Welcome to the February 2021 issue of ‘Innovatus’

Innovatus featured image

Innovatus featured image

Welcome to the February 2021 issue of ‘Innovatus,’ a special issue of YFile that is devoted to teaching and learning at York University.

Will Gage
Will Gage

This month, ‘Innovatus’ explores some of the exciting innovations happening in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies.

As the Faculty’s Dean JJ McMurtry writes in his opening letter, “Going digital has not shut doors, rather opened new possibilities.”

I agree and find myself wondering what it would be like to transport a younger me to the present day. There would be absolute astonishment over the pandemic and terms such as “social distancing” and “double masking” but, putting the strangeness of COVID-19 to one side, wouldn’t it be wonderful to learn new theory through a computer game?

Online experiential learning, a toolkit for Faculty to help troubled students, and a University 101 course to assist with key learning concepts that will ensure a lifetime of success, are all marvelous innovations. This month’s stories about teaching, learning and the student experience are even more remarkable given the how COVID-19 turned our world upside down. Dean McMurtry has rallied and supported his faculty and staff, encouraging them to innovate learning in an online world and the results truly exemplify ‘Innovatus.’

I know that you will find the stories presented in this issue to be compelling and thought provoking. Please continue to let me know what you think about the stories we publish in ‘Innovatus.’

Featured in the February 2021 issue of ‘Innovatus’

Dean’s letter: Going digital has not shut doors
In his letter to the community, Dean JJ McMurtry writes about how the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies has embraced the power and potential of online learning. New experiential learning opportunities, enhanced online engagement and a powerful Toolkit for Student Success, are some of the innovations taking place during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gaming is serious business for LA&PS students
Steve Gennaro, an instructor in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, is pushing the boundaries in pedagogy and creating learning spaces in a gamified, non-linear and choose-your-own-adventure format. His students are responding with phenomenal work, passion for the subject material and are active agents in their own learning journey.

New online resource will aid faculty in helping students succeed
A new ‘Student Success Toolkit for Faculty’ developed in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies serves as a bridge for instructors to help them refer students who are experiencing financial, life or learning challenges. The toolkit offers faculty access to information about the wide array of student services available at York.

Experiential Education is thriving in online environment
Thanks to high-level support from the Office of the Dean in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, instructors in the Faculty can offer students meaningful and fulfilling experiential education opportunities.

University 101 pilot a success
Time management was only one of the many academic and life skills taught in this Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies’ University 101 pilot program, which made its debut in fall 2020 term. Each week, lectures focused on a different topic that increased the students’ understanding of what university requires.

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

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.

Will Gage
Associate Vice-President, Teaching & Learning