Students earn Robert Everett Exceptional Leadership in Student Governance Award

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In honour of Robert Everett, a distinguished senior assistant secretary of York University, who made extraordinary contributions supporting University governance for nearly three decades, President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda Lenton established in 2018 the Robert Everett Exceptional Leadership in Student Governance Award to recognize and celebrate students and their impact on governance at York University.

The University secretariat has announced that three students are recipients of this award for the 2022-23 academic year.

The students are:

Ana Kraljević, Glendon College/Collège universitaire Glendon, BA, bilingual (Hon.), double major in Canadian studies and études françaises/French studies, was selected for her significant and lasting contributions to York governance. Her contributions have included roles as president of the Glendon College Student Union (GCSU), vice-president academic affairs for the GCSU, member of Glendon’s Faculty Council and student senator.

“Faculty members were struck by your dedication to governance, not only by you actively serving in Faculty and Senate roles but by your truly impressive levels of leadership at Glendon and York University,” reads a letter from University Secretariat Pascal Robichaud.

The letter goes on to say a fellow student commended Kraljević for her work in being an advocate for student needs by critically looking at issues from different perspectives and acting as a liaison between students and governing

Ariana Mah, Glendon College/Collège universitaire Glendon, BA, bilingual (Hon.), political science (international bachelor of arts), was selected for her contributions to the York University Board of Governors, leadership
roles on the Glendon College Student Union and membership of collegial bodies at departmental and Faculty levels.

A letter informing Mah of the award, from Robichaud, says the award recognizes Mah’s dedication to governance in Faculty roles, but also in fostering active student participation. “(Senior members of the faculty administration) were in high praise of your exceptional dedication to Glendon College, notably with your involvement in changes to the grading system and academic honesty policies through your service work, as well as your collegial leadership.”

Mah was commended for her input, diligence, collegiality and genuine interest in these roles and contributions.

Yashna Manek, Faculty of Science, BA (Hon.), double major in mathematics for education and French studies, was chosen as a recipient for significant contributions to governance in the Faculty of Science, Senate and the University as a whole.

Senior members of the faculty administration noted Manek’s “utter dedication to governance, evidenced by your service as a member of the Science Student Caucus, student senator and member of the Senate Appeals Committee,” according to a letter from Robichaud.

Additionally, the letter outlines Manek’s steadfast support to incoming students and prospective students, and was noted for having a profound impact on fellow students.

More about Robert Everett

Robert Everett
Robert Everett

The award was established in honour of the late Robert Everett, a distinguished senior assistant secretary of the University who made extraordinary contributions supporting University governance for nearly three decades. President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda L. Lenton established the Robert Everett Exceptional Leadership in Student Governance Award in 2018 to recognize and celebrate students and their impact on governance at York University.

To learn more about the Robert Everett Exceptional Leadership Award in Student Governance, visit the Senate of York University award webpage.

York University releases new strategic research plan

FEATURED image Research theses

York University’s strategic research plan, Knowledge for the Future: From Creation and Discovery to Application, has now been finalized and is publicly available for download.

The plan was officially approved by the Senate on May 25 after a series of open forums, public consultations and faculty presentations that first began in September 2022, and engaging with over 1,500 York community members.

“As an international leader in purposeful research, York University is a modern and progressive institution ranked among the top universities in the world for its impact on advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals,” said President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda Lenton. “York’s reputation for excellence in research and related creative activities is rooted in interdisciplinary and intersectional approaches focused on driving positive change. Our faculty work with local and international partners building cross-sector networks that enhance our efforts to build equitable, inclusive, and sustainable communities. The new research plan lays out York’s strategy for intensifying our scholarly activities over the next five years continuing to propel the University forward as one of the most influential universities in Canada and beyond.”

The plan was developed with the help of an advisory committee made up of members from across the University. It showcases the depth and breadth of research at York and will be utilized beginning this year through to 2028.   

“The strategic research plan offers a comprehensive and clear vision for York to grow its global impact and excel in its high standing as a research-intensive university,” said Vice-President Research and Innovation Amir Asif. “York stands ready to further its expertise and leadership in such fields as artificial intelligence, digital cultures, global health, Indigenous futurities, sustainability and more.”

The plan identifies six areas of existing research strengths, in addition to six areas of opportunity for the University to prioritize.

The six research areas of strength include:

  • Advancing Fundamental, Discovery and Theoretical Research and Scholarship
  • Illuminating Cultures and Cultivating Creativity
  • Building Healthy Lives, Communities and Reimagining Futures
  • Reaching New Horizons in Science, Technology and Society
  • Pursuing Justice, Equity and Sustainability: From Urban Dynamics to Global Challenges
  • Elevating Entrepreneurship Through Socially Responsible Innovation

The six areas of research opportunity include:

  • Digital Cultures and Disruptive Technologies
  • Healthy Communities, Equity and Global Well-being
  • Indigenous Futurities
  • Climate Action for a Sustainable Planet
  • Social Justice, Peace and Equitable Relations
  • Inter and Transdisciplinary Research Innovation 

To learn more about the plan and download it, visit

The strategic research plan brings the York community together around a shared vision and is used as a tool by senior administration and the University Secretariat to make decisions about the institution’s research investments, infrastructure and services. The plan supports the University Academic Plan (2020-2025), which outlines York’s overall strategic objectives.

“I want to thank the advisory committee for their work and their passion, as well as to the entire York community who helped to develop and contribute to this plan alongside us,” said Asif. “I am confident that this community of changemakers can take this strategic research plan and bring it to life.”

Kathleen Taylor installed as York’s 14th chancellor in historic ceremony

Senate Chair Poonam Puri, Board of Governors Chair Paul Tsaparis, Chancellor Kathleen Taylor, President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda Lenton

York alumna Kathleen Taylor was officially installed as the University’s first woman chancellor during a May 10 ceremony held on York’s Keele Campus.

Kathleen Taylor in chancellor's robe
Kathleen Taylor

“I have always been attracted to organizations that know they are part of something bigger than themselves; that dedicate their time, talent and treasure to advancing the ambitions of the individuals and communities they serve,” Taylor told the assembled audience, which included government and post-secondary officials, alumni and friends, and staff, faculty and students. “York is one such organization. Every person here is a changemaker, working toward a more just, sustainable and innovative world.”

A graduate of the JD/MBA program offered by Osgoode Hall Law School and the Schulich School of Business, Taylor became the first woman to Chair the board of one of Canada’s big five banks when she took the helm of the Royal Bank’s governing body a decade ago. She also served as the first president and CEO of the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts chain following its iconic founder and was the first woman to lead a major branded international hotel company.

“Kathleen is well-positioned to lead in this prestigious capacity, to galvanize our community to realize its vision to providing students with access to a quality education at a research-intensive institution committed to the public good,” said Rhonda Lenton, York University president and vice-chancellor. “I am excited to see her continue to right the future in her new role, where she will be a champion for higher education.”

The event commenced with Knowledge Keeper Amy Desjarlais, Waabaakaakakzhe zhaashkeezhgokwe (White Raven Woman with Turquoise Eyes) Ojibway/Potowotomi from Wasauksing First Nation, performing an honour song.

Bringing greetings from staff at the ceremony was Stefanie Lamonaca Caputo, a student success and academic advisor in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, while Lauren Sergio, professor in the Faculty of Health, spoke on behalf of York faculty.

Also delivering remarks were Board of Governors Chair Paul Tsaparis, Senate Chair Poonam Puri, Associate Vice-President Indigenous Initiatives Susan Dion and Chancellor Emeritus Gregory Sorbara, whose more than eight-year term as chancellor concluded in December.

Issa Abdi Jamaa, who recently completed his studies in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, brought greetings to the new chancellor on behalf of York students.

“Kathleen, as chancellor, you will also meet thousands of students as they end their studies and walk the stage to receive their degrees at convocation,” said Jamaa. “For graduating students, shaking the chancellor’s hand to mark the transition to the next chapter of our lives is an experience we all strive for. Personally, I will be a part of the first cohort of students to cross the stage in about a month from now, I am excited to share this experience with you, Kathleen.”

Chancellor Taylor's Installation 6

Taylor’s first public act as chancellor will be conferring degrees on thousands of new graduates, including Jamaa, at Spring Convocation, June 9 to 23. She will also serve as a member of both Board and Senate, bringing her vast experience and knowledge to both of the University’s governing bodies.

“Our collective success relies on our common mission, inspired by the power of collaboration between and across faculty, staff, students, alumni, government and of course our friends in the broader community,” said Taylor. “That means standing side-by-side, seeing eye-to-eye, being truthful and transparent, building on commonalities while respecting differences, and placing each and every one of our stakeholders at the centre of our success.”

Taylor also spoke about her hopes for the future and her time as chancellor.

“I believe in the transformative power of a York education and York University’s resolve for constant renewal,” she said. “And I know by working alongside you and our broader community, we will forge a better future for our great institution, and for all of those we are here to serve.”

Board of Governors issues call for nominations, non-academic employees

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Notice is hereby given that an election will be held to nominate a full-time non-academic employee to a position on the Board of Governors.

Eligibility and membership requirements

Nominations are invited for non-academic employees who are appointed and working in full-time positions at the University as defined by the YUSA (Unit 1), CUPE (Local 1356 and 1356-1) and IUOE collective agreements, and the CPM employment framework. Nominees must also have a record of at least five years of service as a full-time non-academic employee at the University. Employees who are members of a certified bargaining unit or employee association may not serve as an officer or other official of their bargaining agent or employee association during their term on the Board of Governors. All members of the Board of Governors are required to sign a conflict of interest and confidentiality undertaking and to abide by the Board’s Policy on Conflict of Interest. The term of office is two years, beginning on July 1, 2023.

Nomination process

Nominations open at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, May 10 and will close at noon on Wednesday, May 24 by which time all complete nominations (to include nomination form, signatures of 10 nominators, proof of citizenship, photo and statement of intent) must be received by the University secretariat via email to Elaine MacRae at No late or incomplete nominations will be accepted.

Balloting procedures

Balloting will be conducted by e-vote ( Voting will open 1 p.m. on Monday, June 5 and close at 5 p.m. on Friday, June 9.

Documentation and additional information

For nomination forms and further information about the Board and the staff nominations process, go to

The Board of Governors

The Board of Governors consists of 30 members, the president and the chancellor. The Board membership includes: two members nominated by Senate; two student members nominated by students; two non-academic employee members nominated by this process; and two alumni members nominated by the alumni board. The remaining Board members are appointed from the external community and reflect a broad range of backgrounds and expertise. The Board conducts its work through a number of standing committees. The Board meets at least five times each year.

Nominations now open for Senate elected positions

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York University’s Senate Executive Committee is issuing its annual call for expressions of personal interest in, and suggestions for, nominations for membership on Senate Committee and other positions elected by Senate.

A list of the open positions is set out below, and detailed information about membership opportunities and committee mandates has been posted on an Elections page on the Senate website.

Expressions of personal interest and the recommendation of other individuals can be transmitted by means of a form created for this purpose. Specific criteria for each of the positions should be reviewed carefully before the forms are submitted.

Individuals must be available to serve at the standing meeting times of committees. Senators are asked by the Executive Committee to consider expressing their own personal interest and encouraging others to do so.

The nominations process is open now through to Thursday, May 11 at noon.

Questions about any aspect of the nomination and election process may be addressed to

Senate Committee or positionVacancies for terms beginning July 1, 2023
Senator on the Board of GovernorsOne (1) full-time tenure-stream faculty member or full-time tenure-stream librarian or archivist, serving on Senate
Academic Standards, Curriculum and Pedagogy (ASCP)One (1) contract faculty member, five (5) full-time faculty members
Appeals CommitteeThree (3) full-time faculty members
AwardsTwo (2) full-time faculty members
Joint Sub-Committee on Quality AssuranceOne (1) full-time faculty member
Tenure and Promotions Appeals CommitteeThree (3) full-time, tenured, faculty members
Tenure and Promotions CommitteeEight (8) full-time, tenured, faculty members

Indigenous Research Ethics Board sets nationwide precedent

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This July will see the launch of the first wholly autonomous Indigenous Research Ethics Board (IREB) at York University – the first for a post-secondary institution in Canada.

The creation of the IREB was born of a need that arose from York’s ongoing efforts to decolonize research. While the University’s Human Participants Review Committee (HPRC) has aimed to ensure the safety and health of Indigenous research participants, Indigenous leaders throughout York identified a greater need for Indigenous-specific knowledges and leadership within research supports in order to ensure appropriate sensitivity to cultural and community rights, roles and responsibilities across any research projects.

Sean Hillier portrait
Sean Hillier

“There needs to be Indigenous voices and Indigenous Peoples who have a say and control over all aspects of the approval process and not just a consultative piece to it,” says Sean Hillier, a Mi’kmaw scholar, the co-chair of the Indigenous Council at York and Chair of the team that enabled the establishment of the IREB.

Among those who contributed were: Amy Desjarlais, former knowledge keeper at the Centre for Indigenous Student Services; Bonita Lawrence, professor in the Indigenous Studies Program; Deborah McGregor, associate professor and Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Environmental Justice; Celia Haig-Brown, professor in the Faculty of Education; Ashley Day, assistant professor in the School of Kinesiology & Health Science; Alison Collins-Mrakas, director, Office of Research Ethics; Amir Asif professor and vice-president, research and innovation; Sheila Cote-Meek, vice-president, equity, people and culture; and Wendy Jokho in administrative support.

“Establishing a fully autonomous IREB reflects the kind of relationship Indigenous communities want with universities,” says Susan Dion, York’s associate vice-president, Indigenous initiatives. “Recognizing the rights of Indigenous communities to steward knowledge production, it places the responsibility for ethical knowledge creation in the minds and hearts of Indigenous communities, which is where it must be. It is a significant move in returning to Indigenous people agency, authority, and sovereignty in knowledge production on this land.”

Everyone’s collective efforts led to two new policies – one, a Senate policy; the other, a set of procedures – which were presented and approved by Senate earlier this year. The result is the creation the first fully autonomous Indigenous research ethics board at a post-secondary institution in the country.

“What makes this a fully autonomous Indigenous Research Ethics Board is that we don’t report to anybody except the Senate,” explains Hillier. The HPRC is a board, and the IREB is a board. They are constituted separately. That means that the IREB can fully review and approve all research ethics involving Indigenous Peoples from low to high risk and propose either approval modification or rejection.”

Hillier says the IREB intends to be more involved and proactive than some research oversight teams can be. “What makes the IREB different is we’re not meant to be somewhere where you just fill in an ethics application, send it in and it gets approved or denied,” he says. “This is meant to be a process that engages scholars from the moment that they start thinking of research, speaking to them about the ethics and the implications of the work.”

The IREB will be guided by the responsibility of ensuring researchers respect the safety, welfare, dignity, rights and diversity of human experience and participants in their research and treat them equally and fairly – never as a means to an end. By foregrounding the voices and needs of Indigenous communities within Indigenous research, the IREB intends to ensure appropriate sensitivity when reviewing research projects.

“The institution of an wholly autonomous Indigenous Research Ethics Board and development of an Indigenous-focused ethics process represents a significant, further step towards decolonizing research at York University,” says Collins-Mrakas, whose work in the Office of Research Ethics helped to inform the development of the IREB.

The IREB will be made up of a council that will include five University faculty members, one undergraduate and graduate students – all representative of a diversity of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples and gender identities. It will also include three external elders and/or knowledge keepers, as well as three non-University affiliated Indigenous community representatives. Hillier says calls will be put out in the coming months to fill the community and elder and/or knowledge keeper positions.

Compensation will be provided by the University itself, which was important to Hillier and the team. They accomplished by bringing forward a longterm funding proposal forward to the Institutional Budget Committee, which was approved. “Compensating recognizes that the knowledge of our elders and our community members has value in our institution, and we recognize that value,” says Hillier.

Even in the short time since the IREB was approved, it has already made a significant impact in one respect: inspirational precedent. Hillier says there’s been a significant amount of interest across the country in what the IREB is doing, and many have expressed interest in doing the same.

“Well done and anushiik to the team for your work that contributes to decolonizing the University system,” says Dion.

There is currently no site to promote the IREB’s work, but plans are underway to include further information on the York Research and Innovation page.