Professor wins inaugural award for work in urban diversity


Above: Right, Patrick Solomon holding his award with Stan Shapson

Anderson Coward, communications coordinator in the Faculty of Education, sent the following account to YFile.

The Canadian Council for Multicultural & Intercultural Education (CCMIE) recently presented the first annual Exemplary Multicultural Educator’s Award to York Professor Patrick Solomon. The award is in recognition of his work in the Faculty of Education’s Urban Diversity Teacher Education Initiative.

The inaugural award, presented on June 27 – Canadian Multiculturalism Day – was created to spotlight progressive work in teacher education and to acknowledge the influence of graduate teachers in effecting real societal change.

“Education is the foundation which will support sustained attitudinal change and ensure the realization of a true multicultural Canada,” commented CCMIE president Sylvia Parris. “The choice of launching the Award on Canadian Multicultural Day is symbolic of CCMIE’S commitment to advancing multicultural/antiracist education across Canada and throughout public school systems in every province.”

Solomon, with initial support from York education Professor Gary Bunch, has developed, implemented and coordinated the Urban Diversity Teacher Education Initiative since its inception in 1994.

This unique initiative was designed as a response to the Ontario Ministry of Education’s challenge to institutions make teacher education more relevant to the population they serve, and to integrate issues of equity, diversity and social justice into the schooling process. York’s Faculty of Education accepted this challenge by providing the structure and support for the development of the initiative which, to date, has graduated over 520 teachers.

“It is indeed an honour to be the first recipient of the Exemplary Multicultural Educator’s Award and to share it with my colleagues who have accepted the challenge of preparing the next generation of teachers for culturally diverse urban schools and communities,” said Solomon (right). “Of course, working for equity, diversity and social justice in teacher education is an unfinished and continuing project.”

The objectives of the Urban Diversity Initiative are to provide an environment in which teacher candidates of various racial and ethnocultural groups have extended opportunities to develop teaching competencies and professional relationships in a collaborative manner; to integrate multiculturalism, antiracism and other equity and diversity issues into the curriculum and pedagogy of teacher education; and to develop partnerships among practicum school staff, representatives of community organizations, York’s teacher candidates and teacher educators, thus forming a “community of learners.”

Vice-President Research & Innovation Stan Shapson, who was dean of the Faculty of Education when the initiative was developed, remarked, “Dr. Solomon and his colleagues are to be congratulated on a truly innovative program that has stood the test of time. It is particularly noteworthy that the program benefited from a strong research component which led to ongoing improvements and contributed to its sustainability and excellent results.”

CCMIE is a non-governmental national organization composed of provincial and territorial multicultural associations, councils and teachers’ organizations representing the cultural, linguistic and regional diversities in Canadian society.

Below: Some of the York’s multicultural students