Welcome to the January 2022 issue of Innovatus


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

Will Gage
Will Gage

Happy New Year and it’s my pleasure to welcome you to 2022 with a new issue of “Innovatus.”

As I write this introduction on this bitterly cold January day, I am pleased to highlight the many warm and inspiring stories focused on teaching, learning and the student experience in the Faculty of Science.

What I find so striking about the articles presented in this special edition is the unwavering emphasis on innovation both within the Faculty of Science and beyond its borders. This starts even before a student accepts an offer to study at York University and continues through the first year of study and beyond as students delve into the marvels of research and international opportunities. It’s strong and universal, and the commitment to continuous excellence in teaching, learning and the student experience is exemplified by Rui Wang, dean of the Faculty of Science and through the creation of a special Chair dedicated to pedagogical innovation.

Many of the innovations profiled in “Innovatus,” including that of the EXPeriential Learning Opportunity through Research and Exchange program (EXPLORE), have been made possible through the Academic Innovation Fund (AIF). The York University Academic Plan 2020-2025: Building a Better Future promises that York University challenges itself to deepen its collective contributions to the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the AIF is a perfect vehicle for turning that challenge into action.

AIF proposals should be submitted to the Office of the Dean in your Faculty, where they will be reviewed, approved and ranked. The proposals should be provided to my office by email at avptl@yorku.ca by 4 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 11. To learn more, Visit the AIF website for additional information and application package.

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 has contacted me about our previous issues, I am so grateful to receive your comments and delighted that you enjoyed the stories.


Will Gage
Associate Vice-President, Teaching and Learning

In this issue:

Dean’s letter: The Faculty of Science focuses on paving the way for impactful careers
If the pandemic proved anything, it was that the Faculty of Science perseveres in challenging times to always fulfill our commitments to academic excellence, our students, and the health and well-being of our community.

New role focuses on pedagogical innovation in science education
Biology Professor Tamara Kelly has been appointed the Faculty of Science’s inaugural Pedagogical Innovation Chair in Science Education. She outlines her four main goals as she focuses on the future.

Astrophysics students EXPLORE collaborative research
A group of physics students is working to shed more light on the topic of dark matter in collaboration with their York professors and colleagues in Germany, thanks to the EXPeriential Learning Opportunity through Research and Exchange (EXPLORE) program, an endeavour that provides undergraduate students with hands-on experience in scientific research.

Summer transition program eases science students into university
A series of non-credit modules developed in the Faculty of Science and delivered entirely online provides high school students with essential skills they need to be successful in their university studies.

Acquiring the skills to succeed at university
Andrew Skelton, an assistant professor in the teaching stream in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics in the Faculty of Science, is working to boost learning opportunities for first-year students interested in enhancing their study skills.