An Inlight-led initiative
As part of our commitment to the principle of “students as collaborators”, Inlight is committed to actively engaging students in the co-design of research and knowledge translation activities that directly impacts them. This research approach ensures that students are equal partners in the co-creation of the direction, development, and execution of student mental health research.
Our Definition of Student Engagement
Student engagement is the meaningful and timely involvement of students as experts in the processes and decisions that will affect them.
Based on principles of community and patient engagement in health research, student engagement is the involvement of those with firsthand or “lived” experience as equal contributing members in an initiative. In research, engagement provides new insights into the needs, priorities, and interests of those who use and are affected by research outcomes. When led in partnership with community experts, research can be more valid, accurate, and credible.
Recognizing the Diversity of Student Experience
In the context of this initiative, student and youth mental health is inclusive of mental wellness, mental illness and substance misuse. It encompasses the full length of a student’s journey — from transitions into post-secondary education to graduation — and the full range of student mental health experience— from community and individual well-being to clinical intervention, inside the classroom and out.
We recognize that there is no one student experience at U of T. U of T students vary widely in age, identity, ability, and background, and in their mental health experiences both on and off campus. In order to best understand and address student mental health challenges at U of T, we engage a diverse student voice on all aspects of this initiative. We work with students from programs and departments at all three U of T campuses and at both the graduate and undergraduate level.
Students are integral to the understanding of student mental health – we are not only emerging researchers, practitioners, and advocates, but we also navigate life in post-secondary school every day.
– Lexi Ewing, PhD Student & Student Advisor
The Student Advisory Committee
Inlight works with a Student Advisory Committee composed of current graduate and undergraduate students from across the three University of Toronto campuses. The Inlight Student Advisory Committee ensures the representation, prioritization, and engagement of diverse student voice in student mental health research and related activities across the University of Toronto. Recruitment for the Student Advisory Committee happens annually.
As part of their mandate each term, the Student Advisory Committee supports a number of priorities identified by the the previous cohort.
The 2022-2023 Student Advisory Committee will address three main priorities.
Support the development and implementation of grants and fellowships programs, as outlined in Research Pillar 3: GENERATE FOUNDATIONAL KNOWLEDGE AND RESEARCH-DRIVEN INNOVATIONS of the Strategic Plan.
Support the development of an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Action Plan, ensuring these principles are embedded across all work and activities of Inlight.
Support the engagement and development of a broad student network, ensuring UofT students are represented across activities of Inlight and in the operationalization of Research Pillar 2: DRIVE AUTHENTIC STUDENT ENGAGEMENT IN RESEARCH.
Previous Student Advisory Committee Membership
2021-2022 Student Advisory Committee
Assia Messaoudi, Undergraduate Student English, Professional Writing & Communications, and Sociology, University of Toronto Mississauga
Ka Wing Cheung, Master’s Student, Occupational Therapy, University of Toronto Mississauga
Sylvia Romanowska MSc, Master’s Student, Clinical Psychology, University of Toronto Scarborough
Hareem Ashraf, Undergraduate Student, Mental Health and Molecular Biology, Immunology & Disease, University of Toronto Scarborough
Alex Erickson, Undergraduate Student Economics and International Relations, Faculty of Arts & Science
Catherine Clarke, Undergraduate Student, Psychology, Biology, and Physiology, Faculty of Arts & Science
Akshay Mohan BTech SM, Doctoral Student, Industrial Relations & Human Resources, Centre for Industrial Relations & Human Resources, Faculty of Arts & Science
Lexi Ewing MA, Doctoral Student Developmental Psychology and Education, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education
Chen Yang, Undergraduate Student Architectural Studies, John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design
We are excited to share templates and resources to support the development of student engagement strategies in postsecondary student mental health research in the near future! Watch this space for updates.
If you are referencing or adapting content for your own student engagement activities, please give credit to Inlight as indicated in the resource.
Are you interested in connecting or learning more about Inlight’s approach to student engagement in research?
Please contact Emma McCann, Inlight Engagement Lead, at email@example.com.