U of T Talks

Bringing Bold Ideas to Every Classroom

Featuring leading scholars from our three campuses, U of T Talks is a new initiative designed to bring some of the world’s foremost intellectuals directly to you. What will it take to end poverty—or curb climate change? Why is disinformation so hard to combat? When and where will the next major epidemic emerge? Don’t miss these unique opportunities to learn directly from researchers who are tackling today’s most pressing problems. With just a few clicks, you’ll be able to join in and pick their brains.

Mark Your Calendars!

Every U of T Talks session includes an engaging lecture followed by a live Q&A. Sign up now to reserve your spot. Let’s get you connected with some of the world’s top minds.

Presented by: Dean Rhonda McEwan
Date: Monday, October 25, 2021 at 5:00 p.m.
Description: Alexa, Siri, Hey Google – these are all new technologies that represent social robots. This talk describes what these social robots are, how they work, and what communicating with robots means for human society. This research is part of a new branch of interaction called Human-Machine Communication, and Professor Rhonda McEwen is one of the international scholars defining this emerging field.

Join us for the October U of T Talk session delivered by Dr. Rhonda McEwen, Vice-Principal, Academic and Dean, U of T Mississauga. This session will be part of the virtual Fall Campus Week Register For Fall Campus Week Here!

Presented by: Steve Joordens
Date: Tuesday, November 23, 2021 at 4:00 p.m.
Description: We’ve all watched movies feature magicians who have great knowledge, and who then learn spells that allow them to perform amazing feats of magic.  We’ve seen the process.  They first learn the spell, then the spend a lot of time practicing it, often making mistakes along the way but slowly becoming better and better magicians.  In this talk you will learn that magic of this sort is not just a thing of movies, its alive and well.  We don’t call them magic spells, we call them the core skills of success, and they include cognitive skills like critical and creative thought, as well as human interaction skills such as those involved in effective communication.  We teach these skills, and if you learn them well the magic they will bring to you can help you find success.  

Join us for the November U of T Talk session delivered by Dr. Steve Joordens, Professor of Psychology and Director of the Advanced Learning Technologies Lab, U of T Scarborough.

Registration Coming Soon!

Previously on U of T Talks

Presented by Professor Christopher Yip, who is the Dean of the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering. Recorded on September 18, 2021.

Presented by Professor Joseph Wong, who is the University of Toronto’s Vice-President, International. He is also the Roz and Ralph Halbert Professor of Innovation at the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, and a Professor of Political Science. Recorded on September 18, 2021.

This U of T Talk was presented by Prof. Obidimma Ezezika, Assistant Professor, Department of Health & Society, U of T Scarborough. Recorded on May 27, 2021.

Description: Over the years I have come to realize how often the bridge from the lab to village is broken, and it drives me crazy… Every scientist, engineer, politician, and entrepreneur experiences the “delivery gap” at one time or another. Having knowledge about what works is no guarantee it will reach the people it’s intended for. What is needed is Implementation Science, a methodology that can guide the uptake and adaptation of evidence-based innovations and practices to local constraints. In this talk I describe my journey from the lab to the village, both metaphorically and literally.

This U of T Talk was be presented by Prof. Alexander Koo, who is an Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Toronto Mississauga and in the Faculty of Arts & Science. Recorded on April 20, 2021.

Description: Why should we trust science? Some commonly heard reasons are: it’s true, it’s objective, or it follows the scientific method. Philosophers of science have examined these reasons and have argued that all of them are false. Science is, in fact, not true, nor is it objective, nor does it follow the scientific method. Despite this, philosophers still overwhelmingly trust science. But why? In this talk I will argue that there is no tension in rejecting the truth, objectivity, and methodology of science and still maintaining that one ought to trust science. An important payoff to this position is that it robs enemies of science of many of their standard arguments for not trusting science.

This U of T Talk was be presented by Prof. Nouman Ashraf, who is an Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream within the Organizational Behavior area and Director, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at the Rotman School of Management. Recorded on March 16, 2021.

This U of T Talk was presented by Professor Janelle Joseph, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education. Recorded on February 18, 2021.

Recording Currently Unavailable

This U of T Talk was presented by Professor Jason Bazylak, who is a Metis Professional Engineer (Homeland: Duck Lake / Professional Engineers of Ontario), Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering Dean’s Advisor on Indigenous Initiatives, and Associate Professor Teaching Stream. Prof. Bazylak also runs an award winning first year design course series for engineering students.

Description: In honour of National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada (June 21), Metis Engineer Professor Jason Bazylak spoke about his own personal journey into engineering. About how his path into engineering was driven by a desire to bring Voice to the Indigenous people of Turtle Island and eventually to all peoples whose Voice was not previously heard in the engineering profession. About how the strength of a community is in its inclusion. The great Metis leader, unacknowledged for his important role in the founding Canada, Louis Riel once said, “My people will sleep for one hundred years, but when they awake, it will be the artists who give them their spirit back.” As well, Professor Jason Bazylak believes that it will be the Indigenous scholars, like engineers, who give us our Voice back.

Teachers, Stay Tuned.

Customize your curriculum with one of our pre-recorded U of T Talks—a great way to prompt discussion at any level. At just twenty minutes each, they’re a perfect fit for any lesson plan.

Our mission at the University of Toronto is to build bridges and break barriers, whether disciplinary, sociohistorical, or geographic. One of the ways we’re doing this is by making our talks available to anyone who can’t join us live, whatever the reason. We’re just getting started, but we’ll eventually publish each talk here for future students to peruse. In the meantime, feel free to reach out anytime with suggestions for future seasons of U of T Talks.