The Faculty of Graduate Studies (FGS) honoured Professor Carl James with the Faculty’s Teaching Award for his contributions to graduate teaching and membership. James was presented his award at the Faculty Council meeting on March 2. Attending the presentation were friends and colleagues of James.
“Carl’s extraordinary work in the classroom, as a supervisor and as a mentor, as well as his passionate commitment to social justice, make him an exemplary member of the graduate community at York University,” said Vice–President Academic and Provost Rhonda Lenton, who presented the award. “His expertise in the fields of community-based scholarship and accessible education, in addition to his study of racialized education systems, and marginalized populations and education, has led to numerous prestigious awards inside and outside of the academy.”
James, a professor in the Faculty of Education and the Jean Augustine Chair in Education, Community and Diaspora is affiliated with the graduate programs in Education, Interdisciplinary Studies, Social and Political Thought, Sociology, and Social Work.
Recognized nationally and internationally for his work in equity in relation to race, class, gender, racialization, immigration and citizenship, James was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2012.
“The fact is, community plays a significant role in our lives and in our educational, professional and occupational pursuits,” said James, after accepting his award. “As such, I take seriously that students too bring community-informed needs, interests, expectations and aspirations of the community to their educational process to which we must be responsive in terms of our course content, pedagogy and assignments.”
Nomination letters in support of the award noted the remarkable diaspora of his former graduate students, who now serve as teachers, public school administrators, professors and researchers in higher education, as well as community leaders in the not-for-profit sector.
His peers frequently cited his continuing and engrossing presence in research activity within York University and the surrounding community. Most notably, however, was the consistent admiration for the time and energy he has and continues to devote to his students and York alumni in support of their scholarship.
As the Jean Augustine Chair in Education, Community and Diaspora, James will focus on addressing community issues and concerns within a framework of equity, inclusivity, and social justice. The work of the Chair will also consider the current context, building on its past accomplishments, and initiating a structure and activities that will serve to advance the principles of educational access and opportunities, cultural understanding, and community engagement.
“I appreciate this award particularly for what it symbolically represents to me,” he noted. “That is the work that myself and other Black, Indigenous and other racialized colleagues do daily in our work with students and at the university generally,” he said. “Ultimately, this recognition is not only about my teaching and research, but also about the possibilities for our graduate and undergraduate students here at York.”
The FGS Teaching Award is awarded annually to a member of the Faculty of Graduate Studies who has displayed substantial, significant and sustained excellence, commitment and enthusiasm to the multifaceted aspects of teaching at the graduate level at York.