Integrated Learning: Experiential Education at the University of Toronto

Speaker and Workshop Series


The level of interest and engagement with integrated and experiential learning opportunities, construed broadly, continues to grow at the University of Toronto and within provincial, national and North American post-secondary education sectors. As a result, academic leaders, faculty members, and staff are increasingly seeking support with developing new or integrating existing pedagogical approaches to the design, implementation, and assessment of such opportunities within for-credit courses and programs.

In addition to supports for opportunities, a clear need has been identified within the University community for a framework that both unifies the range of experiences around core learning elements, while recognizing the unique elements that distinguish each approach. During the 2016-17 academic year, the University of Toronto Task Force on Experiential Learning developed a white paper that addresses the above need, positioning the range of experiential learning modalities under the umbrella framework of Integrated Learning Experiences (ILEs):

“(ILEs) all provide students with the ability to bridge theoretical and practical learning and to observe how the material they have learned in class takes shape in the world… and include(s) examples of experiential, work-integrated, and community-engaged learning that integrate disciplinary outcomes with community engagement and competency development” (p. 10).

In response to the demand for increased supports, and as a means of educating the community on the new ILE framework, a speaker and workshop series is planned for the 2017-18 academic year. The workshops will focus on different models of course- and program-based experiential learning, and serve as a platform for discussing the ILE model at the University. These full-day sessions will bring together leading faculty members from U of T and peer institutions in order to share best practices and provide direct support in the development of new course and program components or offerings

Purpose of the Series:

  • Develop a community of practice within U of T around the various models of Integrated Learning
  • Provide opportunities for instructors and program leaders to engage in an instructional design process, with support from recognized experts
  • Establish connections with and learn from leading practitioners at peer institutions

November 2nd, 2017

Session and registration information below


  • Norah McRae, Director, PhD, Executive Director of the Co-operative Education Program and Career Services, the Director of the Office of Community-University Engagement, adjunct faculty member, University of Victoria.
  • Ashley Stirling, Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, and Director, Experiential Learning, Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education, University of Toronto
  • Tracey Bowen, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream and Internship Coordinator, Institute of Communication, Culture, Information and Technology, University of Toronto

February 21st, 2018

Session information to come


  • Connie Varnhagen, Professor and Academic Director, Undergraduate Research Initiative, University of Alberta
  • Ira Wells, Undergraduate Research Program Coordinator, Victoria College, and Project Manager, Jackman Scholars-in-Residence program, University of Toronto



November 2, 2017
CTSI Office, Blackburn Room
Robarts Library, 4th Floor


As part of the Integrated Learning: Experiential Education at the University of Toronto Series, this Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) workshop will provide participants with a framework for the efficient development of course-based WIL experiences and information on models and resources available to support the development and offering of such courses. Speakers will provide a theoretical framework to ground the development of WIL experiences, highlight case study examples of different models for embedding WIL experiences within courses, walk through the process of designing experiences that link directly to program outcomes, and provide practical guidance on the administration of WIL opportunities within the University of Toronto context. Participants will work with the facilitators to begin the development or redesign process for new or existing WIL-based courses or programs, and will leave with a more thorough understanding of how to offer this type of course or program at the University of Toronto.


Norah McRae, Executive Director of the Co-operative Education Program and Career Services, Director of the Office of Community-University Engagement, University of Victoria

Tracey Bowen, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream and Internship Coordinator for the Institute of Communications, Culture, Information and Technology (ICCIT) at the University of Toronto, Mississauga

Ashley Stirling, Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education, University of Toronto


Facilitator Biographies:

Norah McRae is Executive Director of the Co-operative Education Program and Career Services, the Director of the Office of Community-University Engagement and an adjunct faculty member at the University of Victoria, Canada. Her involvement in co-operative education, work-integrated learning and community engagement spans more than twenty years, over which time she has led strategic program development and research on student engagement, work-integrated learning and intercultural competency development. Her doctoral research examined conditions that enable transformative learning during work-integrated learning and led to the development of a preliminary theoretical model. Norah has been published in the: International Handbook for Co-operative and Work-Integrated Education, Asia-Pacific Journal for Co-operative Education, CEIA Journal and The World is my Classroom: International Learning and Canadian Higher Education. She is a faculty member for the WACE Planning Institute for Global and Experiential Education, the WACE Assessment Institute, the Global WIL program, and an adjunct in the Faculty of Education at UVic.  In 2017 WACE awarded Norah the Donald MacLaren Jr. academic award for professional achievement in co-operative and work-integrated education.

Tracey Bowen is an Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream and the Internship Coordinator for the Institute of Communications, Culture, Information and Technology (ICCIT) at the University of Toronto, Mississauga. Her research focuses on visual literacy, counter-normative pedagogies, and reflective writing and assessment in relation to experiential education. Bowen’s research on experiential learning focuses on the transition space between academic life and industry contexts in terms of the personal, professional, and intellectual shifts students’ experience; and how students articulate the challenges of that transition through critical reflective writing. Her work is published in Higher Education Research and Development, Studies in Higher Education, Teaching in Higher Education and Education for Information. Dr. Bowen’s most recent research involving both Canadian and Swedish participants, examines internship students’ perspectives on how they learn to become a professional. She has recently co-edited Work-Integrated Learning in the 21st Century: Global Perspectives on the Future published by Emerald Press (2017) and is a current member of the World Association of Cooperative and Work-integrated Education (WACE) Assessment Institute faculty and the WACE International Research Group.

Ashley Stirling is an Associate Professor, Teaching Stream in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education, University of Toronto. In her role as Director of Experiential Education she currently provides leadership to the Faculty’s academic experiential learning initiatives across the undergraduate and graduate curricula. Professor Stirling is the lead author of the practical guide for enhancing the educational quality of work integrated learning, recently published in partnership by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario and Education @ Work Ontario, and was a 2017 recipient of the esteemed University of Toronto Early Career Teaching Award.

Please note: space is limited and priority will be given to those registering as teams.