Students awarded Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships

3d golden star golden with lighting effect on black background. Template luxury premium award design. Vector illustration

The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship, presented by the Government of Canada, aims to support first-rate doctoral students studying social sciences and humanities, natural sciences and engineering, and health. This year, seven York University students have been named Vanier Scholars, earning them $50,000 annually for up to three years to support their research projects.

Candidates are evaluated based on three equally weighted selection criteria: academic excellence, research potential and leadership. This year’s scholars have proposed innovative solutions to challenging problems through their projects, each of which spurs positive change in their community, both locally and globally.

Marissa Magneson (Cree-Métis, citizen of the Métis Nation of Ontario), Faculty of Education

Marissa Magneson
Marissa Magneson

Magneson’s application was ranked second out of 200 at the national competition for Vanier Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council files. Her proposed research contributes to the ongoing discourse of decolonial and artistic pedagogy, research-creation and Indigenous beadwork practices by challenging the ways education can look both inside and outside of the classroom.

Her project specifically seeks to uncover how beading supports Indigenous students in reclaiming culture, strengthening identity, fostering community, healing intergenerational traumas and developing a sense of belonging, while also contributing to Indigenous pedagogy through creative storytelling and supporting reconciliation.

“Beadwork as pedagogy actively responds to the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action, suggesting that beading not only strengthens identity but also fosters healing and reconciliation,” shares Magneson.

Greg Procknow, critical disability studies

Greg Procknow
Greg Procknow

Procknow’s doctoral research illuminates the experiential claims of inpatients found not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder (NCRMD) to explore whether education leads to decarceration and to re-evaluate education as a non-psychiatric method for recovery.

His research will document the educative experiences of inpatients granted day-release privileges to pursue post-secondary education on campus to uncover what factors have facilitated or inhibited their inclusion in educational spaces, how education has advanced their recovery plans and how these inpatients perceive education’s role in qualifying them for an absolute or conditional discharge.

“This research is vital to learning how pedagogy impacts rates of decarceration, supports the reintegration of NCRMD into the community, reduces recidivism and rehospitalizations, and nurtures recovery,” opines Procknow.

Cole Swanson, environmental studies

Cole Swanson
Cole Swanson

Swanson’s PhD study will use material-based art to explore the dynamic ecology of a bird colony with a stigmatized reputation, the double-crested cormorants (Nannopterum auritum). Working against dangerous imaginaries on cormorants fuelled by religious, settler-colonial, and extractivist histories and politics, Swanson will examine life in the colony to illuminate the entanglements between avian, human and more-than-human worlds.

“Through socially-engaged art practice, the apparent divides between our species will be broken down, stoking empathy and a community-based investment in the well-being and protection of these ancient creatures and their colony constituents with whom we share our lands and resources,” says Swanson. 

The project will culminate in a multisensory art exhibition composed of photo, video and sound recorded from the colony, which will be shared with a diverse public for analysis useful in both scientific and social contexts.

Areej Alshammiry, sociology

Areej Alshammiry
Areej Alshammiry

Alshammiry’s project explores the practice of “double punishment,” where non-citizens or foreign-born individuals in Canada are criminalized and rendered deportable. The research particularly focuses on double punishment’s impact on those who are unremovable because they are stateless but inadmissible on the grounds of criminality.

“Driven by the politics of the War on Terror, these processes lead to increasing cases of statelessness by decisions like citizenship stripping of foreign-born persons or deprivation of citizenship to those without one,” states Alshammiry. “However, such measures often target already marginalized communities and are often arbitrary, as they are driven by racial, ethnic, religious and national discrimination.”

This innovative project undertakes the important work of revealing the lived experiences of stateless individuals and can positively contribute to policy frameworks on statelessness and abolition.

Jordan Krywonos, physics and astronomy

Jordan Krywonos
Jordan Krywonos

The PhD study proposed by Krywonos considers gravitational waves, which are ripples propagating across the fabric of our universe. As the gravitational waves travel, they carry information about their source, providing an avenue to study previously inaccessible sources such as an orbiting pair of primordial black holes that are proposed to compose a portion of dark matter. Thus, this groundbreaking research on gravitational waves could help illuminate the nature of dark matter.

“Given that the identity of dark matter is among the most important outstanding questions in cosmology, discovering primordial black holes would revolutionize our understanding of the universe, and provide a new means of probing its origin,” reveals Krywonos.

Austin Martins-Robalino, civil engineering

Austin Martins-Robalino
Austin Martins-Robalino

Martins-Robalino’s project investigates how new and emerging materials can be used in place of traditional materials when constructing shear walls, which are a key influence on how structures perform when subjected to loading from wind or seismic events. Martins-Robalino proposes that replacing traditional reinforcing steel rebar with a smart material like superelastic shape memory alloys and concrete with engineered cementitious composites could provide insight into making more damage-resilient and sustainable structures that recentre themselves after loading.

“Such resilient infrastructure would inherently improve the sustainability of structures, reducing the equivalent carbon emissions over their service life,” says Martins-Robalino.

This cutting-edge project can help with progress towards safer and more sustainable construction and communities in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Anna Waisman, clinical psychology

Anna Waisman
Anna Waisman

Waisman’s proposed research seeks to provide a novel, easily accessible approach to treating chronic post-surgical pain (CPSP). A study conducted at York University and the Toronto General Hospital, published in the journal Pain, with Waisman as the lead author, found that patients who recall a greater number of event-specific, pain-related autobiographical memories before surgery are significantly less likely to develop CPSP up to one year later.

Building on these findings, Waisman’s PhD project will develop a remotely-delivered intervention that will train individuals to be more specific in the retrieval of their memories after surgery, with the aim of preventing chronic post-surgical pain.

“This work addresses a significant public health need. By creating a brief and easily accessible intervention, our plan is to deliver effective pain management to virtually anyone with a computer,” shares Waisman.

York U in the news: computer simulations of space, music opportunities for students and more

Ontario employers failed to pay out $9M in owed wages in 2021, data suggests
Leah Vosko, a political science professor at York University, was quoted in July 21.

New computer simulations follow the formation of galaxies and cosmic large-scale structure with precision
Research by York Assistant Professor Rahul Kannan was featured in July 20.

Transportation Apps Can Help People With Disabilities Navigate Public Transit but Accessibility Lags Behind
Mahtot Gebresselassie, an assistant professor of environmental and urban change at York University, was mentioned in Accessibility News International July 20.

Former Raptors coach Nick Nurse funds music opportunities for students at York University
York University was featured in the Toronto Star July 18.

Scientists head to Nunavut island to help solve Mars methane mystery
Haley Sapers, an adjunct professor in the Lassonde School of Engineering at York University, was featured in The Globe and Mail July 18.

VEZINA: A radical proposal for solving Canada’s housing crisis
Alex Vezina, a professor of disaster and emergency management at York University, was featured in the Toronto Sun July 19.

Judicial activism has had vastly different impacts on Jair Bolsonaro and Donald Trump
Gerson Scheidweiler, a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in equity studies and member of the Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research at York University, was featured in Yahoo! News Canada July 19.

Will Ontario’s ‘clean’ battery storage be powered by a fossil fuel?
Mark Winfield, a professor in the Faculty of Environmental & Urban Change at York University, was quoted in Corporate Knights July 19.

Faun Stella releases new single, “The Isle & The Sea” (Interview)
Adam Faux, a doctoral student at York University, was featured in Canadian Beats July 19.

Science on trial: Neurobiology of trauma
Professor Emeritus Timothy E. Moore, of the Department of Psychology at York University, was featured in Law360 July 19.

See more ways York University is making headlines at News @ York.

York U in the news: Barrie tornado recovery, friendships at work and more

Survey studies emotional toll of disasters two years after Barrie tornado
Jennifer Spinney, an assistant professor in disaster and emergency management at York University, was quoted in CTV News July 15.

Barrie Tornado Recovery Project: Two years after the storm
Research by Jennifer Spinney, an assistant professor in disaster and emergency management at York University, was cited in Barrie 360 July 15.

INSIDE THE VILLAGE: When forest fires rage out of control
Eric Kennedy, a professor of disaster and emergency management at York University, was quoted in Innisfil News 16.

Supreme Court Justice Russell Brown resigns before start of inquiry into alleged harassment
Jamie Cameron, a professor emeritus at Osgoode Hall Law School at York University, was quoted in Trend Radars July 15.

Our fossil-fuel industry is like the band playing as the Titanic sinks, writes Tom McElroy
Tom McElroy, a professor in the Faculty of Science at York University, was featured in the The Hill Times July 17.

An impressive group of faculty to begin new roles at King’s
Maria Bernard, a doctoral candidate at the School of Social Work at York University, was featured in Education News Canada July 17.

Minimum wage couldn’t land you a 1-bedroom unit years ago. Now, it’s even worse. Here’s why
Brenda Spotton Visano, a public policy and economics professor at York University, was quoted in CBC News July 18.

Government of Canada invests in Community Capacity and Innovation to prevent and reduce homelessness
York University’s Canadian Observatory on Homelessness was mentioned in Cision Canadian Newswire July 17.

Should you be friends with your co-workers? Here’s what the research says
Stephen Friedman, an adjunct professor of organizational studies at the Schulich School of Business at York University, was quoted in Yahoo! News Canada July 17.

A century after the Chinese Exclusion Act, Chinese women still face challenges in Canada
Guida Man, an associate professor of sociology at York University, and Keefer Wong, a PhD candidate at York, were quoted in the Hamilton Spectator July 17.

New Lassonde facility explores how climate impacts infrastructure
Liam Butler, Matthew Perras and Usman Khan from the Department of Civil Engineering at York University were featured in Education News Canada July 18.

Scientists head to Nunavut island to help solve Mars methane mystery
Haley Sapers, an adjunct professor in the Lassonde School of Engineering at York University, was featured in CTV News July 18.

‘Mucked this one up’: Ford government under fire for King’s Counsel appointments
Bruce Ryder, a professor at Osgoode Hall Law School at York University, was quoted in Global News July 18.

This apparel-company owner makes $90,200 a year. How does he spend it? 
Eric Van Giessen, a sociology PhD student and teaching assistant at York University, was quoted in Toronto Life July 18.

How exercise improves inflammation: study
Research by Ali Abdul-Sater, an associate professor and research chair at York University, was quoted in Canadian Running July 18.

See more ways York University is making headlines at News @ York.

Osgoode students, alumni help build accessible legal chatbot

robot with digital display
3d rendering robot working with digital display

Osgoode Hall Law School students Ryan Boros and Elias Tung have spent the summer, when many of their peers take a break from academic pursuits, working on the recently launched Law Newbie – an online chatbot that makes criminal law research accessible to the public.

The free application was developed by Toronto criminal lawyer Jordan Donich with support from recent Osgoode graduate Camille Melo, who now articles with Collett Read LLP, but previously spent the summer of 2022 conducting initial research for Law Newbie. Boros and Tung, each in their third and second years of studies, joined the project to refine the app leading up to and after its launch.

The encyclopedic resource enables users to access details about criminal code offences and potential defence strategies simply by asking the chatbot questions.

“The whole thing has been built with a lot of effort and it’s very intuitive,” said Boros.

“I feel like it’s given me a much stronger idea of the core concepts of criminal law and the finer points,” he added. “The other benefit for me going forward is it’s inspired me to take more technology focused courses next year.”

One of them will be Osgoode’s Engineering the Law course, taught by adjunct faculty member Al Hounsell, who serves as the Toronto-based director of strategic innovation and legal design for the multi-national law firm Norton Rose Fulbright LLP.

Among other things, the Osgoode course introduces students to how client needs have pushed the boundaries of legal service delivery to include elements of data, computer technology and artificial intelligence (AI), according to the course description. It also gives students the practical skills to break down contracts and legislation into decision trees, to develop markups and workflows for contract development and negotiations, to attain basic experience with common legal technology applications, and to apply design thinking methodology to legal problems.

Ryan Boros and Elias Tung sit in front of Osgoode Hall Law School Ignat Kaneff Building sign.
Ryan Boros and Elias Tung

Tung, who is leaning towards a career in family law, said his work with Law Newbie has helped spark an interest in working at the intersection of family law and criminal law.

“We’re just trying to make the information as accessible as possible,” he said of the project. “There’s definitely a need for criminal law resources like this because a lot of people don’t understand the criminal code – and it’s also important to understand your rights.

“I feel very fortunate,” he added, “because not a lot of people have the opportunity to do this kind of work.”

Melo said the research and writing that she did for Law Newbie last summer gave her a more solid grounding in criminal law.

“I really liked the research component of it and it was good to know as an up and coming criminal lawyer,” she noted. “I really enjoyed working on an access-to-justice initiative like this, too.”

Donich said he is currently experimenting with integrating AI into the chatbot, but is still determining its effectiveness.

“I am manually programming it now,” he said, “and Camille, Ryan and Elias’s brains have been irreplaceable. They’ve all said they wish they had had this experience with technology earlier in law school – and lawyers who are my age are saying the same thing.”

He said he is planning to hire another student to work on the project part-time beginning in the fall.

Along with his work in criminal law, civil litigation and professional regulation, Donich also specializes in cybersecurity and internet-related crime.

“Technology is changing the legal profession, faster than we have anticipated,” he said. “Lawyers and law students need to be part of the change to ensure any innovation improves our client experience and continues to serve the public interest.”

York U in the news: transit app recommendations, pollution funding and more

Transportation apps can help people with disabilities navigate public transit but accessibility lags behind
Mahtot Gebresselassie, an assistant professor of Environmental & Urban Change at York University, was featured in Yahoo! News Canada July 12.

Simple tax reforms for retirees that the government could consider
Amin Mawani, a professor of taxation at the Schulich School of Business at York University, was quoted in the Financial Post July 6.

3 things to check out at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Museum this summer
Natasha Henry-Dixon, an assistant professor of African Canadian history at York University, was featured in the St. Catharines Standard July 13.

A rising call for one big change in championing workers
Sara Slinn, an associate professor at the Osgoode School of Law at York University, was quoted in Vancouver is Awesome July 12.

ADSB Partners with Lassonde School of Engineering to Provide Unique Experience for Students
The Lassonde School of Engineering at York University was featured in Education News Canada July 12.

There is an urgent need for governments to adopt robust, progressive, and comprehensive regulations on facial recognition technology
Jon Penney, a legal scholar and social scientist at Osgoode Hall Law School at York University, was quoted in the Toronto Caribbean Newspaper July 12.

Cultivating Black Joy: Critical Literacy Through Student Voice
Vidya Shah, an assistant professor in the Faculty of Education at York University, was quoted in the Toronto Caribbean Newspaper July 12.

Consumer protection legislation lacks youth safeguards: Law Commission legal counsel Ryan Fritsch
Jonathan A. Obar, an associate professor in the Department of Communication & Media Studies at York University, was quoted in Law Times July 12.

Workforce retention strategies that benefit all in the care economy
Distinguished Research Professor Emerita Pat Armstrong was featured in the Toronto Star July 9.

Time for Ford to go for climate inaction: Toronto reader
Tom McElroy, a professor in the Faculty of Science at York University, was featured in The Hill Times July 12.

Government of Canada supporting Ontario universities with funding to reduce pollution to achieve environmental success
York University President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda Lenton was quoted in the Canada Gazette July 13.

GTA researchers travel to Nunavut to study possibility of life on Mars
Haley Sapers, an adjunct professor at York University, was featured in CTV News July 13.

Transportation apps can help people with disabilities navigate public transit but accessibility lags behind
Mahtot Gebresselassie, an assistant professor of environmental and urban change at York University, was featured in Vancouver is Awesome July 13.

Dan Palermo appointed interim deputy provost, Markham Campus
Dan Palermo, the vice-dean of the Lassonde School of Engineering and a professor of structural engineering at York University, was featured in Education News Canada July 14.

Schulich team studies impact of updated accounting code of ethics
Linda Thorne, a professor of accounting at the Schulich School of Business at York University, was featured in Education News Canada July 14.

Tornado Research, Lemonade Helping Kids, and Inspiring Imagination In Children!
Jennifer Spinney, an assistant professor in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies at York University, was featured in Barrie 360 July 13.

See more ways York University is making headlines at News @ York.

Osgoode students help win deportation reprieve for Kazakh family

Judge signing papers

Louis Althaus and Brandon Jeffrey Jang, second-year students at Osgoode Hall Law School, spent three weeks in June testing their practical knowledge of frontline immigration law learned through the School’s Community & Legal Aid Services Program (CLASP) to advocate for an at-risk migrant family facing expulsion.

Guided by CLASP’s veteran immigration lawyer, Subodh Bharati, the pair mobilized every legal strategy available to keep the family – who remain unnamed for privacy purposes – from being forcibly returned to Kazakhstan, where they faced potential persecution and death.

Thanks in part to their hard work in winning a last-minute reprieve, the family’s 14-year-old daughter, who was voted valedictorian by her Grade 8 classmates days before the deportation was to take effect, now has a chance of realizing her dream of becoming a doctor in Canada.

“It was a privilege to work on this case and have so much of the family’s trust,” said Althaus. “We were so thrilled to turn it around and get them the best result we could have hoped for.”

Throughout the case, Jang and Althaus filed a 180-page stay motion to the Federal Court of Canada; detailed affidavits to support a humanitarian and compassionate (H&C) application to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC); and submitted a deferral request to the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA).

Getting to know the family helped the students add critical information to the H&C application, originally prepared by a Toronto law firm. “It was important to us that we brought their stories to life,” Jang said.

Louis Althaus and Brandon Jeffrey Jang
Louis Althaus and Brandon Jeffrey Jang

The family’s 2017 escape from Kazakhstan, where the father, a shopkeeper, was beaten and threatened with death by a local gang, reunited him with his brother and sister in Canada and enabled him to care for his sister, who was suffering from Parkinson’s Disease. In the six years that followed, the family’s three children became fluent in English and excelled in school.

Althaus, who is originally from Germany, and Jang, a Scarborough native, said many law firms would not have had the resources to delve so deeply into the family’s story on a legal aid retainer. The experience “truly highlighted the magic” of Osgoode’s clinic system, added Althaus.

The two Osgoode students said they were also inspired by Bharati’s guidance and will carry those lessons with them.

“Subodh taught us to be courageous and to take initiative,” said Althaus. “He’s willing to fight for his clients on all fronts and to exhaust every avenue possible within the judicial system – and he has instilled that in us, too.”

Bharati said CLASP offers an incredible opportunity to students.

“They are able to work directly with vulnerable and marginalized people who truly need them,” he explained. “In doing so, they see, not only the privilege an Osgoode education affords them but their immense capacity to do good. These experiences will stay with them for the rest of their careers.”

“Just hearing the real difference you can make actually doing work on a case and having a real influence on someone’s life – that was something I was drawn to,” Jang said of his reason for joining CLASP. “I wanted an opportunity to help give a voice to people who need it the most, and CLASP provides a specialized opportunity to do so. After a few months working here, I can truly say that the clinic believes in its students.”

Althaus likewise said Osgoode’s wide selection of clinical programs was intriguing when it came time to pick a law school.

“When I chose Osgoode, I chose it knowing it has the most extensive clinical system in the country,” he noted. “I don’t think I could have worked on a case like this at any other law school.”

Professor’s book details care home labour exploitation

Exhausted nurse, doctor, medical practitioner sitting on care centre floor

By Joseph Burrell, communications officer, YFile

York University Distinguished Research Professor Emerita Pat Armstrong’s latest book, Unpaid Work in Nursing Homes: Flexible Boundaries (Policy Press, 2023), follows unpaid labourers in nursing homes across six wealthy countries, including Canada, and launches on July 18.

Pat Armstrong
Pat Armstrong

Armstrong, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, leads a team of international researchers who have, over a decade, produced a series of books identifying hazardous trends in health-care systems as well as “promising practices for making nursing home care as good as it can be.”

“You may assume that in nursing homes most of the labour is provided by staff paid and trained for the job. But you would be wrong, especially in Canada,” Armstrong says. “This book is about who does what kinds of unpaid work, under what conditions in nursing homes. By comparing the nature and conditions of this gendered work in different countries, the book shows that the boundaries between paid and unpaid work are flexible not only for families and volunteers, but also for paid staff and residents.”

This latest entry features the results of ethnographic studies carried out in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Norway, Sweden and Germany – each country among the most resource-rich in the world and employing an array of contrasting approaches to long-term care. The follow-up entry to Armstrong’s latest book, Care Homes in a Turbulent Era (2023), also launches in August.

For all of the cultural and practical differences in each country’s approach to delivering care, a common element throughout the team’s research was that many nursing homes were dependent on unpaid labour to varying degrees.

“One of the many things that stood out for us was the amount and range of labour undertaken without pay by families, volunteers, residents and even by staff otherwise paid for the work,” Armstrong explains. “However, the amounts and kinds of unpaid work varied significantly from country to country, indicating that such work is not inevitable.”

This breadth of unremitted work, particularly the work carried out by staff who were paid in some circumstances but not in others, gave rise to the “flexible boundaries” referred to in the book’s title. Although Armstrong emphasizes that these inequities have existed in nursing homes around the world for many years – a fact demonstrated throughout the nearly 30 books that she’s published on the topic since the 1980s – she also points to the COVID-19 pandemic as a recent force stressing the limits of the workforce and illuminating the severity of workers’ situations.

Unpaid Work In Nursing Homes: Flexible Boundaries by Pat Armstrong
Unpaid Work In Nursing Homes: Flexible Boundaries (2023) by Pat Armstrong

As homes were quarantined and family members barred from entering, the dependence on unpaid labour became apparent to the public. But even in light of COVID-19’s global repercussions, some countries proved better equipped to handle the health crisis in nursing homes than others.

“Staffing levels are much higher in Norway and Sweden,” she says. “The ownership of care homes also differs significantly. Norway especially has very few for-profit homes while in Ontario, nearly 60 per cent are for-profit. A poll in Sweden found that a majority would like to enter a nursing home if they needed help with two or more issues, while 90 per cent of those polled in Canada say they don’t want to go into a nursing home at all.”

Noting the similarities in age demographics as well as illness prevalence across all of the countries, Armstrong suggests that differences in health outcomes and perception of nursing homes are owed to “differences in both the quality of care and values.”

Despite their comparative successes, Armstrong cautions that countries like Norway and Sweden shouldn’t rest on their laurels. According to her research, each country shares the common issue of overworking majority-female labour forces and increasingly depending on immigrants from lower-income countries to fill jobs seen as undesirable, making the problem of exploitation one that intersects with sexism, racism and classism.

“Staff members talk about lying awake at night worrying about not having had the time to help Mrs. Jones eat her dinner, to help Mr. Banerjee walk down the hall, or to comfort a daughter when her mother died, even though these staff members came in early and stayed late,” Armstrong says.

A key takeaway throughout all of Armstrong’s work is the variety of solutions applicable to these problems. Such health-care crises are mitigated not just by training more medical professionals, but by educating citizens in effective policy, like increasing public investment in long-term care facilities.

“Long before the pandemic, research had shown that for-profit care homes had the lowest staffing levels, lowest pay and lowest quality of care,” she explains. “Attending to the conditions of work is essential to… responding to the individual needs of residents. The conditions of work are the conditions of care.”

Unpaid Work in Nursing Homes: Flexible Boundaries is available for purchase in paperback format, or for free download as an e-publication, through Policy Press.

Schulich team studies impact of updated accounting code of ethics

two men working together on computer

New research by York University researchers and alumni from the Schulich School of Business shows that the likelihood of professional accountants reporting illegal acts by their employers or clients will increase because of explicit wording that was added to an international code of ethics in 2017.

Linda Thorne close up portrait
Linda Thorne

The language introduced via the updated standard for non-compliance with laws and regulations (NOCLAR) clarifies and elevates accountants’ professional responsibility to report fraud and illegal acts to an external authority. The change was established in 2017 to address previous ambiguity around whether or not to maintain confidentiality when accountants suspected a breach of law.

The findings are contained in a forthcoming article in the Journal of Business Ethics. The article, titled “An Experimental Study of a Change in Professional Accountants’ Code of Ethics: The influence of NOCLAR on the duty to report illegal acts to an external authority”, was co-authored by Linda Thorne, professor of accounting at Schulich, together with two former PhD students at Schulich, Pier-Luc Nappert, an assistant professor of accounting at Laval University; Carolyn McTavish, an associate professor of accounting at Wilfrid Laurier University; and Sameera Hassan, a current Schulich PhD student.

The researchers evaluated the effect of NOCLAR’s updated wording on accountants’ perception of their responsibility to report illegal acts to an external authority. To carry out the evaluation, the research team conducted an experiment involving 113 Chartered/Certified Professional Accountants (CPAs) from the U.S. and Canada that showed that NOCLAR increases clarity and elevates CPAs’ perceptions of professional responsibility to report illegal acts externally.

“Prior to NOCLAR, the international code of ethics was seen by the public, the securities markets, audit regulators, and the audit profession as ambiguous,” says Thorne. “The ambiguity of the code prior to the introduction of NOCLAR facilitated the precedence of the principle of confidentiality over that of external reporting of fraud. But as a result of NOCLAR, there is now language in the code that explicitly grants accountants the right to break confidentiality in the face of illegal acts and outlines the steps for accountants to take when encountering them.

“Our findings suggest that the likelihood of professional accountants reporting illegal acts externally will increase,” Thorne concluded.

Philippine Studies Group offers research and publishing funds

writing in notebook

York University faculty members engaged in research and research creation related to the Philippines, or its diasporas, are invited to submit applications for funding and publication support by Tuesday, July 25.

The Philippine Studies Group (PSG) at the York Centre for Asian Research (YCAR) is offering up to five minor research grants worth a maximum of $4,500 each, as well as support for faculty members to publish research in the field of Philippine studies – with the number and value of the latter set to fluctuate based on the number of applications received. This opportunity is open to full-time York faculty, with a preference for early career scholars.

Available minor research and research creation grants are intended for faculty members wishing to explore subject that could include, but are not limited to: Filipino arts, history, cultures, languages, politics, society, economics and environments; Filipino Canadian relations; Filipinos in Canada; Filipinos in the diaspora; and Canadians in the Philippines. Applicants from Faculties across the University are invited to apply. Ideal applications show a clear link to Philippine studies. Where possible, applications that offer opportunities for training and professional development to undergraduate or graduate students are also welcomed.

Further grant information and applications for research and research creation can be found here.

Grants for publication support are intended to assist in covering expenses that will enable or enhance the publication of research in the field of Philippines studies. Eligible expenses include research support, indexing, artwork, copyright clearance, cartography, image reproduction, translation or copy editing. The fund might also contribute towards the cost of a publishing subvention required by a university press.

Information and applications for publishing support grants can be found here.

For further details, contact the PSG at or visit the YCAR website.

Professor’s new book redefines girlhood during Medieval, Renaissance era

Black woman reading book

Author and Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LA&PS) Professor Deanne Williams investigates the overlooked roles of girls in theatre – and performing arts in general – from the 10th through 17th centuries in her new book Girl Culture in the Middle Ages and Renaissance: Performance and Pedagogy (Bloomsbury, 2023).

Williams’ research cites eyewitness testimony, stage directions, paintings and even records of payment to explore girls’ appearance in dramatic performances, as well as their contributions to writing and translating plays, singing, dancing and performing music. While previous histories of the actress have begun with the Restoration in 1660, this book charts this history all the way back to the Middle Ages.

Deanne Williams
Deanne Williams

Through its close analysis of plays from this time frame, as well as the broader cultural environments that produced them, Girl Culture demonstrates that girls were active and influential participants in dramatic culture, rather than passive observers.

“Girls have occupied a marginal role in theatre and cultural history, because of the assumption that performance was largely restricted to boys and men,” Williams explains. “But Girl Culture shows that they played an important role in medieval religious drama, Tudor pageants and royal entries, Elizabethan entertainments, and the Stuart court and household masque.

“My research shows that girlhood was a time of comparatively greater freedom for girls. Performing parts at home or in the schoolroom was a significant part of their education and they participated also in religious as well as civic performances. This book reveals medieval and early modern girlhood as a time of tremendous creativity and intellectual development,” she adds, before girls were “restricted by the expectations placed upon married women to run households and bear children.”

For over twenty years, Williams has devoted herself to research and redefining medieval and early modern girlhood. Her work includes staging readings of Jane Lumley’s Iphigeneia, the first-ever translation of the Greek drama into English, as well as Elizabeth Cary’s Tragedy of Mariam, the first female-authored original play (published in 1613), with Tom Bishop of the University of Auckland. With John Edwards, artistic director of the Musicians in Ordinary, she produced a podcast recording of Milton’s Comus and they are currently working with noted stage director Paul Hopkins on a film production of Elizabeth Brackley and Jane Cavendish’s play, The Concealed Fancies. With her colleague Bernice Neal and research assistant Asra Khonsari, Williams is also putting the finishing touches on a database called the Girls on Early English Stages (GEES) Project.

Girl Culture in the Middle Ages and Renaissance
Girl Culture in the Middle Ages and Renaissance: Performance and Pedagogy (2023) by Deanne Williams

Williams has also explored how even Shakespeare, whose plays were performed on an all-male stage, was influenced by girl culture and the participation of girls in the public sphere. In her previous study, Shakespeare and the Performance of Girlhood (2014), Williams devotes “entire chapters to Ophelia and Juliet, as well as to lesser-known girl characters, such as the Queen in Richard II.

In [that] book, I argue that girl characters are key to Shakespeare’s plays, and that Shakespeare’s ideas about girlhood developed over the course of his career and shaped our own ideas about girlhood today,” Williams says. “My new book, Girl Culture, takes a very different approach. Rather than exploring the influence of Shakespeare on girlhood, it locates the influence of girls on Shakespeare, whose lived experience of the girl actor, and girls’ significant cultural presence, shaped his conceptualization of girl characters such as Juliet, Rosalind and Celia in As You Like It, Marina in Pericles, and Emilia and the Jailer’s daughter in Shakespeare and Fletcher’s Two Noble Kinsmen.”

Among many other examples Williams hopes readers will be pleasantly surprised by, she highlights Anne Boleyn – whose life was marred by tragedy – as being a far more literary person than sordid histories tend to let on.

“[Boleyn’s] reputation was tarnished by Henry VIII, but her girlhood was bookish, pious and extremely musical,” she says. “I also think readers will be astonished to learn about Hrotswitha of Gandersheim, who wrote six Latin plays to match those of Latin comic playwright, Terence, in order to educate the girls of Gandersheim Abbey. I think she was horrified by what she found in Terence and wanted to provide her girl readers – and actors – with better role models.”

In her graduate and undergraduate teaching, Williams always seizes the chance to share the updated history that’s uncovered in Girl Culture and bring to light the seldom discussed influence on the arts by girls of a bygone era.