Program Progression & Mentoring

The Department of Geography and Planning has set up a new program for the benefit of students in second, third and fourth year as part of the department STEP program. The program includes a series of workshops and a mentorship program, both of which are aimed at helping students succeed in their undergraduate studies and ensuring they are well prepared for life after university.

Workshop schedule for 2016-17

Workshop #5– What’s Next? Exploring Options for Further Education and Mentorship Wrap Up Event

Tuesday March 7, 3-5pm, room SS2124A

The first half of the workshop will be facilitated by Career Educator, Kelci Archibald. The workshop is designed to encourage third and fourth year students to reflect on their own situation, interests, and goals with a focus towards preparing for a wide range of career possibilities. Students will explore their options, from further education to transitioning into the work place. Students will begin to develop a strategy for decision making and action-planning based on their unique career goals. The second half of the workshop will be a mentorship wrap-up event. All mentors and mentees are invited to this event. Light refreshments will be provided.

Completed Workshops

Workshop #1 – Mentorship Launch and Academic World for 2nd Years

When: Tuesday September 27, 3-5pm.
Where: BA1130 (auditorium)

STEP Forward invites all 2nd and 4th year Geography and Planning students at the University of Toronto to attend the mentorship launch event. The first half of the workshop will introduce students to the STEP Forward Program and match mentors (4th year students, and 3rd year students to participated in STEP last year*), with mentees (2nd year students). The second half will provide guidance on navigating the second year gateway courses in Geography and required methods courses (i.e., statistics, research design, GIS). TUGS (Toronto Undergraduate Geography Society) representatives will be present to introduce and answer questions about the various programs (e.g., GIS, Human Geography, Physical Geog., Urban Geog., and Environmental Geog.) and support services offered by the department.

*STEP Forward is a CCR recognized program. All mentors in the STEP Forward program are eligible to receive a CCR on their transcript provided they meet the program requirements. This includes, attendance at 3 of 5 STEP workshops throughout the 2016-17 school year, in addition to their mentoring responsibilities. It is the mentors responsibility to sign-in with the STEP Coordinator at the beginning of each workshop.

Workshop # 2 – Mapping Your Skills 

When: Tuesday October 18, 3-5pm.
Where: SS 5017A (new location)

STEP Forward invites all 3rd and 4th year Geography and Planning students at the University of Toronto to attend this workshop. The workshop will  help students to begin seeing the skills they are learning as transferable; identifying priorities for the coming year; and thinking about the skills needed to be successful in obtaining employment after graduation. During the first half of the workshop, recent graduates from the department will speak about how the skills they gained during their undergraduate studies have helped them in their post-graduation careers. The second half of the workshop will be hosted by the University of Toronto Career Centre, and will engage participants in activities where students will have the opportunity to explore and identify how the skills they are developing through their geography degree connect to their future career goals.

STEP Workshop #3 – Applying to Graduate School

When: Tuesday Nov. 1, 3 – 4pm
Where: SS5017A

STEP Forward invites all 4th year geography and planning students to join us for a workshop on the nuts and bolts of applying to graduate school. The workshop will cover topics such as getting in touch with potential supervisors, finding letter writers, writing a statement of intent, and filling out application forms. The workshop will be led by a guest panel consisting of two faculty members (the Associate Chair and Director of the Program in Planning and the Associate Chair, Graduate), the Graduate Administrator, a graduate student in the Planning Program and a Post-Doctoral Fellow in Geography. Light refreshments will be provided.

Workshop #4 – Experiential Learning

Tuesday Jan. 31, 3-5pm, room SS5017A

The first half of this workshop is open to second and third year students in our department. The workshop will provide students with an opportunity to learn about special courses in third and forth year, such as Geography field courses, internship courses, and independent research courses. The Geography Undergraduate Associate Chair and Undergraduate Counsellor will be available to field any questions students may have about these courses. Fourth year students who have taken such courses will also join the workshop to provide their perspectives, experiences and insights. The second half of the workshop is restricted to STEP mentors and mentees for a group activity focused on the challenges in years three and four. Light refreshments will be provided.


Other STEP  Resources and Opportunities:

Oct 31, Nov 1, Nov 2, Nov 4: What Motivates You? An interactive workshop for all Arts & Science Students. In this session you will complete a self-assessment that will reveal sources of your own academic motivation and learn how your motivational orientation may affect your satisfaction and success at university. Register online for 1 of 4 option. What Motivates You?

Learn more about STEP Forward at

Visit the Mentorship Resource Center at

Explore upcoming events of the Backpack to Briefcase initiative at

The Planning Alumni Committee (PAC) runs an alumni mentorship program for graduate planning students in the Department of Geography.  For more information, please contact