Service Delivery Improvement (SDI) Project
Management at the University of Toronto Scarborough partnered with the Toronto East Quadrant Local Immigration Partnership (TEQLIP), a group that represents 40 newcomer settlement service providers in the Scarborough area. The agencies had difficulty tracking services due to a variety of data formats and were challenged in obtaining an overall sense of newcomer activity in East Toronto. Under the banner of Work Integrated Learning (WIL), UTSC Management leveraged faculty expertise, courses, and co-op student positions to design and deliver a data warehouse platform that has successfully collected, aggregated, and anonymized over 90,000 records of refugees and newcomers in the GTA. UTSC Management research faculty and students will continue to collect and analyze this data in order to optimize services and identify future trends as well as support capacity building at the agencies themselves.
Instructor / Program Coordinator(s):
Bill McConkey, Assistant Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship, Department of Management, University of Toronto Scarborough
External Partners Faculty & Staff Students
University of Toronto Scarborough
Benefits to Students:
Students in the CSC C01 (Introduction to Software Engineering) course completed a software design phase that inspired the system architecture of the actual product. They worked with the client to address the project requirements and build a working, viable platform, thereby reinforcing the learning outcomes of their course and project. Management and Computer Science co-op students worked within a dynamic project team, with professional mentorship that was modeled after a start-up environment. They developed critical thinking, project management, consulting, and interpersonal skills while delivering the project on time to the client and its 40 partner agencies. Most importantly, management and computer science students had the opportunity to explore the non-profit sector as a potential career path. All of the students have contributed towards creating a legacy product that will meaningfully serve the community—and a significant audience—for years to come.
Benefits to External Partners and the Community:
The Newcomer Insight Collaborative (NIC) platform is a powerful informational and analytical tool that will support our community partners for years to come. The platform allows the agencies to compile their information, standardize their reporting functions, and do so in a manner that will improve their access to funding. The insights provided by U of T-led research will contribute insights and recommendations towards service optimization, which will empower the agencies to better address the needs of the community and will increase the standard of service.
Benefits to the University:
This project has allowed the Department of Management to leverage all of its strengths in research, academics, Work Integrated Learning (WIL), and co-op in an innovative model that has invented institutional process. All the while, it has increased the community’s access to our services, students, and the University as a whole. The partnership has provided a tremendous opportunity for our students to learn while tackling a meaningful, long-term project with measurable benefits to the community. The data gleaned from the new system will also be analyzed by faculty and have a positive impact on departmental research outcomes.
Information for Interested Students:
Visit Management at the University of Toronto Scarborough’s website to learn more about the program.
Advice for Faculty and Staff Interested in Creating a Similar Experiential Learning Opportunity:
It is important to learn about institutional resources that can help support your desired outcomes. When they don’t exist, don’t be afraid to invent them to serve your purpose. Leverage the strengths of the University to assist you with the project’s requirements. There is a lot of expertise within a department, faculty, or a campus itself that can be of incredible assistance if you spend the time investigating and then activating those resources. Working collaboratively amongst divisions makes for engaging, innovative, and purposeful work that can have an incredible impact. Students will do remarkable things when they are provided with a strong vision for the project, effective mentorship to guide them, and access to the resources they require to achieve their goals.
Students participating in SDI Project (Photos taken by Dave Fenton, courtesy of the Department of Management, University of Toronto Scarborough)