Welcome to the October 2019 issue of Innovatus


Norma Sue Fisher-Stitt

Welcome to the October 2019 edition of Innovatus, a special issue of YFile that is devoted to teaching and learning innovation at York University.

This month, I am delighted to partner with the Faculty of Environmental Studies (FES) on this special faculty spotlight edition. Together, Dean Alice Hovorka and I have the pleasure to share with you many of the exciting experiential endeavors FES has undertaken for the 2019-20 year.

Alice Horvorka

Experiential education is at the forefront of teaching and learning in FES. Recognizing hands-on learning and community engagement as some of the best ways for a student to deeply understand the concepts taught in courses, FES makes a concerted effort to add experiential opportunities into everything they do. In the September 2019 issue of Innovatus, we highlighted one of these experiences with Professor Ute Lehrer’s Critical Urban Planning course but that is just the beginning of the depth in FES’ innovative and inspiring activities. This issue will explore several of the opportunities FES has created for their students and community.

Featured in this edition of Innovatus:  

Unique lab at York University focuses on the power of community in transitioning to low-carbon energy
The Social Exergy & Energy Lab, based in the Robarts Centre at York University, is focused on the future of carbon energy and mitigating the effects of climate change. Participation in this innovative lab is open to graduate students in the Faculty of Environmental Studies. Within the lab, students research a broad range of topics such as renewable energy, community energy, gender and energy, Indigenous energy, energy justice, and participation and innovation in low-carbon energy transitions. Read full story.

York University’s Las Nubes EcoCampus is a living, learning lab
The Las Nubes EcoCampus offers courses with a community-based experiential approach that provide collaborative learning opportunities for students. The emphasis is on experiential education, building on long-standing relationships with diverse communities in Southern Costa Rica, including women’s organizations, agricultural co-operatives and producers, environmental protection and social justice groups, and Indigenous communities. Read full story.

York students dig into experiential education
York University students from the Faculties of Environmental Studies, Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, Health and the Schulich School of Business weren’t afraid to be outside getting their hands dirty this summer at the Maloca Community Garden. The students were taking part in a unique experiential education course focused on urban community gardening and sustainability. Read full story.

New course prepares Faculty of Environmental Studies students for work
This past summer, students in the Faculty of Environmental Studies participated in a new career-focused course, Professional Development in the Environmental Sector: Preparation for Experiential Work Placement. Designed to prepare third- and fourth-year students to find work placement opportunities, the course helps students acquire new lifelong professional skills and gain competitive advantages for when they begin their career search. Read full story.

Innovative film course in the Faculty of Environmental Studies tailored to non-English-speaking students
The course, Introduction to Documentaries and Environmental Activism, is the first of its kind to be offered to students in the YUBridge program. The course introduces students to the ways that environmentalists are using documentary films in the sub-genre known as eco-cinema. Read full story.

Innovatus is produced by the Office of the Associate Vice-President Teaching & Learning in partnership with Communications & Public Affairs.

In closing, I extend a personal invitation to you to share your experiences in teaching, learning, internationalization and the student experience through the Innovatus story form, which is available at tl.apps01.yorku.ca/machform/view.php?id=16573.


Norma Sue Fisher-Stitt
Associate Vice-President Teaching & Learning