While the majority of first year students who want to live on campus almost automatically move into residences connected to their college and program of study, there are First-Entry Professional Faculties (ProFac) students that experience residence life differently. Architecture, Engineering, Music and Kinesiology students don’t have a college and the UTSU has heard significant issues about the lack of information and transparency in the residence application process for those students.
What does this mean?
Overall, students prefer to live with other students in their program. For example, Humanities students who are a part of Innis College typically move into Innis Residence. But at U of T there is nowhere that makes it clear for ProFac students to find out where other students in their program are staying (until now, we have that data in handy pie charts below) OR even how many spaces in each residence are available for ProFac students so they know how competitive it is to get in. ProFac students end up evenly distributed throughout most residences.
There is one residence that is primarily ProFac students – it’s called Chestnut Residence. Though physically the farthest from the main campus, it is where many ProFac communities are formed.
UTSU VP Professional Faculties Paul Kaita undertook a survey to collect opinions from ProFac students about their residence experience and he has published a report on his findings: First-Entry Professional Faculties Residence Representation & Accommodations Report.
Here is a quick summary of the report’s recommendations. The full report can be read here.
#1 Publish the approximate total number of spaces allotted for professional faculties in each residence.
#2 Publish ProFac student reviews of living in different residences.
#3 Centralize residence-specific information and the application process for ProFac students instead of having the students compare the merits of each residence on their respective websites.
#4 Increase collaboration between residence offices and professional faculty registrars.
#5 More social programming aimed at fostering community among professional faculties students.
#6 Distribution of Professional Faculty specific resources at every residence
#7 Hire residence dons that reflect the professional faculty community.
#8 Creation of dedicated ProFac residence spaces to help foster community
And if you’re an incoming ProFac student you might be interested in these charts – showing information that will be made public to students for the first time ever – about which residences students from your program moved into (average of 2016-2019 stats). For more detailed data, read the full report.
Since publishing the report, it has been disseminated to University Working Groups to engage and make adjustments to the ProFac Residence experience. One update is that StarPortal has been updated in Winter 2020, in which students are now provided with information on the number and percentage of students from their faculty/college in each residence the previous year. There is a huge growth in Professional Faculties receiving their top choice residence with the implementation of the new residence portal.
It’s great that more ProFac students are getting their first choice but hopefully more of the report’s recommendations can be put into place and continue to improve the residence application process and first year on campus living experience for ProFac students.