York U in the news: benevolent sexism, emergency declarations and more

‘Benevolent sexism’ in startups widens the gender gap by advantaging men over women
An op-ed co-written by York University Professor Ivona Hideg was published in the Conversation Feb. 19.

Vezina: Declaring an emergency for public relations reasons
An op-ed by York University instructor Alex Vezina was published in the Toronto Sun Feb. 17.

Research: Inside board directors boost odds of hiring better CEOs
Schulich School of Business Professor Yelena Larkin was quoted in Total Finance Feb. 20.

Town of Erin names Rob Adams as its new CAO
Schulich ExecEd instructor Rob Adams was profiled on GuelphToday.com Feb. 20.

Lincoln Alexander School of Law appoints Jake Okechukwu Effoduh as assistant professor
Osgoode Hall Law School PhD candidate Jake Okechukwu Effoduh was profiled in Law Times Feb. 16.

The MIT Press announces Grant Program for Diverse Voices recipients for 2024
York University Professor Christina Sharpe was mentioned in MIT Press Feb. 20.

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

Dexter Janke: the new face of York University football

York lions football 2023 team in action

York University Athletics & Recreation has secured the appointment of Dexter Janke as the 12th head coach in the history of York’s football program.

Dexter Janke
Dexter Janke

A former Canadian Football League (CFL) player and Grey Cup winner, Janke brings a wealth of experience and a champion’s mindset to the role, having served as the head coach of the Westshore Rebels – a Canadian Junior Football League (CJFL) team based in Langford, B.C. – last season. Under his leadership, the Rebels achieved a remarkable 12-1 record, reaching the Canadian Bowl before narrowly losing to the Saskatoon Hilltops.

For his ability to bolster a team’s scoring ability, in 2023, Janke was named the CJFL’s coach of the year. He aims to bring that ability now to the Lions.

“This is a really exciting time,” says the 31-year-old Edmonton native. “We have a great opportunity to reset the standard, come together as a group and bring a lot of pride and excitement to this program.”

Janke’s journey to coaching success began with a notable career in the CFL where for four seasons he played as a defensive back, earning a Grey Cup ring with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 2019. Prior to his professional career, Janke honed his skills at the University of Saskatchewan where, as a six-foot-tall, 220-pound running back, he was drafted by the Calgary Stampeders in 2015.

Aside from his accomplishments on the football field, Janke has a diverse athletic background, having competed as a brakeman on Canada’s four-man World Cup bobsleigh team in 2018. His multifaceted experiences have shaped his coaching philosophy, which stresses teamwork, discipline and a relentless pursuit of excellence.

“My exposure to winning environments and high-level coaches prepared me well for this opportunity,” Janke says. “My time as a professional athlete and student athlete provided me with the necessary perspective to relate to our student athletes’ experience.”

York is proud to have him.

“We are thrilled to welcome Dexter Janke to our department and the University,” says Steven Chuang, York’s Athletics & Recreation executive director. “Coach Janke’s core values align with our mission of delivering a world-class student-athlete experience by transforming the lives of everyone that we touch – one Lion at a time.”

Adds athletics director Alex Dominato, “I could not be more excited to announce Dexter Janke as the next head football coach of the Lions. He is a proven winner and leader as a student athlete, professional player and head coach. His ability to bring everyone along for the journey was evident and special to all of our stakeholders.”

Having stepped into his new role as head coach on Feb. 5, Janke hopes to instill a sense of pride and excitement within the York University community. His younger brother, Jacob Janke (BCom ’20), played for the Lions as a York student from 2015 to 2019, so he already has an idea of what is needed to take the team forward. “The York football team,” Janke says, “has a passionate alumni group and strong support from the University. That, along with a young roster, makes this an exciting opportunity.”

His vision extends beyond the gridiron, emphasizing the holistic development of student athletes both on and off the field. His commitment to creating a supportive and inclusive environment aligns with York University’s values, ensuring that athletes have the resources they need to thrive academically and athletically.

“I’m working hand in hand with the coaching staff to make sure we have a solid structure and foundation to build upon,” Janke says. “We have to focus on the structure, on the culture, then the results will come.”

York U in the news: gender-affirming surgery funding, international students and more

Ontarian takes OHIP to court for gender-affirming surgery funding
York University Professor Kinnon MacKinnon was quoted in CTV News Toronto Feb. 16.

‘Have to be hard questions’: An education expert on Canada’s approach to international students
York University Professor Roopa Trilokekar was interviewed in TVO Today Feb. 16.

McMaster to offer solar glasses for April eclipse with ideal sight lines in Hamilton-Niagara area
York University Professor Elaina Hyde was quoted in Global News Feb. 16.

Five myths about love and desire
York University Professor Amy Muise was quoted in Nautilus Feb. 14.

Researchers have discovered a connection between loot boxes and gambling
York University PhD student Sophie Coelho was quoted on GameSpace.com Feb. 16.

Great Lakes winter ice cover averaging only 5.9 per cent, NOAA says
York University Professor Sapna Sharma was quoted in People’s World Feb. 16.

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

Connected Minds researcher explores AI’s future at top conference

AI robot looking at crystal ball

Thousands of artificial intelligence (AI) researchers from around the world have gathered in Vancouver this week for one of the largest international academic conferences on AI and machine learning.

Laleh Seyyed-Kalantari
Laleh Seyyed-Kalantari

Among the attendees of the 38th annual Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) Conference on Artificial Intelligence is York University’s Laleh Seyyed-Kalantari, an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science and a member of Connected Minds: Neural and Machine Systems for a Healthy, Just Society – a $318.4-million, York-led program focused on socially responsible technologies, funded in part by the Canada First Research Excellence Fund.

Seyyed-Kalantari will bring her leading research expertise in responsible AI to the conference, while also helping to run a Connected Minds- and VISTA-sponsored workshop on responsible language models (ReLM 2024), alongside researchers from the internationally recognized Vector Institute, a Connected Minds partner.

In the Q-and-A below, she talks about the workshop and the state of AI research.

Q: Why a workshop on responsible language models?   

A: The use of generative AI models, like ChatGPT, is increasingly becoming more and more common in our everyday lives. In fact, recent studies show that generative AI (GPT-4) can be programmed to pass the U.S. medical examination or pass the bar exam to become a lawyer. This has encouraged the idea that generative AI models can replace humans, but the reality is that this is not true, and we are far away from that point.

For my research and that of my Connected Minds colleagues, the question is not if generative AI models can be used for good – they can – but a more important and pressing question to ask inside and outside of this workshop is whether these AI models generate reliable and responsible things. Despite our rapidly evolving technological world, the answer is still no. Our workshop aims to get at the right kinds of questions both academia and industry should consider now and in the future.

Q: What makes a language model responsible?

A: Responsible language models can be evaluated with the following factors in mind: fairness, robustness, accountability, security, transparency and privacy. AI models need to be tested and evaluated for whether they are fair to all its human users. For example, AI models use data that may not include ethnic minority populations, and programmers run the risk of amplifying existing racial biases. Robustness involves assessing the generated material and its accuracy. Does it generate the right or consistent solution? Is it robust to adversarial attacks? Accountability involves decisions about regulation and legislation. Who oversees ensuring the model is fair? Security means how to protect a model from malicious attacks. Transparency and privacy refer to the use and permissibility of people’s private data, including medical information. These six factors set up a framework for a broad discussion on various issues related to responsible AI and machine learning in the context of language models.

Q: What are you most looking forward to by attending the conference and running this workshop?

A: The trip to Vancouver offers an opportunity for a significant exchange of ideas and collaborative brainstorming among a diverse group of communities, bringing academia and industry together. It’s a rare chance to gather with influential figures in the field of generative AI, all in one space. It allows us to discuss the issues, to learn from one another, and to shape future research questions and collaboration surrounding large language models. I’m grateful to Connected Minds and VISTA [Vision: Science to Applications] for helping to advance my work and for making this event possible.

York hosts conference examining impact of AI on law

Leading legal thinkers from York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School and beyond will gather to assess the seismic impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on the law during a special conference on March 13 sponsored by the Osgoode-based Jack & Mae Nathanson Centre on Transnational Human Rights, Crime & Security.

All York community members are welcome to attend the hybrid event, titled Artificial Intelligence and the Law: New Challenges and Possibilities for Fundamental Human Rights and Security, which will take place both online and in person in 014 Helliwell Centre on York’s Keele Campus from noon to 6:15 p.m.

Trevor Farrow
Trevor Farrow

“I am delighted that this incredibly important discussion is being hosted at Osgoode Hall Law School,” said Osgoode Dean Trevor Farrow.

“Academics, lawyers, policymakers and the public are already heavily influenced by and reliant upon AI,” he added. “Osgoode very much sees itself at the centre of these discussions and innovations.”

By bringing together researchers with AI expertise across various fields of practice, conference speakers and attendees can engage with larger questions about law’s role in the regulation of emerging technologies, legal neutrality, ethics and professional responsibility, said Carys Craig, associate dean of research and institutional relations, who will speak on AI and copyright.

Carys Craig
Carys Craig

“I’m very excited about this conference,” she said. “Osgoode is known for its thought leadership and critical, interdisciplinary thinking, which is exactly what is needed as Canada grapples with the rapid acceleration of AI across almost every facet of society.”

The featured speakers will also include Professor Barnali Choudhury, director of the Nathanson Centre.

“Although AI offers numerous opportunities to society, it also poses risks, particularly in relation to human rights and security,” Choudhury noted. “Lawyers should be well versed in these risks to ensure that AI use aligns with legal standards.”

 Barnali Choudhury
Barnali Choudhury

The conference’s comprehensive examination of artificial intelligence will include the growing use of generative AI, which powers tools like ChatGPT, said Professor Valerio De Stefano, a co-organizer of the event and a panellist who will address today’s challenging issues around AI and work. 

“The law will have to react to a lot of the challenges that arise from artificial intelligence in order for society to thrive on the opportunities that AI offers,” he noted.

De Stefano said that almost no area of the law will be left untouched, including criminal, copyright, labour and tax law. Conference speakers will also dig into the implications of AI for legal ethics, practice and education.

Valerio De Stefano
Valerio De Stefano

“It’s extremely important that lawyers, both academics and practitioners, start discussing how to react to all these new things that are coming out of the AI landscape – and this is the opportunity to do that,” he added. “There’s a lot of people at Osgoode that do top-notch, groundbreaking research on law and technology.”

Other speakers will include Professor Jonathon Penney, who will examine whether AI safety standards are really safe, and Professor Allan Hutchinson, who will discuss AI and law’s multiplicity. Rounding out the list of Osgoode experts are Professor Sean Rehaag, PhD student Alexandra Scott and Osgoode PhD alumnus Jake Okechukwu Effoduh, now a law professor at Toronto Metropolitan University.

In the afternoon, De Stefano will chair a roundtable discussion on AI, due process and legal ethics. Panellists will include: Dean Farrow; Professor Patricia McMahon; Professor Richard Haigh; Glenn Stuart, the executive director of professional regulation for the Law Society of Ontario; and Professor Amy Salyzyn of the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law.

Registration is required. For more information about the event, email nathansoncentre@osgoode.yorku.ca and copy vdestefano@osgoode.yorku.ca.

Teaching Commons seeks presenters for upcoming TiF conference in May

Speaker giving a talk in conference hall at business event. Audience at the conference hall.

By Elaine Smith

With a new vice-provost teaching and learning and an interim director of the Teaching Commons in place, York University’s annual Teaching in Focus (TiF) conference this May will have a slightly different look and feel, and a theme reflective of the times.

Mandy Frake-Mistak, the Teaching Commons’ interim director, and her team are seeking presenters for the two-day conference, which will be held in person this year on May 8 and 9. The theme for this year’s conference is Engaged Teaching in Times of Crisis and proposals are due on Feb. 29.

In addition to crisis-related presentations, there are opportunities for presentations about Academic Innovation Fund projects and experiential education/work-integrated learning. Presenters may speak individually, in teams or as panel members, and all faculty and graduate students are encouraged to consider taking part.

“Based on feedback from the Task Force on the Future of Pedagogy, we know that faculty members want more opportunities to communicate about what they’re doing in the classroom, and TiF will continue to be a great place for that to happen,” says Chloë Brushwood Rose, vice-provost teaching learning. “However, we also want to offer opportunities for conversations around philosophical and critical issues in teaching and learning, not only about practices. We want to highlight people who are thinking in interesting ways and from a range of perspectives about teaching and learning, especially in complex times.”

People are grappling with conflicts in the classroom and conflicts in the world simultaneously, explains Brushwood Rose. The role of the University, she believes, should be to provide a space to talk about pedagogy more broadly.

Frake-Mistak shares that view.

“When we see crisis on a global scale, we can’t help but bring it home, and it shapes how we process information and our dealings with our peers,” she says. “We are trying to support people through this. It’s one thing to share resources, but what about what happens in the classroom?”

And that is where TiF comes in.

The conference will also feature TiF Reads, a panel reminiscent of the popular Canada Reads competition on CBC Radio. Presenters can champion a teaching- or learning-related book, journal article or other resource that inspired them during the past year and attendees will vote for a winner.

“TiF has been a mainstay on our calendar since 2013 and we want to champion it so it is continually growing and getting better,” says Frake-Mistak. “We want to recognize the community who have dedicated their livelihoods to teaching and learning; there are so many unsung heroes. It’s an opportunity to bring people together to champion teaching and learning and propel it forward.”

Brushwood Rose agrees.

“We look forward to TiF being as well attended and energizing as ever.”

Take this opportunity to fill out a presenter’s application form.

York U in the news: drug decriminalization, Great Lakes ice cover and more

Minor drug seizures by Vancouver Police increased after ‘decriminalization,’ data indicates
A story co-written by York University PhD candidate Liam Michaud was published in the Maple Feb. 14.

Winter businesses, environment on thin ice as Great Lakes ice coverage hits historic low
York University Professor Sapna Sharma was quoted on cbc.ca Feb. 16.

People commonly lose their job on maternity or parental leave. Critics say EI needs an overhaul
York University Adjunct Professor Andrew Monkhouse was quoted in CBC News Feb. 15.

MPs spending big sums on travel paid for by foreign groups
York University Professor Ian Stedman was quoted in the National Post Feb. 15.

York Region commits $1 million to support international, women entrepreneurs
York University President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda Lenton was quoted in BetaKit Feb. 16.

‘Something worth highlighting’: Mary Ann Shadd Cary – my chosen Black woman of the month!
York University Professor Natasha Henry-Dixon was quoted in Her Campus Feb. 15.

Winter businesses, environment on thin ice as Great Lakes ice coverage hits historic low
York University Professor Sapna Sharma was quoted in CBC News Feb. 16.

People commonly lose their job on maternity or parental leave. Critics say EI needs an overhaul
York University Professor Andrew Monkhouse was quoted on cbc.ca on Feb. 15.

MPs spending big sums on travel paid for by foreign groups
York University Professor Ian Stedman was quoted in the National Post on Feb. 15.

Great Lakes experience drastic reduction in ice cover
York University Professor Sapna Sharma was quoted in the Daily Climate Feb. 14.

Interview: Understanding Dolby Atmos with producer Paul Novotny
York University PhD candidate Paul Novotny was interviewed in Billboard Canada Feb. 14.

Mindfulness for stress reduction: helpful or harmful?
York University Professor Pat Armstrong was quoted in HR Reporter Canada Feb. 14.

‘Something worth highlighting’: Mary Ann Shadd Cary
York University Professor Natasha Henry-Dixon was quoted in hercampus.com Feb. 15.

New evidence suggests that some of the most persistent ideas about sex and relationships are wrong
York University Professor Amy Muise was quoted in the Madras Tribune Feb. 15.

There aren’t five love languages, despite claims on TikTok
York University Professor Amy Muise was quoted in NewScientist Feb. 14.

How did you reignite the romance in your relationship?
York University Professor Amy Muise was interviewed on “Ontario Today” Feb. 14.

Best schools for communication and media studies in Canada 2024
York University was mentioned in University Magazine Feb. 15.

Graduates from these Ontario universities more likely to become CEOs: survey
York University was mentioned in InSauga Feb. 15.

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

Event postponed: Lecture explores complexities of institutionalized DEI

Rear view of four diverse women

Update: New information after publication of this article indicates the Feb. 29 lecture has been postponed. Continue to read YFile for further updates on this event.

Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives are intended to create environments where individuals of all backgrounds and abilities feels safe, welcome and valued. York University’s School of Gender, Sexuality & Women’s Studies is examining the possibilities and limitations of institutionalized DEI at its annual lecture on Feb. 29, taking place from noon to 2 p.m. in 152 Founders College.

Titled Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI): The Good, The Bad & The Performative, the event will touch on fields such as higher education, broadcasting, news organizations and politics. Through a roundtable discussion, it will explore the ways in which racialized and other marginalized people with progressive politics are often initially welcomed into spaces of power, becoming symbols of progress in achieving diversity and inclusion, only to then be gaslighted or vilified or face reprisals for espousing their views.

The event will be moderated and hosted by York University professors Bianca Beauchemin and Nadia Hasan of the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies. The featured speakers will include: Ginella Massa, a York alumna, broadcast journalist and media consultant; Desmond Cole, a journalist, activist and author of The Skin We’re In; Nadiya Ali, a professor of sociology at Trent University and Chair of the new Anti-Islamophobia Subcommittee of the Canadian Sociological Association; and Somar Abuaziza, York student, activist and president of the Palestine Solidarity Collective.

Register by Feb. 27 to join the fascinating discussion about an issue that impacts the entire community. For more information about the event, contact Melissa Falotico at gswsac@yorku.ca.

Deanne Williams

Deanne Williams
Deanne Williams

Professor Deanne Williams released a film on YouTube reimagining the 1645 play The Concealed Fancies set during the first COVID-19 lockdown of 2020

York U in the news: polar bear cameras, gender-diverse children and more

Is that polar bear getting enough to eat? Try a collar with a camera
York University Professor Gregory Thiemann was quoted in the New York Times Feb. 13.

The real threat to gender-diverse children is the politicization of care issues like puberty blockers and detransition
An op-ed co-written by York University Professor Kinnon R. MacKinnon was published in the Conversation Feb. 13.

YRDSB changes class schedule because of solar eclipse on April 8. Here’s what other school boards are doing
York University Professor Elaina Hyde was quoted in the Toronto Star Feb. 13.

Great Lakes winter ice cover averaging just 5.9%: NOAA
York University Professor Sapna Sharma was quoted in EcoWatch Feb. 13.

Great Lakes experiencing much lower ice cover, data shows
York University Professor Sapna Sharma was mentioned in Nature World News Feb. 13.

Arts & Culture (02/14/24)
Patrick Alcedo, Chair of York University’s Department of Dance, was mentioned on ProfitInsidersHub.com.

Episode 266: The secrets to sexual satisfaction
York University Professor Amy Muise was interviewed on the “Sex and Psychology Podcast” Feb. 13.

Which love language speaks to you? We hear from a researcher who tells us why there’s more that goes into a healthy relationship
York University Professor Amy Muise was interviewed on “Fresh Air with Ismaila Alfa” Feb. 10.

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