University of Toronto

Case Study

University of Toronto

University of Toronto Ask Big Questions


The University of Toronto is one of Canada's leading universities, and one of the largest in North America, with over 84,000 students on three campuses. It is also a remarkable diverse campus, with nearly a fifth of the undergraduate student body hailing from 167 different countries. As such, U of T has both an enormous opportunity, and an immense challenge, to create stronger communities across lines of difference.

What We Did

The University Student Life division engaged Ask Big Questions to design a series of conversations to be led by students in a range of programs run by The Multi-Faith centre, the Career Centre, and other offices within the student services area. The Big Questions of those conversations included:

  1. For whom are we responsible?
  2. When do you say no?
  3. How do we disagree?
  4. What will your legacy be?

A training team from Ask Big Questions traveled to campus to lead a one-day training for 35 students and 5 staff members.

University of Toronto Ask Big Questions circle
"Anybody can use this program to facilitate and lead very deep, meaningful discussions. It is also very dynamic and one can alter it in numerous ways to suit their working style." - University of Toronto student

What's Next

Ask Big Questions and the University of Toronto are treating this engagement as a proof of concept and will evaluate and and refine the strategy as the year progresses, with an eye toward expanding the partnership to bring Ask Big Questions conversations into residence life and other areas of Student Life in the coming years.

From the Blog

Protest sign that reads “Privilege is when you think something is not a problem because it’s not a problem to you personally.”

Because Racial Injustice Exists, That’s Why

One week before the violence that took place in Virginia, a state I recently called home, I spent my Saturday at an all-day workshop on Anti-Bias,...

After Charlottesville: The Limits of Tolerance

If you google “limits of tolerance,” you find some interesting things. There’s a 2009 “The Ethicist” column from the New York Times, an Amazon link...

Choosing Empathy

This past Tuesday, my friend Samantha began her day with the familiar workday routine. Just as she was heading out the door, she heard screeching car...

We are All People in Process

I was scanning my Facebook news feed, an activity that has become a little too routine I have to admit, when a photo of a naked person popped up –...