UTARMS Oral History Collection on Student Activism

Interview with Tom Mathien conducted by Ruth Belay

4 February 2020 | A2020-0010/007S | Transcript (PDF) | Listen

Interview description

Dr. Thomas Mathien is the former Associate Director of the Transitional Year Programme (TYP) at the University of Toronto and an occasional course instructor in the UofT's Department of Philosophy. His interview primarily focuses on key developments of the TYP, though Mathien also recounts some of his early participation as a student in teach-ins, student government, and various collective initiatives in late 1960s and 1970s. Mathien describes the history of the TYP, noting early confrontations with the University, key individuals involved, and the programme’s role in supporting access to post-secondary education that is rooted in a recognition of the impacts of racial, economic, and cultural difference that students experience at the University. He speaks at length about shifts in the programme's curricular, pedagogical, and community-based approaches that have been adopted and developed over a span of 30 years. For example, he notes the interest in including Indigenous knowledge in curriculum, as well as initiatives to help support the financial security of students. Mathien ends the interview reflecting on the educators who influenced his own political thought and approach.

For additional information on the Transitional Year Programme please see Access and Equity in the University: A Collection of Papers from the 30th Anniversary Conference of the Transitional Year Programme, University of Toronto / Ed. Keren Braithwaite Organizations



  • Transitional Year Program, University of Toronto
  • Campus Community Cooperative Daycare Centre
  • Student Union for Peace Action
  • Students’ Administrative Council
  • Innis College, University of Toronto
  • University of St. Michael’s College, University of Toronto

Subject Topics

  • Community education
  • Equity in education
  • Community engagement
  • Access to post-secondary education
  • Financial barriers to post-secondary education
  • Curriculum development and reform
  • Collective models
  • Indigenous curriculum
  • Institutional response

Citation: University of Toronto Archives. Oral History Collection on Student Activism. Oral history interview with Tom Mathien conducted by Ruth Belay, 4 February 2020. A2020-0010/007S.