YFile’s Year in Review: Top headlines at York University, July to September 2017

As a new year emerges, YFile takes a look back on 2017 to share with readers a snapshot of the year’s highlights. “Year in Review” will run as a four-part series, and will feature a random selection of top news stories published in YFile. Here are the stories and highlights for July to September 2017, as chosen by YFile editors.


Milky Way could be home to 100 billion failed stars
An international research team has discovered that anywhere from 25 to 100 billion failed stars reside in the Milky Way Galaxy. The Milky Way Galaxy is the celestial home to Earth. The failed stars, which are known as Brown dwarfs, are astronomical entities that are too large to be planets and too small to be stars. Astronomer Ray Jayawardhana, who is dean of the Faculty of Science at York University, is a member of the research team that made the discovery.

Professor James Elder wins major ORF grant to support sustainable urban mobility
Seeking to use his intelligent systems research to facilitate sustainable urban mobility, Professor James Elder applied for an Ontario Research Fund (ORF) grant with private sector partners and University of Waterloo co-applicants. He won the $4-million ORF grant, plus $4 million from industry partners (Esri Canada, Exascale Solutions, Fugro Roadware, Miovision, Mircom, Teledyne-Optech and Trans-Plan) and another $4 million from York University and the University Waterloo, for a total of $12 million over five years from April 2017 to March 2022.

Donald Ipperciel with Marc Turcot

Glendon Principal Donald Ipperciel awarded France’s Order of Academic Palms
Glendon Principal Donald Ipperciel was awarded one of France’s highest honours, the Ordre des Palmes Académiques (Order of Academic Palms). The honour was bestowed on Ipperciel in recognition of his tremendous and wide-reaching accomplishments as a scholar, for his efforts to foster bilingual education in Ontario and for his role reinforcing the place of the French language in Canada.

Governor General’s silver medallist leaves behind legacy of kindness at York
Recent York University graduate Yaakov Green was a student in the Faculty of Science, majoring in biology, who graduated at spring convocation with a Governor General’s Silver Medal for having one of the three highest averages among graduating undergraduate students at York. He was also awarded the Faculty of Science Gold Medal. However, he had been on York University’s radar since several years ago, when he arrived as a first-year student with a prestigious Schulich Leader Scholarship.

What Linda Said, a new play by York Professor Priscila Uppal, to premiere Summerworks
York University Professor Priscila Uppal has penned a new play about creativity in the face of grief, fear and loss. Her new play What Linda Said ran August 3 to 13 as part of the Toronto’s acclaimed Summerworks Theatre Festival. The play is based on her friendship with Linda Griffiths, the late celebrated Canadian actress, and offers up a bitingly funny, poetic and personal look at coping with cancer.


Jonathan Weiss

York U study finds benefits for parents who participate in therapy with autistic children
Jonathan Weiss, associate professor in the Department of Psychology, Faculty of Health, and Canadian Institute for Health Research (CIHR) Chair in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) Treatment and Care Research, discovered that parents who participate in cognitive therapy with their children with autism also experience a real benefit that improves the family experience.

York U, Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic partner to provide enhanced counselling services
York University’s Sexual Violence Response Office partnered with the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic to provide enhanced access to personal counselling services for community members who disclose or report sexual violence experienced while registered and/or employed at York. The Barbra Schlifer Clinic provides prompt access to up to 10 one-hour personal counselling sessions to each community member referred for services through the Sexual Violence Response Office. The community member and clinic counsellor will be able to choose to conduct counselling sessions at the clinic’s location or on campus.

York Postdoctoral Fellowship program welcomes five researchers
York University’s Faculty of Graduate Studies welcomed five researchers through the York Postdoctoral Fellowship (YPDF) program to support research excellence in a variety of disciplines. The program is open to both Canadian and international students who have recently completed their doctoral degree at York. Fellows – Leah Keating, Melanie McBride, Emily McGiffin, Rehan Siddiqui and Hyekyoung Sung – received a funded, one-year postdoctoral research position to conduct their proposed research project under the guidance of a faculty supervisor.

York U and wider community flock to Keele campus for Solar Fair
An afternoon of science, community and history attracted more than 2,000 people to York University on Aug. 21, when the Faculty of Science hosted Solar Fair – an event to engage York and the wider community in the solar eclipse. York’s Lions Stadium opened its doors from 1 to 4pm, and hosted several activities and viewing stations for guests to enjoy during the live viewing of the celestial event. The York University Observatory Team distributed individual solar glasses, and set up several solar telescopes to make the viewing experience safe for enthusiasts. Let’s Talk Science also set up several interactive science stations, including a booth where guests could build their own pinhole camera to watch the eclipse.

York, U of T, OCAD U, Ryerson students and faculty take on affordable housing in massive joint research project
The presidents of Toronto’s four universities – York University, the University of Toronto, OCAD University and Ryerson University – have teamed up for a new initiative called StudentDwellTO to tackle one of the biggest issues facing postsecondary students in the Greater Toronto Area: affordable housing. The initiative brings together nearly 100 faculty and students from the four universities to take an in-depth look at student housing in the GTA.


Canadian Academy of Health Sciences inducts two York faculty members
York University’s excellence in health science was acknowledged Sept. 14 when Faculty of Health Dean Paul McDonald and Psychology Professor Joel Katz were inducted as fellows of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (CAHS). McDonald and Katz are the eighth and ninth inductees from York University’s Faculty of Health.

Advertisement for York U's role as a venue for the Invictus GamesYork University announces a new student award in honour of Invictus Games
York University President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda Lenton welcomed the Invictus Games National Flag Tour to the Keele campus on Sept. 20. At the welcome ceremony, Lenton announced a new award in honour of the Invictus Games in support of increased access to postsecondary education for Canada’s Military personnel and their children. The York University Service Award provides up to $20,000 over four years to a York University student who is a Canadian Armed Forces member, active or retired, and who has a physical, sensory, medical, mental health or learning disability. The award will also be available to a student with a disability who is a child of a Canadian Armed Forces member.

Allan Carswell donation

Major gift for new telescope opens Universe to York U students, wider community
A donation announced on Sept. 14 of $500,000 from the Carswell Family Foundation, matched by York University and its Faculty of Science, for $1 million toward a new, one-metre custom telescope, will bring celestial sights within reach of students and members of the public. When installed, the new telescope is expected to be the largest situated on a university campus in Canada.

Five York U professors elected to Royal Society of Canada
The achievements of five York University professors have been recognized by the Royal Society of Canada, which elected these five into its ranks as Fellows on Sept. 7. Professors Russell Belk, Richard C. Hoffmann, Lesley A. Jacobs, Marcel Martel and David McNab were recognized by the Royal Society of Canada. “This reflects the high regard in which York University’s academics and researchers, and York research, are held,” said Robert Haché, vice-president research & innovation.

New Fellow appointed for Helen Carswell Chair in Community Engaged Research in the Arts
Before an audience of passionate educators, and celebrated with three stellar music performances, York University Professor Karen Burke was announced as the inaugural Fellow for the Helen Carswell Chair in Community Engaged Research in the Arts. The event took place on Thursday, Aug. 24 at York University’s Keele campus. The Carswell Chair is a permanent endowed position within the School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design (AMPD) at York University.

Check back in the next edition of YFile for Year in Review: Top headlines at York University, October to December 2017.