Welcome to the March 2023 issue of ‘Innovatus’

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Welcome to our March issue of Innovatus. This month, our newsletter shines the spotlight on the Lassonde School of Engineering as it celebrates its 10th anniversary and continues to find innovative ways to fulfil the promise of engineer Pierre Lassonde’s gift to the University.  

“My gifts,” he said at the time, “are about helping the next generation of Canadians to fulfil their dreams and continue to make Canada one of the best places to live in the world.” 

With its experiential, entrepreneurial approach to engineering, Lassonde is making a name for itself in the engineering community, the world of innovators and places where STEM wasn’t previously a byword. The School is well on its way toward fulfilling its vision, as articulated in the Lassonde Strategic Academic Plan, 2021-2026: To be recognized among the world’s best interdisciplinary engineering schools, a home where engineers and scientists collaborate to improve the world for everyone. 

This issue of Innovatus offers you a peek at a number of the innovative approaches, programs and courses the School offers its students and the wider community. Our first story demonstrates Lassonde’s dedication to the availability of clean water, one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). This focus on clean water reflects the University Academic Plan’s commitment to the UN SDGs and is reflected in research and programs undertaken by civil, electrical and mechanical engineering faculty and students.

Lassonde’s innovation is also evident in the tools available to its students, and faculty take an active interest in those tools. Professor Mojgan Jadidi in the Department of Earth & Space Science & Engineering has taken it upon herself to upgrade a tool for topographic visualization so her students gain a better understanding of the implications of their work. This open-source VR Sandbox is being used in the classroom by Jadidi and her colleagues. 

Tools, broadly speaking, are something Lassonde provides to youth from kindergarten through their undergraduate years, allowing them to indulge their curiosity about the world around them through STEM and embrace the opportunities STEM careers provide. Our third story introduces the reader to this wide range of support programs that surmount barriers toward equity and inclusion. 

Finally, our fourth story speaks to partnerships, one of the UAP’s priorities for action. At Lassonde, partnerships can bring together academics and students from around the globe or they can connect researchers with community partners seeking practical solutions to current problems, such as cybersecurity, as you’ll see for yourself. 

We hope you enjoy learning more about the journey Lassonde has created to ensure a better future for all of us. 

Will Gage
Associate Vice President, Teaching & Learning

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.

Lassonde trailblazing new education strategies in pursuit of positive change
Lassonde School of Engineering Dean Jane Goodyer invites community members to learn more about the School’s work to dismantle barriers to education through innovative approaches to 21st century learning.

Lassonde faculty leading innovative solutions for cleaner water, more sustainable world
Microplastics are contaminants of emerging concern, but detecting these microplastics to achieve cleaner water is no easy feat. York University faculty at the Lassonde School of Engineering are up to the challenge.

Using a virtual reality sandbox as a teaching tool
By the time students enter York’s Lassonde School of Engineering, they’re long past the age of playing in sandboxes – or so they believe; however, faculty member Mojgan Jadidi and her colleagues have turned that assumption on its head.

Lassonde’s STEM programs reflect changing world
Lassonde is changing the face of STEM education to ensure it aligns with the world of the future by breaking down systemic barriers and offering opportunities for inclusion.

Lassonde partnerships spell success
York’s academic plan calls “Working in Partnership” one of the University’s six priorities and Lassonde’s partnerships with Scotiabank and other universities speak to that commitment.