President’s 2023 Annual Report reinforces York’s commitment to driving positive change for a better future

2023 President's Annual Report

La version française suit la version anglaise. 

Dear York community,

York University has always been an innovator bringing together our commitment to access, meaningful connection, excellence and driving positive change. This past year has been no exception. Despite the challenges facing the higher education sector and a rapidly changing global environment, our community has continued to work collaboratively to magnify our positive impact through bold programs, research, and creative activities and strategic initiatives dedicated to sustainability, equity and global engagement.

Recognized by Times Higher Education as one of the top 40 universities in the world for advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, we continue to amplify our impact on the goals at the heart of our University Academic Plan 2020-2025: Building a Better Future. Some of the many achievements we have made in these areas are captured in the 2023 President’s Annual Report, from pedagogical innovation and expanded program offerings, including experiential education, micro-credentials and globally networked learning; groundbreaking interdisciplinary research projects across diverse fields, including a first-of-its-kind $318-million initiative about socially responsible technologies; and new initiatives that break down barriers to academic and professional success; to transformative collaborations with partners that span the York Region to Guyana and the Philippines, and involve international organizations such as UNITAR.

Beyond celebrating the collective spirit and drive for excellence that defines our university, this report is a reminder that together, we have the power to right the future. As we look ahead, there is much to be excited about, including the official opening of the Markham Campus in Spring 2024, a transformative revisioning initiative for our Glendon Campus, progress on our School of Medicine proposal, the ongoing development of our Keele Campus and so much more.

Thank you for your continued dedication to York University and to our shared vision. It would be remiss of me not to acknowledge that this decade has thus far been rife in crises, from global conflict to systemic inequality, racism and discrimination, health pandemics and climate change. Universities have never been more important for producing the leadership, the research and the globally connected partnerships needed for a brighter, more inclusive and sustainable tomorrow.

Read the President’s Annual Report.

Kind regards,

Rhonda Lenton
President and Vice-Chancellor

Le Rapport annuel 2023 de la présidente renforce la détermination de York à susciter des changements positifs pour un avenir meilleur

Chers membres de la communauté de York,

L’Université York a toujours fait preuve d’innovation en associant sa volonté de favoriser l’accès, des liens précieux, l’excellence et de susciter des changements positifs. L’année qui vient de s’écouler ne fait pas exception à la règle. Malgré les défis auxquels le secteur de l’enseignement supérieur est confronté et l’évolution rapide de l’environnement mondial, notre communauté a continué à collaborer pour amplifier son incidence positive grâce à des initiatives et des programmes audacieux, des activités de recherche et de création et des initiatives stratégiques consacrées au développement durable, à l’équité et à l’engagement planétaire.

Reconnue par Times Higher Education comme étant l’une des 40 meilleures universités au monde pour la promotion des objectifs de développement durable (ODD) des Nations Unies, York ne cesse d’amplifier sa contribution aux objectifs sur lesquels son Plan académique universitaire 2020-2025 (PAU) : Bâtir un avenir meilleur est axé. Le Rapport annuel 2023 de la présidente met en vedette quelques-unes des réalisations accomplies dans ces domaines : innovations pédagogiques et offres de programmes élargies comprenant l’éducation expérientielle, des microcrédits et l’apprentissage en réseau international; projets de recherche interdisciplinaire révolutionnaires, dont une initiative sans précédent de 318 M$ dans le domaine des technologies socialement responsables; nouvelles initiatives éliminant les obstacles à la réussite académique et professionnelle; et enfin, collaborations transformatrices avec des partenaires allant de la région de York au Guyana et aux Philippines, qui impliquent des organisations internationales comme l’UNITAR.

Au-delà de la célébration de l’esprit collectif et de la volonté d’excellence qui caractérisent notre université, ce rapport rappelle que nous avons tous et toutes le pouvoir d’être présents pour l’avenir. Cet avenir s’annonce prometteur avec l’ouverture officielle du campus Markham au printemps 2024, un repositionnement transformateur du campus Glendon, la progression de notre proposition d’école de médecine, la mise en valeur continue du campus Keele, et bien plus encore.

Je vous remercie pour votre dévouement constant envers l’Université York et notre vision commune. Je m’en voudrais de ne pas reconnaître que cette décennie a été marquée jusqu’à présent par des crises allant des conflits mondiaux à des inégalités systémiques, sans oublier le racisme et la discrimination, les pandémies sanitaires et les changements climatiques. Les universités sont plus importantes que jamais pour former les leaders, les chercheurs et chercheuses et les partenaires internationaux qui sont indispensables à des lendemains meilleurs, plus inclusifs et durables.

Lisez le Rapport annuel de la présidente.


Rhonda Lenton
Présidente et vice-chancelière

Experiential education, DEDI key priorities of teaching and learning

Header banner for INNOVATUS

Welcome to our October issue of Innovatus. This month, we introduce you to a variety of inventive teaching and learning efforts that will undoubtedly interest you and provide food for thought. The initiatives featured in this issue focus on the key priorities of experiential education (EE) and decolonization, equity, diversity and inclusion (DEDI).

Chloe Brushwood Rose
Chloë Brushwood Rose

For example, stories from the Teaching Commons featured here highlight programs that reinforce York University’s commitment to DEDI, as set forth in our University Strategy. One, a 10-part workshop series called Trauma-Informed Pedagogies, may be of particular interest; it runs throughout the 2023-24 academic year. The Teaching Commons team has also begun to do research into the impact of York’s Model for Engaged Teaching, created in 2019 and updated in 2021. The model is worth exploring as a way of broadening your understanding of teaching as a profession.

For those who want to assist students in learning new skills and better cope with life’s demands throughout their university careers, Envision YU is a wonderful resource that you will learn more about in this issue. It provides classroom tools that are relevant to any subject and aid faculty as they guide their students toward the working world or further academic studies.

And let’s not forget the importance of EE. The University Academic Plan states that York will “attain our goal of providing every student with an experiential learning opportunity, regardless of program.” Two of our stories offer wonderful examples of such opportunities.  

In May, students in the School of the Arts, Performance, Media & Design had the opportunity to participate in a summer course, Shooting the Set, that provided them with hands-on experience in writing, shooting and acting in short films produced in front of a green screen. York’s amazing Motion Media Studio at Cinespace offered them the opportunity to gain professional-level experience in a low-stakes environment. 

In another example, faculty from the School of Global Health describe their Academic Innovation Fund-funded, simulation-based experiential learning initiative, the World Health Organization World Health Assembly (WHA) simulation (WHA SIM). WHA SIM seeks to enhance knowledge and skills around collaborative governance approaches, involving multisectoral and multijurisdictional global challenges, such as those found in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

So, there you have it: a full, varied slate of interesting stories that may entice you to tweak your own course delivery or ensure that your students learn some new skills. Our office is proud to showcase the diversity and range of teaching and learning efforts taking place across York University.  



Chloë Brushwood Rose 
Vice-Provost Teaching and Learning 

Faculty, course directors and staff are invited to share their experiences in teaching, learning, internationalization and the student experience through the Innovatus story form, which is available at

In this issue:

Teaching Commons leader in bringing DEDI lens to the classroom
York University’s Teaching Commons continues to bring equity-informed pedagogy to York University faculty, introducing relevant ideas and practices through its workshops and courses.

WHA simulation is excellent EE teaching tool
Students from the Faculty of Health will engage in a World Health Assembly (WHA) simulation to experience first-hand how global health policymakers at the World Health Organization make decisions. 

Hands-on green screen course an AMPD hit
An exciting opportunity for students in the School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design (AMPD) to work with green screen technology resulted in the production of several short films.

Model for Engaged Teaching basis for conference presentation
York University’s Model for Engaged Teaching will take centre stage during an upcoming presentation by educational developers from the Teaching Commons at the International Society for Scholarship of Teaching and Learning conference in November. 

Envision YU eases student transition to and from university
Two professors from different Faculties have joined together to create Envision YU, a curriculum tool designed to help faculty guide students through university life.

Teaching Commons leader in bringing DEDI lens to classroom 

Equity, diversity, inclusion

By Elaine Smith 

York University’s Teaching Commons (TC), the office that provides leadership in the pursuit of engaged teaching practices centred on the student learning experience, is also a leader in fostering an awareness of how to incorporate a decolonization, equity, diversity and inclusion (DEDI) perspective into pedagogical practices. 

As reflected by its statement of practice, the TC team has embraced equity, decolonization, diversity, inclusion and accommodation and continues to bring equity-informed pedagogy to York University faculty, introducing relevant ideas and practices through its workshops and courses.

“Since Ameera Ali, our educational developer, EDI, joined Teaching Commons in February 2022, we have been able to ramp up our support in this area, in alignment with York’s DEDI Strategy,” said Geneviève Maheux-Pelletier, director of Teaching Commons.

Geneviève Maheux-Pelletier
Geneviève Maheux-Pelletier
Jessica Vorstermans
Jessica Vorstermans
Robin Sutherland-Harris
Robin Sutherland-Harris

TC takes the responsibility for DEDI leadership seriously, as its activities demonstrate. Ali and fellow educational developer Robin Sutherland-Harris currently co-lead a DEDI in Teaching and Learning community of practice (CoP) with Jessica Vorstermans, an assistant professor in the Critical Disability Studies program. With online monthly meetings, it has about 130 members who participate as their schedules allow; it has also spawned a trauma-informed reading group. The CoP meetings are an opportunity for members to share what’s on their minds. This year, they plan to offer some in-person sessions, too.

Susan Dion
Susan Dion

TC held its first DEDI conference this past spring with the help of an Academic Innovation Fund grant, and during the past academic year, TC supported Susan Dion, associate vice-president Indigenous initiatives, in delivering Decolonizing the Academy, a course that discussed this shared responsibility, and what it means to decolonize teaching and learning from a pedagogical perspective. 

“This course offered the opportunity for a lot of inner reflection and considering what people’s roles as settlers mean,” said Maheux-Pelletier. “Professor Dion was very generous to partner with us and we will be looking for ways to deliver this course in the future without making major demands on her time.” 

This past summer, Ali and colleague Natasha May offered a course called Caring to Teach: Supporting Student Transitions Between Teaching and Learning Environments that helped instructors ease their students’ path between online learning and classroom studies.  

“Caring to Teach focused on the pedagogy of care, kindness and belonging, and it was especially important as we moved to and from online courses,” said Maheux-Pelletier. “It reminds us that students are more than simply someone sitting in class, and the more attuned we are to them, the better we can help them to be fully present in the classroom. 

“World events like the pandemic, the murderous attack on a Muslim family in London, Ont., and the University of Waterloo stabbing keep reminding us how vulnerable we are. If we’re not in a mental space to learn, it won’t happen.” 

These ideas lead directly to TC’s new 10-part workshop series, Trauma-Informed Pedagogy, in collaboration with the Centre for Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion. The series grew out of inquiries during the pandemic from faculty who were wondering how to make the classroom a more inclusive space. 

The workshops “will explore how trauma influences learning and how it manifests itself inside the classroom or elsewhere,” said Ali, who is leading the course along with Sutherland-Harris and Vorstermans.  

The first five sessions, running this term, lay the foundation by examining what trauma is and who is affected by trauma, Ali noted. “The second five sessions, taking place during the winter term, discuss how we respond: the pedagogical strategies and techniques we can use. 

“We’re bringing everyone to a common understanding of the subject and then giving them concreate strategies to use.” 

Maheux-Pelletier underscores TC’s ongoing commitment to DEDI and willingness to lead the way. 

“To me, there is no bulletproof approach,” she said, “but a commitment to the work is important, even if it is messy, imperfect and uncomfortable.” 

York hosts basketball tournament to promote BIPOC inclusion

womens lions basketball

York University will host a three-day tournament, Oct. 20 to 22, to promote greater inclusion of Black, Indigenous and racialized women in collegiate basketball.

The Athlete Women Empowered Classic is a U Sports women’s basketball tournament featuring teams from York, Concordia, Trinity Western and the University of Toronto – the only teams currently led by Black women coaches.

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, York’s women’s basketball head coach Christa Eniojukan, along with Concordia’s Tenicha Gittens, Trinity Western’s Cheryl Jean-Paul and U of T’s Tamara Tatham, designed the pre-season tournament with the goal of establishing a pathway for BIPOC women to step into leadership roles in sport.

christa eniojukan and women's lions basketball
York University Lions women’s basketball head coach Christa Eniojukan.

In addition to the five-game schedule, the event held at York’s Keele Campus will offer workshops, panel discussions and networking session that provide opportunities to interact with coaches, athletes and industry leaders. Attendees will have the chance to observe top athletes showcasing their skills and competing in various awe-inspiring sports. From heart-pounding races to jaw-dropping stunts, this event promises non-stop action and unforgettable moments.

On Friday, Oct. 20, York will face Concordia for an 11 a.m. game, followed by a 1 p.m. game featuring Trinity Western and U of T.

On Saturday, Oct. 21 at 11 a.m., York will take on Trinity Western and at 1 p.m., U of T and Concordia will play each other.

The final day, Sunday, Oct. 22, will have an early start with a 9 a.m. game between Concordia and Trinity Western.

Tickets are free and are available online.

More about Christa Eniojukan

The York University Lions women’s basketball head coach has been coaching youth teams and student-athletes for more than a decade, most notably with Ontario’s U17 provincial team from 2014-17. 

In July, the former Lion guard (2003-05), who has won six national medals, including four gold, earned a silver as the head coach of Canada’s women’s team at the second annual GLOBL Jam, a tournament featuring some of the best U-23 talent in the world. The Lions boss is entering her third season at the helm.

Eniojukan and the Lions kick off their 2023-24 season on Nov. 3 when they welcome the Waterloo Warriors to Tait McKenzie Centre for a 6 p.m. tip.

Read more about Eniojukan here.

York to address climate impact on vulnerable communities

Climate change ecololgy global warming

A groundbreaking social innovation initiative that aims to drive positive change at the intersection of climate change, housing and poverty reduction will launch at York University’s Faculty of Environmental & Urban Change (EUC), thanks to funding from Gore Mutual Foundation and a partnership with Social Innovation Canada (SI Canada).

The $1-million fund, announced Oct. 12, will support the development of the Climate and Equity Lab at York to better understand the impacts of climate change on vulnerable Canadians in urban environments.

In Canada, climate change is imposing an increasingly disproportionate impact on vulnerable groups, and factors such as poverty significantly impact the likelihood of recovering from extreme weather events.

As part of the project, EUC has appointed Niloofar Mohtat, a full-time postdoctoral Fellow, to work to identify gaps through existing research and assist in developing new research to explore how the effects of climate change may exacerbate inequalities faced by Canada’s most disadvantaged populations. A small team of EUC graduate students will also be engaged in the project, which will include research design, scoping reviews and facilitated discussions with participants in Canada.

“In Canada, low-income communities are at a disproportionate risk of loss and damage due to extreme climate events, such as heat and flooding,” said Mohtat. “Many of them live in old rental buildings with old infrastructure, located in neighbourhoods with limited access to green spaces and services. They spend a high proportion of their income on housing, so they do not have sufficient financial resources to invest in insurance or retrofit their settlements.”

The collaborative project aligns with the University’s Academic Plan and priorities for action, and supports its commitment to build a more just and sustainable future.

This year, Gore Mutual Foundation introduced its $1-million Equity Acceleration Fund to support charitable organizations focusing on the interconnection of poverty, equity and climate change.

“We quickly identified a troubling lack of investment in the understanding of the impact climate change is having on vulnerable groups,” said Gaby Polanco Sorto, vice-president and head of purpose and sustainability at Gore Mutual Insurance Company. “Our partners in the Climate and Equity Lab share the same values, urgency and vision to make our findings public and inspire others to take action alongside us. We are thrilled to embark on this journey together.”

Gore Mutual Foundation will act as the lead sponsor of the Climate and Equity Lab, while SI Canada, a national charitable organization working to address complex challenges and create transformational change, will act as the project lead, responsible for the management of the project’s deliverables and leading the facilitation of the labs. As the academic partner, EUC will provide the research team that will work to mobilize research into climate action.

“The research from the Climate and Equity Lab will serve as a crucial tool to inform policymakers, offering clear innovation and investment opportunities developed in collaboration with the communities most affected by climate change,” said Alice Hovorka, dean of EUC.

After a year of planning, phase one of the Climate and Equity Lab’s multi-year initiative has begun, with stakeholder workshops set to take place in Vancouver, the Waterloo Region and Toronto over the next nine months.

“This collaborative effort marks a significant step toward comprehending the complex connection between climate change and vulnerable groups. In collaboration with these communities, we will work towards creating a more equitable and resilient future for all Canadians,” said Andrea Nemtin, chief executive officer of SI Canada.

Make a difference – join York’s DEDI Council

DEDI three diverse adults in conversations

York University is seeking members of the University community with an interest in decolonizing, equity, diversity and inclusion (DEDI) work. The DEDI Council is looking for those with diverse perspectives, experiences and talents.

This council provides advice for advancing York University’s DEDI initiatives, projects and practices, as well as oversight of the required actions from approved recommendations. The council enables and supports York students, faculty, instructors and staff to participate meaningfully in the planning and implementation of York’s DEDI Strategy, initiatives, projects and practices, with the goal of cultivating a diverse campus culture that is equitable and inclusive. The council will be guided by the principles set out in the DEDI Strategy

The application period for at-large representative positions is now open. The application period will close at noon on Friday, Oct. 20. Find the application here.

Key objectives of the council 

The council will:  

  • Receive annual updates on the progress of implementation of the DEDI Strategy and provide input and advice on the implementation.  
  • Monitor the external environment for emerging issues and promising practices on DEDI to provide advice to the University. 
  • Provide a forum in which members discuss DEDI challenges and identify opportunities to foster an integrated and collaborative approach to DEDI initiatives across the University. 
  • Receive advice and direction from the sub-committees of the council, which include RISE, Sex-Gen and Enable York.  
  • From time to time, connect with emerging communities of practice, such as gatherings of DEDI practitioners, affinity groups etc. 
Council membership composition 

The membership shall consist of no more than 25 members at any given time and will include no fewer than six faculty or instructors, six non-academic staff and four students, and will aim for representation from all campuses in the combined categories below.

Appointed members: members appointed by the vice-president equity, people and culture and/or the president, consisting of no more than 10 individuals, which may include, but is not limited to, appointments from any of the following: SexGen, RISE, Enable York, Indigenous Council, Black Inclusion Advisory Council, President’s Sustainability Council, appointments from the community at-large.

At-large representatives: through an open call for expressions of interest, at-large representatives will be selected by the vice-president equity, people and culture and a group of advisors, ensuring the selected representatives will be broad-based, and include members of the student body (both graduate and undergraduate), staff, instructors and faculty. A minimum of 12 and maximum of 14 members will be selected.  

Chair: ex-officio (vice-president equity, people and culture). 

Technical support: administrative and technical support for the council will be provided by the Office of the Vice-President Equity, People and Culture. 

Committee member competencies: 

The council is seeking members who can demonstrate some or all of the following competencies: 

Knowledge of decolonizing, equity, diversity and inclusion in the post-secondary sector, which includes the knowledge, skills and dispositions needed to create learning environments that foster equitable participation of all groups and that seek to address issues of accessibility, equity and inclusion, oppression, privilege and power. Individuals with this competency have a sense of their own agency and social responsibility that includes others, their community and the larger global context.  

Lived/living experience, including personal knowledge about the world gained through direct, first-hand involvement in everyday events as an individual who identifies as a member of at least one equity-deserving group as a part of their identity. 

Ability to cultivate a common vision, including the ability to engage with students, faculty, staff and administrators to understand their unique and complex needs and commit to working collaboratively with all levels of leadership to build policies and programs that advance DEDI and equity-mindedness. 

Institutional and political acumen, including an understanding of the University’s unique organizational and governance structures as well as its intersections with government, community and industry at all levels, which include law, policy and history; and an ability to respond effectively to sensitive situations, reconcile competing interests and build consensus around a policy and plan of action. 

Results-orientation, including the ability to demonstrate strong commitment to the development of practical and effective strategies, actions etc., and an ability to develop and articulate goals that unite people in the pursuit of objectives worthy of their best efforts.

Time commitment and tenure: 

Meetings are expected to be two hours in duration a minimum of two times per year, with an understanding that in the early years of the establishment of the council, the meeting frequency will likely be more. 

Ex-officio members shall hold their position for the duration of their appointment in that role. 

Students appointed to the council will serve either a one-year or two-year term, depending on their ability to make such a commitment. 

Employees appointed to the council will require acknowledgement and permission to serve on the council by their supervisor and will serve a two-year term. Two-year terms will be scheduled on a staggered basis to ensure overlap of council membership. The first year of the council’s existence will require some appointments to be either a one- or two-year term to support this staggered approach to membership. 

The website Terms of Reference for the Council can be found here. For more on York’s work in DEDI, visit and

Earn certificate in human rights, equity, diversity and inclusion

Equity, diversity, inclusion

The Centre for Human Rights, Equity & Inclusion (CHREI) at York University has announced its Fall 2023 workshop sessions on Rights, Equity, Diversity, Decolonization & Inclusion (REDDI), covering topics including accessibility, positive space and microaggressions.

Running from October to early December, the sessions are designed to further the goals of the York University Academic Plan (UAP) and the Decolonizing, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy by ensuring University community members are prepared to address systemic inequities within a positive learning environment, where everyone can learn from each other and leave the REDDI sessions with tools and strategies that can be applied in workplaces, classrooms and everyday life.

All sessions are open to current students, staff and faculty members. They will run for approximately 90 minutes and be offered virtually, to facilitate the attendance of participants on and off campus. Participants can partake in one or all of the core series workshops. Those who complete three sessions will receive a REDDI certificate.

The Fall 2023 REDDI schedule is:


Promoting Accessibilty and Responding to Accommodations
Oct. 16, 10 to 11:30 a.m.

Understanding and Accessing Family Status Accommodations
Oct. 18, 1 to 2:30 p.m.

Challenging Bias in Decision-Making and Approaches to Difference
Oct. 24, 10 to 11:30 a.m.

Employment Equity Principles Towards Inclusion
Oct. 30, 1 to 2:30 p.m.


Demanteler le capacitisme : Briser les barrières a l’acces et l’inclusion (FR)
Nov. 1, 1 to 2:30 p.m.

Advancing Organization Change to Foster a Culture of Belonging
Nov. 6, 1 to 2:30 p.m.

Addressing and Responding to Sexual Harassment and Discrimination
Nov. 9, 10 to 11:30 a.m.

Creer et maintenir des espaces positifs (FR)
Nov. 28, 10 to 11:30 a.m.

Issues of Misogynoir
Nov. 30, 1 to 2:30 p.m.


Challenging Notions of Ableism: Breaking Barriers to Social Inclusion
Dec. 4, 10 to 11:30 a.m.

Do the Work: Intervening on Sex and Gender Harassment and Discrimination
Dec. 5, 10 to 11:30 a.m.

Registration for the workshops is required and can be accessed through the YU Learn Learning Opportunities website.

Executive-in-residence shares Indigenous teachings at Schulich

Group of Schulich School of Business faculty and staff on National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Last week, York University’s Schulich School of Business held a workshop and traditional Indigenous smudging ceremony to honour Canada’s third annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Facilitated by Kristin Murray, Schulich’s executive-in-residence for Indigenous initiatives and a proud member of Chapleau Cree First Nation, this event is one of several initiatives Schulich is implementing as part of its ongoing journey towards greater awareness, integrated inclusivity and meaningful reconciliation.

“When people leave this space with new knowledge, they may take a little chunk and share it with someone else,” said Murray. “That’s why I am passionate about my work at Schulich. To know that our stories will benefit others is beautiful.”

Murray introduced attendees to the significance, context and symbolism behind the smudging ceremony as they enjoyed tea and bannock, a traditional Indigenous pan-fried bread. She shared personal stories about her experience with smudging, where smoke from burning sacred plants is used to cleanse negative thoughts and feelings, and spoke about the qualities of the four sacred medicines. After the workshop, attendees had the opportunity to participate in a smudge around the Busy Beaver sculpture in the courtyard of the Rob and Cheryl McEwen Graduate Study & Research Building.

Kristin Murray, Schulich’s executive-in-residence for Indigenous initiatives, and Schulich Dean Detlev Zwick.
Kristin Murray, executive-in-residence for Indigenous initiatives, and Schulich Dean Detlev Zwick.

“By sharing teachings as both an Indigenous and Black woman, Sacred Eagle Woman (Kristin Murray) reminds us of how deeply connected these two communities are,” said Professor Carl James, the Jean Augustine Chair in Education, Community and Diaspora in York’s Faculty of Education, who attended the event. “Acknowledging the complexities of our intersecting identifies, shared practices, can only bring us closer together.”

In addition to the smudging ceremony, Schulich encouraged all faculty, staff and students to wear an orange shirt throughout the week leading up to the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to commemorate the residential school experience, honour survivors and remember the children who were not able to return home. Schulich also arranged for official “Every Child Matters” orange T-shirts to be sold at the Schulich Trading Store on Sept. 26, with all profits being donated to the Orange Shirt Society.

“We see this event as a starting point for a host of events, activities and changes we plan to implement over the next few months,” said Schulich Dean Detlev Zwick. “Thank you for participating in the process that the University needs to continue on truth and reconciliation”.

York community expands learnings on National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Indigenous

Members of the York University community gathered to recognize National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (Sept. 30), and attended events held at the Keele and Glendon campuses that encouraged reflection, learnings and unlearnings on the legacy of residential schools and the lasting impacts on Indigenous community members.

This year’s theme, “Engaging in a Reconciliation Journey: Learning Through Various Forms of Media,” was supported by a variety of events, including the screening of Indigenous films (which are still available to view online), guest speakers and Orange Shirt Day.

Many community members attended a hybrid speaker reflection event, where participants were offered a tobacco tie upon entering and were invited to offer it to the ceremonial fire afterwards at Skennen’kó:wa Gamig.

To learn more, including how to access resources, films, stories, Zoom backgrounds and event information, visit York’s National Day for Truth and Reconciliation website. To see photos from the events, view the gallery below.

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation at York University

Fall Convocation brings positive change for York graduands

File photo Convocation students

By Ashley Goodfellow Craig, editor, YFile

A new cohort of York University graduands will cross the stage to earn their diplomas during one of seven ceremonies, running Oct. 11 to 20 at Sobeys Stadium on the Keele Campus.

The Fall Convocation events will incorporate changes to align with the University’s values, including updates to policy on regalia, the music performed during the ceremonies, a spotlight on alumni and more.

In August 2022, a working group led by York University’s President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda Lenton was formed to explore updates to convocation. These changes aim to enhance the integration of decolonization, equity, diversity and inclusion principles, show respect for Indigenous knowledge and traditions, create a student-centred celebration, as well as align with the University’s commitment to sustainability and create a student-centred celebration.

Changes implemented during Spring Convocation will continue, with students, faculty and guests who identify as First Nations, Métis or Inuit welcome to wear traditional ceremonial dress of their culture. While wearing ceremonial dress has always been welcome, York has incorporated this into their communications to replace outdated messaging that states only academic regalia may be worn.

Other changes to look for include student performers, who will perform during the academic procession as well as before and after the ceremony. At the ceremony’s conclusion, graduates will recess to a song they chose by popular vote. As well, the national anthem will be played after a land acknowledgment and, where relevant, following an Honour Song.

To shine a light on previous graduates, an alumni speaker will take the stage during each ceremony to deliver a welcome message to graduands and their guests.

For a complete list of ceremonies during the Fall 2023 Convocation, visit the Ceremonies web page. For all other information, visit the Convocation website.

Look for a story in an upcoming issue of YFile announcing the honorary degree recipients.