York professor inducted as a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering

Bergeron Centre
Marin Litoiu
Marin Litoiu

Marin Litoiu, a professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the Lassonde School of Engineering and the School of Information Technology in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, has been inducted as a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering.

Litoiu joins exclusive and prestigious company with this honour. He was recognized for his outstanding achievements and service to the engineering profession in Canada and around the world.

Litoiu leads the Centre for Research in Adaptive Software at Lassonde, which focuses on the development of adaptive and self-managing systems. He is considered one of the pioneers of the field of self-adaptive software (SAS), which actively modifies its own behaviour and structure as conditions or user requirements change. His contributions to the design, architecture and implementation of self-managing software systems have been adopted widely by both public and private sectors. Litoiu has published more than 200 peer-reviewed journal and conference papers, with one receiving over 2,000 academic citations. He is the recipient of two most influential paper awards, three best paper awards and was recently honoured as the 2020 IBM Faculty Fellow of the Year.

With strong ties to the software industry, Litoiu has been recognized with the IBM Outstanding Achievement Award for top innovators and the Leo Derikx NSERC Synergy Award for Innovation, awarded together with the IBM Centre for Advanced Studies. He patented 11 different technologies and systems with industrial partners and founded a burgeoning startup company in 2016, Bitnobi Inc., which was ranked among the top 20 cybersecurity innovators for 2019 by Technology Innovators.

Litoiu has secured more than $16 million in external research funding, including a recent $1.65-million Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council CREATE grant to start the Dependable Internet of Things Applications program at York University.

As a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering, he will contribute to the mission of the academy, providing leadership in engineering and social responsibility that is in step with the evolving needs of our society.

Newly elected Fellows of the Canadian Academy of Engineering were inducted virtually on June 14, during the academy’s 2021 Annual General Meeting. The Canadian Academy of Engineering is a founding member of the Council of Canadian Academies, along with the Royal Society of Canada and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.

Rare artifacts find their way home to the Philippines thanks to a York professor

FEATURED image Patrick Alcedo_new_AMPD

A museum in the northern Philippines has received a treasure trove of local artifacts, all thanks to a connection made during the Sustainable and Inclusive Internationalization Virtual Conference organized by York University and partners in January 2021.

Patrick Alcedo
Patrick Alcedo

Patrick Alcedo, associate professor of dance in the School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design (AMPD), was one of the conference speakers. He gave a presentation about using dance as a pedagogical tool. Alcedo is a dancer, dance ethnographer and documentary filmmaker who specializes in the folk dances of the Philippines.

In the audience for Alcedo’s talk was Faye Snodgress, an American education consultant and granddaughter of a man who taught English in the northern Philippines in the late 1800s.

Following the conference, Snodgress wrote to Alcedo to explain her family connection to the Philippines. She sent along photos of some cultural artifacts that her grandfather had brought home as mementos of his stay in the rural Philippines. Snodgress expressed a desire to donate them to a museum or an appreciative audience. She asked Alcedo if he had any ideas about a good home or any connections to someone who could assist her with the donation.

A rare bag from the Philippines
This embroidered bag is among the artifacts sent to the Museo Kordilyera. Photograph courtesy of Patrick Alcedo

Alcedo, who hails from the central Philippines, immediately thought of a colleague at OCAD University, Lynne B. Milgram, who conducts research in the northern part of the Philippines. He got in touch with Milgram and she told him that a new museum, the Museo Kordilyera, had opened in 2019 at the University of the Philippines. Milgram contacted the director of Museo Kordilyera and received an enthusiastic response: the museum would be delighted to add the artifacts to its collection.

“The artifacts are amazing,” said Alcedo. “There are wooden spoons with carvings of humans on the handle, for example, and a very rare bag that is used in a particular Philippine dance. Material objects are inextricably linked with Philippine dance; they are used as props. I used a similar bag when I was a dancer. These traditions still exist. The dance movements are specific, but they alone can’t signify the culture; the dances are so object-driven.”

Carved spoons
Included in the artifacts are two rare carved spoons and a vessel. Photograph courtesy of Patrick Alcedo

The artifacts are now in Baguio, the city that houses the Museo Kordilyera.

Alcedo, who often travels to the area to conduct research on regional dances, is planning a visit to the collection once it is safe to travel again.

“Imagine, these artifacts came to North America 120 years ago,” he said. “It is such a generous thing to do to return them to a place where they will be treasured.

“In addition, it is fitting that these artifacts are being returned home during the Philippines’ quincentennial year so that the entire country can enjoy them,” added Alcedo, who was named by the Philippine Consulate as a recipient of a 2021 Quincentennial Award.

By Elaine Smith, special contributor

Professor Susan Dion appointed inaugural associate vice-president Indigenous initiatives

Artwork by Métis (Otipemisiwak) artist Christi Belcourt

York University Vice-President Equity, People and Culture Sheila Cote-Meek issues the following announcement to the community:

La version française suit la version anglaise.

Boozhoo, kwe kwe, bonjour and warm greetings,

I am delighted to announce the appointment of Professor Susan D. Dion to the inaugural role of associate vice-president Indigenous initiatives, effective Sept. 1.

Susan Dion
Susan Dion

Professor Dion is a Lenape and Potawatomi scholar with mixed Irish and French ancestry and was the first Indigenous tenure-track faculty member to be hired in the Faculty of Education at York. Professor Dion joined York in 2001 and was appointed to the rank of full professor this year (2021).

Early in her time at York, Professor Dion demonstrated her commitment to supporting Indigenous initiatives. She worked with Indigenous students and the University administration to address student-identified needs and interests through her advocacy for and support of the establishment of Aboriginal Student Services and the Centre for Indigenous Students at York. She was a founding member of York’s Aboriginal Education Council (presently York’s Indigenous Council) and served as co-Chair for three terms between 2004 and 2015. In 2014, Professor Dion served as the first academic director for the Centre for Aboriginal Student Services.

In the Faculty of Education, Professor Dion has led development of the Wuleelham: Indigenous Education Initiatives including the Urban Indigenous Education MEd Cohort, an Indigenous PhD Cohort and the Waaban Indigenous Teacher Education Program. With a focus on Urban Indigenous Education, decolonizing systems of education, and most recently education sovereignty, her teaching, research and service deepens understanding of Indigenous epistemologies and ontologies; addresses gaps in educators’ knowledge of Indigenous peoples, histories, and cultures; and identifies and examines Indigenous students’ experiences, perspectives and hopes for education. Professor Dion has led numerous research projects including nIshnabek de’bwe wIn // telling our truths, (SSHRC, 2017) and inVISIBILITY INDIGENOUS IN THE CITY (SSHRC, 2013). She has followed up her successful book Braiding Histories: Learning from Aboriginal People’s Experiences and Perspectives (2009) with Braided Learning: Illuminating Indigenous Presence through Art and Story, expected out in January 2022. Professor Dion has expertise in the skillful cultivation of equitable and respectful relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.

Professor Dion holds a PhD, MEd and BEd from the University of Toronto, and a BA from the University of Waterloo. She is an internationally respected scholar and researcher in Indigenous relationships and education.

This is an important time for York as it works to decolonize and address issues of racism, including anti-Indigenous racism, and strengthen the community to be more welcoming, equitable and inclusive. In the role of associate vice-president Indigenous initiatives, Professor Dion will draw on her expertise, experience and energy to drive the further implementation of York University’s Indigenous Framework, support the implementation of the Decolonization of Research Administration Report recommendations, and several other Indigenous Initiatives across our campuses.

Please join me in welcoming Professor Dion to her new role. I look forward to working with her over the coming years as she works to advance Indigenous Initiatives across York and with our community partners.

Miigwech, merci and thank you.

Sheila Cote-Meek
Vice-President Equity, People and Culture

Nomination de Susan D. Dion, toute première vice-présidente associée aux initiatives autochtones

Boozhoo, kwe kwe, Bonjour, Warm Greetings,

J’ai le plaisir d’annoncer la nomination de Susan D. Dion (PhD) au poste nouvellement créé de vice-présidente associée aux initiatives autochtones à compter du 1er septembre 2021.

Susan Dion
Susan Dion

Susan Dion est une universitaire lenape et potawatomi d’ascendance mixte irlandaise et française. Elle a été la première Autochtone du corps professoral à être embauchée pour un poste menant à la permanence à la Faculté de l’éducation de l’Université York. Madame Dion a rejoint les rangs de York en 2001 et a obtenu le titre de professeure titulaire cette année (2021).

Dès son arrivée à York, Susan Dion a démontré son engagement à appuyer les initiatives autochtones. Elle a travaillé avec les étudiants autochtones et l’administration de l’Université pour répondre aux besoins et aux intérêts des étudiants par son plaidoyer et son appui en faveur de l’établissement à l’Université York des Services de soutien aux étudiants autochtones et du Centre pour les étudiants autochtones. Elle a été membre fondatrice du Conseil autochtone de l’enseignement de York (aujourd’hui Conseil autochtone de York), dont elle a également été la coprésidente pour trois mandats entre 2004 et 2015. En 2014, Susan Dion a été la première directrice aux études du Centre de services aux étudiants autochtones.

À la Faculté de l’Éducation, Susan Dion a dirigé la mise en place du cheminement Wüléelham : Initiatives autochtones en enseignement, notamment la cohorte de maîtrise en Enseignement autochtone urbain, une cohorte de doctorants autochtones, et le Programme Waaban de formation des enseignants autochtones. Ciblant l’enseignement autochtone urbain, la décolonisation des systèmes d’enseignement et, plus récemment, la souveraineté en matière de formation, son enseignement, ses travaux de recherche et ses services permettent d’approfondir la compréhension des épistémologies et des ontologies autochtones, comblent les lacunes des éducateurs relativement aux peuples, aux histoires et aux cultures autochtones, et déterminent, en les analysant, les expériences, les perspectives et les espoirs des étudiants autochtones en matière de formation. Susan Dion a dirigé de nombreux projets de recherche, parmi lesquels nIshnabek de’bwe wIn // telling our truths (CRSH, 2017) et inVISIBILITY INDIGENOUS IN THE CITY (CRSH, 2013). Après la publication de son livre à succès Braiding Histories: Learning from Aboriginal People’s Experiences and Perspectives (2009), elle a poursuivi avec Braided Learning: Illuminating Indigenous Presence through Art and Story, dont la publication est attendue pour janvier 2022. Susan Dion est une experte en culture maîtrisée des relations respectueuses et équitables entre les Autochtones et les personnes non autochtones.

Madame Dion détient un baccalauréat, une maîtrise et un doctorat en éducation de l’Université de Toronto, ainsi qu’un baccalauréat ès arts de l’Université de Waterloo. Elle est une universitaire et une chercheuse internationalement respectée dans le domaine des relations et de la formation autochtones.

Cette nomination constitue un moment crucial pour l’Université York, qui travaille à la décolonisation et à la résolution des problèmes relatifs au racisme, notamment au racisme anti-Autochtones, ainsi qu’à un renforcement de la communauté afin que celle-ci soit plus accueillante, équitable et inclusive. Au poste de vice-présidente associée aux initiatives autochtones, Susan Dion s’appuiera sur son expertise, son expérience et son énergie afin de poursuivre plus avant la mise en œuvre du Cadre autochtone de l’Université York, d’appuyer la mise en œuvre de la décolonisation des recommandations du Rapport d’administration des travaux de recherche, et de soutenir plusieurs autres initiatives autochtones sur l’ensemble de nos campus.

Veuillez vous joindre à moi pour accueillir Susan Dion à son nouveau poste. J’ai hâte de collaborer avec elle au cours des années à venir dans le cadre de ses travaux pour faire progresser les initiatives autochtones sur l’ensemble de l’Université York et avec nos partenaires communautaires.

Miigwech, merci et thank you.

Sheila Cote-Meek
Vice-présidente de l’équité, des personnes et de la culture

How do we know where things are? New study examines visual stabilization

VISTA will propel Canada as a global leader in the vision sciences

Our eyes move three times per second. Every time we move our eyes, the world in front of us flies across the retina at the back of our eyes, dramatically shifting the image the eyes send to the brain; yet, as far as we can tell, nothing appears to move.

A new study out of York University and Dartmouth College provides new insight into this process known as “visual stabilization.” The results are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Patrick Cavanaugh
Patrick Cavanagh

“Our results show that a framing strategy is at work behind the scenes all the time, which helps stabilize our visual experience,” says senior author Patrick Cavanagh, a senior research fellow in psychology at both Glendon Campus and the Centre for Vision Research at York University and a research professor in psychological and brain sciences at Dartmouth College. “The brain has its own type of steadycam, which uses all sorts of cues to stabilize what we see relative to available frames, so that we don’t see a shaky image like we do in handheld movies taken with a smartphone. The visual world around us is the ultimate stable frame but our research shows that even small frames work: the locations of a test within the frame will be perceived relative to the frame as if it were stationary. The frame acts to stabilize your perception.”

One such example is when someone waves goodbye to you from the window of a moving bus. Their hand will appear as if it’s moving up and down relative to the window rather following the snake-like path that it actually traces out from the moving bus. The bus window acts like a frame through which the motion of the hand waving good-bye is seen relative to that frame.

The study consisted of two experiments that tested how a small square frame moving on a computer monitor affected participants’ judgments of location. The experiments were conducted in-person with eight individuals including two of the authors; and also online due to the COVID-19 pandemic with 274 participants recruited from York University of which 141 had complete data. The data were very similar for both types of participants.

In Experiment 1, a white, square frame moves left and right, back and forth, across a grey screen and the left and right edges of the square flash when the square reaches the end of its path: the right edge flashes blue at one end of the travel and the left edge flashes red at the other (see Movie 1), as shown in the figure below. Participants were asked to adjust a pair of markers at the top of the screen to indicate the distance they saw between the flashed edges.

In Experiment 1, the frame moves left and right but instead of seeing the locations of the blue and red edges where they are when they flash, they always appear with the blue flash on the left and separated by the width of the frame, as if the frame were not moving. When the frame moves more than its width as shown here, the red edge is physically to the left of the blue when they flash at the end of the frame’s motion, and yet the blue still appears to the left of red, separated again by almost the width of the frame

Experiment 1 had two conditions: The first condition evaluated how far apart the outer left and right edges of the square frame appeared; the second condition assessed the travel of the frame’s physical edge.

The data from both conditions of Experiment 1 demonstrated that participants perceived the flashed edges of the frame as if it were stable even though it was clearly moving, illustrating what the researchers call the “paradoxical stabilization” produced by a moving frame.

Experiment 2 again demonstrated the stabilizing power of a moving frame by flashing a red disc and a blue disc at the same location within a moving frame (see Movie 2). The square frame moves back and forth from left to right while the disc flashes red and blue in alternation. As in Experiment 1, participants were asked to indicate the perceived separation between the red and blue discs. Even though there is no physical separation between the discs, the moving frame creates the appearance that the two discs are located to the left and right of their true locations, relative to the frame where they flashed. In other words, participants perceived the location of the discs relative to the frame, as if it were stationary and this was true across a wide range of frame speeds, sizes, and path lengths.

“By using flashes inside a moving frame, our experiments triggered a paradoxical form of visual stabilization, which made the flashes appear in positions where they were never presented,” says Cavanagh. “Our results demonstrate a 100 per cent stabilization effect triggered by the moving frames – the motion of the frame has been fully discounted.”

These data, he says, are the first to show a frame effect that matches our everyday experience where, each time our eyes move, the motion of the scene across our retinas has been fully discounted making the world appear stable.

“In the real-world, the scene in front of us acts as the anchor to stabilize our surroundings,” Cavanagh says. Discounting the motion of the world as our eye move makes a lot of sense, as most scenes (i.e. house, workplace, school, outdoor environment) are not moving, unless an earthquake is occurring.

“Every time our eyes move, there’s a process that blanks out the massive blur caused by the eye movement. Our brain stitches this gap together so that we don’t notice the blank, but it also uses the motion to stabilize the scene. The motion is both suppressed and discounted so that we can keep track of the location of objects in the world,” says Cavanagh.

Based on the study’s results, the research team plans to explore visual stabilization further using brain imaging at York Dartmouth.

Mert Özkan, a graduate student in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Dartmouth; Stuart Anstis, professor emeritus in psychology at the University of California San Diego; Bernard M. ’t Hart, a postdoc at the Centre for Vision Research at York University; and Mark Wexler, Chargé de Recherche at the Integrative Neuroscience and Cognition Center at the Université de Paris, also served as co-authors of the study.

York professor expands global understanding of Karl Marx and Marxism with seven books in three years

Karl Marx
Karl Marx
Marcello Musto
Marcello Musto

Marcello Musto, professor of sociology at York University is recognized as a leading global authority on the work of the German philosopher Karl Marx and on Marxism. An accomplished scholar, Musto has devoted his academic career to reviving the understanding of Marx’s ideas and their applications to the contemporary world.

Driven and passionate about the significance of Marx’s contributions in politics, sociology, the critique of political economy and philosophy, Musto has delivered seven books within the last three years. Each book focuses on a different aspect of Marx’s work and highlights his relevance for finding alternative solutions to the most pressing current issues of capitalism.

A Rethinking Alternatives with Marx final cover
Rethinking Alternatives with Marx

Musto’s newest book, titled Rethinking Alternatives with Marx: Economy, Ecology and Migration (Palgrave Macmillan, 2021), presents a Marx that is in many ways different from the one popularized by the dominant currents of 20th-century socialism. This volume aims to generate a new critical discussion of some of the classical themes of Marx’s thought and to develop a deeper analysis of certain questions to which relatively little attention has been paid until recently. Among them there are Marx’s points of view about ecology, migration, gender, labour movement, globalization, social relations and the contours of a possible alternative to liberalism. The chapters assembled in this book suggest that today Marx’s analyses are arguably resonating even more strongly than they did in his own time.

Karl Marx's Writings on Alienation
Karl Marx’s Writings on Alienation

The anthology Karl Marx’s Writings on Alienation (Palgrave Macmillan, 2021) offers an innovative reading of the theory of alienation, which occupied a significant place in the work of Marx and has long been considered one of his main contributions to the critique of capitalist mode of production. In this volume, Musto has concentrated his selection on Marx’s later economic works, where his thoughts on alienation were far more extensive and detailed than those of his earlier philosophical writings. Additionally, the materials contained in this new book offer valuable insights about Marx’s conception of communist society and the fundamental role of individual freedom. The anthology includes an extensive introduction written by Musto dedicated to the birth and the development of the concepts of alienation, commodity fetishism and reification.

Cover of The Last Years of Karl Marx
The Last Years of Karl Marx

Musto’s most recent monograph, The Last Years of Karl Marx: An Intellectual Biography (Stanford University Press, 2020), investigates Marx’s theoretical insights from the final, mostly unexplored years of his life. In what many describe as a definitive work on the last phase of Marx’s intellectual development, there are clear indications that not only he had not ceased to write, as it has been wrongly assumed for a long time, but, on the contrary, that he extended the range of his research into new disciplines and directions. Based on unfinished manuscripts that remain unavailable in English, on excerpts from his readings, and on letters of the period 1881-83, Musto lays rest the myth that Marx was a Eurocentric and an economic thinker fixated on class conflict alone. In his final years, the revolutionary who lived most of his life exiled in London, dedicated his attention on anthropological discoveries, analyzed communal forms of ownership in pre-capitalist societies, strongly opposed to colonial oppression in India, Algeria and Egypt, and considered the possibility of revolution in non-capitalist countries. Musto argues that all this allows an interesting reassessment of some of Marx’s key concepts. Originally published in Italian, in 2016, this book has already been translated into 14 languages.

Cover of The Marx Revival
The Marx Revival

For those interested in gaining new insight into Marx’s renaissance around the world, The Marx Revival: Key Concepts and New Interpretations (Cambridge University Press, 2020) is a collection of 22 essays penned by international experts on Marx that have been compiled and edited by Musto. The book offers a comprehensive guide to the importance of the author of the Communist Manifesto in understanding the major economic and political issues of our times. The contributors argue that Marx, freed from the association with Soviet Union and updated considering the changes since the late 19th century, has still a lot to teach us. Written in a clear form and accessible to a wider public, this volume brings together the liveliest and most thought-provoking contemporary interpretations of Marx and explains the reasons why his work is so relevant in today’s world.

Cover of Marx's Capital After 150 Years
Marx’s Capital After 150 Years

The collective volume Marx’s Capital after 150 Years: Critique and Alternative to Capitalism (Routledge, 2019) arises from the largest international conference held in the world to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Capital’s publication in 1867. The book is divided into three parts: I) “Capitalism, Past and Present”; II) “Extending the Critique of Capital“; III) “The Politics of Capital” and contains the contributions of globally renowned scholars who offer diverse perspectives and critical insights into the interpretation of such a seminal text and of the principal contradictions of capitalism. While pointing to alternative economic and social models, the authors of this volume reconsider the most influential debates on Capital and provide new interpretations of Marx’s magnum opus considering themes rarely associated with it, such as gender, ecology, and non-European societies.

Karl Marx’s Life Ideas and Influences

The edited book Karl Marx’s Life, Ideas, Influences: A Critical Examination on the Bicentenary (Palgrave MacMillan, 2019) is a collection which showcases a lot of the latest global scholarship on Marx and his legacy.  It contains 16 chapters from multiple academic disciplines and is divided into two parts: I) “On the Critique of Politics”; II) “On the Critique of Political Economy.” The volume represents a source of great appeal for both expert scholars of Marx as well as students and general readers who are approaching his theories for the first time.

Another Marx Cover NEW
Another Marx: Early Manuscripts to the International

Finally, the monograph Another Marx: Early Manuscripts to the International (Bloomsbury Academic, 2018) reconstructs the intellectual trajectory behind Marx’s main sociological and political ideas from his youth to the militancy in the International working Men’s Association. Built on the most recent textual acquisitions of the MEGA² – the historical-critical edition of the complete works of Marx and Friedrich Engels that has resumed publication in 1998 – this book offers an innovative examination of Marx’s ideas on post-Hegelian philosophy, alienated labour, the materialist conception of history, research methods, the theory of surplus-value, working-class self-emancipation and class political organization. From this emerges “another Marx,” a thinker very different from the one depicted by so many of his critics and ostensible disciples.

More about Marcello Musto

In addition to his focus and extensive writings on Marx and Marxism, Musto’s research explores alternative socio-economic ideas, socialist thought, the history of the labour movement, and contemporary European politics. His writings – available at www.marcellomusto.org – have been published worldwide in 25 languages. Musto’s forthcoming books include Travels with Marx: Destinations, Encounters, and Reflections (Europa Editions) and The Routledge Handbook of Marx’s ‘Capital’: A Global History of Translation, Dissemination and Reception (Ed. with Babak Amini, Routledge), both scheduled for 2022. Stay tuned. Follow Musto on Twitter @MarMusto.

All book covers reproduced with permission of the author and publishers.

PhD candidate’s original composition to premiere with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra

Luis Ramirez featured
Luis Ramirez
Luis Ramirez

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra has announced that Luis Ramirez, a York University PhD candidate in music, School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design, has received a commission for an original composition in their 2022 season. His “Celebration Prelude” will be making its world premiere, and will be conducted by Gustavo Gimeno, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s music director, as part of their Gimeno + Dvořák’s “New World” concert, running April 27 to 30, 2022.

This opportunity is a testament to Ramirez’s accomplishments as a music scholar, as he was previously named the inaugural recipient of York University’s Jacques Israelievitch Scholarship in Interdisciplinary Arts. He earned the award as an advocate for music and as a dedicated educator, qualities that also animated Israelievitch’s life.

“It is fitting that Luis Ramirez has been asked to compose a new work for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra,” says Assistant Professor Randolph Peters, Ramirez’s PhD supervisor. “Among his many artistic achievements, Mr. Israelievitch was Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s longest tenured concertmaster (1988-2008).”

The Jacques Israelievitch Scholarship in Interdisciplinary Arts is granted to full-time graduate students enrolled in the School of Arts, Media, Performance & Design. Recipients of the award demonstrate outstanding academic merit, artistic excellence, and artistic practice of interdisciplinary and cross-departmental nature. The award was designed to recognize students who are gifted musicians or have a musical component to their interdisciplinary artistic vision.

For more information about Gimeno + Dvořák’s “New World” concert, visit the Toronto Symphony Orchestra website.

Pop-up Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine Clinic planned for July 8 on Keele Campus

A photo with a black backgroud that features two vials of COVID-19 vaccine and a syringe

On Thursday, July 8, York University is hosting a pop-up COVID-19 vaccine clinic at the Keele Campus. The clinic is being held in partnership with Humber River Hospital. Vaccines play an important role in protecting ourselves as well as those around us and all members of the community who are eligible, will be welcome. As well, York branded water bottles will be offered to the first 200 people who come down to receive first doses. Here are the details:

Dates: Thursday, July 8
Hours: 12 to 6 p.m.

  • First doses for: anyone 12 years of age and older at the time of vaccination, in any M postal code.
  • Second doses for: anyone 12 years of age and older at the time of vaccination who lives/work/attends school at Keele and Glendon Campuses or in a listed hotspot below and:
      • received Pfizer at least 21 days ago and wants Pfizer;
      • received Moderna at least 28 days ago and wants Pfizer;
      • received AstraZeneca at least 56 days ago and wants Pfizer.

Eligibility: Second doses are available for anyone living/working/attending school in a hot spot listed below:


Location: York Boulevard parking lot (near the Northeast corner of York Blvd. and Ian MacDonald Blvd.) Adjacent the York University subway station. Parking is free on York’s Keele Campus.

Bring: ID that shows where you live, work, or attend school.

  • York University ID/YU cards
  • Driver’s licence
  • Passport
  • Birth certificate (for proof of age)
  • Health card (optional)
  • Report card

York University does not deliver the vaccines, nor does it determine eligibility for vaccinations. For all of the latest updates and information on York’s safe return to campus, continue to visit the Better Together website

York University announces 14 York Research Chair appointments

Vari Hall

Fourteen researchers across the University will join the York Research Chairs (YRC) program, York University’s internal counterpart to the national Canada Research Chairs (CRC) program, which recognizes outstanding researchers. Four of these appointments are renewals.

These YRCs belong to the eighth cohort of researchers to be appointed since the establishment of the program in 2015. These YRCs’ terms start July 1 and run through to June 30, 2026.

Rhonda L. Lenton
Rhonda L. Lenton

“The York Research Chairs program is an important component of institutional supports for research, both basic and applied, reflecting our commitment to address complex global issues and drive positive change in our local and global communities,” said President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda L. Lenton. “This year’s YRCs have made remarkable contributions in their respective fields and furthered our understanding of subjects ranging from visuomotor neuroscience, to racial justice, to reproductive health. I want to congratulate all of our new and renewed YRCs and thank them for their continued dedication to research excellence.”

The YRC program seeks to build research recognition and capacity, with excellence in research, scholarship and associated creative activity serving as selection criteria.

Amir Asif
Amir Asif

“This program mirrors the federal CRC program to broaden and deepen the impact of research chairs at York in building and intensifying world-renowned research across the institution. These new YRCs are undertaking visionary work that has local, national and international impact,” said Vice-President Research & Innovation Amir Asif.

Tier I YRCs are open to established research leaders at the rank of full professor. Tier II YRCs are aimed at emerging research leaders within 15 years of their first academic appointment.

Tier I York Research Chairs

Nantel Bergeron
York Research Chair in Applied Algebra

Nantel Bergeron, Faculty of Science, had his York Research Chair in Applied Algebra renewed. He is one of the pioneers in the development of the theory of combinatorial Hopf algebras. In this field, researchers can understand and solve complex enumeration problems from other areas of science, such as computer science and mathematics. His research helps to further insights into the super-symmetry of nature.

Doug Crawford
York Research Chair in Visuomotor Neuroscience

Doug Crawford, Faculty of Health, is a Distinguished Research Professor in Neuroscience and the Scientific Director of the Vision: Science to Applications (VISTA) program. For the past 26 years, his groundbreaking work at the York Centre for Vision Research has focused on the control of visual gaze in 3D space, eye-hand coordination and spatial memory during eye movements.

Lorne Foster
York Research Chair in Black Canadian Studies and Human Rights

Lorne Foster, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, is the Director of the Institute for Social Research and the Director of the Diversity & Human Rights Certificate, the first academic-industry human rights training partnership. His trailblazing work on public policy formation and scholarship on the human rights approach to inclusive organizational change ranks among the best in its field. This work has consistently helped to open doors to new scholarly explorations.

Kerry Kawakami
York Research Chair in Equity and Diversity

Kerry Kawakami, Faculty of Health, is Principal Investigator of the Social Cognition Lab, which investigates a variety of social categorization processes using diverse methodologies. Her pioneering work on implicit biases provides insight into how we perceive people from different social groups, how we react to intergroup bias, and strategies to reduce prejudice, stereotyping and discrimination.

Chun Peng
York Research Chair in Women’s Reproductive Health

Chun Peng, Faculty of Science, had her York Research Chair in Women’s Reproductive Health renewed. Peng’s long-term goal for her research program is to understand the regulation of female reproduction and the mechanisms underlying the development of ovarian cancer and preeclampsia. Her research will enhance the overall understanding of female reproductive health and may lead to the development of novel biomarkers for preeclampsia and therapeutics for ovarian cancer.

Jennifer Steeves
York Research Chair in Non-Invasive Visual Brain Stimulation

Jennifer Steeves, Faculty of Health, undertakes research that examines how the brain adapts to changes in sensory input with the loss of one eye or to direct brain damage. She uses functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to reverse engineer the brain. This is a VISTA York Research Chair, as Steeves is a core member of the Vision: Science to Applications (VISTA) program. 

Tier II York Research Chairs

Lyndsay Hayhurst
York Research Chair in Sport, Gender and Development and Digital Participatory Research

Lyndsay Hayhurst, Faculty of Health, researches sport, gender and development (SGD) – or the use of sport to support gender-related development goals, policies and practice. Her current SSHRC- and CFI-funded research explores how key stakeholders experience SGD initiatives focused on girls and women in Canada, Uganda and Nicaragua using digital participatory research strategies. Her goal is to re-envision new, community-oriented and socially just approaches to SGD initiatives.

Sean Hillier
York Research Chair in Indigenous Health Policy and One Health

Sean Hillier, Faculty of Health, is a Mi’kmaw scholar and a special adviser to the Dean on Indigenous Resurgence. His collaborative research program spans the topics of aging, living with HIV and other infectious diseases, and antimicrobial resistance, all with a concerted focus on policy affecting health care access for Indigenous Peoples in Canada. Hillier has been successful in receiving funding from each of the three federal granting agencies, with more than 10 external grants.

Ozzy Mermut
York Research Chair in Vision Biophotonics

Ozzy Mermut, Faculty of Science, is a biophysicist harnessing the power of light to study human aging. Her group develops diagnostics and therapeutic biophotonics technologies to address age-related degenerative diseases. These techniques translate to accelerated aging studies in the environment of space, to understand long-term health consequences in space. This is a VISTA York Research Chair; Mermut is a core member of the Vision: Science to Applications (VISTA) program.

Carmela Murdocca
York Research Chair in Reparative and Racial Justice

Carmela Murdocca, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, examines racialization, criminalization and social histories of racial and colonial violence. Her work is concerned with the social and legal politics of repair, redress and reparations. She has been a Fulbright Scholar and Visiting Fellow at the Center for the Study of Law and Culture at the School of Law and the Center for Ethnicity and Race at Columbia University.

Lisa Myers
York Research Chair in Indigenous Art and Curatorial Practice

Lisa Myers, Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change, is a curator and artist with a keen interest in interdisciplinary collaboration. Her research focuses on contemporary Indigenous art considering the varied values and functions of elements, such as medicine plants and language, sound, and knowledge. Through many media and materials, including socially engaged art approaches, her art practice examines place, underrepresented histories/present/futures, and collective forms of knowledge exchange.

Shayna Rosenbaum
York Research Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience of Memory

Shayna Rosenbaum, Faculty of Health and core member of the Vision: Science to Applications (VISTA) program, had her York Research Chair in the Cognitive Neuroscience of Memory renewed. An elected member of the College of the Royal Society of Canada, she has shown how different forms of memory are represented in the brain. She seeks to develop strategies to help healthy older adults and patients overcome memory loss.

Ping Wang
York Research Chair in AI Empowered Next Generation Communication Networks

Ping Wang, Lassonde School of Engineering, researches wireless communications and networking. She has led research in radio resource allocation, network design, performance analysis and optimization for heterogeneous wireless networks. Her scholarly works have been widely disseminated through top-ranked IEEE journals and conferences. She intends to develop innovative techniques for next-generation wireless communications networks in supporting the emerging Internet of Things (IoT) applications.

Amro Zayed
York Research Chair in Genomics

Amro Zayed, Faculty of Science, had his York Research Chair in Genomics renewed. Zayed’s research group sequences the genomes of thousands of bees to identify mutations that influence their economically and ecologically relevant traits. His program aims to improve the health of Canadian honey bees, which will increase the sustainability and security of Canada’s food supply.

Change is a constant for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Teacher Education Program

Deaf and hard of hearing FEATURED
Deaf and hard of hearing FEATURED

When York University took over the province’s Deaf Teacher and Hard of Hearing Teacher Education Program 30 years ago, Professor Connie Mayer had no idea that the field would go through such dramatic changes.

Now, looking back, Mayer, who began her career as a teacher of the deaf, and her colleague, Professor Pam Millett, an audiologist, marvel at the evolution that has taken place.

“The field has gone through a seismic change and the program has responded,” says Mayer.

Ontario has had a program to prepare teachers of the deaf since the 1960s, a time when deaf children were generally educated in congregated classes in school boards or at schools for the deaf. In the late 1980s, the Ministry of Education made the decision to align the program with a university, and the program for certified Ontario teachers began in 1991. The program is the only one of its kind in Ontario and one of only three in Canada, and awards its graduates a post baccalaureate diploma.

Two children using sign language to communicate
The teacher education program has changed and adapted along with the needs of deaf children

In its early years, the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Teacher Education Program was a full-time, one-year program that required students to attend classes on the York campus. At that time, most teachers taught in classrooms using spoken language or a combination of spoken and signed language, or at schools for the deaf where American Sign Language (ASL) was the language of instruction.

Over time, major changes occurred in the field of deaf education, primarily as a consequence of universal newborn hearing screening and advancements in hearing technology (including cochlear implants). Historically, deaf children may not have been identified until preschool or even kindergarten age. This meant that some deaf children did not have the opportunity for language development in the early years.

In 2002, the Ontario government introduced hearing screening at birth for all newborns. Hearing loss is now typically diagnosed by three months of age, and early intervention services are put in place at that time. This provides much better opportunities for early language acquisition. Simultaneously, hearing technology was advancing by leaps and bounds, with hearing aids and cochlear implants providing more deaf children the ability to hear and learn to speak from a young age. As more than 95 per cent of deaf children are born to hearing parents, young deaf children are now more often able to acquire the spoken language of the home, whether that is English or another language. Many more deaf children are able to achieve typical language and literacy development.

The teacher education program has changed and adapted along with the needs of deaf children.

A man holding up a child with a cochlear implant
Students need a different set of knowledge and abilities today than they did 30 years ago

“Structurally, it’s similar: the number of courses required and the mandatory practicum,” says Mayer. “What’s changed is the content, which reflects the changes in the field.

“We’ve tried to meet the changing needs of the field and prepare teachers for the current educational environment.”

Adds Millett, “Kids now come to school with so much more language and conceptual knowledge.”

Today, teachers of the deaf generally don’t work as classroom teachers. Instead, they are supports and advocates for their students and work as itinerant teachers. This means that they travel between a number of schools to see a variety of deaf students in the area. They essentially become case managers, as well as teachers, liaising with each student’s classroom teacher and parents, as well as working with the student.

“Our students need a different set of knowledge and abilities today,” Mayer says. “They must serve a wide range of students from kindergarten to Grade 12, providing the level and type of support that is needed for each individual student.”

These include assisting younger students with language acquisition and vocabulary development in spoken and or signed language; supporting literacy development for school aged students; and working with teens to develop their advocacy skills so they can speak up for themselves when they go off to university, college or the workplace.

The first task for a teacher of the deaf is to ensure that the student has access, says Millett. “For example, one dead hearing aid battery can be a real problem.

“Our role is to prepare teachers for the reality of teaching deaf and hard-of-hearing students in 2021. The need is not less, just different. Deaf or hard-of-hearing students still need services and support.”

The program staff consists of Mayer, Millett, Practicum Co-ordinator Melanie Simpson and a program administrator. Candidates for admission to the program must have a minimum of an undergraduate degree, a Bachelor of Education and certification from the Ontario College of Teachers.

In the early 2000s, the program instituted a part-time option, with some courses taught on campus in the evening. In 2008, the part-time program was expanded to include online learning opportunities, a circumstance that increased the pool of potential applicants and left the faculty well-prepared when the pandemic led to remote course delivery for all classes.

“As a teacher, taking a year off without pay to attend a full-time program can be challenging and it prevented a lot of people from applying,” says Millett. “Now, with the online option, we have teachers from across the province enrolling.”

Each year, the program accepts about 20 students, but there is an ongoing cohort of 55 to 65 students, since many are enrolled part-time for three years.

“Our graduates are in demand,” says Mayer. “With very few exceptions, students graduate and have jobs waiting. Many of our part-time students are hired by their second year.”

Through all of the changes, two things have remained constant for Mayer and Millett: their dedication to ensuring that deaf and hard-of-hearing students across Ontario have the best possible teachers working with them and their own fervour for their work.

Their commitment and passion do York University proud.

Visit the Deaf and Hard of Hearing 30th anniversary celebration website at https://www.yorku.ca/edu/students/deaf-and-hard-of-hearing/dhh30/.

By Elaine Smith, special contributor

Next-generation sequencing uncovers what’s stressing bumblebees

Yellow-banded bumblebee (image: Victoria MacPhail, FES, York University)
Yellow-banded bumblebee (image: Victoria MacPhail, FES, York University)

What’s stressing out bumblebees? To find out, York University scientists used next-generation sequencing to look deep inside bumblebees for evidence of pesticide exposure, including neonicotinoids, as well as pathogens, and found both.

Using a conservation genomic approach – an emerging field of study that could radically change the way bee health is assessed – the researchers studied Bombus terricola or the yellow-banded bumblebee, a native to North America, in agricultural and non-agricultural areas. This new technique allows scientists to probe for invisible stressors affecting bees.

Like many pollinators, the yellow-banded bumblebee has experienced major declines in the last couple decades, which threatens food security and the stability of natural ecosystems.

“Next-generation sequencing is a totally new way to think about why bees are declining, which could revolutionize conservation biology. We’re looking directly at bee tissues to try and get clues to the stressors that are affecting this bee. I think this is a gamechanger for sure. With a single study, we are able to implicate a couple of really obvious things we’ve talked about for years – pathogens and pesticides – in the case of Bombus terricola,” says Faculty of Science Professor Amro Zayed, director of the Centre for Bee Ecology Evolution and Conservation (BEEc) at York and corresponding author of the study.

In addition to sequencing the RNA of 30 yellow-banded worker bees, the researchers also used the sequence data to directly search for pathogens infecting the bumblebees. The team found five pathogens in the abdomens of worker bees, three of which are common in managed honey bee and bumblebee colonies. This supports the theory that spill over of pathogens from commercial operations can affect the health of wild bees.

What surprised the researchers, including former York biology grad student Nadia Tsvetkov and Associate Professor Sheila Colla of the Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change, is how well the technology worked.

“Bumblebee diseases are a key threat and this technology can help us detect new diseases and stressors quickly so we don’t lose species the way we did the rusty-patched bumblebee, where the problem was only detected when it was too late to do anything about it in Canada,” says Colla. “The rusty-patched bumblebee hasn’t been spotted in Canada since 2009.”

Bumblebees are particularly important pollinators, even better than honey bees for some plants, because their ability to “buzz” pollinate (vibrate the plants to release pollen) and tolerate cooler temperatures, which makes them critical pollinators for certain plants and regions.

Expanding the scope of conservation genomic studies will help to better understand how multiple stressors influence the health of other bumblebee populations.

“We think this is the way forward in terms of managing and conserving bumblebees,” says Zayed.

The paper, Conservation genomics reveals pesticide and pathogen exposure in the declining bumble bee Bombus terricola, was published recently in the journal Molecular Ecology.