Student Accessibility Services End-of-Year Celebration honours York faculty, staff 

Image announcing Awards

York University faculty and staff were recognized for their support of students with disabilities at the fourth annual Student Accessibility Services End-of-Year Celebration. 

The celebration, emceed by York psychology student Michelle Thomas, focused on the theme of interconnectedness, and 15 recipients were awarded for their collaboration, student focus, care and innovation. 

“Our end-of-year celebration is a wonderful opportunity to see the interconnection between us – giving students a chance to nominate faculty and staff who have supported them in their academic journey,” says Director of Student Accessibility Services, Maureen Barnes

The event welcomed a talk from Amy Desjarlais, former knowledge keeper and intuitive/spiritual counsellor for the Centre for Indigenous Student Services, who spoke about interconnectedness from an Indigenous lens.   

York alumna Tyeshia “Kellina” Powell, a mental health coach, author and advocate, also shared how Student Accessibility Services supported her as a student. She shared her experience advocating for accommodations and her path to creating a more inclusive community through her career. Powell currently works with organizations enhancing their accessibility on social media and coaches the Deaf community on advocating for themselves when engaging with the hearing community. 

Assistant Professor and past award recipient Iris Epstein, from the Faculty of Heath’s School of Nursing, discussed her research with Student Accessibility Services, which focused on student accommodation needs during their clinical placements. From this research, a pressbook called ACTon: Disability Accommodation Stories in Placement was created as a resource for students and instructors. 

This experience aligns with the Division of Students’ commitment to interconnectivity to better meet students’ needs. 

“In the Division of Students, everything we do is around this theme,” said Lucy Fromowitz, vice-provost, students. “That is, we, not any one department, can support our students or do our work unless we are collaborating and connected to all the other services.” 

The 2021-22 award recipients are: 

  • Fahad Anser, master’s of biology candidate, Faculty of Science 
  • Administrative Coordinator Ellis Lau, School of Information Technology, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LA&PS) 
  • Michael Jodah Kenny, PhD candidate, Faculty of Education  
  • Associate Professor Christopher Paul Chan, School of Human Resource Management, LA&PS 
  • Associate Professor Jeffrey G. Hewitt, Osgoode Hall Law School  
  • Course Director Tom Hooper, Department of Social Science, LA&PS 
  • Faculty Member Krista Hunt, School of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies, LA&PS 
  • Associate Professor Emeritus Neita Israelite, Faculty of Education  
  • Assistant Professor Palma Paciocco, Osgoode Hall Law School  
  • Faculty Member Krista Phillips, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Health
  • Faculty Member Hope Shamonda, School of Administrative Studies, LA&PS 
  • Associate Professor John Simoulidis, Department of Social Science, LA&PS 
  • Assistant Professor Yvonne Su, Department of Equity Studies, LA&PS 
  • Faculty Member Sadia Zafar, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Health  
  • Faculty Member Selma Zecevic, Department of Humanities, LA&PS 

“We all play a role in student success,” said Yvette Monroe, assistant vice-provost, Student Success. “It reminds us that very rarely do we do things on our own, and how important relationships are and that they need to be nurtured.” 

Karen Swartz, associate director, Student Accessibility Services, closed the celebration noting as a university community, “we need to continue to strive for opportunities for connection and continue to embrace the many ways we can support, create, innovate, and make our community one where everyone belongs.”