Year in Review 2020: Top headlines at York University, May to August

Typewriter with paper that reads 2020

As a new year emerges, YFile takes a look back on 2020 to share with readers a snapshot of the year’s highlights. “Year in Review” will run as a three-part series and will feature a selection of top news stories published in YFile. Here are the stories and highlights for May to August, as chosen by YFile editors.


Small carpenter bee
Small carpenter bee

Mom genes: What makes a bee brain buzz?
Researchers at York University’s Rehan Lab took a unique look at motherhood. They studied genetic traits in small carpenter bees in order to better understand the effects of maternal care on offspring. These solitary, typically not aggressive bees couldn’t hurt you with a sting even if they tried to, but maybe that’s just the way their mothers raised them.

Education students double as consultants during placement
The Students Consulting on Teaching at York (SCOTAY) program offers education students the opportunity to work closely with Teaching Commons staff to prepare and serve as consultants to faculty members who are interested in gaining insights into their teaching practice through the eyes of a student.

News from York University related to COVID-19 continued to make headlines through May. Some of the highlights included: new York funding for pandemic research; a look at how to prepare our cities for a post-pandemic world; students helping seniors in isolation; new resources created to facilitate online teaching and learning; and, how Schulich students helped local businesses.


York University’s ‘C4’ Capstone Classroom Project wins prestigious international award
The Cross-Campus Capstone Classroom (C4) Project, a York University project that brings a diversity of students from different disciplines together to work on real-life problems, received an international award from Airbus and the Global Engineering Deans Council (GEDC).

York U Schulich Dean Deszo Horvath
Dezsö J. Horváth

Dezsö J. Horváth: Celebrating the career of a pioneer in management education
Dezsö J. Horváth stepped down after 32 years as dean of York University’s business school. He left a lasting legacy in management education, and his tenure made him the longest-serving dean of any major business school in the world.

In COVID-19-related news, York University examined the future of virtual health care, and what it means to be a coronavirus super-spreader. York Professor Irfan Aslam led an exciting project on the first AI-powered disinfecting robot in Canadian healthcare facility, and new virtual reality tools developed by York researchers offered important advantages in remote learning. The York community continued to support students with donations to the Emergency Bursary fund.


York University students took the spotlight in July, with several announcements of awards and accolades, including: the Robert Everett Exceptional Leadership in Student Governance Award, given to three students at York; the Murray G. Ross Award, presented to one student; the 2020 Alumni Awards and Scholarships, awarded to four York students; and the Robert J. Tiffin Student Leadership Award, which recognized 10 students.

Research at York University also made headlines, with: the appointment of 12 York Research Chairs; a $4.7-million SSHRC investment to York researchers; and NSERC grants totalling more than $9.1 million.

Markham Centre Campus FEATURED image
The Markham Centre Campus

York University receives approval to build its Markham Centre Campus
Friday, July 24 was a very good day for York University, the City of Markham, York Region and the Province of Ontario. It brought news that York University will be moving forward with a bold plan to build the $275.5-million Markham Centre Campus (MCC) that will help drive economic growth and social development in York Region and Ontario.


Efforts to support students through the global pandemic continued through August, with a focus on: virtual experiential education opportunities for students; tools to help educators incorporate mental health into their teaching; and, a York-led development of a Virtual Simulation Game to enhance nursing studies.

Image shows the new stadium dome from above and at ground level
The new stadium dome pictured from above and at ground level

New dome over York Lions Stadium and field conversion will transform Keele Campus
York’s Keele campus will look a bit different come the spring of 2021. A major renovation to the York Lions Stadium will transform the stadium into the cornerstone of a new vision for athletic and recreation facilities on campus. The dome will be installed over a converted former 2015 Pan American Games stadium playing surface, and is part of an $8.2-million upgrade.

York archivist recognized for contributions to the profession and community
Anna St.Onge, director of Digital Scholarship Infrastructure with York University Libraries, has been recognized by the Archives Association of Ontario with the James J. Talman award for challenging conventional thinking about archival work.

Check back in the next edition of YFile for Year in Review 2020: Top headlines at York University, September to December. For part one, covering January to April, go here.