University of Toronto Student Chapter Hosts 19th Annual Inter-University Workshop

On November 17th, 2018, the Human Factors Interest Group (HFIG), the HFES student chapter at the University of Toronto, hosted the 19th annual Inter-University Workshop (IUW 2018). This student-run symposium, hosted yearly among the University of Toronto, University of Waterloo and SUNY Buffalo, brings together researchers in human factors and related fields for a day of oral and poster presentations, as well as opportunities to connect with professors and practitioners from a variety of institutions. IUW 2018 welcomed student presenters from five universities in the area and was bookended by two keynote addresses from prominent researchers in their respective fields. Over 100 researchers and practitioners who attended engaged in lively discussions, explored career opportunities, and socialized throughout the day.

The day opened with an address by Dr. Joe Cafazzo, Executive Director of Healthcare Human Factors, entitled “From UX to PX: How healthcare can embrace the culture of human factors informed design”. Dr. Cafazzo gave a passionate appeal to those in the medical device industry to consider the greater context around the way products are being deployed.
Student oral presentation sessions covered a wide range of domains, including human performance measures, virtual environments, human-centred design, healthcare, applied statistics and surface transportation. In addition to audience questions, presenters received expert feedback from a senior industry researcher, Dr. Phillip Farrell from Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC). A poster session featuring a similar breadth of topics occupied the lunch hour, allowing discussion to flow freely between researchers and interested attendees.

The final presentation of the day was an address by information visualization researcher Prof. Fanny Chevalier, “Seeing beyond the chart: How to cultivate critical thinking through visualization”. Her insights reminded us all of our responsibility to communicate our data with the same care with which it was acquired. A dinner reception capped off the long day, giving attendees the chance to socialize and celebrate the presenters’ efforts.

Two students were recognized for their high-quality work through audience choice awards: Shabnam Haghzare, for her poster “Identifying the Factors Influencing Older Adults’ Perceptions of Fully Automated Vehicles”, and Long Ting (Tina) Chan, for her oral presentation “Designing for Engagement in Peer to Peer Support using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy with Gamification and the Proteus Effect”.

Overall, the event was successful and well-received by students, professors and practitioners alike. IUW 2018 was made possible by a committee of student volunteers, co-chaired by master’s students Nazlı E. Kaya and Catherine Solis, and by support from sponsors CIBC, TD, Healthcare Human Factors, DRDC, as well as the continued support of HFES and the Department Mechanical & Industrial Engineering within the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering at the University of Toronto.

More information about the event, including the programme, is available at To learn more about HFIG, the University of Toronto student chapter, visit

All are invited to the next IUW event in 2019, which will be hosted by the HFES student chapter at the University of Waterloo.

Dr. Joe Cafazzo giving the opening keynote address
Dr. Joe Cafazzo giving the opening keynote address

From left to right: IUW Co-chairs Catherine Solis and Nazlı E. Kaya; HFIG Faculty Advisor Prof. Paul Milgram; award recipient for best oral presentation Long Ting (Tina) Chan, University of Waterloo