the authority and responsibility to outline a process applicable to them to identify academically relevant EL. All such processes must include the following requirements for an EL opportunity:

5.1 Be a recognized opportunity within Toronto Metropolitan through the Procedures under this policy;

5.2 Have documentation, (e.g. letter, contract, placement agreement, MOU, partnership agreement) with EL providers external to Toronto Metropolitan;

5.3 Identify a Toronto Metropolitan faculty or staff member liaison as the key contact for the student and/or the EL provider;

5.4 Have clear integrated learning outcomes that reflect the EL values and principles set out above;

5.5 Undertake required risk-management protocols outlined in the Procedures under this policy to ensure the health and safety of students and employees. Toronto Metropolitan reserves the right, at any point, to remove a student from and/or terminate an EL opportunity where there is reasonable basis that the student presents a risk to themselves or others and/or engages in persistent or significant unprofessional behaviour in accordance with the Procedures under this policy.

6. Roles and responsibilities

Office of Vice-Provost Academic: is responsible to ensure compliance with this policy.

Experiential Learning Hub: is responsible for the functional oversight of EL in compliance with this Policy.

Faculties are responsible to:

  • Designate and submit all academically relevant EL as outlined in Section 3 for the purpose of this policy and the Procedures (Section 7) under this policy.
  • Ensure appropriate documentation and indication of where it will be kept and who is responsible for the information therein.
  • Appoint a designated liaison to the Experiential Learning Hub.

Functional areas are responsible to:

  • Designate and submit all academically relevant EL as outlined in Section 3 for the purpose of this policy and the Procedures (Section 7) under this policy.
  • Ensure appropriate documentation and indication of where it will be kept and who is responsible for the information therein.
  • Appoint a designated liaison to the Experiential Learning Hub.

Toronto Metropolitan International is responsible to:

  • Ensure risk management and institutional agreements for international EL opportunities and activities adhere to the processes and procedures outlined in this policy.
  • Maintain communication with EL hub and assign a designated liaison.
  • Manage risk management for international EL activities, including pre-departure training and emergency support throughout.
  • Ensure any changes or updates to Policy 95 are in alignment with the EL Policy.

Office of the General Counsel and Board Secretariat: undertakes legal review of EL related agreements and provides legal advice on risk management issues as appropriate.

Academic Integrity Office (AIO): is responsible for providing faculty, staff, and students with resources, guidance, and support related to academic integrity and misconduct under the provisions of Policy 60, as related to this policy.

Environmental Health and Safety: is responsible for supporting faculty and staff in the assessment and investigation of risks to health and safety, provides resources, and supports the development of tailored training to ensure student safety as relevant to this policy.

Student Conduct Officer: is responsible for supporting students, staff, and faculty in addressing issues related to non-academic misconduct that falls under this policy through education, consultation, and conflict resolution.

Human Rights Services: as relevant to this policy, Human Rights Services administers and oversees the application of Toronto Metropolitan's Discrimination and Harassment Prevention Policy and the Sexual Violence Policy, provides resources, guidance, and resolution services for students, staff, faculty in the delivery and receipt of education and related services.

Risk & Insurance Officer (RIO): The RIO manages the university's insurance policies and consults with faculty and staff on matters related to risks incurred by the university in the facilitation of EL, and student participation in related activities. This includes the assessment of risks, and the development and provision of required risk management documentation and processes as required by this policy.

7. Relevant University Policies

Senate Policies:

Mobility Programs:

  • Policy 110 - Institutional Quality Assurance Process
  • Policy 112 - Development of New Graduate and Undergraduate Programs
  • Policy 126 - Periodic Program Review of Graduate and Undergraduate Programs
  • Policy 127 - Curriculum Modifications: Graduate and Undergraduate Programs
  • Policy 159 - Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Administrative Policies:

8. Rescinded University Policy

  • Policy 156 - Removal of Students from Field Placements Practicums


Purpose of these Procedures is to outline instructions for Faculties and functional areas offering EL, and students engaged in those offerings.

1.  All academically relevant EL must be documented at the Faculty or Functional area level and shared with the EL Hub as described herein.

2. International EL

2.1. All academically relevant EL that takes place outside of Canada, is required to comply with the University’s international risk management protocols, including the mandatory international travel risk management steps for students (online) and faculty and staff accompanying students abroad (online).

2.2. Agreements governing academically relevant EL that takes place outside of Canada must be reviewed and approved by Toronto Metropolitan International prior to signing.

3. SRC activity

Any EL that involves primary research must follow all relevant SRC ethics and related policies under the guidance of the responsible faculty member.

4. The EL Risk Management Chart ( (PDF file) Appendix A):

4.1 Provides guidance on the type of documentation that is appropriate for different types of EL opportunities. These documents include, but are not limited to, a Placement Agreement, non-standard agreement, memorandum of understanding, employment contract, WSIB form, student liability waiver, Police Records Check, one-way letter, etc.

4.2 The nature and formality of the documentation required for an EL opportunity is proportionate to the risks associated with the EL opportunity. For example, where the EL opportunity will involve interactions with children, patients, or other vulnerable populations, a formal agreement is required. At a minimum, a one-way letter ( (PDF file) Appendix B) should be used.

4.3 For each type of documentation, there is indication of where it will be kept and who is responsible for the information therein.

5. The Office of the General Counsel and Board Secretariat (GCBS) will assist Faculties with reviewing legal agreements relating to EL. Faculties are encouraged to use the standard placement agreement where appropriate that is posted to the GCBS website. Non-standard agreements must be reviewed in advance by the University’s legal counsel.

6. The authority to sign EL related agreements is determined in accordance with the applicable policies of the University including the Execution of Contracts Policy.

7. Experiential Learning Hub

7.1 The Experiential Learning Hub (“EL Hub”) will provide an online submission mechanism to coordinate the collection of necessary information on a semesterly basis. This online submission will act as a one-stop coordinated mechanism to integrate the information required through this policy.

7.2 Once EL opportunities are submitted to the system, Faculty or Functional areas are not required to provide a full submission each year, unless there have been notable changes. A simple renewal mechanism will be in place to indicate recurring EL opportunities. Upload functions will allow for individual level information to be maintained.

7.3 If additional information is required, it is the responsibility of the EL Hub to follow up to ensure clarity and alignment with the policy

7.4 The EL Hub will maintain privacy, confidentiality and records management protocols for the EL information submitted in accordance with Toronto Metropolitan policy.

8. Risk Management

8.1 All students, faculty and staff who are participating in academically relevant EL will be required to participate in a Toronto Metropolitan risk management training specific to their type of opportunity outlining rights and responsibilities of relevant stakeholders. Additional training may be offered as needed for specialized EL opportunities.

8.2 Students, staff and faculty are responsible for complying with any additional and/or specific risk management training required to engage in the academically relevant EL opportunity.

8.3 Issues related to academic misconduct related to an EL opportunity should be referred to the Academic Integrity Office. Issues relating to non-academic misconduct should be referred to the Student Conduct Officer. Issues related to discrimination, harassment and sexual violence should be referred to Human Rights Services.

8.4 If there is a reasonable basis to believe that a student is at risk in an EL opportunity, the student should notify the responsible Faculty or Functional Area for support.

8.5 In the case of university-wide suspension or cancellation of normal academic and/or operational activities, decisions regarding the continuing of experiential learning opportunities will be made by the Office of the Provost, in consultation with Faculties.

9. Removal of a Student and Termination of EL Opportunity

Pursuant to Section 5 of the Experiential Learning policy, a student may be removed from an EL opportunity and/or the EL opportunity may be terminated. If Toronto Metropolitan is a party to the agreement governing the EL opportunity, the EL opportunity will be terminated in accordance with the relevant agreement in place between the parties, if any.

In the event that an EL opportunity is terminated, the responsible Faculty and/or Function Area must complete the Record of Termination in  (PDF file) Appendix C.