YFile’s Year in Review: Top headlines at York University, October to December 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 October to December 2017, as chosen by YFile editors.


York science student’s research ends 50-year speculation on mayfly biology
Mayfly nymphs are prominent insects in freshwater ecosystems worldwide and an important food source for fish, amphibians, birds and mammals. Unfortunately they are also very sensitive to pollution. Researchers in the Faculty of Science have been interested in better understanding why mayfly nymphs are so vulnerable to environmental insult. During her undergraduate thesis, Faculty of Science student Fargol Nowghani answered this question in a paper published in the Journal of Experimental Biology.

The Hon. Lieutenant Governor of Ontario Elizabeth Dowdeswell and Jessica Rumboldt, with judges (Image: Courtesy of The Walrus)

York doctoral student wins Lieutenant Governor’s Visionaries Prize
York doctoral student Jessica Rumboldt was one of six winners of the Lieutenant Governor’s Visionaries Prize, a new price announced in September 2016 that offers opportunities for Ontario’s creative thinkers to tackle challenges that Ontarians and Canadians will face over the next 50 years. Named the winner of the Reconciliation category, Rumboldt was one of six finalists to showcase their visions in front of an audience that included policy makers, industry leaders and a panel of expert judges.

The Financial Times ranks Kellogg-Schulich executive MBA No. 1 in Canada
The Financial Times of London ranked the Kellogg-Schulich Executive MBA (EMBA) at York University the number one EMBA program in Canada and 27th globally. The Oct. 16 Financial Times ranking marks the 11th straight year that the Kellogg-Schulich EMBA program has been ranked number one in Canada. The Kellogg-Schulich EMBA program finished ahead of IMD, Stern and Columbia, and just behind the Kellogg School of Management, UCLA, Duke and London Business School.

Rhonda L. Lenton becomes York University’s eighth president and vice-chancellor
Rhonda L. Lenton was officially installed as York University’s eighth president and vice-chancellor during an inspiring ceremony held on Wednesday, Oct. 18 at the Aviva Centre on York University’s Keele campus. The ceremony preceded the 2017 Fall Convocation ceremonies for graduates of the Faculty of Science, Glendon College, Osgoode Hall Law School and the Schulich School of Business.

The students hike along the geothermal area of Gunnuhver hot spring

York U students participate in a life-changing experiential learning opportunity
For a group of Toronto high school students, travelling to Iceland with students and faculty from York University to prowl around volcanoes was truly the experience of a lifetime. The trip, which took place last spring, was organized by Kathy Young, a geography professor in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LA&PS) and was part of her advanced fourth-year field course for geography students.


York University launches Indigenous Framework, appoints special advisor to the president on Indigenous initiatives
York University launched its Indigenous Framework and the appointment of a special advisor to the president on Indigenous initiatives. The Indigenous Framework for York University is the culmination of several years’ work by members of York’s Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities and the engagement of Indigenous community partners. It builds on the University’s distinct values, traditions, history and vision.

From tea to 3D, York University opens YSpace, a new innovation hub in Markham
York University announced the official opening of YSpace, its new innovation and entrepreneurship centre in Markham aimed at helping budding entrepreneurs turn bright ideas into action. The opening event took place Monday, Nov. 6. York University’s new co-working and maker space offers students and community entrepreneurs and innovators a place to build and scale their ventures and connect with industry and not-for-profit partners, and provides them with access to programs designed to build their entrepreneurial skills.

Lions down Ravens, claim fourth OUA banner in five years
The York University Lions men’s soccer team won their fourth Ontario University Athletics (OUA) banner in five seasons with a 2-0 victory over the Carleton Ravens at Alumni Field. Playing in their fifth straight final and looking to be crowned champions again after a silver medal result last year, the Lions played a solid game from beginning to end to reclaim the Blackwood Cup. It is their sixth in program history, while the Ravens’ second-place finish is their best since also winning silver in 2012.

Two dozen Faculty of Science professors receive more than $3 million in NSERC Discovery Grants
Two dozen researchers in the Faculty of Science received more than $3 million in Natural Sciences & Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Discovery Grants to pursue promising ideas and breakthrough discoveries. The Discovery Grants typically provide funding for five years and support ongoing research programs with long-term goals. This means that researchers have the flexibility to explore the most promising avenues of research as they emerge.

York U’s human rights student heroes working hard to ensure refugees feel welcome
York University students from a number of clubs working with the York University Syria Response and Refugee Initiative (SRRI) continue to build momentum and recruit new participants to their Refugees Welcome Here! campaign as they organize events and initiatives to raise awareness and support refugees in the community. Major student-led initiatives this term include an awareness campaign to create fundraising to support sponsored refugee students burdened by transportation loans and a winter coat and clothing drive for clients of the local FCJ Refugee Centre.


The Art Gallery of York University sweeps provincial awards
An awards ceremony recognizing excellence in art exhibits, publications, public programs and writing in the public gallery sector in Ontario yielded four awards and one honourable mention for the Art Gallery of York University (AGYU), more than any of the other recipients. During a gala awards reception on Nov. 27, the Ontario Association of Art Galleries (OAAG) recognized the “outstanding achievement, artistic merit and excellence” in public gallery arts institutions.

Faculty of Health professors earn awards for teaching, research and service
Three professors at York University were recognized for their contributions to teaching, research and service during the annual Faculty of Health Awards, which on Dec. 6 presented awards to Nicolette Richardson, Christopher Perry, and Rebecca Bassett-Gunter. The annual awards alternate each year between ‘Early Career’ faculty and ‘Established Career’ faculty in the categories of Teaching, Research and Service. This year’s awards cover the 2016-17 academic year for Early Career faculty with the award designations as follows: Richardson – Teaching; Perry – Research; and Bassett-Gunter – Service.

Schulich’s business history chair wins prestigious Humboldt Research Award
For the first time, a professor at York University’s Schulich School of Business has been named the recipient of the prestigious Humboldt Research Award. Matthias Kipping, Richard E. Waugh Chair in Business History at Schulich, earned the research award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, a German organization that promotes science, cross-disciplinary research and intercultural understanding.

The Teaching Commons team during last year’s annual retreat

Teaching Commons marks five years with a look forward to the future
Quietly and with purpose, the Teaching Commons at York University has cultivated a reputation for excellence in educational development and recently marked its fifth anniversary. Since it was formally established in the fall of 2012, the Teaching Commons has supported teaching and learning at York University. Through an emphasis on educational development, the commons’ activities have focused on assisting thousands of full- and part-time faculty, lecturers and teaching assistants by enhancing their teaching practice through workshops, courses and individual advising.

New subway connects York University’s Keele campus with cities of Toronto and Vaughan
Collaboration is essential to making and sustaining meaningful connections. That was the key message on Friday, Dec. 15 during a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new York University Station, part of the multi-billion dollar Toronto-York Spadina Subway extension (now part of Line1). The Keele campus is home to two of the six new stations on the extension: the York University and Pioneer Village Subway Stations.

This concludes YFile‘s Year in Review: Top headlines at York University, 2017.