Fall orientation continues with welcome events for all students

A group of five York University students walking down York Boulevard in the fall

The new academic year at York University begins on Sept. 6, which means York’s 2023 Transition and Orientation programming is already underway, welcoming new community members with a mix of fun and informative events.

In addition to the orientation sessions YFile highlighted last week for Black, mature, transfer and international students, here are the details about the remaining 2023 Orientation events – all with a focus on decolonization, equity, diversity and inclusion to ensure all students feel welcome and supported at York.

Open Doors York

Open Doors York will bring the entire University community together in a large, festival- and exploration-style day, on Sept. 5 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Key partners on the Keele Campus will open their office doors for new and returning students to visit, learn and maybe even walk away with some freebies. And that’s not all – in the York University Commons, expect a carnival-style atmosphere featuring music, games, snacks and giveaways.


From Aug. 26 to Sept. 8, York students, staff and faculty can enjoy specially priced meals from participating campus food vendors. Yorklicious is a great opportunity to explore the wide variety of food options on campus and get a great meal for $10 or less. Participating vendors include:

  • Sushi Shop
  • Campus Bubble Tea
  • Z-Teca
  • Great Canadian Bagel
  • Mac’s Sushi
  • Break Café
  • 416 Grill
  • Rasoi
  • ChopD and WrapD
  • Grill House
  • Chef’s Table
  • Crepe Delicious
  • Chungchun Rice Dog
  • Insomnia Cookies
  • Basil Box
  • Osmows
  • Orange Snail
Students enjoying a meal together on York University’s Keele Campus

Indigenous Student Orientation

The Centre for Indigenous Student Services (CISS) will welcome incoming Indigenous students to York with three days of specialized events and activities from Aug. 23 to 25, including a harbourfront boat cruise. Students will meet CISS staff and learn about the services and programs offered by the centre. For more details and to register, visit the CISS Events & Activities page.

York University students learning about Indigenous culture

Move-in Day and Parents & Family Orientation

Aug. 26 is the official residence Move-in Day. Parents and/or guardians can drop students off at their specific residence, where student volunteers will be waiting to help them move in. More details are available on the Housing Services website.

As the move-in is happening, parents, guardians and family members can attend the Parent and Family Orientation. There, they will receive a welcome from University staff and students, and they can take in a play performed by Vanier College Productions. The performance offers a humorous but heartfelt glimpse into the first-year university experience, while simultaneously introducing the audience to many of the supports and services that are on offer for students.

Afterwards, a services fair will allow parents and guardians to speak directly with University staff and learn about the resources that will be available to their students. There will be additional sessions available for parents of international students, plus a generic session on student finances that is open to everyone.

Orientation Week

This year, Orientation Week will run from Aug. 27 to Sept. 4. The week will include a variety of events, workshops and icebreakers designed for first-year students to get to know each other, as well as upper-year students in their colleges and Faculties.

A York University student participating in Orientation Week celebrations

For complete details and to register, visit the Orientation Week Events page. Students can use the college finder tool to determine which session they should sign up for based on their academic program’s college affiliation. Participating colleges and Faculties include:

  • Bethune
  • Calumet
  • Founders
  • Glendon
  • Lassonde
  • McLaughlin
  • New College
  • Schulich
  • Stong
  • Vanier
  • Winters

Academic Orientation Days

Academic Orientation Days will take place on Aug. 29 and 30. These mandatory sessions for all new students introduce their specific degree program and the resources available within their affiliated college and Faculty. They also touch on academic services, financial support and other vital tools to help facilitate a smooth transition into university life. Students can refer to the Transition and Orientation Events page for complete details and registration information.

YorkFest 2023

Each year, the York Federation of Students (YFS) aims to make YorkFest the largest back-to-school orientation festival held on a Canadian university campus. Details for this year’s YorkFest haven’t yet been released, but keep an eye on the YFS website for updates.

For more information about what’s happening at York in the lead-up to September and beyond, visit the Transition and Orientation 2023 website, which includes a schedule of events, the new student checklist, a college finder tool, student support services, information for parents, housing details and more.

Osgoode student earns scholarship for disability advocacy

Equity, diversity, inclusion

Third-year Osgoode Hall Law School student Angela Dittrich was awarded a Legal Leaders for Diversity Trust Fund Scholarship in recognition of both her academic excellence and her work to improve accessibility to legal education. The fund, created through donations from general counsel and law firm managing partners across Canada, was established in 2015 to promote equal access and diversity in law schools.

As an advocate for people with disabilities, Dittrich has always understood that there is strength in numbers. That’s why she is actively campaigning to create the first national organization representing law students with disabilities. Her brainchild, the Canadian Coalition for Law Students with Disabilities, has so far brought together students from all 23 law schools across Canada.

Angela Dittrich
Angela Dittrich

“My disability advocacy work has been the most challenging and fulfilling work I have done during my law school career,” she said. “While some progress has been made, there is still a long way to go to tackle the many challenges and inequities that disabled law students and lawyers continue to face across the country.”

Dittrich, a native of Hamilton, Ont., and an active leader with the Disability Collective of Osgoode (DisCO), has been diagnosed as neurodivergent and has had a variety of neurological, chronic pain, cardiac and connective tissue disorders since early childhood.

Being a law student ith disabilities poses numerous challenges and barriers, she said. But the most frustrating challenge, she noted, is that many of these barriers could easily be eliminated through the development of equitable policies, more thoughtful planning approaches and a system that prioritizes the creation of a more diverse, inclusive profession.

It was in her role as DisCO’s outreach co-ordinator last year that Dittrich said she saw the need for a national organization to advocate for law students with disabilities. The idea took shape during discussions with disability advocates from local law schools about advocacy strategies for COVID-19-related accommodations.

“I realized that our advocacy efforts would be amplified if we were working collectively, and began to build this network alongside other disability advocates at Canadian law schools,” she said. “The coalition is still in its early stages of formation, and I hope for it to be fully established within the Fall 2023 term.”

This year, her third year in the combined Juris Doctor/Master in Environmental Studies program, Dittrich will serve as co-president of DisCO. She said she plans to build on the organization’s work in creating an important sense of community and engaging with the law school’s administration to implement key equitable policy measures.

New online workshop supports Black graduate student success

Woman laptop computer FEATURED

York University’s Faculty of Graduate Studies (FGS) is hosting its inaugural Fostering Black Scholars Scholarship Success Workshop for incoming and current graduate students on Monday, Aug. 28 from 10 a.m. to noon. This online event aims to create a welcoming space to share experiences and resources and build peer-to-peer connections.

One of the goals of the workshop is to share new funding opportunities that support Black scholars, including the Bennett Family Graduate Scholarship for Black and Indigenous Students, as well as many other scholarships and awards. Attendees will learn how to complete award applications and leverage all the resources available at York, both internally and externally. Additionally, the workshop will provide attendees with resources and guides for developing successful grant proposals, writing reference letters for scholarship applications and making their applications stand out.

Students will also learn about the self-identification forms and questionnaires implemented by FGS. The optional self-identification questions in award applications are important to determine eligibility for funding opportunities targeting specific equity-deserving groups and to implement funding equalization measures. Students can include relevant information in the Special Circumstances form on their applications to explain any personal circumstances (including gender, race, diversity, ability, sexuality, health disparities, educational access etc.) that have played a role in shaping their path, to allow for a fair assessment of their research productivity.

The workshop will feature talks from seasoned Black faculty members, including: Professor Andrea Davis, Department of Humanities; Professor Jude Dzevela Kong, Department of Mathematics & Statistics; and Professor Tokunbo Ojo, FGS associate dean of students.

Attendees will also hear from a panel of graduate scholars who hold prestigious awards, including: Joseph Agyapong, a PhD student in mechanical engineering and a 2023 Susan Mann Dissertation Awardee; Balikisu Osman, a PhD student in environmental studies and a 2020 Vanier Scholar; and Danielle Washington, a PhD student in nursing and a 2023 Canadian Institutes of Health Research Canada Graduate Scholarships Doctoral Program awardee. The panellists will answer questions and speak about their personal experiences, scholarship successes and how to make the most of available resources.

This online event is hosted by the FGS Scholarships & Awards team, led by Richolette Freckleton, associate director of research, scholarships and awards. York University faculty and staff are encouraged to share event details with their incoming and current graduate students. For more information and to register, visit: tinyurl.com/572pp67v.

Fall orientation kicks off with events for Black, mature and international students

Four students walking on York University's Keele Campus in the fall

With fall term classes beginning on Sept. 6, the official start of the new academic year at York University is almost upon us. For students who are new to York, this is always an especially exciting and busy time, with a long list of orientation events to participate in and keep track of. 

The Transition and Orientation 2023 website helps with all of that, directing community members to the many events and activities happening in the lead-up to September and beyond. There, students will find:

  • a schedule of events and corresponding registration information;
  • the new student checklist;
  • a college finder tool;
  • an extensive resource guide of student support services;
  • information for parents and families;
  • housing and residence details;
  • contact information; and
  • important social media accounts to follow.

One of York’s top priorities is to ensure that all students feel welcome and supported in every way during their university experience. Guiding all transition and orientation programming is a focus on decolonization, equity, diversity and inclusion. This means there will be many events designed specifically for priority communities, including (but not limited to) Indigenous, Black, international, 2SLGBTQIA+, first in the family, mature and transfer students.

Below are details about the first few events kicking off York’s 2023 Orientation. Stay tuned for more in YFile in the coming weeks.

Black Excellence at York University (BE YU) Welcome Event 

The BE YU Welcome Event is designed to celebrate incoming post-secondary students who self-identify as Black. The event’s theme is “BE YU and Getting to Know You,” and the intention is to delve into the Black student experience in post-secondary while building personal and professional relationships and celebrating the achievements of incoming York students. 

The BE YU Welcome Event will be held on Aug. 16 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the University’s Second Student Centre. Incoming students who are interested in attending can register here. For more information about BE YU, visit futurestudents.yorku.ca/black-excellence.

Mature and Transfer Student Orientation Sessions

Mature and transfer students can attend an orientation session either virtually on Aug. 17 or in person on Aug. 22. The session is intended to help ease their transition to their new school and increase their chances of success. They will have the opportunity to meet the Atkinson Centre for Mature and Part-time Students (ACMAPS) staff, hear personal stories from other mature students, have mature student learning myths debunked, and connect with other mature and transfer students. For complete details and to register, visit the Mature and Transfer Student Orientation Sessions page

In addition to the orientation session, Ready, Set, YU! is another program available to mature and transfer students, providing access to transition coaches who can offer specialized support to help students meet their transitional milestones and successfully navigate campus resources. 

International and Exchange Student Orientation 

Incoming international and exchange students students are invited to attend the International and Exchange Student Orientation taking place on Aug. 28 from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. There, they will learn about the various support services available to international students and have an opportunity to meet with on- and off-campus vendors such as banks, cell phone providers and more. For those who cannot attend on Aug. 28, the session will be repeated on Sept. 8 and 14.  

In addition, an optional event being offered is Shopping Essentials with York International on Aug. 27, where students can take a guided trip to nearby shopping centres to purchase any essentials they may need for the start of the school year. 

For complete details and to register for either event, visit the International and Exchange Student Orientation website.  

For more information about York University’s 2023 Transition and Orientation events, visit yorku.ca/orientation.

Work-integrated learning for Black students in health breaks down barriers

Health care student Black woman Nurse doctor

This summer, 18 Black undergraduate students from three units in the Faculty of Health (Psychology, Global Health and Kinesiology) will participate in work-integrated learning opportunities across six health-sector organizations, where they will support diverse programs, services, research and other organizational priorities.

Funded by a Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning (CEWIL) Canada iHub grant, this initiative helps students gain real-world experience in their field of interest and develop knowledge and skills to support their academic and professional journeys. It is uniquely positioned to address notable gaps in representation among Black professionals in the health sector – a vision that is shared by the placement organizations. “These future leaders will be poised to improve research and service delivery for Black communities overall,” said Monique Herbert, associate professor of psychology.

Integrating culturally relevant training

Before students set off on their placements, they participated in preparatory workshops focused on skill-building for a successful experience. A highlight of this process was a workshop with a special focus on navigating the workplace as a Black individual, which was developed and conducted by two guest facilitators, Karlyn Percil-Mercieca of KDPM Consulting Group and York alum Shereen Ashman of SACCAE Social Innovation Studio.

“The presenters applied a holistic lens to the discussion of professionalism skills, allowing both culture and race to infuse the conversation in a meaningful and tangible way. Grounding ‘professionalism’ in this context allows students to adopt a strength-based approach to their field placements,” said Paola Calderon-Valdivia, experiential education co-ordinator, Faculty of Health.

“Students were encouraged to draw wisdom from their lived experiences, to embrace their collective truth and to rely on their racial heritage as a source of empowerment – reminding them of their inherent value and the meaningful contributions they would be making to their host organizations; a message that was well received by the students.”

It is this type of culturally relevant training that is very much needed because representation matters, added Herbert. “Seeing, hearing and learning from someone who looks like you makes it more tangible, more achievable. We need more of this; it empowers our students,” said Herbert.

Focusing on a well-rounded support system for students

During their 100-hour placement in a health-related setting, students will be supervised by a placement supervisor and benefit from networking and relationship-building opportunities with health professionals and mentors in the field. Alongside work experience, students will receive academic oversight and learning guidance from volunteer faculty advisors from each unit. Calderon-Valdivia will offer ongoing support, guidance and troubleshooting to students, faculty and placement organizations. Three student mentors who previously participated in the initiative will also offer peer-informed support to students throughout the experience.

A further source of support for students will be a stipend offered through the CEWIL iHub grant, which will offset any associated costs for their participation in the initiative, such as transportation, time away from jobs and more. This aligns with the University Academic Plan in providing experiential learning opportunities and offering supports for students who face systemic barriers.

Building on the legacy of student-led advocacy

Black student advocacy around systemic barriers led to the development of the Summer 2022 pilot phase of this initiative in the Department of Psychology. Two Black student-led groups (Black Students in Psychology and the Black Students Mentorship Program) with missions to address the lack of representation of Black professionals and academics in health-related fields spearheaded a collaboration between the Department of Psychology and the experiential education (EE) team in the Faculty of Health, led by Anda Petro.

Celebrating successful completion of Summer 2022 WIL initiative with students, staff, and faculty
Celebrating the successful completion of the Summer 2022 work-integrated learning initiative with students, staff and faculty

Psychology students who participated in the pilot praise the program for offering hands-on experience beyond the traditional classroom and the opportunity to grow personally and professionally.

“…it provided me with a chance to step outside of my comfort zone and grow as an individual, student and professional,” said Nichol Edwards Snagg, psychology undergraduate student. “Throughout my placement, I developed and strengthened my initiative, group facilitation and communication skills, all while contributing to a project that benefitted the Black community.”

The success of this initiative and future initiatives is contingent on having a strong support system and funding, said Herbert.

“We are grateful to the EE staff, faculty and student mentors in the Faculty of Health and CEWIL for their support; this initiative would not have been possible without them. These experiences are invaluable for our Black students, and we hope that there will be further funding opportunities to continue this important work,” said Herbert.

Faculty of Health researchers investigate road safety, health equity

boy rides a bike in a heavy rainstorm

A paper written by Emily McCullogh, a postdoctoral visitor in the Faculty of Health, and colleagues from a pan-Canadian research team examines the built environment and active transportation safety of children and youth (CHASE).

The study, “Road safety, health equity, and the build environment: perspectives of transport and injury prevention professionals in five Canadian municipalities,” was recently published in BMC Public Health Journal.

The team consists of researchers from Vancouver, Calgary, Peel Region, Toronto and Montréal, as well as principle investigator Alison Macpherson (York University), and York University alumna Sarah A. Richmond (Public Health Ontario), who were responsible for supervising the work on this paper.

The objective of the CHASE study was to enhance the understanding of barriers and facilitators to built environment change, specifically for vulnerable road users (VRUs) such as pedestrians, cyclists, children, older adults and people with disabilities. Researchers note that currently, the built environment is not designed to support the health and safety of all users, but instead is primarily designed to increase traffic flow and efficiency.

“This work has expanded my knowledge of how the built environment influences the health and wellness of people. Road users are not inherently vulnerable; rather, they are made vulnerable by the design of the built environment,” says McCullogh.

The built environment refers to the “human-made surroundings that provide the setting for all human activity, including those places where people live, work, learn, rest and play,” according to the Canadian Institute of Planners. The design of the built environment, say the researchers, influences people’s health by impacting decisions to take public transit and/or engage in active travel (e.g. walking, cycling, wheeling etc.).

Using qualitative data from professionals working in the fields of injury prevention and road safety, the paper offers insight into barriers and facilitators to equity-focused built environment changes. The team says it is a meaningful step towards removing barriers and ensuring that all community members are served and protected by the built environment as they travel to work or school, or for leisure.

“These findings make an important contribution to York’s commitment to the [United Nations] Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as they highlight important challenges to making sustainable transportation safer for all,” says Macpherson.

“Drawing on the experiences of professionals working in, and across, these sectors shows how HE (health equity) concerns and BE (built environment) change are not contained within a single sector,” the study states. “Alternatively, efforts to improve BE conditions and the health and safety of road users exist across sectors, which bolsters the need for cross-sectoral collaboration and collective efforts to ensure that HE concerns are addressed on multiple fronts.”

McCullogh says given the urgent health concerns around road-related injury and death, people’s physical health and environmental sustainability, this work is timely. Further, McCullogh adds, a result of this research is that communities and local populations should be involved in built environment change planning and processes within their neighbourhoods.

“Through this work, we better understand what helps and hinders public health practitioners in their efforts toward safe active transport in their communities; specifically, public health highlighted the importance of supporting equitable community consultation in the BE change process,” says Richmond.

Researchers and policymakers aiming to enhance people’s health by making changes to the built environment and the design of cities can learn more about the learnings from McCullogh and her colleagues’ work, particularly with regards to changing the built environment to support vulnerable and equity-deserving road users.

Click here to access the full article.

Justice Fund announces gift to York for Black, Indigenous students’ arts education

Students gathered around one presenter and microphone against foggy background for open mic

This fall, 14 Black and Indigenous students will be eligible to apply for financial support to attend York University’s School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design (AMPD), following a $100,000 donation announced at the Justice Fund Summit: Lover of Humanity last week.

Sarah Bay-Cheng
Sarah Bay-Cheng

The recently announced Justice Fund Bursaries are valued at $7,143 each. While eligible first-year students will be given priority, the bursaries are open to all Black and Indigenous students in AMPD who demonstrate involvement in community and social-justice work, sharing the vision of the Justice Fund and its co-founders, Yonis Hassan, Noah “40” Shebib and Jermyn Creed.

“We are grateful for the support of the Justice Fund and very proud to be partners in advancing opportunities for youth in Toronto,” says AMPD Dean Sarah Bay-Cheng, who took part in the summit on Aug. 3, where similar partnerships focused on priority communities were made.

Bay-Cheng was also a panellist at the summit’s Fireside Chat – along with Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow and John Wiggins, vice-president of organizational culture and inclusion for the Toronto Raptors. Bay-Cheng shared her own experiences, including challenges and arts- and culture-based solutions for youth and underserved communities in the city and beyond. 

Learn more at News @ York.

York Libraries houses collection by Caribana founding member

Photo credit: Kenneth Shah with Cult of the Leopards Band King, 1980. ASC, Kenneth Shah fonds, 2020-002/024 (07)

As Toronto hosts the annual Caribbean Carnival that began more than 60 years ago to recognize Black emancipation from slavery, York University Libraries (YUL) celebrates its role in preserving and sharing the historic origins of the festival.

Photo credit: Kenneth Shah in costume for the Caribana parade, 1970. ASC, )Shah fonds, 2020-002/021 (15
Photo credit: Kenneth Shah in costume for the Caribana parade, 1970. ASC, Shah fonds, 2020-002/021 (15)

The archives of Kenneth Shah, a founding organizer of the event originally known as Caribana, capture the enthusiastic embrace of the event’s masquerade, dancing and music through 30 years of text, photographs and film – all of which provide unique insights into the cultural contributions of the Black and Caribbean communities. Shah is a founding member of Caribana and the Caribbean Cultural Committee, and was involved for more than 30 years with the festival celebrating Black emancipation from slavery, which this year runs Aug. 3 to 7.

Caribana arose out of a desire by West Indian immigrants to share the festival culture of Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean with the dominantly white British and European population of Toronto and to educate Canadians. The event celebrates the emancipation of Black people from slavery through Calypso music, dance and masquerade, and provides an opportunity for Caribbean communities to have a voice in the Canadian focus on multiculturalism during the 1970s. Today, the Toronto Caribbean Carnival is an annual event, the largest of its kind in North America.

Born in San Fernando, Trinidad, Shah moved to Canada in 1965 to pursue a career in petroleum engineering. He eventually left this profession to focus on carnival arts, designing and making costumes, managing mas bands and taking a leadership role in programming from the first festival held in 1967 until his death in 2002.

Photo credit: Kenneth Shah with Cult of the Leopards Band King, 1980. ASC, Kenneth Shah fonds, 2020-002/024 (07)
Photo credit: Kenneth Shah with Cult of the Leopards Band King, 1980. ASC, Kenneth Shah fonds, 2020-002/024 (07)

Shah’s archives were gathered after his passing by the late Professor Christopher Innes, a Canada Research Chair in Theatre and Performance at York University, initially deposited with York University’s Harriet Tubman Institute for Research on Africa and its Diasporas.

The Kenneth Shah archives, also known as a fonds, were transferred to York University Libraries in 2019. These documents consist of almost four metres of textual records, 4,000 photographs of festivals in Toronto, Montreal, New York and Trinidad, and 51 sound and moving-image recordings. They include meeting minutes and financial records for the Caribbean Cultural Committee (early organizers of the festival), correspondence with participants and other Caribbean festivals, Shah’s sketches for parade costume designs and his program proposals, regulations and registrations for band competitions, as well as brochures and coverage of the festival by Black community newspapers.

Photo credit: A large mas costume, 1972. ASC, Kenneth Shah fonds, 2020-002/021 (14)
Photo credit: A large mas costume, 1972. ASC, Kenneth Shah fonds, 2020-002/021 (14)

University archivist Michael Moir says the records are very rare in the context of carnival arts, immigration and multiculturalism, and are remarkable as the result of Shah’s decision to include the roles of observer and recorder with those of festival organizer and participant.

“These records are now available for research, providing a rare opportunity to bring life to a generation of Black performers who connected with large international and multicultural audiences drawn to Toronto by its Caribbean festival,” says Moir.

Materials are showcased in the York University Digital Library platform.

Due to the pandemic, processing of these unique and significant archives, which began in 2020, was delayed. The project has now been completed by YUL archivist Emma Thomas.

“As an archivist, sorting through material that encapsulates the activities and achievements of someone’s life is a privilege,” says Thomas. “In Shah’s archives I found reflected the importance and value of his community. Shah’s love for costume arts, the Toronto Caribbean Carnival and his joy in having the opportunity to share it with others is palpable. It provides a unique insight into the Caribbean Carnival in its earliest years, as a gift from the Caribbean people to share their culture with others.”

The finding aid can be found here.

Access to the Kenneth Shah fonds reconnects the Trinbagonian and Caribbean diaspora in Toronto and on both sides of the Atlantic with the festival in its heyday, when the parade dominated the city’s downtown. The documents preserve the legacy of Black artists who found self-expression through carnival to celebrate the abolition of slavery.

Photo credit: Celebrating Black Emancipation through Caribana Festival, 1972. ASC, Kenneth Shah fonds, 2020-001/025 (25)
Photo credit: Celebrating Black emancipation through Caribana Festival, 1972. ASC, Kenneth Shah fonds, 2020-001/025 (25)

Moir says that in his conversations with students and the Markham African Caribbean Canadian Association, he found there was an increasing interest in Toronto’s Caribbean festival and its place in understanding the heritage of this diaspora. The community-based group in Markham, Ont., passes down the traditions of carnival and mas bands from older to younger generations.

“The Kenneth Shah fonds can play an important role in this process by providing unique insights into the celebrations of the Caribbean diaspora whose experiences and culture have yet to see broader representation in public libraries and archives,” says Moir.

Learn more about the Clara Thomas Archives and Special Collections and read the blog.

York community supports Black inclusion through action

Black female students women alumni

York University’s second Annual Report on Black Inclusion is now available to the community. The annual report provides highlights and updates to the community on work and progress relating to York’s Framework on Black Inclusion and Action Plan on Black Inclusion.

Annual Report on Black Inclusion

The report outlines the progress made on the 81 calls to action under the nine thematic areas in the framework. In addition to renewing York’s commitment to addressing anti-Black racism, the report highlights that many partners across the York community encountered challenges in implementation and calls on the community to be supportive, collaborative and creative in finding solutions to overcome these challenges.

The community has continued to advance the work and supported more than 100 activities that took place across the University in the second year of implementation. Continued support from community members and efforts toward combating anti-Black racism on York’s campuses will be significant in working toward systemic change based on the guiding values in the framework.

“The actions reported in the Annual Report on Black Inclusion are aimed at breaking down the systematic barriers that for too long have affected the Black community on our campuses,” said Interim Vice-President Equity, People and Culture, Alice Pitt. “York continues to be committed to social justice and addressing the impact of anti-Black racism and white supremacy that pervades academia. Transformation of systems and colonial institutions takes time, and the York community is taking up the work to enable such transformation.”

York University remains a signatory to the Scarborough Charter and is committed to promoting intersectional Black flourishing, fostering inclusive excellence, enabling mutuality and ensuring accountability. In addition, the recently launched Decolonizing, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy connects to plans across the University, including the Framework on Black Inclusion.

For a detailed review of the actions undertaken across the University community, visit: Annual Report on Black Inclusion.

Schulich research reveals how businesses can support employees with hearing loss

Group of office workers sitting indoors

New research from York University’s Schulich School of Business shows how employees with severe hearing loss cope with challenges associated with unsupportive work environments and supervisors.

Brent Lyons
Brent Lyons

The findings are contained in an article published recently in the Journal of Management. The article, titled “Disability Severity, Professional Isolation Perceptions, and Career Outcomes: When Does Leader–Member Exchange Quality Matter?,” was co-written by Brent Lyons, associate professor of organization studies at Schulich and the York Research Chair in Stigmatization and Social Identity; David Baldridge, professor of management at Oregon State University; Liu-Qin Yang, professor of psychology at Portland State University; and Camellia Bryan, postdoctoral scholar at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management.

In two studies with employees with hearing loss, the researchers found that in workplaces where there was little or no support, employees with more severe hearing loss improved career outcomes by adopting coping strategies, including psychologically disengaging from professional connections at work. 

In other words, says Lyons, these workers protected themselves by placing less value on professional connections, which in turn reduced feelings of isolation; however, that should not discourage effective managers and supervisors from supporting employees with severe hearing loss.

“Managers and colleagues can play an important role in building inclusive work environments that support deaf and hard-of-hearing employees,” says Lyons. “Taken-for-granted ways of socializing at work, if left unchecked, can pose challenges. It’s helpful when managers and colleagues check in and are flexible.”

Adds Baldridge: “One-on-one meetings or lunch in a quiet location would be more effective for an employee with hearing loss than trying to introduce them to people at a cocktail party.”

Lyons cautions that psychological disengagement can have negative ramifications in the long run. “One way to support deaf and hard-of-hearing employees in building professional connections is to ensure that networking events are accessible to all employees, and to make it easy to request accommodation without fear of repercussion or hassle.”