Year in Review 2018: Top headlines for York University, April to June

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 April to June 2018, as chosen by YFile editors.


Ten researchers earn York Research Chair appointments
Ten emerging and established researchers across the University joined the York Research Chairs program, York University’s internal counterpart to the national Canada Research Chairs program, which recognizes outstanding researchers. The program is designed to build, support and intensify the world-renowned research underway at York University. Appointed were: Tier I – James Elder, Lesley Jacobs, Lauren Sergio, Richard Wildes, Dan Zhang and Huaiping Zhu; Tier II – Jacob Beck, Jonathan Weiss and Derek Wilson.

3MT York winners and judges
Winners of the York U 3MT: Victoria Larocca (second place) and Annalise D’Souza (first place), Mikhaela Gray (third place), with judges Steve Watt, Shamshad Madhok, Alice Pitt and Matthew Shulman

Spotlight on student research at York’s Three Minute Thesis (3MT) event
Eighteen graduate students from York University shared an elevator pitch-style presentation on their research during the annual 3MT competition held April 5. Students, who had three minutes to explain their research to a panel of non-specialist judges with the aid of only a single, static visual slide, delivered succinct and engaging presentations on a wide range of topics, including nationalism, artificial intelligence, safe drinking water and ovarian cancer, to list a few.

York U students’ Indigenous Friends App set to expand social network for Indigenous students
An app designed by York University students to connect and support Indigenous youth will be deployed in several colleges and universities over the next three years through a Youth Opportunities Fund grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation. MPP Michael J. Coteau, minister of children and youth services, announced the funding for the Youth Opportunities Fund project. The Indigenous Friends Association will receive a $210,000 grant to expand the Indigenous Friends App beyond York University.

York study shows cognitive behavioural therapy can improve emotion regulation in autistic children
New research from York University’s Faculty of Health shows cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can help children with autism manage not only anxiety, but other emotional challenges such as sadness and anger. Led by Jonathan Weiss, associate professor in the Department of Psychology, Faculty of Health, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Chair in Autism Spectrum Disorders Treatment and Care Research, the study shows CBT can lead to significant improvements in children’s emotional regulation. It also shows – for the first time – that CBT can improve more than just anxiety.

Still from Nicol’s From Russia, in Love (2009). Credit: Courtesy of the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives
Still from Nicol’s From Russia, in Love (2009). Photo courtesy of the Canadian Lesbian & Gay Archives

York professor and alumna contributes to world’s largest LGBTQ+ archives
York Professor Emeritus Nancy Nicol, documentary filmmaker and activist in the School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design (AMPD), donated her collection to the Canadian Lesbian & Gay Archives (CLGA). The archives then established the Nancy Nicol Collection. Based in downtown Toronto, the CLGA maintains the world’s largest independent LGBTQ+ archives. Its acquisition of Nicol’s collection is part of a long-term strategy to become a more active resource for the Canadian and LGBTQ+ communities.

York U researcher identifies 15 new species of stealthy cuckoo bees
Cuckoo bees sneakily lay their eggs in the nests of other bee species, after which their newly hatched prodigies kill the host egg or larva, and then feed on the stored pollen. The host, a solitary bee, never knows anything is awry. Nine new species of these clandestine bees have been found hiding in collections and museums across North America by York University PhD candidate Thomas Onuferko, as well as another six unpublished in a decades-old academic thesis.

through surface tension – 2013 (video still), by Lisa Myers
“through surface tension” (2013, video still) by Lisa Myers

National billboard exhibit includes work of York faculty member Lisa Myers
Beginning June 1, billboards across the nation will feature contemporary art created by 50 Indigenous female artists in a call-to-action exhibition project titled “Resilience.” The project, which runs until Aug. 1, includes art by Lisa Myers, York University assistant lecturer and co-ordinator of the Certificate in Cultural & Artistic Practice for Environmental & Social Justice.

2018 President’s University-Wide Teaching Award recipients announced
Five outstanding faculty members who have demonstrated innovative approaches to teaching were honoured during the 2018 Spring Convocation ceremonies with President’s University-Wide Teaching Awards. This year’s recipients were: Professor Dan Palermo in the Lassonde School of Engineering; Professor Ruth Koleszar-Green in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LA&PS); Bridget Cauthery, a contract faculty member in the School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design (AMPD); Minha Ha, a teaching assistant in the Lassonde School of Engineering; and Reena Shadaan, a teaching assistant in LA&PS. They were selected by the Senate Committee on Awards for their imaginative and significant contributions to enhancing the quality of learning for students enrolled at York University.

Sean Kheraj

York historian gallops through untold story of Toronto horses and the Great Epizootic
It is a little-known fact that Toronto served as the origin point of the most explosive outbreak of a horse disease ever recorded. York history Professor Sean Kheraj has published new research on this extraordinary and unknown history. “The Great Epizootic of 1872-73: Networks of Animal Disease in North American Urban Environments,” published in the July 2018 issue of Environmental History, reveals that Toronto’s horse population was ground zero for an equine panzootic that caused a devastating disease to spread rapidly across North America.

Twenty-six York U researchers receive more than $4.2 million in SSHRC funding
Researchers at York University have been awarded more than $4.2 million in funding from the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). The grants, part of over $158 million in funding and awards recently announced in the Insight Development Grants and Insight Grants Competition, will support York research that improves the quality of life of Canadians, while advancing knowledge and building understanding of complex sociocultural and economic issues.

Top graduate students receive Governor General’s Gold Medals
Three York University grads were this year’s recipients of a Governor General’s Gold Medal, awarded for achieving the highest academic standing. The medals are the most prestigious recognition presented to graduate students. This year’s recipients were Miranda DiLorenzo, Rebecca Hall and Tamas Nagypal. “The Governor General’s Gold Medals are an academic distinction that celebrates the very highest level of scholarly excellence in Canada,” said Rhonda L. Lenton, York University president and vice-chancellor.

The York University Magazine, Winter 2017 coverThe York University Magazine wins prestigious gold award
The York University Magazine was awarded one of the most coveted prizes in post-secondary communications – an international gold award by the Washington-based Council for Advancement & Support of Education (CASE) through its Circle of Excellence competition. Considered the “Oscars” of post-secondary publishing, The York University Magazine placed first in the Digital Magazines category, which saw 21 entries from around the world. Both the print and digital versions of The York University Magazine feature an innovative modern design, which is the result of extensive consultations with the University community and alumni.

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