Student-Focused Conference Funding Program

Program Overview

This program supports program-based, student-focused conferences or research events organized collaboratively by students and a faculty lead in an OISE program. This program is intended to support (but not fully fund) eligible conferences or research events pre-approved by the Department Chair as a program-related departmental activity.

OISE student-focused conferences foster communities of learning while building research competency and facilitating the mobilization of innovative research. These events also allow students to gain experience in academic event planning and administration.

Applications for up to $1,000 per event are invited on an ongoing basis.

Eligibility Criteria


Applications are submitted by a faculty sponsor who holds an eligible primary faculty appointment at OISE and has secured department support and funding for the event.

  • Tenure stream, teaching stream or Contractually Limited Term Appointment (CLTA) faculty are eligible to apply as faculty sponsors. Sessional lecturers, seconded instructors, and contract instructors may apply in partnership with an eligible faculty member.
  • Applicants can apply for funding for only one event per fiscal year (May 1 - April 30).

Funded Conferences or Research Events

  • Enhance and are integrated with one or more OISE programs of study.
  • Have received approval from the department Chair as a departmental activity.
  • Have been allocated departmental funding in cash (not in-kind only).
  • Facilitate the synthesis and/or mobilization of student-produced research.
  • Connect one or more OISE programs with professional or community groups beyond OISE.
  • Are organized collaboratively by students under the supervision of one or more faculty members in the associated OISE program(s).
  • Are largely student-focused, with OISE students comprising at least 50% of the organizers and participants.
  • Include speakers or participants external to OISE.
  • Normally include a minimum of 30 participants.

Application Process

Download and complete the application form. Email a completed form to along with an email from your Department Chair confirming the department's support. If the form is not accessible, please contact or 416-978-1117.

Consult with your Department Business Officer to develop a budget in line with University Policies and Guidelines on Reimbursable Expenses.

Applications must be submitted in advance of the proposed conference/event and are accepted on an ongoing basis.  Please allow 15 business days for your application to be assessed.

  • The goals and expected outcomes of the conference/event
  • The date of the event
  • Confirmed or invited speakers
  • The number of expected and/or confirmed participants
  • The cash amount contributed by the department
  • Any other potential or confirmed sources of funding
  • A budget for the event
  • A publicity and communications plan

Adapted with permission from Dr. Katharine Janzen’s proposal to hold the Leadership Cohort Forum in 2018. This proposal describes an event that inspired the creation of this funding program.

Leadership Cohort Forum

The Leadership Cohort Forum facilitated the scholarly discussion of current leadership issues in higher education and showcased relevant research conducted by students in the M.Ed. in Higher Education Leadership cohort stream. While targeted primarily at the OISE community, including alumni, the event was open to anyone who registered. Students in the M.Ed. program in Higher Education Leadership planned and managed the conference under the guidance of Dr. Katharine Janzen, the instructor for the capstone course.

This forum provided students with experience in conference planning and management and with opportunities for networking and collaborating with alumni and other professionals in the field. This event was particularly impactful in bridging theory and professional practice as students built their knowledge base as current or future higher education professionals.

The event featured three keynote speakers: Mitzie Hunter, then Ontario Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development, Charles Pascal, Professor of Applied Psychology and Human Development, OISE, and Ann Buller, President, Centennial College. Breakout sessions focused on access issues for groups underrepresented in postsecondary education; quality and funding; and policy issues in postsecondary education. These sessions spanned a range of pressing and relevant topics in higher education policy and practice, campus sexual violence policies, impacts of orientation and transitions programs, and the effects of non-traditional work hours on higher education administration.

This conference was widely advertised through OISE channels (e.g., the Centre for the Study of Canadian & International Higher Education’s website, the Department of Leadership, Higher & Adult Education’s weekly e-newsletter and the OISE alumni network). Conference organizers forwarded invitations to interested colleagues and higher education professional listservs, and students in the Leadership Cohort posted flyers at their institutions.

Next Steps & Reimbursement

Student organizers work with their department communication officers to ensure the event is well advertised throughout OISE (e.g. on the department webpage, the OISE Events Calendar, and the OISE lobby sign.)

Please email the following scanned documents to your department business officer within 60 days of the conference/event:

  • Receipts for eligible costs incurred up to the amount awarded within 60 days of the conference or research event.
  • Completed Expense Reimbursement Form (ExcelPDF).
  • The final list of participants and attendees.

Please retain original paper copies of all receipts and signatures, as internal and external auditors may require them. If the forms or instructions are not accessible, please contact

Eligible Expenses

  • Speaker Honoraria
  • Technical support for online event

Ineligible Expenses

  • Research Assistant salaries
  • Travel expenses for OISE faculty or students