Welcome to the February 2020 issue of Innovatus

Innovatus featured image
Norma Sue Fisher-Stitt

Welcome to the February 2020 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 Science on this special faculty spotlight edition. Together, Dean Rui Wang and I have the pleasure to share with you many of the exciting endeavors that the Faculty has undertaken recently to enhance teaching and learning for science students. 

The Faculty is working to expand and refine its curriculum to offer students more choices when it comes to their learning at York University. Most recently, the Faculty of Science partnered with the Faculty of Health to create a new undergraduate Neuroscience program, which is now accepting students for fall 2020. 

Rui Wang
Rui Wang

Expanding experiential education opportunities has been a priority as well. Most recently, students in astronomy can dive deeper into their research and engagement with the community thanks to a new one-metre telescope. More broadly, the Faculty is also increasing the number of opportunities to access research experiences through things like summer research awards, field courses and research practicums. 

The Faculty is also working to improve its teaching and learning spaces, including modernized teaching labs and study spaces. For instance, the Department of Chemistry recently refreshed its chemistry course labs to include new technology and experiments. 

In addition, inspiring the community to engage in STEM is a major strategic focus for the Faculty of Science. Public events, camps and high school programming are among the many continued initiatives of the Faculty of Science and its departments. 

Featured in this edition of Innovatus:   

Faculties of Science and Health launch undergraduate Neuroscience program
Understanding the brain and nervous system to address neurological and mental health disorders is one of the most pressing scientific challenges of our time. That’s why the Faculties of Health and Science have joined forces to create an interdisciplinary undergraduate Neuroscience program at York University. The program gives students access to renowned researchers working in many different areas of neuroscience and prepares students for a number of academic and career options after graduation. Read more.

New telescope: Students see the planets, moons and stars in a whole new way
A new one-metre telescope was installed at the Allan I. Carswell Observatory at York University in August 2019, opening up a universe of opportunities for students to learn and dive deeper into their research about the night sky. Students also practice their science communication skills as they explain celestial objects to the public during Wednesday night viewings. Read more.

Developing students for the real world through experiential education
The Faculty of Science offers a plethora of experiential education opportunities for students to explore and experience the ideas they learn in the classroom. Students can apply for awards to conduct summer research projects and participate in a scientific conference at the end of summer to share their findings, and they can enroll a slew of field courses and practicum courses to take their learning and research experience to another level. Read more. 

Revolutionizing chemistry lab courses
Up until recently, Chemistry 1000 course labs were like walking into a time capsule. However, Chemistry Professor Derek Jackson spearheaded a makeover of the labs to bring in new technology and experiments to provide students with the experiences they really need to get the most out of their courses. Read more.

Solving real world problems through mathematical modelling
Members of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, including faculty and students, are on a mission to teach young students the real-world applications of math, with the hope that they can boost interest in math and entice students in high school to pursue math studies in university. And for some students, it has been life changing. 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