Passings: Connie Vince


Connie Vince, a dedicated member of the York University community for over 40 years, passed away peacefully on May 14. Vince’s remarkable commitment and service to the University left an indelible mark on the institution and the countless lives she touched.

Vince’s passion for her work at York University was evident throughout her four decades of service. She contributed wholeheartedly to the University’s growth and success until her retirement from the Office of Institutional Planning & Analysis (OIPA) in 2018. Her unwavering dedication and strong work ethic inspired her colleagues.

Beyond her professional achievements, Vince will be remembered for her infectious warmth, joy and genuine love for those around her. Her ever-present smile and jolly nature brought comfort and happiness to all who had the pleasure of knowing her. Vince possessed a remarkable capacity to uplift and support others, always ready with a kind word or a helping hand. She leaves behind a legacy of compassion and kindness that will continue to resonate within the York University community.

Vince’s memory will forever be cherished by her colleagues, friends and the countless lives she influenced. Her dedication to York University, coupled with her remarkable ability to spread love and joy, will be deeply missed.

She is described by former colleagues as patient and kind, devoted and as the “heart” of the OIPA unit.

Vince is survived by her children Diana Evangelista, Stephanie Adamason (Josh), her grandchildren Nolan, Luke, Charlotte, Cole and her brother Tommy Schmidt (Shelda). She was predeceased by her parents Thomas and Gertrude Schmidt.

Memories and expressions of sympathy can be shared at

Faculty of Science hosts science deans from across Canada

STEM student working with science beaker

York’s Faculty of Science hosted the 2023 Annual General Meeting of the Canadian Council of Deans of Science (CCDS) from May 12 to 14, to share knowledge and strengthen pan-Canadian advocacy for science education.

The three-day event was attended by 30 science and associate deans from universities across Canada, and featured talks by experts on topics including: research data storage and security; the emergence of AI (artificial intelligence) and its effect on academic integrity; student and employee mental health and well-being; equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility (EDIA) in science education; an update on NSERC (the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada) funding mechanisms; and internationalization strategy.

“Our CCDS AGM presented a critical opportunity to build relationships with deans and associate deans in science education across our country,” says Rui Wang, dean of York’s Faculty of Science and CCDS president.

Science and associate deans at the 2023 Annual General Meeting of the Canadian Council of Deans of Science
Science and associate deans at the 2023 Annual General Meeting of the Canadian Council of Deans of Science

Several York community members played a role in guiding the AGM’s conversations. Provost & Vice-President Academic Lisa Philipps provided opening remarks, highlighting the rapid pace of change in academia, the need for administrators to be nimble and responsive and to promote ample dialogue with colleagues about a shared vision. Amir Asif, vice-president research and innovation, addressed attendees at the conference banquet, highlighting the recent successes of York’s Faculty of Science, including its prowess in infectious disease modelling, spectroscopy, and astronomical exploration, and calling for continued collaboration amongst CCDS member institutions.

The event also included a networking reception and tour of the Allan I. Carswell Observatory.

As a result of the AGM, moving forward the CCDS has committed to several united initiatives that will bolster the advocacy of science education, including:

  • strengthening its effort to present an organized and united voice for science education and research across the nation, raising public awareness of the critical importance of science education and research, positioning science and research as a national priority, and working together with tri-council and other funding mechanisms to increase funding to science research program and the training of highly qualified personnel;
  • continuing to facilitate institutional collaboration and communication via multiple channels for science education and research among all Faculties of Science in Canada;
  • exploring channels to enhance its organizational functions to include leadership training possibilities for deans and associate deans of science; and
  • promoting best practices and strategies, including but not limited to EDI, accessibility, student and employee well-being and mental health, international collaboration, emerging AI challenges on academic integrity, and research data storage and security among membership Faculties of Science of CCDS.

“We were successful in our objectives: to learn from each other, share knowledge about pressing issues and challenges in science education, and further our collective voice to help drive positive change by advocating for science education and research as a national priority,” says Wang.

Call for applications to Provostial Fellows Program


The Office of the Provost and Vice-President Academic at York University is issuing a call for applications to the Provostial Fellows Program for 2023-24.

Applications are due by May 4 and the call is open to all tenured faculty members who are interested in future leadership opportunities at the University. Indigenous faculty and those from equity-deserving groups are encouraged to apply.

The program offers a unique opportunity for tenured faculty to advance the University’s commitment to building a better future and creating positive change.

In 2022, four Fellows were selected to lead projects that advanced the priorities of York’s University Academic Plan (UAP) alongside United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. These projects are focussed on reducing the University’s carbon footprint by changing transportation patterns, to ensuring that 2SLGBTQIA+ students can access support to successfully launch their careers, among other key areas.

Now in its third year, the program aims to keep advancing York’s position as world-class teaching institute through projects that directly address University Academic Plan priorities. Academic career development is also a key feature, as Fellows have the opportunity to create, collaborate and receive mentorship directly from University leaders.

Those interested in applying or who have a particular project in mind should consider the following: 

  • There will be an opportunity to work with the provost and relevant members of senior leadership on an innovative project or initiative that advances one of the UAP priority areas at an institutional or faculty level.
  • Projects do not need to be limited to a Fellow’s home Faculty.
  • Projects must seek to enhance and intersect with, the University-wide challenge to elevate York’s contributions to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
  • The proposed project should also seek to create an opportunity for personal professional growth and learning, and the exploration of leadership at the Faculty or institutional level.

Details on program eligibility, how to apply and relevant timelines can be found on the Provost Office website. Fellows will be selected by a panel that includes the provost and vice-president academic (Chair), and representatives from the Offices of the VP Research & Innovation; the VP Equity, People & Culture; Vice-Provost Students; and others as appropriate.

Members appointed to Task Force on the Future of Pedagogy

Group Of Students Meeting For Tutorial With Teacher

Twenty members of the York University community have been selected to serve on a new Joint Task Force on the Future of Pedagogy with a mandate to re-examine the 2020-2025 University Academic Plan priority 21st Century Learning.

The task force – announced in February by the Senate Academic Policy, Planning & Research (APPRC) and Academic Standards, Curriculum & Pedagogy (ASCP) Committees together with the Provost and Vice-President Academic Affairs – includes senior and junior tenure-stream faculty members from across Faculties and campuses. It will draw on the expertise of contract course directors, a teaching and learning librarian, an undergraduate and graduate student and non-academic staff from the Teaching Commons and University Information Technology units.

This year, the task force will host a number of community-wide consultations to get a sense of what the University can prioritize to scale up successful innovations that enhance quality learning experiences.

York Provost and Vice-President Academic Lisa Philipps said “There is a need in this moment for the University to take stock of how to scale up approaches to teaching and learning that prepare students to navigate a world where change is the only constant. Quality must remain at the core of the innovation that is taking place and the task force is really championing this.”

Task force co-chair Anita Lam, associate dean, teaching and learning, says she is delighted to serve alongside Michael Moir, Chair of APPRC.

“Given the ambitious timeline, the task force will be reviewing various environmental scans and literature reviews, as well as gathering key insights from collegial discussions with faculty members and through consultations with students,” says Lam. “My hope is that we will be able to provide empirically grounded, pedagogically sound recommendations to help the university prioritize its actions to facilitate and support 21st century learning across a diverse range of teaching and learning contexts.”

The task force will examine the role of in-person learning as a core part of what York University offers along with how the University can support the growth of high-quality technology-enhanced learning to create added flexibility for students, while protecting instructor time for pedagogically valuable activities.

It will also prioritize advancing decolonization, equity, diversity and inclusion in the design of future pedagogy along with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). Finally, it will examine ways to grow experiential learning and work-integrated learning opportunities for students and maintain academic integrity in an era of technological disruption.

The group will convene in the coming weeks. Its success in meeting the goal to deliver a strong set of recommendations will depend on the individual and collective contributions from faculty members, course directors, staff and students. The community will be invited to share their ideas in planned focus group consultations led by the task force when dates are announced.

Everyone is invited to watch for announcements on opportunities to collaborate on an initiative that will help shape the University’s teaching and learning plans at this critical juncture for the University. To support the feedback gathered by the group, progress reports from Senate committees will also be shared with the community at appropriate intervals.

When the work is complete, the task force will issue a final report that includes key recommendations to support the achievement of the 2020-2025 University Academic Plan priority 21st Century Learning: Diversifying Whom, What, and How We Teach.  

New task force on future of pedagogy seeking participants


The Senate Academic Policy, Planning & Research and the Academic Standards, Curriculum & Pedagogy committees are establishing a Future of Pedagogy Task Force. The task force is seeking faculty and student representatives.

The mandate of the task force is to re-examine the 2020-2025 University Academic Plan priority on “21st Century Learning: Diversifying Whom, What, and How We Teach” in light of learnings from the shift to online delivery of programming during the COVID-19 pandemic and pedagogical reform initiatives currently underway in academic units. The task force will make high-level recommendations on teaching and learning plans for the University moving forward. 

Universities across Ontario are engaging in the exercise of redefining their pedagogy plans and York University needs to articulate a teaching and learning agenda that will advance its distinctive vision, core values and academic goals.

Full information about the task force mandate, deliverables and composition is posted on a dedicated Task Force webpage. The task force will launch in early March and continue until its final report is issued in December 2023.

The Senate committees are issuing a call for expressions of interest for its faculty and student positions. Interested candidates are asked to complete this form. The deadline for submission of completed forms is Friday, Feb. 17. The submissions will be reviewed by the Chairs of APPRC and ASCP together with the provost who will confirm a representative membership for the task force by the end of February to enable its start in March.

Questions about this initiative can be directed to Cheryl Underhill, secretary of Academic Policy, Planning & Research committee.

Announcement of appointment of interim assistant vice-president, continuing studies (AVP)

The south west corner of the new building that will house York University's School of Continuing Studies

La version française suit la version anglaise. 

Dear colleagues,

I am pleased to inform members of the York University community of the appointment of Christine Brooks-Cappadocia as interim assistant vice-president (AVP), continuing studies, effective Feb. 1, until the completion of the search for the next AVP has concluded.

Christine Brooks-Cappadocia
Christine Brooks-Cappadocia

Christine previously served as the executive director, programs & partnerships, the director of professional education and director of marketing & enrolment management in the School of Continuing Studies.

The school’s Continuing Professional Education division is considered to be among the most innovative in the country, receiving unprecedented enrolment and program growth during her tenure. Recently, she has been focusing on supporting the transformation of the English Language Institute in the post-pandemic market. Christine is especially proud of the success of the school’s international students who have built careers in Canada and of the programs that help recent and mid-career professionals thrive in emerging roles.

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

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

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

Please join me in welcoming Ms. Brooks-Cappadocia to the School of Continuing Studies. We are looking forward to working with her and benefitting from her leadership and experience.


Lisa Philipps
Provost & Vice-President Academic

Annonce de la nomination de la vice-présidente adjointe à la formation continue (VPA) par intérim

Chers collègues, chères collègues,

J’ai le plaisir d’informer les membres de la communauté de l’Université York de la nomination de Christine Brooks-Cappadocia au poste de vice-présidente adjointe (VPA) à la formation continue par intérim, à compter du 1er février et jusqu’à ce que la recherche du ou de la prochaine VPA soit terminée.

Christine Brooks-Cappadocia
Christine Brooks-Cappadocia

Elle a précédemment occupé les postes de directrice générale des programmes et des partenariats, de directrice de la formation professionnelle et de directrice du marketing et de la gestion des inscriptions à l’École de formation continue.

La division de formation professionnelle continue de l’École est considérée comme l’une des plus innovantes du pays et a connu une croissance sans précédent des inscriptions et des programmes pendant son mandat. Récemment, elle s’est attachée à soutenir la transformation de l’Institut de langue anglaise sur le marché post-pandémique. Elle est particulièrement fière de la réussite des étudiantes et étudiants internationaux de l’École qui ont bâti leur carrière au Canada et des programmes qui aident les professionnels récents et en milieu de carrière à s’épanouir dans des carrières émergentes.

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

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

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

Veuillez vous joindre à moi pour accueillir Christine Brooks-Cappadocia à l’École de formation continue. Nous avons hâte de travailler avec elle et de nous enrichir de son leadership et de son expérience.

Sincères salutations, 

Lisa Philipps
Rectrice et vice-présidente aux affaires académiques

Welcome to the January 2023 issue of ‘Innovatus’

Header banner for INNOVATUS

Happy New Year! Welcome to the January 2023 issue of “Innovatus,” a special issue of YFile dedicated to teaching and learning innovation at York University.

This month, we offer an overview of the Academic Innovation Fund, a unique experiential learning initiative coming out of the Glendon campus, two unique forms of professional development and ChatGPT.

Will Gage
Will Gage

This issue offers a digest of sorts in that it does not have a specific Faculty in the spotlight. Instead, we opted to provide a wide array of interesting stories. The lead story focuses on the Academic Innovation Fund. The deadline for submissions is approaching and we thought you would find an overview of some of the past projects that received funding. It is interesting to see how the innovations arising out of the projects are now part of the fabric of the teaching and learning tapestry at York University.

There are also two interesting stories on professional development. One focuses on a reading group and the other on how a development tool known as Sandbox is inspiring new forms of professional development.

As well, Glendon, through its work with the Toronto French School, is deepening the experiential education for students who are studying French language with a view of a possible teaching career.

And finally, ChatGPT, a new artificial intelligence platform, has dominated the news of late. This story explores how York University is harnessing the power and potential of this new technology.

I hope the ideas presented in this issue are both informative and inspiring.


Will Gage
Associate Vice-President, 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:

AIF funds a wide range of teaching and learning projects
Over the years, York University’s Academic Innovation Fund (AIF) has promoted an inspired shift in teaching, learning, the student experience and internationalization of the curriculum.

Glendon’s partnership with Toronto French School is an EE success
The partnership offers a win-win for students at Glendon and the Toronto French School. The collaboration between the two institutions has led to a full-year experiential education opportunity in the form of a professional work placement course.

Reading for teaching offers new perspectives and connections
The new Reading for Teaching program offers an informal, collegial space to engage with colleagues from across York University and it is the result of an inspired collaboration between an educational developer and a teaching and learning librarian.

Coming soon: Innovative professional development online
Although she realizes that faculty members across Ontario may never binge-watch professional development videos focused on learning innovations, Michelle Sengara hopes the learning modules being created will still be a hit with dedicated teachers.

How will AI tools such as ChatGPT shape teaching and learning? 
ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence (AI) tool that has dominated the headlines of late, has been labelled as a transformational force in academia. How are York faculty harnessing this powerful tool?

How will AI tools such as ChatGPT shape teaching and learning? 

Image shows a computer, chart and international map

By Angela Ward  

ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence (AI) tool that has dominated the headlines of late, has been labelled as a transformational force in academia. How are York faculty harnessing this powerful tool?

Out of all the emerging AI tools, ChatGPT has been the focus lately. The chatbot, developed by OpenAI, interacts with users in a dialogue, answering their prompts with complex responses. Despite the uncertainty that comes with this new technology, it offers exciting possibilities for education.  

Angela Clark
Angela Clark

“We always knew this was on the horizon in the academic integrity world,” said Angela Clark, an academic integrity officer in the Office of the Vice-Provost Academic. “This is a new generation of AI tools that represents a big leap from the AI tools in existence prior to OpenAI releasing DALL-E and ChatGPT last November. We’re still in the beginning stages of learning about what these tools can do and their uses in education.”  

Robin Sutherland-Harris, educational developer in the Teaching Commons (TC) at York University, adds that the use of these tools is already a reality in the working world. “As educators, it makes sense to adapt to these AI tools because students will graduate into this world with AI as part of the landscape. We should think about how we can incorporate them into assessments, strategies and ways that we think about disciplinary writing within academia. AI tools are going to change all of these.  

“I think the process of writing academically will probably shift with the integration of these AI tools into existing software, especially with predictive text completion.” 

Sutherland-Harris is interested in how tools like ChatGPT could help educators reflect on the nature of disciplinary writing and assessments. She said, “I’m excited by the possibilities for thinking about disciplinary writing, thinking about what kind of assessments are robust and how we’re asking students to do what AI is not able to do, such as taking multiple sources in combination and analyzing them for new conclusions.  

“My understanding is that ChatGPT is good at comparing one thing at a time but less adept at using deeper evidence to construct new arguments. How are we building assessments that addresses this, instead of getting bogged down in the mechanics of the writing?” 

ChatGPT can also encourage critical thinking when it comes to fact-checking content in classroom activities since it’s not always accurate with answers and citations. Sutherland-Harris said, “It’s helpful to start with an example text, which can be used to workshop ideas or interrogate what the AI is getting right in terms of a specific thinker, period of history or analysis and ask where the AI is falling short. It gives a useful starting point to push conversations into quite a deep level to really engage with content and discuss how writing should conform to the norms of the discipline, such as English or history.”  

Robin Sutherland-Harris
Robin Sutherland-Harris

Although there are exciting opportunities with AI tools, there are also challenges and concerns within this new terrain. ChatGPT can produce AI-generated essays, programming code and math solutions, which raises concerns about academic integrity.  

“When it comes to academic integrity, there will be some upheaval. It will be challenging as we all adapt to ChatGPT and come up with ways to integrate it into learning. In the short term, there may be more suspicion that students have engaged in academic misconduct. This may lead to more security measures being put in place such as having students write assessments by hand in the classroom or changing assessments from written work to oral. This may happen in order to be cognizant of professors’ time, so they don’t have to scramble to completely restructure how they assess,” said Clark.

In response to ChatGPT, some educators are already changing how they approach assessments and what they’re planning for the semester, said Sutherland-Harris. They are also searching for strategies around course-level policy that can protect academic integrity. Both Sutherland-Harris and Clark agree that this creates an opportunity for open discussion in classrooms, where educators might speak with students in-depth about the ideas they’re presenting or develop a charter with students on the use of academic integrity and AI tools.  

This open communication “engenders trust amongst the learning community,” Clark said. “Given that there are currently no citation guidelines for the content that these tools produce, instructors might even ask students how they think material should be cited.” 

When it comes to ensuring academic honesty, some educators will encourage transparency from students when they submit written work, Sutherland-Harris said. “Professors might ask students if they’ve used any AI or assistive writing technology. What was it and how did you use it? Students might use it to create an outline or draft an introduction before rewriting it. The use of AI for some educators is already being normalized as part of the writing process.”

Reflecting on citations, she notes that there is a gap when it comes to the norms around citing AI. “How do we cite and recognize the use of assistive technologies in the same way we cite other people’s ideas?” 

In terms of what tools like ChatGPT mean for the future, Clark said, “We now have ChatGPT 3.5, which has been shown to make mistakes at times. It can’t really synthesize information from different sources, show evidence of critical thinking and it makes errors when asked to generate programming code or solve math problems. As such, there are ways to detect when it has been used and in the short term, we can maintain our current practices. But GPT-4 will be released soon and who knows what that will bring? It also keeps improving as more people use it, prompting it to ‘learn’ and evolve.”  

“I think the ways that people think about, and structure assessment are already changing and will continue to change,” Sutherland-Harris added. “I wonder about the implications that AI which is good at writing will have on scholarly writing over time, which will affect how we educate students.” 

An upcoming workshop in February will be facilitated by both Sutherland-Harris and Clark to give professors the opportunity to connect on this topic. Instructors who are interested can register here. Different academic integrity resources for instructors and students are in development to help promote more clarity on these tools and their use.   

York University maps courses that teach about Sustainable Development Goals

Image shows a hand holding a pine cone against a lush backdrop of greenery

York University is internationally recognized for its contributions to addressing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) through teaching, research, stewardship, and partnerships. York’s annual SDG report is a snapshot of some of the work the University is doing in collaboration with Canadian and international partners to advance the Global Goals.

“The University is making determined and substantial strides towards the goals, through the power of higher education,” says York University’s Provost and VP Academic Lisa Philipps.  

As the world rapidly approaches 2030, youth have been mobilizing to compel global leaders to take urgent action on the SDGs. “As a global SDG leader, York University and its students are already playing an integral role in this movement,” adds Philipps.

To continuously improve the support offered to students and graduates who are tackling these challenges, York University has embarked on a process of understanding how its courses address or are linked to the SDGs. This initiative maps York courses with one or more of the SDGs, as appropriate, and the University is making this information available to the community on its SDG website.

The goal is to better inform students about learning opportunities related to the SDGs, to understand York’s strengths and curricular assets across the disciplines, and to increase awareness and deepen SDG-related conversations at the University and beyond.

Teaching the SDGs: the number of York courses related to each Global Goal

The above graphic shows the number of courses that relate to each of the United Nations 17 SDGs

Lessons learned from mapping courses

In consultation with OSDG, an open access tool developed by the United Nations Development Program’s SDG AI Lab and the EU-based thinktank PPMI, York analysts were able to undertake this process. They looked at both undergraduate and graduate courses offered in both English or French across all Faculties and all courses offered at the time of this analysis.

This approach looked at the use of more than 20,000 keywords and with the help of machine learning identified courses that are related to one or more of the SDGs through course titles and official descriptions. The University learned about the OSDG tool from University College London.

York University is the OSDG’s first official North American partner, as the organization works with a range of global partners such as the University of Hong Kong. York analysts consulted other universities in Ontario, British Columbia, California, England and New Zealand, organizations like York that are recognized for their global leadership on SDGs. Those consultations focused on learning about best practices for mapping and sharing SDG-relevant courses with their respective communities.

In total, analysts identified 1,635 courses (38 per cent of all courses), that are related to at least one SDG. Mapping for SDG 17 is still in development. All Faculties were represented among the mapped courses and the above table shows the number of courses that were identified as being related to each SDG.

The OSDG’s machine learning-enabled course mapping functionality flagged SDG-related courses when they specifically referenced the SDGs in the curriculum or where the curriculum empowered students to independently tackle an SDG theme within or outside of the classroom.

Many courses also mapped to more than one SDG – in fact, 285 courses were simultaneously mapped to two SDGs and 43 courses mapped to three SDGs. The process of mapping courses to the SDGs is iterative and analysts recognize that it is reliant upon the use of specific keywords and phrases found in current courses descriptions. As course descriptions continue to evolve, the analysis will be updated.

This approach will continue to improve over time, as new keywords are contributed to the OSDG’s bank. The full list of mapped courses will be published by Spring 2023 on York’s SDG website for the benefit of prospective and current students. The University will invite feedback in the lead up to publishing these courses and will continue to welcome ongoing feedback thereafter to ensure the mapped list of courses are kept up to date, and remain helpful for the York community.

The current analysis will serve as a starting point to improve the process of capturing SDG-related courses and advancing SDG education, and research on the SDGs, as outlined in the University Academic Plan.

Feedback from former Provostial Fellow and Professor Cheryl van Daalen-Smith, associate dean, academic; the Sustainability Office; the UNESCO Chair in Reorienting Education Towards Sustainability; and the Vice-Provost Students team has also been invaluable during this initial mapping endeavor. This Provostial initiative was supported by the Associate Vice-President Teaching & Learning, the University Registrar, the Office of Institutional Planning and Analysis and York International.

Welcome to the October 2022 issue of ‘Innovatus’

Header banner for INNOVATUS
Will Gage
Will Gage

Welcome to the second issue this year of “Innovatus,” a special issue of YFile dedicated to teaching and learning innovation at York University. This issue of our monthly newsletter focuses on Open Educational Resources, or OERs.

OERs represent an extraordinary opportunity for York University. These educational resources help to remove barriers that limit access to education. OERs also serve to expand what instructors can offer students as these freely available materials can be accessed, adapted, and modified with few or no restrictions. These materials in turn can serve to enhance student access to learning while possibly reducing costs, something that is particularly important as we navigate the new economic challenges posed by this post-pandemic world.

Together with Joy Kirchner, dean of University Libraries, I co-chair York University’s open education steering committee. I invite you to join us on this fascinating journey. You can keep up to date by subscribing to the Open Education listserv, details on how to access the listserv are available on the Open Education Steering Committee website.

In this issue of “Innovatus,” the articles recount some of the experiences our colleagues have had with OERs and offer resources for instructors interested in learning more.

I hope the ideas presented in this issue are both informative and inspiring.


Will Gage
Associate Vice-President, 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:

Opening our eyes to the possibilities of OER
“The decision to devote this issue of ‘Innovatus’ to Open Educational Resources (OER) is a deliberate one,” writes Joy Kirchner, dean of Libraries at York University, in her letter to the community. “Across Canada, there is a national conversation happening about how academic institutions use OER, support OER adoption and creation in the classroom, and how OER facilitate innovative pedagogy.”

An Open Educational Resources mini-course offers innovative options for York instructors
The Open Educational Resources mini-course provides instructors with the necessary background knowledge and skills to engage with innovative, open pedagogical tools.

French as a second language educators build OER repository
As part of the larger goal of building a unified, intersectoral community of practice among French as a second language (FSL) educators, Professors Muriel Péguret and Dominique Scheffel-Dunand are building a multilingual hub that includes a repository of Open Educational Resources (OER), such as textbooks, articles and videos.

York faculty create Open Educational Resources, advancing UN SDGs
Faculty develop innovative Open Educational Resources (OER) that are aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) and reveal the positive impact on teaching and learning.

OER projects developed by York faculty for eCampusOntario’s virtual learning strategy
York University, through its talented faculty, contribute to eCampusOntario’s virtual learning strategy Open Educational Resources (OER) collection.