Is anyone else at York studying in Mongolia? Does York have an academic program in Hindi or Jamaican Creole? Does the University have any linkages or agreements with law schools in the Netherlands? What research is underway on the African Diaspora?
Such questions on the University’s international connections are asked with ever-greater frequency, by people both inside and outside York. The answers are easily available now that York International has compiled a database of York’s international connections and activities. The information is available in the new International Connections section of the York International Web site.
Searchable by location and soon by keyword, the database has four navigable sections: Academic Programs, Faculty Connections, Research Centres and Linkages & Agreements. The Academic Programs section lists international programs in areas such as language, music, law, culture and politics, as well as area studies. Research Centres links to York’s Organized Research Units that have an international focus. Linkages & Agreements provides links to institutions around the world where students, faculty and research exchange agreements are in place. Faculty Connections provides brief descriptions of faculty members’ international activities and connections. From Bhutan to Venezuela or from Belgium to New Zealand, there may be a connection already in place for students to advance their studies.
“This new database is intended to provide a comprehensive profile of the extent and scope of the international connections of the faculty and of the University as a whole,” says Adrian Shubert (right), York’s associate vice-president international. “I always knew that there was a vast amount of international activity going on at York. The database, even in its early days, demonstrates just how impressive this activity actually is.”
The database has been compiled from publicly-available information on Faculty or departmental Web sites. “We thought this database would be a useful tool both within and outside York,” says Carol Irving, policy analyst at York International and the project’s manager. “The database can be very useful in a number of ways, for example, for scholars looking for international peers, or for potential students interested in what international programs York offers.”
“It also has provided an excellent opportunity for York students to create something useful and important to the University,” says Irving. “It was a total team effort. Alexej Trefilov, a computer science student who has since graduated, created the database foundation and framework. Several students, most recently psychology student Unaizah Vedad, harvested, sorted and posted the data. Edward Fenner, a professional writing student, edited down the massive amounts of harvested biographical material into hundreds of brief biographies.”
The database is considered a work in progress, and is intended to be a "living" entity. New information will be added and existing information revised when it requires updating or revision, links change, new people are added and so forth. "We certainly hope that York’s scholars will provide us with regular updates and additions because current, accurate information is critical," says Shubert.
Being a live database means that it will grow as well. “As with anything new like this,” says Shubert, “we have our initial release, but we have more functionality planned in the year ahead. While the database is pretty solid now, we anticipate some feedback from users about the experience so we can make adjustments and improvements as we go along.”
Back to the questions asked at the top of the story – the answers are: "Yes. Yes, both. Yes, Amsterdam and Rotterdam Universities. The Harriet Tubman Centre studies exactly that.”