Our research encompasses two principle themes and 5 key research questions.
Question 1 How does the university work as a financial actor?
In addition to research and teaching, a modern university is responsible for managing finances with multiple components: research, teaching, pensions, endowments, patents, real estate, and many more. People who work or study at the university are impacted by financial management, but most of us have no idea how it works: through research reports and infographics we aim to change that!
Question 2 What are the ethical dimensions of the University’s comportment in its employment, research, and community engagement locally and globally?
Universities have commitments to equity, diversity and fairness, but how to make good on these commitments often involves trade-offs: saving money on wages might come at the expense of working conditions; accepting donations to fund important research might involve turning a blind eye to the source of donated funds. We explore ethical dilemmas and probe who makes decisions, and what considerations are brought to bear.
Question 3 What is the relation between representations of diversity in university marketing and the everyday experience of diverse groups of students?
Toronto is often lauded as the world’s most diverse city and the U of T’s two suburban campuses as the most diverse wings of this institution. But what processes and struggles does the language of diversity obscure? How do international, racialized, suburban, and working-class students navigate higher education? How do administrators respond to student demands?
Question 4 How do students navigate different priorities and time horizons?
Time management is a prominent theme of student life advisors as they attempt to guide students towards an optimal balance of study, exercise, leisure, and social interaction. Students in career workshops are taught to instrumentalize their friendships, as friends become nodes in future business networks. Students facing long commutes, working to support their studies, stressed about debt or poor grades, say they have no time to delve deeply into their studies. How then do they make time, spend time, and value time, past, present and future?
Question 5 How have students changed university worlds, past and present?
Students experiencing challenges are not passive. They actively engage in shaping the University and crafting their own trajectories within it. What topics become the focus of mobilization for different groups of students? How have practices of student protest and critiqueevolved over time? How does knowledge of past activism circulates to new generations of students?