Year in review 2018: Top headlines at York University, January to March

Year in Review 2018

As a new year emerges, YFile takes a look back on 2018 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 January to March 2018, as chosen by YFile editors.


Indigenous Environmental Justice Project offers unparalleled resource
What does environmental justice mean to Indigenous Peoples? How can it be addressed? These are two of the foundational questions raised by the Indigenous Environmental Justice Project (IEJ), a five-year initiative funded by the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). The York University-based project is the brainchild of Osgoode Hall Law School’s Professor Deborah McGregor, Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Indigenous Environmental Justice, cross-appointed to the Faculty of Environmental Studies.

Having knowledge on how to operate and analyze the results of a test on space materials in crucial to obtaining a space-related job or career in the future. Pictured above is the International Space Station, a living laboratory of space engineering, hardware and materials. Photo: NASA
Having knowledge on how to operate and analyze the results of a test on space materials in crucial to obtaining a space-related job or career in the future. Pictured above is the International Space Station, a living laboratory of space engineering, hardware and materials. Photo: NASA

Space engineers test for good vibrations
Space engineering graduates from York University should have a leg up on other job candidates, given the practical experience they are getting in their Materials for Space Applications and Space Hardware courses. Lecturer Hugh Chesser and fellow members of the program’s curriculum committee have been able to “inject more experiential work into the curriculum, work that the students would experience during their careers,” thanks to testing equipment purchased with the help of an Academic Innovation Fund grant.

Investment in vaccine mathematics a powerful tool to combat infectious diseases
A major new research initiative based in the Faculty of Science at York University will develop mathematical techniques to identify populations most susceptible to infectious diseases and enable manufacturers to produce cost-effective vaccines that can be deployed quickly. The research is also expected to better position Canada to respond rapidly to emerging public health issues such as Zika outbreaks. The $2.6-million NSERC/Sanofi Industrial Research Chair in Vaccine Mathematics, Modelling and Manufacturing, awarded to York University Distinguished Research Professor Jianhong Wu, was announced at York on Tuesday, Jan. 23.

Osgoode scholars’ work contributes to new Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise
A number of Osgoode Hall Law School professors have been working for years on transnational corporate accountability for human rights and environmental violations by Canadian companies in other countries. This includes, most recently, the work of Professor Emeritus Shin Imai and the students who have worked with him for several years in the Justice and Corporate Accountability Project (JCAP), the work of which the Nathanson Centre on Transnational Human Rights, Crime and Security is proud to have funded and otherwise supported.

Seyed Moghadas

Two York University mathematicians determine how to stay a step ahead of C. difficile
Clostridium Difficile, or C. difficile, strikes fear into the hearts of many. This life-threatening infection, caused through contact with bacteria, can develop rapidly even under the watchful eye of hospital staff. Two researchers, Professor Seyed Moghadas and PhD student Sara Maghdoori, mathematicians in York University’s Agent-Based Modelling Laboratory in the Faculty of Science, wanted to evaluate strategies for reducing this risk. Their research is funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

AMPD honours ‘Offshore’ documentary creator at inaugural research celebration, Feb. 14
The School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design (AMPD) at York University honoured one of its own during the inaugural AMPD Research Celebration on Feb. 14. Cinema & Media Arts Professor Brenda Longfellow was presented with the AMPD Research Award in recognition of her outstanding work. She launched the interactive web documentary Offshore, funded by the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada, and co-directed with Glen Richards and Helios Design Lab. Offshore can be viewed at

An engineer uses a tablet to control a heavy automation robot arm machine in smart factory

York University will participate in the new Innovation Superclusters initiative
York University applauds the Government of Canada’s $950-million investment in the Innovation Superclusters Initiative, a commitment that will be matched, dollar for dollar, by the private sector. The Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster, in which York University is proud to be a participant, is an exciting initiative that will help to substantially propel our region into a globally leading centre for advanced manufacturing, which is critical to the success of the Canadian economy.

York research informs special report on Canada’s role in global health
York University Professor Steven Hoffman is among a cohort of Canadian scholars to author a special report for The Lancet that examines Canada’s system of universal health coverage and role in global health. The two papers, authored by leading scholars, indicate the Canadian government must match its public declarations with concrete action on issues such as disparities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples’ health, health system reform, and flagging levels of overseas aid, if it is to renew its legacy of leadership in health.


Carla Lipsig-Mummé wins 2018 Sefton-Williams Award
York University Professor Carla Lipsig-Mummé was named the 2018 winner of the Sefton-Williams Award for Contributions to Labour Relations. It honours those who have made a significant contribution to the field of labour relations and human rights. The Sefton-Williams award is presented by the University of Toronto’s Woodsworth College and the Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources. Both practitioners in labour relations as well as academics have received this award.

Prof. Pat Armstrong among YWCA’s 2018 Women of Distinction
York University Professor Pat Armstrong is one of eight women recognized by the YWCA Toronto for her outstanding contributions to and leadership in improving the lives of women. Armstrong, a distinguished research professor of sociology in the Faculty of Liberal Arts &  Professional Studies (LAPS), is a 2018 YWCA Toronto Women of Distinction recipient in the category of Health & Education. She was recognized with the award for her work on pay equity, women’s work, women’s studies and women and health care reform.

QS rankings put York University in the top 10 in 15 subject areas
York University ranks among Canada’s top universities in the arts and humanities, law and legal studies, social sciences, and business management according to the 2018 QS World University Rankings by Subject report released Feb. 28. “These rankings are a reflection of York’s success in providing students access to a high-quality, research-intensive learning environment, with academic programming that is enriched by experiential learning opportunities, innovative scholars and researchers who are making breakthroughs in their chosen fields, and a shared commitment to having a positive impact on the wellbeing of society,” said York University President & Vice-Chancellor Rhonda Lenton.

Developers' Den Schulich
The Developers’ Den winning team 2018 is from Schulich School of Business

Schulich students clinch first place title at Developers’ Den competition
A team of students enrolled in the Master of Real Estate and Infrastructure (MREI) program at York University’s Schulich School of Business won first place in the eighth annual Developers’ Den international case competition. The students beat out 11 other teams from leading graduate business and professional school programs. A team of MBA students from the Ivey School of Business placed second and an MBA team from the Schulich School of Business placed third.

Check back in the next edition of YFile for Year in Review 2018: Top headlines at York University, April to June.