OsgoodePD prepares lawyers to tackle legal climate crisis challenges

Two plants with skyscraper behind

Climate change is impossible to ignore, no matter your line of work or area of study. And at York University’s Osgoode Professional Development (OsgoodePD), the curriculum reflects that fact, with professional master of laws (LLM) programs and continuing legal education offerings incorporating the latest climate change legal issues.

Benjamin Richardson broke new ground when he co-taught Osgoode Hall Law School’s first Climate Change Law course for juris doctor students back in 2008, when he was a full-time professor here. Now based at Australia’s University of Tasmania, he recently returned to OsgoodePD as an adjunct professor and was pleased to see how teaching on the topic has evolved.

Benjamin Richardson
Benjamin Richardson

“There is still a place for standalone climate change law courses,” Richardson says, “but there is now a recognition that they need to be supplemented by embedding the climate change issue across the curriculum, because it has become such a pervasive, ubiquitous issue.”

In his Corporate Social Responsibility course, part of OsgoodePD’s Professional LLM in International Business Law, Richardson’s students look at several intersections of climate and commerce, including corporate disclosure and potential greenwashing, developments in the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions, as well as how businesses can adapt to global warming for their future survival. 

Considering OsgoodePD’s particular focus on skills development for lawyers and other working professionals in practice, he says it is natural for the curriculum to contain many classes that could be characterized as climate change law courses.

Bruce McCuaig
Bruce McCuaig

“Mainstream Canadian law firms are increasingly demanding climate-literate lawyers who can advise their clients on these issues,” he explains. “It’s not enough just to know what the legislation says. You need a grounding in the economic, political, and ethical issues that affect how businesses and other stakeholders consider climate change.”

As one of three program directors for OsgoodePD’s part-time Professional LLM in Energy and Infrastructure Law, Bruce McCuaig, who has been involved with the program for the past 10 years, has noticed a significant shift in the way climate change is discussed.

“It’s a much more mature theme and topic now,” he says. “The conversation is no longer about the science of climate change or how it’s actually occurring, but more about potential action and execution.”

Jim Whitestone

According to Jim Whitestone, McCuaig’s colleague, it’s no surprise that climate change law courses are on the upswing, considering the past decade has seen some of the field’s more consequential developments.

The ripple effects of the 2015 Paris Agreement – at which almost 200 national governments agreed to ensure the globe warms by no more than two degrees Celsius this century to avoid the worst effects of climate change – are still being felt in particular as signatory nations grapple with the consequences of the net-zero emissions targets they have set for themselves in response.

Whitestone’s own history in the field goes back much further, having served as Ontario’s assistant deputy minister responsible for climate change and environmental policy. In his Climate Change: International Governance, Mitigation and Adaptation course, Whitestone focuses on the Paris Agreement and other international legal and policy frameworks now in place to address the climate crisis.

“We’re updating all the time as standards change and agreements come into place,” he says.

Domestic and international standards also feature heavily in the OsgoodePD Certificate in ESG (environmental, social and governance), Climate Risk and the Law – an intensive, five-day program designed for lawyers and other working professionals in a variety of industries where ESG risk has become a critical business priority.

Didem Light
Didem Light

As a law professor concerned with the movement of people and goods from one place to another, Didem Light says there can be few subjects more directly affected by the physical and legal implications of climate change than the one she teaches in International Transportation Law, a course offered as part of OsgoodePD’s Energy and Infrastructure LLM.  

“Climate change is going to have a very big impact,” says Light, “not just on manufacturers of vessels, cars, buses, trains and other modes of transport, but also the people who use them and the associated infrastructure: things such as ports, airports, train stations, roads and bridges.”

In other courses, the environmental links are not so obvious. At first glance, International Business Law LLM faculty member Emilio Dabed says casual observers may not make the connection between his course on Business and Human Rights and climate change. However, Dabed explores the governance gap that has traditionally allowed transnational corporations to escape effective environmental regulation, thanks to a combination of weak domestic laws and “soft law” – mostly non-binding international guidelines and standards.

Emilio Dabed
Emilio Dabed

In recent years, Dabed says these soft-law frameworks have been hardened by legally binding domestic law initiatives, the adoption of these guidelines by governments and the intervention of courts and tribunals, which have proven increasingly willing to hold transnational companies to account for their voluntary commitments in relation to human rights and the environment.

“What the course tries to convey to students is this strong link between the economic activities of transnational corporations and human rights and climate change, and how to develop a model that somehow reconciles the need for economic growth on the one hand, and the fulfillment of commitments to protect human rights and the environment on the other,” he explains.

Vanisha Sukdeo

Vanisha Sukdeo, who has a forthcoming book looking at the impact of climate change on workers, teaches a Business Associations course in OsgoodePD’s International Business Law LLM that is a popular choice with internationally trained lawyers seeking to requalify in Canada. She welcomes the global perspective her students bring to discussions, as she encourages them to think more deeply about the ideas that are frequently portrayed as solutions to the climate crisis in the western world – the electric vehicle revolution, for example.

“Electric vehicles might be reducing pollution in North America, but a lot of the mining that is needed to produce batteries is taking place on the African continent, generating more pollution there,” she says. “Has that really reduced emissions or just shifted them? That’s something for us to explore.”

As climate change has gone from an abstract concept to a reality of our daily lives, threatening to severely impact our collective future, academic institutions have been tasked with training future agents of change to tackle the threat head-on. Evidently, OsgoodePD has accepted that challenge.

Schulich ExecEd partnership strengthens Nunavut’s project management capacity

Brown rock formation near sea during daytime, Unsplash

Recognizing the pivotal role of adept project management in propelling strategic initiatives forward, in Fall 2021 the government of Nunavut set out to empower its workforce by partnering with York University’s Schulich Executive Education (Schulich ExecEd) to offer specialized professional development through the Masters Certificate in Project Management program.

To help meet the territory’s demand for skilled project managers within the public sector, the Schulich ExecEd program – which recently saw its third cohort of students graduate – allows participants to delve into various facets of project management, gaining the insights, tools and techniques essential for navigating complex projects successfully. From project planning and risk management to stakeholder engagement and resource allocation, participants emerge from the program equipped with a comprehensive skill set tailored to the unique challenges faced within the public sector.

“Our students in the third cohort of the program came from far and wide across this massive territory to learn how to manage projects of all types, spanning government policy, health care, technology, construction, engineering and more,” says David Barrett, national program director of the Masters Certificate in Project Management program. “It is a delight to work with our graduates at the end of our program, as they embrace a new set of tools, a new language and a new method of approaching all of their projects – regardless of size.”

The third cohort of the Schulich ExecEd Masters Certificate in Project Management program in partnership with the government of Nunavut.

With over 100 employees from the government of Nunavut and affiliated organizations participating in the program since its inception, the initiative has had a profound impact on the territory’s workforce. From urban centres to remote communities, public servants have seized the opportunity to enhance their project management acumen, driven by a collective dedication to professional growth and service excellence.

“We are immensely proud of our enduring partnership with the government of Nunavut,” says Rami Mayer, executive director of Schulich ExecEd. “This collaboration stands as a testament to our shared commitment to empowering public servants with the essential tools and knowledge needed to navigate the complexities of project management within the public sector.”

Beyond mere skill development, Mayer says this partnership is about fostering a culture of innovation in the territory and planting the seeds for a new generation of professionals.

“We recognize the profound impact of efficient project management on the lives of the Indigenous peoples of Nunavut,” says Mayer. “Enhanced project management skills enable the government of Nunavut to execute initiatives that directly benefit the Indigenous community – from infrastructure projects to health-care initiatives and cultural preservation efforts.”

In providing these professional development opportunities, Schulich ExecEd and the government of Nunavut are not only building a more efficient public sector but also fostering a stronger, more resilient Indigenous community. And they are committed to continuing to do so – together.

Staff member illustrates leadership in globally networked learning

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Francesca Boschetti, associate director of the York University English Language Institute (YUELI) in the School of Continuing Studies, gave a talk at the Languages Canada Annual Conference in Vancouver showcasing her groundbreaking work in globally networked learning.

Francesca Boschetti
Francesca Boschetti

A collaborative approach to research and teaching that allows students, instructors and researchers from around the world to work together, globally networked learning holds a special place in Boschetti’s heart because of her own journey as a language student and advocate for multiculturalism.

“I grew up in Italy and studied multiple foreign languages throughout my schooling and into university, where I concentrated on language teaching and learning,” explains Boschetti, who has spent her career figuring out how to best weave internationalization initiatives into language programs in the Canadian university setting.

Boschetti’s talk, titled “Globally Networked Learning: Internationalization at Home in English Language Classes,” focused on setting up virtual exchanges to provide students from universities in different parts of the world with an opportunity to connect with each other and enhance their intercultural communication and networking skills.

To illustrate her approach, Boschetti discussed the globally networked learning project she launched in collaboration with York International and YUELI in Winter 2022 – a year-long virtual exchange between English for Academic Purposes students at YUELI and English for Hotel Administration students at Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra (PUCMM), a university in the Dominican Republic. Students involved in the exchange interacted through online activities, including message board chats, group discussions on Zoom, and friendly competitions and games.

“Cross-cultural communication and collaboration have a transformative power,” says Boschetti. “Witnessing our students thrive in the classroom, honing their language skills, forging new friendships and gaining invaluable cultural insights reaffirms my commitment to fostering an inclusive, globally connected learning environment.”

In her presentation, Boschetti detailed how the institute identified a university partner, designed programming, collaborated with instructors and engaged different cohorts of students. She shared the best practices, learning outcomes, strategies and challenges they encountered.

Many attendees approached her afterwards, seeking advice on how to successfully launch similar programs at their own institutions, which is exactly the response she was hoping for.

“As we thrive to enrich the student experience,” says Boschetti, “initiatives such as virtual language exchanges serve as catalysts for meaningful engagement and intercultural dialogue.”

OsgoodePD program demystifies financial statements in family law

Hand writing on financial statement document

Financial statements might be the most underrated documents in family law, according to Annie Kenet and Eric Sadvari, co-chairs of the Financial Statements for Family Lawyers Boot Camp, a new program developed by York University’s Osgoode Professional Development (OsgoodePD) to transform the way family lawyers think about this critical document.

“It’s the backbone of most family law cases,” says Sadvari, a senior associate at Toronto firm Kenet Family Law. “But many practitioners treat it as more of a fill-in-the-blanks exercise than a vital piece of advocacy.”

Annie Kenet
Annie Kenet

Properly utilized, the financial statement can even enhance a lawyer’s relationship with their client, says Kenet, the firm’s founder.

“Financial statements inform every part of my client interaction,” she says. “From understanding my client’s financial needs to determining what type of settlement they can live with, the statement enables me to speak to my client about the practical realities of their current and future financial viability.”  

The origins of the new OsgoodePD Financial Statements for Family Lawyers Boot Camp can be traced back to the Osgoode Certificate in Family Law Skills and Practice, for which Sadvari and Kenet led a module focused on financial statements and discovered the untapped demand for more information among family law practitioners.

It came as no surprise to Sadvari that so many newly qualified family lawyers feel ill-equipped to deal with financial statements.

Eric Sadvari
Eric Sadvari

“I never took any tax, bankruptcy or estate classes, because I didn’t think I was going to be spending a lot of time on those issues,” he says.

But he was mistaken, soon learning that finances are a major part of the family law system, and they’re not always as straight forward as one might think. Something as simple as determining a person’s income, for example, can become a contentious issue if the person is self-employed or has a number of income sources.

Focusing exclusively on the financial statement, the new boot camp will allow time to tackle the document in depth, detail by detail, with small class sizes enabling for more group interaction. By the end of the program, students should be able to expertly complete each section.

The inaugural edition of this intensive program will take place online over two days of interactive sessions from April 12 to 13, where attendees will hear from a group of senior practitioners, chartered business valuators, and judges about best practices and potential pitfalls to keep in mind when preparing and presenting financial statements.

“Anyone who wants to be a stronger lawyer on financial issues would benefit from attending,” Kenet adds. “A financial statement is not just a form clients have to fill out, it is the primary tool family lawyers have to articulate our clients’ financial position, advocate for their financial entitlements and negotiate a financial resolution.”

To learn more and to register, visit the Financial Statements for Family Lawyers Boot Camp web page.

Continuing Studies Building earns gold for sustainable design

School of Continuing Studies Building

Further solidifying York University’s place as an international leader in sustainability, York’s School of Continuing Studies Building has achieved LEED Gold certification from the Canadian Green Building Council. LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, is the global building industry’s premier benchmark for sustainability.

School of Continuing Studies Building
School of Continuing Studies Building exterior.

The six-story, 9,012-square-metre, 50-classroom building, which opened last spring at 68 The Pond Road on York’s Keele Campus, was designed by global architecture firm Perkins&Will, led by architects Safdar Abidi and Andrew Frontini. Its twisted design is said to symbolize the school’s twist on the traditional mission of continuing studies – that is, to solve Canada’s most pressing labour challenges by connecting employers to a highly skilled talent pool through innovative program offerings.

“Our stunning, architecturally twisted learning facility emphasizes sustainable practices, safeguards the environment and lowers operating costs,” said Christine Brooks-Cappadocia, assistant vice-president, Continuing Studies. “This purposeful design, with its abundant natural light and other innovative features, is welcoming and promotes a healthy atmosphere so we can focus on what matters most: excellence in programming and a vibrant community for student interactions.”

Some of the building’s most notable environmental features include: a self-generating heat recovery system; an infrastructure-ready, solar-powered water heater; a high-performing façade system for weather resistance; and daylight harvesting to offset electric lighting requirements. The building is believed to be well positioned to achieve net-zero emissions in the future due to its low energy consumption and ability to accommodate solar photovoltaic panels that convert sunlight into electricity.

But contrary to popular belief, LEED is not only about energy-efficient design. It also considers occupant wellness, an area where the School of Continuing Studies Building focused much attention. Designed with the principles of diversity, equity and inclusion in mind, the building houses a lactation room for nursing mothers and a payer room, plus guide rails, automated doors, standing desks, screens for the visually impaired, elevators and large, wheelchair accessible hallways.

“LEED is a comprehensive sustainability objective,” explained Norm Hawton, director of design and construction for Facilities Services at York, “ranging from site selection and recycling of materials to designing for energy performance, minimizing waste, encouraging wellness – from daylighting to healthy commuting, by providing bicycle racks and showers – and thinking holistically about how this building will contribute to a sustainable lifestyle.”

According to Hawton, the LEED Gold certification could not have been achieved without the contributions of the School of Continuing Studies students, instructors and staff who were instrumental to both the scoping and design phases of the project, the University administrators, consultants, and construction and design teams.

“It was the collaborative participation by all throughout the project, from the initial building concept through to successful operations supporting continuing education, that led to LEED quantify the success of the School of Continuing Studies Building in this way,” he said.

In addition to this new sustainability certification, the building has also been recognized for its interior design achievements. Last October, the Association of Registered Interior Designers of Ontario (ARIDO) named it one of the most vibrant, innovative and inspiring educational spaces of the year – a true testament to York’s visionary leadership in the higher-education building space.

New certificate prepares professionals for business optimization

School of Continuing Studies

The York University School of Continuing Studies announced the launch of its new part-time Certificate in Business Process Improvement. The new program will prepare professionals with the hard skills and cross-functional competencies to thrive in business process improvement roles, supporting organizations through digital transformation initiatives focused on discovering and implementing opportunities to improve processes.

The three-course experiential program will launch with a part-time, accelerated, 11-week intensive format. A six-month, part-time format will launch at a later date. Registration for the Certificate in Business Process Improvement is now open, with classes beginning in March 2024. 

“Professionals who enrol in our new Certificate in Business Process Improvement will develop a change management skill set that will help organizations optimize business processes,” says Christine Brooks-Cappadocia, assistant vice-president of continuing studies at York University. “Our program is highly experiential, with assignments and group activities led by industry-expert instructors that simulate real-world use cases, preparing students for the responsibilities of a role that encompasses business process improvement.”

Business process improvement involves analyzing, measuring and optimizing an organization’s business processes to become more efficient and effective. As many Canadian organizations experience economic complexities due to dynamic market conditions, business process improvement initiatives are being prioritized by leaders across a range of sectors. Consequently, these roles are on the rise.

Business process improvement has evolved from following the Six Sigma methodology, introduced by Motorola engineer Bill Smith in 1986, in favour of using automation tools and artificial intelligence-based technology. This new certificate program will introduce students to these automation technologies in a process improvement context.

The program also features a capstone project that threads through each course, aligning with program milestones and allowing learners to graduate with a portfolio of work.

The Certificate in Business Process Improvement is a direct registration program, meaning an application is not required. For more information, visit the School of Continuing Studies web page.

School of Continuing Studies launches new certificate

happy customers

In January 2024, the York University School of Continuing Studies will launch the Certificate in Customer Success Management, a five-week, part-time program allowing aspiring or current customer success managers to quickly upskill and pursue new roles or advance within their organization.

Christine Brooks-Cappadocia
Christine Brooks-Cappadocia.

Customer success management is a rapidly growing field, as many businesses shift from product-centric to service-based models, creating a need to focus on engaging and retaining customers. This has led to significant growth for this role in Ontario, with organizations requiring more skilled, personable professionals who can nurture customer relationships, maximize the value of purchases and gain new business.

“In our research phase for the Certificate in Customer Success Management, we spoke with Canadian leaders in the industry, and what they told us is there is little formal training in this field,” says Christine Brooks-Cappadocia, interim assistant vice-president of continuing studies. “Our program, which develops new, highly skilled talent, really resonated with employers.”

The program’s curriculum was created in partnership with leading Canadian customer success managers. Learners in this program will develop business acumen, problem-solving and communication skills to strengthen the relationship between an organization and its customers.

The new program will be highly experiential and will feature workshops and simulations that mirror the duties of a customer success manager. Instructors who work full-time as customer success managers will bring their real-world expertise and insights to every course. 

“Learners will practise their skills in real and simulated business scenarios and will complete the program in five weeks, graduating with skills they can immediately apply in the workplace,” says Brooks-Cappadocia. “In a little over a month, they will be prepared to enter a customer success role or pursue new opportunities at their current work, accelerating success for both them and their employer.”

“In today’s dynamic business landscape, where success hinges on fostering lasting relationships, the demand for professionals skilled in customer success management has never been more vital,” says Michael Hsu, senior vice-president of client services at Achēv, a leading employment services non-profit. “The School of Continuing Studies’ specialized program not only meets this industry need but also equips learners with the strategic insights and practical skills, positioning them to excel in the competitive field of customer success.”

For more information on this program starting in January 2024, visit the School of Continuing Studies web page. Registration is now open

Appointment of assistant vice-president, continuing studies

School of Continuing Studies

La version française suit la version anglaise. 

Dear colleagues,

I am pleased to inform the York community that, following a national and international search, Christine Brooks-Cappadocia has accepted our invitation to become assistant vice-president (AVP), continuing studies, commencing Sept. 1, 2023.

Christine Brooks-Cappadocia
Christine Brooks-Cappadocia

Christine has served as interim AVP since Feb. 1, and has held previous roles including executive director, programs and partnerships; director of professional education; and director of marketing and enrolment management in the School of Continuing Studies.

The school’s Continuing Professional Education division is considered to be among the most innovative in the country. On May 1 of this year, the School of Continuing Studies launched its new, signature home on York’s Keele Campus. The building allows the school more capacity, space and resources to support York’s University Academic Plan 2020-2025, and also enables the school to keep expanding 21st-century learning opportunities with innovative programs in emerging fields that meet the diverse needs of adult and non-traditional learners.

Prior to joining York’s School of Continuing Studies in 2014, Christine spent six years building and managing the marketing department at McMaster’s Centre for Continuing Education. Her career highlights include supporting the launch of the York University School of Continuing Studies; the establishment of two endowed bursaries to support non-traditional students; the creation of several programs which are the first of their kind in Canada; launching a foundation to support at-risk youth; the development of the communications department for St. Joseph’s Healthcare Foundation in Hamilton, Ont.; and the management of a high-profile event featuring former U.S. president Bill Clinton and former Ontario premier Bob Rae.

She has been privileged to serve in several governance roles in non-profit organizations, including as president and founding board member of the International Association of Business Communicators’ Golden Horseshoe chapter, the vice-president of Community Arts Ontario and a founding board member of the Coalition of Ontario Voluntary Organizations.

Christine has earned several awards for marketing from the Association of Healthcare Philanthropists, the International Business Communicators and the Learning Resources Network. Christine holds a bachelor of fine arts from York University and a master of management, innovation and entrepreneurship from Queen’s University.

I look forward to working with Ms. Brooks-Cappadocia as she continues to bring leadership to this important role. I hope that all members of the York University community will join us in congratulating and welcoming her as a core member of the University’s senior leadership team.

I would like to thank the members of the search committee for their contributions to the appointment process.


Lisa Philipps
Provost & Vice-President Academic   

Annonce de la nomination de la vice-présidente adjointe (VPA), Formation continue

Chers collègues, chères collègues,

J’ai le plaisir d’informer la communauté York qu’à l’issue d’une recherche nationale et internationale, Christine Brooks-Cappadocia a accepté de devenir vice-présidente adjointe (VPA), Formation continue, à compter du 1er septembre 2023.

Mme Brooks-Cappadocia était VPA par intérim depuis le 1er février 2023. Précédemment, elle a occupé les fonctions de directrice générale des programmes et des partenariats, de directrice de la formation professionnelle et de directrice du marketing et de la gestion des inscriptions à l’École de formation continue.

Christine Brooks-Cappadocia
Christine Brooks-Cappadocia

La Division de formation professionnelle continue de l’École est considérée comme l’une des plus innovantes du pays. Le 1er mai, l’École de formation continue a inauguré son nouveau bâtiment emblématique sur le campus Keele de York. L’École dispose désormais d’une plus grande capacité et de plus d’espace et de ressources pour appuyer le Plan académique 2020-2025 de l’Université York. Ce bâtiment permet également à l’École de continuer à développer les possibilités d’apprentissage pour le 21e siècle grâce à des programmes innovants dans des domaines émergents qui répondent aux divers besoins des apprenants adultes et non traditionnels.

Avant de se joindre à l’École de formation continue de York en 2014, Mme Brooks-Cappadocia a passé six ans au Service de marketing du Centre de formation continue de l’Université McMaster, d’abord pour le mettre sur pied, puis pour le gérer. Parmi les faits saillants de sa carrière, citons son soutien au lancement de l’École de formation continue de l’Université York, la création de deux bourses d’études pour soutenir les étudiantes et étudiants non traditionnels, la création de plusieurs programmes uniques en leur genre au Canada, le lancement d’une fondation pour appuyer les jeunes à risque, le développement du Département des communications de la St. Joseph’s Healthcare Foundation à Hamilton et la gestion d’un événement très médiatisé mettant en vedette l’ancien président américain Bill Clinton et l’ancien premier ministre de l’Ontario Bob Rae.

Elle a eu le privilège d’assumer plusieurs rôles de gouvernance au sein d’organismes à but non lucratif, notamment en tant que présidente et membre fondatrice du conseil d’administration de la section Golden Horseshoe de l’International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), vice-présidente de Community Arts Ontario et membre fondatrice du conseil d’administration de la Coalition of Ontario Voluntary Organizations.

Mme Brooks-Cappadocia a remporté plusieurs prix de marketing de l’Association for Healthcare Philanthropists, de l’International Association of Business Communicators et du Learning Resources Network. Elle détient un baccalauréat en beaux-arts de l’Université York et une maîtrise en gestion, innovation et entrepreneuriat de l’Université Queen.

Je me réjouis de travailler avec Mme Brooks-Cappadocia qui continue à jouer un rôle de premier plan dans cette fonction importante. J’espère que tous les membres de la communauté de York se joindront à nous pour la féliciter et lui souhaiter la bienvenue au sein de l’équipe dirigeante de l’Université.

Je tiens à remercier les membres du comité de recrutement pour leur contribution à ce processus de nomination.

Sincères salutations, 

Lisa Philipps
Rectrice et vice-présidente aux affaires académiques   

Veuillez diffuser cette annonce auprès de vos collègues s’il y a lieu.

School of Continuing Studies marks official opening of new building

School of Continuing Studies

York University’s School of Continuing Studies celebrates the official launch of its new, signature home – a state-of-the-art building with a unique, twisted design located at the York University Keele Campus.

“The York University School of Continuing Studies is transforming the Canadian workforce by reinventing traditional models of education and transforming barriers to education into opportunities. Our leading edge, cohort programs are co-developed with industry to develop graduates prepared to thrive in a skills-based economy. Last year alone we delivered more than a million hours of learning,” says Christine Brooks-Cappadocia, interim vice-president of continuing studies at York University.  

The May 1 event is an opportunity for the School of Continuing Studies to formally unveil its new facility – located at 68 The Pond Rd. – to the York University community and showcase how a post-pandemic learning space can blend in-person and virtual learning formats using the latest technology to support the needs of students.

School of Continuing Studies
An interior shot of the new School of Continuing Studies building

The building allows the School more capacity, space and resources to support York University’s Academic Plan 2020-2025. The York University English Language Institute’s pathway programs, for instance, are core to the University’s international student growth and help the University achieve its priority of reaching a 20 to 25 per cent international student population within the next five years.

This new building also enables the School to continue growing its programming and support York’s priority to create 21st century learning opportunities with innovative programs in emerging fields that meet the diverse needs of adult and non-traditional learners.

“The School of Continuing Studies embodies York’s commitment to 21st century learning which identifies access to a high-quality education and global engagement as core components of York’s University Academic Plan,” says York University President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda Lenton. “We have been a leader in the lifelong learning space since our inception and we had the goal to create dedicated space to accommodate the unique needs of continuing education students locally and from abroad, many of whom are seeking to complement degree programs and/or upgrade and reskill in a labour market that is being profoundly impacted by automation and AI.”

The invite-only event to officially mark the building’s opening includes a plenary session with speeches from Lenton and Brooks-Cappadocia, to be followed by a keynote address from world-champion Canadian hurdler, author, TV host and public speaker, Perdita Felicien.

Invited guests will be offered guided tours of the building, networking sessions attended by York University leaders and industry-expert instructors, and the opportunity to visit an exhibit hall with information on the School’s roster of programs.

York University staff and faculty are welcome to visit the new building and experience its features.

After nine years of planning, the School of Continuing Studies opened its doors to students in December 2022, uniting under one roof its programs, staff and students.

School of Continuing Studies
Inside the new School of Continuing Studies building

The building is designed by the architecture firm Perkins + Wills, with architects Safdar Abidi and Andrew Frontini leading the project. The signature twisted architecture of the building symbolizes the evolving nature of post-secondary education today.

The structure is built to ensure complete adherence to sustainability in design. The building is designed to meet LEED Gold standards as well as the City of Toronto Green Standards. Strategies used include a high-performing façade system, direct outside air system with heat recovery ventilation, and daylight harvesting. The building is well positioned to achieve net zero in the future due to its low energy consumption. Additionally, the building is designed with the principles of diversity, equity, inclusion and sustainability. 

“Students, instructors and staff were included in both the scoping and design phases of the project. To ensure the building is meeting the needs of students of different ages, religions and cultural backgrounds we designed the structure with the highest accessibility standards,” says Brooks-Cappadocia.

“From having guide rails for students with sight impairment to touch-free surfaces to the lactation room for nursing mothers and a prayer and meditation room. Everyone is welcome and supported in pursuing their educational goals.”

Other key accessibility features include automated doors, standing desks in all classrooms, elevators and large hallways spaces for those requiring wheelchair access.

One student praised the design of the building, and how it shapes her approach to critical thinking. “The building is so open, meaning there aren’t walls everywhere, it’s not constricted. It helps you think out loud, and I really like that concept of the building,” says Shilpa Pradeep.

Another student said the accessibility features of the building are inspiring. “This building is amazing – from the exterior and once we enter the interior, everything is completely accessible,” says Ismail Sibgatullah Mohammed.

“We’re all in one area and we have access to these amazing facilities,” says Leigh Mitchell, instructor for the Post-Graduate Certificate in Digital and Content Marketing. “I think it is a game-changer for the engagement and also just getting to feel like you’re part of the community.”

Learn more about the School of Continuing Studies.

School of Continuing Studies launches new post-graduate certificate in CloudOps

A beautiful blue sky with clouds

A new specialized CloudOps program aims to create a talent pipeline for organizations focused on cloud migrations.

The pandemic has reshaped how companies operate and employees work.  Organizations are developing cloud adoption roadmaps and quickly implementing those plans. A recent market forecast predicted global spending on cloud services will grow by 16.9 per cent annually to reach $1.3 trillion by 2025.

The York University School of Continuing Studies announced the launch of its new full-time Post-Graduate Certificate in CloudOps. The only full-time, university-level cloud operations program to be offered in Canada, it is designed to prepare recent domestic and international university graduates for entry-level cloud computing roles.

“Many enterprises today are contemplating a strategic move to the cloud. Because of this, cloud professionals are in high demand to manage the complexities of cloud migrations and to choose the right cloud vendor. People looking to enter this profession need the right mix of cloud competencies from organizational change management to data governance and flawless execution and deployment,” says Claude K. Sam-Foh, cloud computing expert, curriculum developer, instructor and advisory member for the program.  

Cloud instructor Claude K. Sam-Foh
Claude K. Sam-Foh

“The Post-Graduate Certificate in CloudOps is a comprehensive educational experience that will provide the essential theoretical and practical competencies to excel and contribute to an organization’s cloud transformational journey and maintain that infrastructure.”

Job postings for cloud service entry-level roles in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) have grown at an annualized rate of 49.5 per cent over the last four years. The program is co-designed by an advisory committee of senior cloud professionals invested in developing a program that can be a pipeline for top-notch talent in their organizations and the CloudOps industry.

“Organizations are looking to bring talent in-house to build a cloud workforce from the ground up, creating a talent pipeline of entry-level roles with advancement potential to senior positions,” says Christine Brooks-Cappadocia, interim vice-president of continuing studies at York University.

“After graduating from this program, students will not only earn the fundamental cloud skills to establish their career in this field, but they will also gain critical cross-functional skills like problem-solving, decision-making, and an aptitude for curiosity that they will need to grow and advance in their career.”

Registration for the Post-Graduate Certificate in CloudOps is now open, with classes beginning in September 2023 and running for eight months.

For more information, visit the Post-Graduate Certificate in CloudOps program page.