Welcome to the November 2021 issue of Innovatus

Yfile Featured Story Headers_Innovatus.

“Innovatus” is a special issue of YFile devoted to teaching and learning innovation at York University.

Will Gage
Will Gage

Hello and welcome to the November 2021 issue of “Innovatus.” This issue focuses on innovation in teaching, learning and the student experience in the Faculty of Health.

So I will begin my column with a confession. Wow! I wish I could turn back time, just for a week or two, to be a student again. No time traveling in this wish, instead I would love to take a younger me through courses that offer escape rooms, role playing, videography and visualization as tools for teaching. The impact of the kind of experiential education offered by the stories in this issue of “Innovatus” is beyond remarkable and not something that was ever a part of my undergraduate or graduate learning experience.

While the pandemic has challenged each of us in so many ways, if there’s a glimmer of a silver lining, it is the extraordinary innovation shown by the faculty profiled in this issue, and by professors, course directors and teaching assistants across York University, all of whom have redefined the pandemic-induced impossible into new and exciting ways to teach and learn.

In this issue, we offer some really interesting reading. We have a story about using the escape room phenomenon in a virtual environment to teach nursing students how to deal with new and interesting challenges. There’s two great reads about the power of videography to teach global health and role-playing games to teach leadership. Another story shows how students are empowered to drop their fear of statistics and embrace its power to drive visualization of data. I know that you will enjoy each story as much as I have.

As I wrote before, throughout this dreadful pandemic there have been opportunities in the quiet moments to reflect about new ways of learning and the Faculty of Health shows the power and potential of innovation in action.

I would also like to use this quiet moment as you read this column to shout out that on Monday, Nov. 22, my office will be releasing the next call for submissions to the Academic Innovation Fund, which has transformed teaching and learning at York University. Watch your inboxes for the YFile announcement!

In this issue

Dean’s message: Faculty of Health focused on rewarding educational experience
As this issue of “Innovatus” illustrates, we live in a world where rapid and continuous change is the norm. The ability to learn and acclimate are essential. Given this, the pandemic inspired the Faculty of Health to adapt and advance its teaching and learning objectives in new ways.

Virtual escape rooms enliven nursing classes
Remote course delivery didn’t prevent one Faculty of Health nursing professor from finding creative ways for her York University nursing students to improve their clinical decision-making skills.

Course offers helping of global health promotion with side of video skills
Students taking the Promoting Global Health course received an unexpected serving of video skills, thanks to a challenging and innovative course assignment delivered by their instructor.

Role-play exercises add experiential education component to leadership course
Undaunted by the pandemic, after reshaping her course to include role-playing exercises, an intrepid Faculty of Health professor took up the challenge offered by remote learning and took students into a virtual role-playing learning experience with stellar results.

Helping psychology students visualize and apply statistics
In her third-year course on statistics, a Faculty of Health psychology professor and her teaching assistant help students overcome their fear about statistics by empowering them to understand the power and potential of data.

Please keep your comments and reflections coming to me because I read every one. If you have an interesting story to suggest, please send it along. Faculty, course directors and staff are invited to share their 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.

My sincere thanks to everyone who contacted me about our September and October issues, I am so grateful to receive your comments and delighted that you enjoyed the stories.


Will Gage
Associate Vice-President, Teaching and Learning