Welcoming Campuses

This will be a community-based research and needs assessment aimed at building knowledge and identifying gaps in the services and support systems in place for immigrant and refugee students in  postsecondary institutions within the Greater Toronto Area. This includes a qualitative inquiry; capturing the lived experiences of immigrants and refugee students through a visual narrative storytelling structure. The initiative will initially target the largest educational institutions in GTA and will focus on migrant students facing social exclusion due to systematic and structural barriers that exist within the post-secondary realm. The inquiry will also include an analysis of the readiness and responsiveness of these institutions towards immigrant and refugee students as well as developing a criteria for welcoming campuses.

The mandate of this project is to support immigrant and refugee students in their pursuit of self-determination, integration and resilience in their educational journey. This can be achieved by taking a critical approach to post-secondary institutions’ policies, structures, funding criteria, and advocating for models of change that improve youth wellbeing and social inclusion. Most colleges and universities are not identifying or responding to the specific needs of this unique group of learners. Our research will aim to identify the unique challenges and needs for these students, as well as develop a system for measuring, and assessing the factors affecting their engagement and integration in their institutions.

Project Objectives:

  • Shape a solid understanding of the systemic, cultural and structural barriers facing newcomer immigrant and refugee students transitioning into Canadian post-secondary education
  • Form a better appreciation of their circumstances, environments, needs, and expectations
  • Build capacity for welcoming campuses and communities
  • Identify a criteria for welcoming campuses, what does it mean to be a welcoming campus?
  • Institute a robust transition system for immigrant and refugee students seeking higher education within different campuses
  • Enable more inclusive services that cater to the specific and diverse needs of the immigrant and refugee students