Celebrating our Inclusive Community

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Engineering is a human discipline — technologies are designed by and for people. Diversity deepens the engineering process: more voices around the table enable better solutions that work for everyone.

We are committed to enhancing diversity, equity and inclusion across our Faculty and within our profession as a whole, so that we can fully reflect the societies that we serve.

Graduates of the Blueprint program who joined U of T Engineering as undergraduate students over the past three years. Many more of the over 60 Blueprint graduates have joined STEM programs in other parts of U of T or at our peer institutions.
Overall proportion of women students, including 38.9% of undergraduates and 32.2% of graduate students. For the past seven years, our first-year class has been near or above 40% women.
Proportion of students who come from outside of Canada, including 29.3% of undergraduates and 47.4% of graduate students.

Journeying toward reconciliation

As a sign of the university’s profound respect for Indigenous communities and cultures, the Eagle Feather Bearer carries a ceremonial Eagle Feather into Convocation Hall at the outset of each convocation ceremony, followed by the bedel carrying U of T’s gold-plated mace.   

“I had a very positive experience. I thought the university was very supportive in adopting and honouring the Eagle Feather Bearer role within the ceremony,” says Professor Jason Bazylak (MIE). “Leading the procession was symbolic of the presence of Indigenous Peoples on Turtle Island before all of this, even before the long history here at U of T.” 

The Eagle Feather Bearer was present at both the fall and spring convocation ceremonies, with Darlee Gerrard (Engineering Education PhD 2T2) serving at Spring Convocation 2023.

A monument against sexism 

On a dark evening in December 2022, members of the U of T Engineering community gathered in front of the Galbraith Building to unveil a student-built monument commemorating the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.  

Fourteen transparent figures stood on a wooden platform, each bearing the name of one of the 14 women killed on December 6, 1989, when an antifeminist gunman entered the École Polytechnique and targeted students who were women. 

The monument, designed and built by a group of women engineering students, was interactive: its colours changed and got brighter depending on how many people were standing on a pressure-sensitive pad concealed under nearby grass turf.    

“The symbolism was that you can’t make change by yourself — we have to all work together,” says Erika Narimatsu (Year 3 MechE), who led the creation of the monument along with Stella Gregorski (Year 4 ChemE), Natalia (Nat) Espinosa-Merlano (Year 3 MechE) and Karen Ng (Year 3 ECE). 


A new Dean’s Advisor on Black Inclusivity

Professor Philip Asare (ISTEP, EngSci) has been appointed to the role of Dean’s Advisor on Black Inclusivity at U of T Engineering.

Over the course of his three-year tenure, he plans to focus on building up the faculty recruitment and retention policy for diverse candidates. He also plans to use data that has already been collected to better understand the structural barriers that Black engineering students are facing.

“Engineering plays a huge role in the way society works,” he says. “We shape the way people live, work, play, love and have fun. And so, limited participation of Black folk means those communities are left out in shaping the society around them. I want to help ensure that anyone who wants to come here to be an engineer or work on engineering can do so, and that the larger Black community can benefit from that.”

My long-term vision is to embed EDI in the core work that we do across the Faculty — including research, teaching, the way we do admissions and support students — as opposed to it being a separate effort.

– Professor Philip Asare, Dean’s Advisor on Black Inclusivity

Finding community and driving change through inclusive conferences

U of T Engineering’s Office of Diversity, Inclusion & Professionalism is supporting several student groups as they attend conferences aimed at empowering students from groups that have been traditionally underrepresented in engineering — including women, Black students and members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community — to bring their authentic selves to their chosen field, and to drive change across the profession.

“Students with identities that have been marginalized in engineering can feel isolated and self-select out of the field. Finding community is really important,” says Marisa Sterling, Assistant Dean, Diversity, Inclusion & Professionalism at U of T Engineering.

“We are investing in conference access as one way to help advance safe and welcoming spaces for women, 2SLGBTQIA+, Black, Indigenous and students of many other identities. Students gain skills in leadership, communications, and technical knowledge that they then share back with the U of T Engineering community through presentations to the grassroots Engineering EDI Action Group, talks with lab and peer groups and/or participation in student clubs like GradSWE, QueerSphere and NSBE.”


Pearson Scholars on the transition to first year 

This year, U of T Engineering welcomed students from more than 90 countries. This includes the four international Pearson Scholars, who in 2022 hailed from Bolivia, South Korea, Tanzania and Türkiye. 


Improving equity in the hiring process

When the opportunity arose to hire a new assistant professor at U of T Engineering’s Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering, the search committee didn’t want to follow the same old formula.


Engineering Positive Space: New assets available to faculty, staff and students

During Pride Month, U of T Engineering rolled out a new suite of materials that highlight the Faculty’s commitment to being a positive, welcoming space for everyone, including 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals.


Awards & Honours

In 2022, U of T Engineering professors represented 5.5% of the total Canadian engineering professoriate, but earned 13.7% of the national and international awards for which these faculty members are eligible. Below are a few of our many award recipients from 2022-2023.


Professor Molly Shoichet (ChemE, BME), Fellow, National Academy of Inventors


Professor Amy Bilton (MIE), U of T Global Educator Award 


Professor Yu Sun (MIE), U of T President’s Impact Award


Professor Steven Thorpe (MSE), U of T President’s Teaching Award