Welcome to the January 2020 issue of Innovatus

Innovatus featured image

Norma Sue Fisher-Stitt

Happy New Year!

Welcome to the January 2020 edition of Innovatus, a special issue of YFile devoted to teaching and learning innovation at York University.

In this month’s special faculty spotlight edition, we are very eager to share exciting stories from the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LA&PS). Celebrating its 10th anniversary at York, LA&PS has made significant strides in the past calendar year – culminating in the official appointment of Professor J.J. McMurtry as dean of the Faculty, following a successful 14-month term serving in an interim capacity.

J.J. McMurtry

Guiding LA&PS since October 2018, Dean McMurtry has played an instrumental role in the expansion of research initiatives, programs and advising strategies – enhancing the way that students are prepared for their future endeavours. The Faculty recognizes the value of a concentrated approach dedicated to the continuous improvement of the educational services it provides, including accessible courses, well-rounded teaching styles, and experiential education methods.

In recent months, significant progress has been made in various LA&PS departments and programs. These transformations have been noted by students and staff alike – with positive learning outcomes that the Faculty hopes to build on moving forward. This issue of Innovatus will explore many of these recent developments, in addition to the ways they expand education through positive community connections, better student opportunities and improved experience-based learning initiatives.

Featured in this edition of Innovatus:

Two faculties join together in project to assist L’Arche Daybreak through the C4 Annex
The Cross-Campus Capstone Classroom (C4) is being pilot tested this year at York, uniting the efforts of students from two different faculties for an exciting community-based project with great learning potential. Combining the efforts of courses offered in LA&PS and at the Lassonde School of Engineering, the C4 Annex is assisting L’Arche Daybreak Arts studio in designing an e-commerce website in support of the community’s activities. Read more.

LA&PS Internship Awards open doors for students and community organizations
Now entering its third year, the Internship Awards Program continues to grow in popularity – providing LA&PS students with monetary awards that subsidize their work for not-for-profit and social justice-organizations in the community. Find out how one student took advantage of the program last year and transferred her academic skills to a work environment. Read more.

An unforgettable learning experience through the LA&PS DARE program
Last summer, LA&PS student Jennifer Ditta was one of 40 undergraduates selected to participate in the Dean’s Award for Research Excellence (DARE) program, earning a financial prize and contributing to a fascinating research project with a York professor in London, England. She reflects on the experience, providing a first-hand account of this incredible learning opportunity. Read more.

Online course explores North America before colonialism
Transforming a blended course on Ancient North America into one offered in a fully online setting, LA&PS history Professor Carolyn Podruchny has successfully made use of the eLearning delivery method to make this increasingly popular subject more accessible to students. Find out why the unique perspective on history is important to Podruchny, and how technology has influenced her approach when teaching the class. Read more.

LA&PS Experiential Education Development Fund paves the way for new learning initiatives
Instructors across the Faculty have made use of two Experiential Education funding streams to enhance their teachings and provide students with experience-focused opportunities to build on theoretical knowledge. Through applying for financial support this past term, Disaster & Emergency Management (DEM) Professor Aaida Mamuji, Social Sciences (SOSC) Professor Denielle Elliott, and Human Rights & Equity Studies (HREQ) Professor Maggie Quint are a few of many faculty members to have received approval for classroom and community-based course improvements. Read more.

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