York University's 'C4' Capstone Classroom Project wins prestigious international award

A York University project that brings a diversity of students from different disciplines together to work on real-life problems has received an international award from Airbus and the Global Engineering Deans Council (GEDC).

Through the Cross-Campus Capstone Classroom (C4) Project, led by Professors Danielle Robinson of the School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design (AMPD) and Franz Newland of the Lassonde School of Engineering, students from across York University work in interdisciplinary teams to address real-life social challenges that benefit from a variety of perspectives and lenses.

Danielle Robinson

“The whole C4 team is elated that Airbus recognized the global potential of the cross-disciplinary, project-based classroom that we pilot tested last year, with major support from YUFA and the Academic Innovation Fund. We can’t wait to bring C4 to more students, more programs, more faculties, and more campuses next year. The world needs more people who, not only know how to work with people who think and do differently, but also can recognize the advantages diversity brings,” said Robinson, who is also the director of the York Capstone Network.

The C4 project was awarded the Airbus GEDC Diversity Award last week in Toulouse. The project was chosen from 48 entries representing 18 countries. Launched by Airbus in 2012, the award is given to increase diversity among engineering professionals globally, so the industry reflects the diversity of its communities.

Franz Newland

Franz Newland

In the C4 project, 74 York students from eight faculties designed solutions for 11 social impact challenges identified by companies, non-profits, start-ups and government-linked organizations.

Students enrolled in their third, fourth or fifth year of studies from the various faculties worked together in multidisciplinary teams on real-world projects in areas of technology, design, environment and sustainability. Experiential education is a key component in this program. The student teams worked with external community partners to solve challenges and develop solutions with significant social impact.

In one project, for example, eight students from the Lassonde School of Engineering, Glendon College, the Faculty of Environmental Studies, and the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, worked together on “Solar Floatie,” a solar home system that provides affordable heating and electrical power for homeowners, farmers and workers in El Norte Chico, Chile. The system replaces conventional high-cost industrial components with low-cost, accessible materials.

The C4 2020-21 project will be expanded to upper-year students enrolled in all faculties at York University.

To learn more, check out this flyer or go to the Cross-Campus Capstone Classroom (C4) Project website. Registration for 2020-21 is now open.

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