Looking Ahead: Fall/Winter 2020-21 at the Institute for Management & Innovation

 Fall 2020 at the Institute for Management & Innovation | Innovation Complex

Introduction

IMI is looking forward to welcoming all new and returning students to our academic programs this fall. Fall 2020 will be different in many ways: a global pandemic, economic uncertainty, resource scarcity, travel and meeting restrictions, and a multitude of other complex and systemic challenges require brilliant, innovative, and cross-disciplinary minds working together to create lasting and impactful change. COVID-19 has taught us in very clear terms that we and our all systems (economic, education, health, transportation, and others) are inter-connected and inter-dependent, and only transformative vision, education, and leadership can make our future flourish. 

IMI’s programs are uniquely positioned to train our students to tackle these challenges and create a flourishing future through global transformation. Our faculty and staff are well-positioned and well-resourced to support our students’ development throughout their time with us and beyond. 

We know that Fall 2020 presents some unusual challenges, but IMI’s Faculty and Staff are here, and fully prepared to embrace our students’ academic and professional journey in this new landscape. Students may rest assured that faculty and staff are fully committed to creating an exceptional and innovative academic environment in which students will continue to thrive. We have also taken great care to support our students on both the professional and personal fronts, and will ensure that both our new and returning students feel welcomed, feel a sense of community, and can achieve their academic and professional goals despite all the challenges and uncertainties. Unseen and unimagined challenges require highly adaptive approaches, and we are a foundational home for such approaches for academic programs. In simple words, we all (students, faculty and staff members) will walk on this journey together.

A Shared Environment: An Institute with Multiple Campuses

During the Fall term, IMI students will have a physical UTM campus and multiple digital campuses – students in every program will have their own digital campus, on which students connect on a digital platform. Irrespective of the challenges posed by a multi-campus structure, first and foremost, IMI is committed to offering an academic environment that is safe, healthy, and focused on a sense of community, belonging and wellbeing for all participants. Alongside the University of Toronto and the University of Toronto Mississauga, we are committed to creating inclusive learning environments that align with UTogether2020: A Roadmap for the University of Toronto.

As a result, this fall IMI will offer a diverse academic environment that will enable each student to thrive based on their individual goals, needs and circumstances. What does this mean?

  • In-Person Courses: Where it is deemed safe and academically important to do so, individual instructors will teach on campus. In these courses—for instance, in certain lab courses or small seminars—all physical distancing regulations will be followed closely. Faculty and Teaching Assistants will work closely with students and staff to ensure an environment that is both healthy and innovative in approach, ensuring inclusivity and equity in the learning experience. If any of your courses are mandatory in-person, you will be notified well in advance by your Program Staff.

"The MBiotech Program has been leading the charge this summer in efforts to return students to campus in a safe and innovative way that affords them critical practical learning opportunities. MBiotech students, who work in teams, and acquire key skills in research settings, have been returning to the campus by sending alternating representatives into the laboratory to conduct experiments, while team-mates monitor the proceedings online. There is an increased emphasis on communication between team members in the daily handoffs as different students exchange at lunchtimes between the two four-hour daily sessions. Our teaching team of SIAs monitor attendance and ensure compliance with PPE guidelines, social distancing measuresand station clean-down routines between shifts. All of the teaching goals of the course remain in place with students learning a repertoire of techniques in modern genetic engineering, and recording experimental results that will be shared with the instructors during an online final presentation session slated for 12-Aug."

Leigh Revers, Director, MBiotech

  • Online Synchronous Courses: These courses will be delivered on the digital campus in real-time online, and all students will participate in an innovative online classroom environment. In these courses, an online attendance is expected at a specific time for some or all course activities. Most IMI courses will fall in this category. These classes are designed in a way that promotes healthy learning – with breaks, discussion, group work, and advances in teaching styles to enable students to have a robust experience. There may be cases in which a course may have a lecture recorded and posted in an asynchronous fashion on a case by case basis.

“This past March – the MMPA program worked with our partner employers to ensure our students were in safe working environments during their co-op work term (including adding the option to work from home). The MMPA was one of the first IMI programs to be fully and successfully offered online in the past summer term. Our courses and placement events were redesigned to adapt to the digital environment. We look forward to a productive fall term!”

Irene M. Wiecek, Director, MMPA

  • Optional In-Person Attendance in Synchronous Courses: To enrich students’ learning experience, many of these courses will have an option of in-person attendance. This means that the Professor will teach in the physical classroom, and students who wish to come to campus may do so, while students may also choose to attend from home. These classes will be streamed online in a synchronous fashion, so students can dial in from home, in real-time, and participate fully in the lectures, content and class discussions. This enables students to have individual flexibility to learn in the way that best suits them on both academically and personally.
     
  • Online Asynchronous Courses: These courses, offered on the digital campus, do not have a requirement for attendance at a specific time or location for any activities or exams. Course components may be online or remote (e.g. reading, writing, etc.). The asynchronous offering is not “self-paced” – there are deadlines/milestones that must be met, but the student can do the work at any time of day or night that suits them best.

    For details of each course, please refer to the website of your program, or connect with Program Staff for more information.
MMPA student shows off her creativity with her painting
MMPA student shows off her creativity

“During March of 2020 everyone’s life took an unexpected turn. In just a few weeks, we had to learn how to navigate the new normal. The past few months have certainly been challenging for all of us but we are so glad to see our community members support each other through various initiatives, such as the MMPA Resilience Movement. The MMPA Resilience Movement seeks to highlight our students, staff and faculty members’ resiliency throughout the process of transitioning from in-person to online classes.”

MMPA Resilience Movement

Our Community Connection

Irrespective of campus type, our students continue to have access to their faculty members, teaching assistants, staff, students’ groups and administrative supports throughout the summer and term ahead. Faculty members are available to answer students’ questions about course readings or how to best prepare for fall classes in advance, and will remain available in the fall.

Staff members in all programs are available to provide one-on-one support related to student life, including  course selection, campus engagement, career counselling, internships, professional development, and housing. This means students are supported in their individual programs, but also at the level of the Institute, the UTM campus, the School of Graduate Studies, and the U of T tri-campus. 

IMI also houses robust opportunities for students to engage remotely in campus life, including work-study positions which can be done remotely, participation in Program-level executive councils and clubs, access to the IMI Graduate Student Committee (IMI GSC) and more. Students can participate in the IMI Review by Students (IMIRS), or access online conferences, poster presentations, and a plethora of planned fall events online.

MScSM Students and their internship superivisor on a socially distant lunch
MScSM Students and their internship superivisor on a socially distant lunch

"MScSM program’s traditional Orientation and Preparatory Classes bond new students to the program and each other. These will be online this Fall 2020 semester, and by creating ample interaction, small group exercises and a fun artistic activity, we look forward to our Class of 2022’s onboarding in an unusual, but deeply engaging way, as they join the MScSM Family."

Rose Mary Craig, Program Coordinator, MScSM Program

Each program is also proud to offer wide student and alumni networks that current students can access for guidance, mentorship and advice as they proceed through their degrees. IMI’s close group of upper year students in most Programs means that new, incoming students will find themselves in a wonderful community of innovative individuals, all prepared to move through the term together.

IMI’s alumni network is very strong, ensuring that students have access to support, advice and insight from those who have gone ahead, furthering the sense of community that students will feel, even if they are off campus for a few months. Whether on the physical campus or on the digital campus, these connections remain, and ensure each student can feel at home at IMI.

What Support is IMI Providing?

IMI has worked hard to consider orientation, onboarding and academic engagement support, as well as drawing on resources such as our iLearning Committee and the FLC.

Onboarding & Orientation

Each program is preparing tailored and engaged onboarding and orientation days to ensure new students feel welcomed to their Programs, the Institute, and the campus at large. This includes not just orientation to classes, but also introductions to all staff and faculty, other campus resources, industry partners and alumni. Check with your individual Program to learn more.

Two members of MUI Class 2022, starting in Fall 2020
Two members of MUI Class 2022, starting in Fall 2020

"The MUI program is welcoming its first cohort this fall. We are committed to adapting and learning with one another to offer the best possible experience for our students. We are engaging our students in new and exciting ways, with classes to be taught (both online and when safe, in person) by our world-class faculty who are experts and leaders in their fields, as well as robust program staff support. Innovation is at the forefront of the MUI program, so we look forward to innovating unique ways to overcome these new challenges."

Alyssa Madrasto, MUI Program Coordinator

Case Rooms & Study Spaces

Due to the ongoing situation regarding COVID-19, Case Rooms on the lower level of the Innovation Complex are CLOSED until further notice.

As an alternative option, IB 335 is now open Monday through Friday from 7:00am to 11:00pm for IMI Professional Masters Students as a study space.

A monitor will be present during this time to record participants for contract tracing if ever needed, and to be on hand in case of any issues.

Students are also welcome to study in other spaces on campus, including signing up for Library spaces or using available open study spaces in different buildings.

Academic Engagement

Each Program is also working hard to prepare creative course content that lends itself well to new and modified ways of engaging in the classroom, whether in-person or online. IMI has struck a unique committee designed to foster and guide innovation in teaching, ensuring that the academic experience aligned with the level of education that the University of Toronto is known for worldwide. Our Faculty at IMI are world-class, and continue to bring brilliant innovation, stimulating class discussions, challenging tasks and cutting-edge research to each and every classroom, whether online or in-person.

MMPA students, staff and faculty on Zoom
MMPA students, staff and faculty on Zoom

….the MMPA impressively handled the move to the online platform, especially given quick turn of events. What I like about MMPA is its keenness to replicate the face to face learning environment. I also appreciate how MMPA strives to integrate students' concerns and suggestions into decision-making. The mindfulness, accommodation and prioritizing student's health and safety are indicative of the fact that while learning moved online, the connection remained human.

Anam Tamiour, Class 2021

Further, Faculty and TAs will be available as needed to support students throughout the Fall term and beyond, for example through regular and accessible online office hours, 1:1 appointments and seminars. Further, our host of academic supporting offices, including the Graduate Student Programming in the Robert Gillespie Academic Skills Centre, remain operational and fully available to support each student as needed.

By offering the options of physical and online presence  in many courses, IMI Programs can meet the needs of each individual student yet still ensure equity and accessibility of courses. We recognize that some may need to come to campus, and others may prefer to study at home, or have home commitments that mean that remote learning is the safest option. Either way, IMI respects each individual situation, and will work to ensure each student has the academic engagement opportunities that best suit each situation.

iLearning Committee

IMI is committed to delivering a great learning experience to our students. We have created the iLearning @ IMI task force to support our Faculty and create a hub where different experiences can be shared and implemented in different courses. Our colleagues are fully engaged and we are actively discussing ideas, best practices and inclusive approaches to online learning for the Fall. It is great to see so many bright minds bringing fresh new perspectives to the table, not to mention our excellent students who can take advantage of our expertise and provided resources. Ultimately, we want to set our students up for success.

FLC Support

The FLC team continues to offer its services remotely to students even while the Li Koon Chun Finance Learning Centre remains closed due to COVID-19. As an IMI student, you can:

  • Access FLC software online, including Bloomberg – check out our listing of options here
  • Complete your Bloomberg and FactSet certifications online – e-mail us to ask how
  • Get help (and save time) with research, citations, data or other library-related questions through email or via a Zoom consult with an FLC librarian
  • Take advantage of our online library collections, including special Hathi Trust materials and streaming video
  • Enroll in online workshops on FLC’s core databases and others tailored for graduate students in the fall – details coming soon!
MMI webinar with students and faculty
MMI webinar with students and faculty

“MMI has been busy preparing for the fall term, combining an unyielding commitment to safety with high-quality academic experience for the Class of 2021. An orientation week, in-person and online courses and workshops will run in the fall, with a priority on health and well-being for the entire class and community. Incoming students, faculty members and staff are connecting early to build a close relationship that will allow a smooth transition. MMI is prepared and welcomes the students in September.” 

Beate Ensminger, MMI Program Coordinator

Professional Development

Each Program continues to offer a full range of professional development and work place preparation seminars, workshops and training for their students. In Summer 2020, each Program was able to obtain a 100% placement rate, despite the challenges presented by COVID-19, and we anticipate that IMI students will continue to be able to engage in work-integrated learning throughout the course of their degrees. 

Many IMI Programs have Capstone Projects and Industry Projects, both of which continue in full force in Fall 2020, with support from staff and faculty. Further, all IMI Programs have a co-op or internship term, which will be fully supported by Program Staff in the coming cycle. 

Beyond this, each Program can be relied upon to deliver programming to support students in whatever environment the Fall and following Winter may present: our skilled Placement Managers offer support and training for remote workplace success, video interviewing, navigating uncertainties, and full support for students while on placements.

MMI online meeting
MMI online meeting

“The MMI program achieved a 100% placement rate for the 5th consecutive year. This was truly a year of many challenges and our students and employer partners both stepped up to show us all that  innovation is a must – it’s not just necessary to get through this pandemic but it’s also something we must make a habit of. We will be doing more of it as we welcome our next class in the Fall and continue to work with our employer and community partners to ensure that our students have meaningful placement opportunities and rich professional experiences.”

Afrodite Cruz, MMI Recruitment, Placement and Employer Relations Manager

 

MScSM student at work placement
MScSM student at work placement

“MScSM students and industry partners rose to the challenge this summer!  100% of our students secured internships in their chosen fields, and our host supervisors went to great lengths to ensure students felt welcomed and supported in their remote work environments. This summer’s work-term may have looked different than past terms – but our students emerge exceedingly well prepared and resilient, and more ready than ever to tackle the world’s greatest challenges as we move forward to Fall 2020 and beyond. Our students and are hosts are to be commended on engaging in deeply meaningful learning experiences in the spring and summer of 2020.”

Claire Westgate, MScSM Placement & Employer Relations Manager

Holistic Support & Campus Life

IMI is focused on holistic support of all students, and we know that this Fall presents unexpected challenges and opportunities for all of us. As a result, both incoming and returning students can expect concern with  not just academic success, but overall campus life and personal wellbeing.

IMI Programs are offering specific support by linking students to the offices and services they need: from mental health services to community engagement offices, from accessibility services to campus clubs, and from specific skills training to support systems, students can rest assured that 1:1 support is in place to ensure that they thrive in a holistic way.

“MUI will provide professional development opportunities in varying ways through workshops, guest speakers/panels, networking opportunities and skills training both online and when safe, in person. The program will provide a great deal of support to ensure that we are equipping and training our students with the essential skills needed for success. “

Alyssa Madrasto, MUI Program Coordinator

On a cold afternoon in March, our worlds were topsy-turvy when Canada announced lockdown. I was away from family and worried about a million things including the fact that I needed to secure an internship for the summer. The placement scene transformed for all of us and the department recognized the immediate need to help – they worked with the University and our employers to make the placement process more flexible. I am grateful for the efforts of my program staff, who have gone above and beyond with the entire process and also ensuring that I am doing well on the personal front. Our Program Director has spearheaded these efforts and backed us up in every way possible to have a seamless internship term despite the pandemic storm.”

Roshni Mohan, 2nd year MScSM Student

Get In Touch

Questions? Concerns? Get in touch! 

Please reach out to your respective Program for more information on anything you’ve read here, or for any further questions.

*the MFAcc Program is predominantly a distance education degree, with a full suite of support programs for its students who do not come to campus until the last course. Support programs are available on the MFAcc website at: https://mfacc.utoronto.ca/

Additional Resources