Vision & Focus Areas

***The following DRAFT of our GUIDING PRINCIPLES is under development as we await contributions from our U of T Scarborough Community.*** December 2019 

Our work is grounded in the following GUIDING PRINCIPLES:

  • Experiential learning is recognized, valued, celebrated, and institutionally supported at UTSC.
  • Experiential learning programming at UTSC is eclectic, embraces complexity and acknowledges that there are multiple approaches to and philosophies of experiential education.
  • Experiential learning programming at UTSC prioritizes high-quality opportunities and would not sacrifice quality for quantity.
  • The growth of experiential learning opportunities is therefore incremental and should always meaningfully align with academic programming and visions.
  • Our experiential learning programming rests on a prolific, sustainable, and institutionally supported model that provides clear pathways for students, faculty, and external partners to find each other.
Experiential Learning Focus Areas

At U of T Scarborough, experiential learning opportunities are clustered in several focus areas. Despite significant overlap and intentional synergies among them, each focus area is unique and characterized by a particular set of principles and learning goals:

Cooperative & Work-Integrated Learning

The defining feature of this type of experiential learning is the formal and substantive integration of the students in a workplace setting. With over 40 distinct programs to choose from, our flagship opportunities here are Arts & Science, Management and International Development Studies Coop programs. Cooperative consists of alternating academic studies with paid work terms. Other forms of WIL include paid or unpaid internship, placements, and the University of Toronto Work Study Program.

Innovation & Entrepreneurship

At UTSC, students have support, space and mentorship to advance ideas to address “real-world problems,” often in collaboration with external private and non-for-profit partners, and early stage development of business start-ups. We see Entrepreneurship as student-driven creation, organization, and management of a product development or business venture. This type of experiential learning is primarily housed in two distinct learning spaces, both fully integrated in the University of Toronto’s Entrepreneurship community, Canada’s leading engine for research-based startups and for transforming ideas into products and services. UTSC is home to two entrepreneurship accelerators, The HUB, with a focus on early-stage innovation and entrepreneurship, and The Bridge with a focus on new venture planning and creation

Community Engaged Learning (CEL) & Civic Engagement

Often also referred to as Community Service learning, Community Engaged learning combines academic coursework, institutional resources, and community engagement to address challenges communities might face. This approach to EL is somewhat distinct from the other due to its focus on reciprocity, the co-creation of learning outcomes with community partner organization, a careful attention to equitable partnerships, mutual learning, and an emphasis on critical self-examination and reflection. UTSC Partnerships & Community Engagement has been recognized local, nationally and internationally as a leader in the development of reciprocal and mutually beneficial campus-community partnerships.


The University of Toronto prides itself in being Canada’s leading research university. Integrating undergraduate students in faculty-led and or community- or organization sponsored research projects is a key pillar of our experiential learning approach.  This could be achieved through advanced laboratory work or substantial research undertaken by students in capstone research course, independent study courses, or thesis projects. The Office of the Vice Principal Research in collaboration with the UTSC Library is supporting and recognizing this work through various initiatives.

International/Global Education

Students, faculty and staff at UTSC come from all over the world and we are proud of the diversity of our community. In many ways, we are a global campus. That said, at UTSC, students have the opportunity to take their academic learning abroad through short-term and longer term experiential learning opportunities. Many of the international opportunities are not UTSC specific but open to all University of Toronto students: Summer Abroad, Academic Exchange Programs. Unique to UTSC is the International Development Studies Coop program and students in the all other Co-op programs seek work terms abroad. We are excited to launch a pilot project to integrate short-term international components into existing and new courses in the fall/winter of 2019.