Recipients of the Provostial Fellowships announced

A drone image of Vari Hall on the Keele campus

Professors Burkard Eberlein (Schulich), Sapna Sharma (science), Cheryl van Daalen-Smith (health, Liberal Arts & Professional Studies) and Qiang Zha (education) have been appointed York University Provostial Fellows.

Appointed for one year, each of the recipients will work to enhance collegial capacity at an institutional level to advance the priorities of the University Academic Plan (UAP) in demonstrable ways. The Provostial Fellowships also provide an opportunity for a diverse group of tenured faculty to gain hands-on experience in university leadership.

“I am thrilled to have these four faculty members dedicating some of their time and energy to help lead the implementation of our UAP. The University will benefit from their expertise and ideas, and I hope they too will find this a valuable opportunity to grow and develop as leaders and institution builders,” said Provost and Vice-President Academic Lisa Philipps. “The launch of Building a Better Future: York University Academic Plan 2020-2025 established six exciting and important priorities for York University. As a community, we now look to work together in advancing these.”

Fellows will work with the provost and relevant members of the senior leadership on a project or initiative intended to advance one of the UAP priority areas at an institutional level. Each project also seeks to enhance and intersect with the University-wide challenge to elevate institutional contributions to the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Burkhard Eberlein
Burkard Eberlein

Burkard Eberlein
Professor, Public Policy and Strategic Management
Schulich School of Business

Professor Eberlein’s project, “York’s Journey toward Carbon Neutrality,” seeks to identify and advance specific and impactful initiatives that the University can take to reduce its carbon emissions.

Sapna Sharma
Sapna Sharma

Sapna Sharma
Associate Professor, Department of Biology
Faculty of Science

Professor Sharma’s project, “Working Towards Equitable Access to Clean Water,” looks to address the billions of people worldwide, including in Canada, who do not have access to clean freshwater. This project will seek student, faculty and staff collaborations across the University with a goal of raising awareness and identifying solutions to this critical issue, and will culminate with an event celebrating UN World Water Day.

Cheryl van Daalen-Smith
Cheryl van Daalen-Smith

Cheryl van Daalen-Smith
Associate Professor, School of Nursing
Faculty of Health
Associate Professor, School of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies/Children, Childhood & Youth Studies Program.
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies

Professor van Daalen-Smith’s project, “More than Bees and Trees: Seeing the SDGs in our Curriculum – A Pan-University Community Development Initiative,” seeks to track, weave, inspire and amplify curricular SDG initiatives and advance York University’s commitment to interdisciplinarity.

Qiang Zha
Qiang Zha

Qiang Zha
Associate Professor
Faculty of Education

Professor Zha’s project, “Reimagining and Transforming Liberal Arts Education with a Trans-Continental Partnership,” looks to explore a new model for practising liberal arts education in the current contexts of mass higher education, knowledge societies and globalization, including the prospects for infusing the concepts derived from the SDGs and promoting global competence.

Welcome to YFile’s New Faces Feature Issue, part two


Welcome to YFile’s New Faces Feature Issue 2021, part two. In this special issue, YFile introduces new faculty members joining the York University community and highlights those with new appointments.

The New Faces Feature Issue 2021 was presented in two parts: part one on Friday, Sept. 3 and part two on Friday, Sept. 10.

In this issue, YFile welcomes new faculty members in the Faculty of Education; the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies; the Faculty of ScienceOsgoode Hall Law School; and the Schulich School of Business.

Two Indigenous educators join the Faculty of Education

Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies welcomes 18 new faculty members

The Faculty of Science brings seven new professors into its ranks

Osgoode Hall Law School welcomes four new faculty members

Two new professors join Schulich School of Business this fall

The Sept. 3 issue included the School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design; the Faculty of Environmental & Urban Change; Glendon Campus; the Faculty of Health; and the Lassonde School of Engineering.

New Faces was conceived and edited by Ashley Goodfellow Craig, YFile deputy editor; Jenny Pitt-Clark, YFile editor; and Lindsay MacAdam, communications officer

Two new professors join Schulich School of Business this fall

schulich 2nd floor

This story is published in YFile’s New Faces Feature Issue 2020, part two. Every September, YFile introduces and welcomes those joining the York University community, and those with new appointments. Part one was published on Sept. 3.

Two new professors will join the Schulich School of Business this fall: Vibhuti Dhingra and Majid Majzoubi.

“The Schulich School of Business is very pleased to welcome Vibhuti Dhingra and Majid Majzoubi to our Faculty,” said Schulich Interim Dean Detlev Zwick. “They are first-rate scholars, and their expertise in the fields of operations management and strategic management will bolster the research and teaching capacity at our school.”

Vibhuti Dhingra

Vibhuti Dhingra
Vibhuti Dhingra

Vibhuti Dhingra is an assistant professor of supply chain analytics at the Schulich School of Business. She received her PhD in management science from the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia (UBC). Her research interests are in data-driven analytics and incentive problems, with applications to supply chains and public sector operations. Her work has been published in top-tier journals, including Management Science and European Journal of Operations Research. While at UBC, she won the Killam Graduate Teaching Assistant Award for teaching excellence.

Majid Majzoubi

Majid Majzoubi
Majid Majzoubi

Majid Majzoubi is an assistant professor of strategic management at the Schulich School of Business. He received his PhD in strategic management from the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business, his MBA from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and his bachelor’s degree in computer science from Tehran Polytechnic. His research focuses on how firms can position themselves strategically within various market spaces to gain higher ratings and rankings. In Majzoubi’s research, he demonstrates how machine learning algorithms could be used to facilitate empirical studies and enable a dynamic and customized view of firms’ optimal positioning strategies.

Schulich contributes to research advancing theory of institutional drift

An image depicting the logo for Schulich School of Business

Even the smallest variations in the way people interact with one another and perform their jobs inside an organization can lead to significant institutional change over time, according to new research published in the Journal of Management Studies.

Maxim Voronov
Maxim Voronov

Maxim Voronov, a professor of organization studies at York University’s Schulich School of Business, co-authored the research paper together with Mary Ann Glynn, an associate of the Department of Sociology at Harvard University, and Klaus Weber, a professor of management and organizations at the Kellogg School of Management.

The research paper puts forward what it terms the “theory of institutional drift” to explain how minor, under-the-radar changes to standard practices can lead over time to significant and unexpected changes in organizations. A classic example of institutional drift, says Voronov, is what happened at NASA regarding the Challenger disaster in 1986, when the NASA space shuttle suddenly exploded one minute after takeoff, killing all seven crew members aboard. 

“When ongoing deviations from routine interactions between people within an organization are ignored or normalized, the result is institutional drift.”

— Professor Maxim Voronov

A number of studies have shown that one of the contributing factors in the accident was the slow but steady tolerance from NASA engineers for accepting greater levels of risk, which in turn led to an erosion of safety standards within the organization – what the researchers describe as the “normalization of ever-greater deviations from routine practices.”    

“Institutional drift leads to institutional change by altering the repertoire of practices associated with certain roles, thus redefining the shared understandings of acceptable and normal practice,” says Voronov. “When ongoing deviations from routine interactions between people within an organization are ignored or normalized, the result is institutional drift.”

The key lesson here for organizations, adds Voronov, is that small practice deviations on the part of a large number of employees should not be seen as trivial – particularly when they build up over time.

Read the full study here.

Research identifies how to become the next Uber or Amazon


The success and proliferation of digital platforms like Uber and Amazon are increasingly inspiring entrepreneurs to build new ventures on similar lines. Despite the prominent success stories, many digital platforms fail to survive the startup stage. How can aspiring platform entrepreneurs overcome the early-stage challenge and enable the successful emergence of digital platform ecosystems?

Professor Anoop Madhok, the Scotiabank Chair in International Business and Entrepreneurship at York University’s Schulich School of Business, and his collaborator Ramya K. Murthy from the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (as well as a former doctoral student at Schulich) set out to answer this question.

Anoop Madhok
Anoop Madhok

The challenge for the platform entrepreneur in the early stage is to secure the commitment and resources of autonomous third-party contributors for a little-known entity that is yet to emerge in the form of an ecosystem around the digital platform. The contributors are vital for the digital platform, as they create complements that enhance the platform’s value to consumers but are only motivated to produce complements for a platform that offers attractive platform resources and provides access to a large base of consumers. With an ecosystem that is yet to emerge, digital platform entrepreneurs, who are typically both owners as well as sponsors of their platforms, have few resources and avenues to attract these complementors (businesses that directly sell a product or service that complement the product or service of another company by adding value to mutual customers) in the early stages.

In their new study published in the Journal of Management Studies, Murthy and Madhok study numerous platforms in the incipient stage and demonstrate that the choice of platform sponsor scope offers a way to overcome the early-stage challenge of the emergence of digital platform ecosystems. Platform sponsor scope refers to the sponsor’s choice of value creation activities to perform internally as well as their decision rights over complements, a choice that shapes the opportunities subsequently available to complementors. When such opportunities seem beneficial, the complementors and consequently consumers are attracted to participate, leading to the emergence of the digital platform ecosystem.

The study develops a problem-solving perspective of the emergence of digital platform ecosystems and contends that the platform sponsor should choose their scope in alignment with the nature of the problem to find valuable complements efficiently. Such an alignment between problem and platform sponsor scope signals to complementors attractive opportunities and thus attracts their participation and, in turn, brings consumers to the ecosystem. Using a data set of crowdfunding campaigns to raise funds to launch digital platforms, they identify pathways for the successful emergence of complementary innovation ecosystems, open-source ecosystems and information ecosystems.

“The study highlights a novel set of considerations – problem and platform sponsor scope – that shifts the emphasis away from the actors (who) to the problem at hand (what) to explain platform ecosystem emergence, a hitherto understudied topic,” says Madhok.

Their findings suggest that aspiring entrepreneurs have agency in addressing this challenge and should focus on identifying the dimensions of the problem they confront and choose their scope accordingly to attract complementors and, consequently, consumers. Further, they demonstrate that multiple pathways exist for the platform sponsor to enable ecosystem emergence as long as the problem and their choice of scope are aligned. The underlying tenet is that the platform sponsor can shape attractive opportunities for the complementors when such an alignment is achieved.

Read the full study at

Schulich launches Krembil Centre and hosts health-care leadership summit

An image depicting the logo for Schulich School of Business

The newly established Krembil Centre for Health Management and Leadership at York University’s Schulich School of Business will host a leadership summit on Sept. 23 that explores the future of health care in a post-pandemic world. The event also marks the centre’s official launch.

Robert Krembil
Robert Krembil

The summit is hosted by the Krembil Centre, in collaboration with Deloitte, and aims to celebrate leadership and help reshape the best practices in the industry. Schulich alumni Robert Krembil (MBA ’71, Hon. LLD ’00) and the Krembil Foundation, Schulich Interim Dean Detlev Zwick and Centre Director Joseph Mapa, along with health sector colleagues and the Schulich community, will explore the what health care might look like in a post-pandemic world. Schulich Dean Emeritus Dezsö J. Horváth will provide introductory remarks to kick off the event.

COVID-19 has had an extraordinary and profound impact on all sectors, especially health care. The leadership summit will take stock of and reflect on the ideas of renowned thought leaders in four vital and timely areas:

  • long-term care and the impact of COVID;
  • the digital future of health care;
  • the role of artificial intelligence and data analytics; and
  • reimagining the health-care workforce.

Discussions will be shaped around questions such as: how do we make these key areas better in the post-pandemic era; and what have we learned and what needs to change?

The event runs from 6 to 8:30 p.m., and more information is available here.

The Krembil Centre for Health Management and Leadership will combine academic excellence in degree programs and executive training with substantial scholarship support and collaborative research on leadership opportunities in the health sector.

Made possible by a $5-million donation from the Krembil Foundation and Robert Krembil, the Krembil Centre will become a leading global hub of health industry outreach, education and research at Schulich.

“The Krembil Centre for Health Management and Leadership has been created to cultivate high-performance leaders who bring integrity, innovation and a strong change agenda to the health sector,” said Mapa. “We are grateful to the Krembil family for enabling such a seminal and consequential initiative for our students, faculty and the health-care community.”

A key feature of the Krembil Centre’s work will be the development of a new, one-year professional degree, the master of health industry administration. Other core elements are the establishment of the Krembil Chair for Health Management and Leadership, the Krembil Public Healthcare Internship Program, which allows students to gain real-world experience working under the mentorship of senior health-care leaders, and new student scholarships.

For more details and to register for the event, go here.

New study explains how time influences consumer behaviour

ecommerce online shopping FEATURED

How does the past, present and future interact to influence consumer behaviour? A new study published in the Journal of Consumer Research considers how time is a key structural component of our lives and its resulting influence on market activities.

Ela Veresiu
Ela Veresiu

The research, undertaken by York University Associate Professor Ela Veresiu (Schulich School of Business) in collaboration with Assistant Professor Thomas Derek Robinson from Bayes Business School, University of London, and Assistant Professor Ana Babic Rosario from the University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business, shows how time is a cultural consumption resource.

In this conceptual article, the authors introduce the concept of “consumer timework” to capture how past experiences and future expectations impact consumer behaviour in the present.

“Time is a key structural component of our lives and of the universe,” said Veresiu. “It is therefore no surprise that consumers engage with the multiple orientations of time – the past, the present and the future – in their daily consumption choices and activities.”

For example, some consumers treasure heirlooms from past family members and enjoy heritage-themed experiences, such as high tea at Toronto’s historic Windsor Arms Hotel. At the same time, other consumers engage in sustainable consumption like buying only second-hand clothing and installing solar panels on private homes to fight future-facing environmental degradation.

The co-authors argue that the increased speed and complexity of social change today creates multiple ways of interpreting how the past, present and future relate. In other words, it has become more difficult for individuals to anticipate their life trajectory from the past into the future. In response, the co-authors identify four strategies of consumer timework to regain control of time through consumption: integrative, disintegrative, subjugatory and emancipatory.

The scholars theorize integrative and disintegrative consumer timework respectively as harmonizing or rupturing the flow of time from the past into the future via consumption activities. As an illustration of the first strategy, consider how consumers now want to trace their own ancestry and genealogy through DNA databases like 23andMe. Alternatively, vaccine skepticism can also be understood through the second consumer timework strategy.

They theorize subjugatory and emancipatory consumer timework respectively as enforcing or disrupting temporal hierarchies of power through consumption practices. For example, self-tracking health apps, such as MyFitnessPal, SleepCycle and Fooducate, constitute a form of subjugatory consumer timework, since individuals pursue personal goals that are in actuality defined by an algorithm. Regarding the final strategy, using virtual reality devices to envision alternative futures and future selves is a form of emancipatory consumer timework.

“Our work directly responds to an observed decline in theoretical contributions in the marketing and consumer research,” said Veresiu. “In this paper, we not only realign existing ideas on time and consumption, but also offer detailed future research directions.”

The full article is available here.

Schulich program inspires teaching focus at Humber River Hospital

Featured image for Mackenzie Health and York U MOU signing shows a medical worker with a chart

A program developed by the Schulich Executive Education Centre (SEEC) is the inspiration behind a project to turn Humber River Hospital into a teaching institution.

Dr. Patrick Safieh, a member of the hospital’s medical staff, is spearheading the project after his own experience in the Healthcare Leadership Development Program (HLDP) developed by SEEC in the Schulich School of Business at York University. HLDP is an example of a SEEC custom program for organizations.

Patrick Safieh
Dr. Patrick Safieh

An instructor with SEEC and a lecturer at the University of Toronto, Safieh was inspired to launch a training program for medical students in the hospital’s new Family Medicine Teaching Unit to help them better understand the non-medical aspects of delivering services in a time of budget restraints and disruptive change.

“As part of my own Healthcare Leadership Development Program course work [in 2019], I designed a Family Medicine Teaching Unit at Humber River Hospital, which provides full-time core teaching of University of Toronto medical school students,” said Safieh, a facilitator in SEEC’s new Schulich Mini-MBA: Physician Business Leadership Program. “HLDP helped with areas that I needed to accomplish goals, such as networking, presenting, negotiating and other essential skills.”

Safieh’s success in creating a teaching unit at Humber River Hospital also comes from a partnership he fostered between Humber River Hospital, the University of Toronto and various hospital departments that worked together to achieve a successful result.

“I was privileged to be involved in the genesis of this Humber River project and am proud to say that the HLDP provided the tools to get this project started. The program was instrumental in getting this project off the ground, and will benefit the hospital, physicians, and ultimately patients through improved family and emergency medicine for the community. I was able to immediately apply my HLDP learning in helping to create Humber River Hospital’s Family Medicine Teaching Unit,” said Safieh.

Safieh’s project also aims to position Humber River Hospital as a major health-care centre for the 850,000 people living in a relatively under-serviced section of northwest Toronto.

SEEC has worked successfully for more than 10 years with various health-care organizations across Canada by delivering custom versions of the Healthcare Leadership Development Program. It also offers several open enrolment leadership programs for physicians, dentists and clinicians under the Schulich Mini-MBA brand.

Participants in the HLDP receive a master’s certificate upon completion of 90 hours of study that includes:

  • leadership assessment exercises;
  • executive one-on-one and group coaching;
  • knowledgeable faculty members that teach topics such as design thinking, complexity theory, negotiation, collaboration, and leadership and conflict resolution; and
  • independent learning tailored to each participant’s personal leadership development needs.

For more on what SEEC has to offer, visit the website.

Schulich partners with UN to study how climate change impacts real estate values

skyscrapers FEATURED

Physical climate risk is fundamental and critical to all real estate investors, but according to a new report from the United Nations, in partnership with York University’s Schulich School of Business and Henley Business School in the United Kingdom, there is a lack of information and understanding about how these risks could affect property values in the long term.

The report, released by the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), is titled “Climate Risk and Commercial Property Values: A review and analysis of the literature.”

Researchers found little information that clearly outlines the interaction between climate hazard exposure, market sentiment, and asset value and pricing. Photo by Sean Pollock on Unsplash

The research was commissioned to support real estate investors in correlating recent extreme weather events to real estate values and prices, and how risk should factor into future projections. It aimed to identify the patterns in the reduction in price of assets and changing behaviour in the real estate market due to acute and chronic climate risk.

“Climate change is becoming one of the most important structural forces and risks that long-term investors in all asset classes need to proactively consider in building resilient portfolios,” said Professor Jim Clayton, the Timothy R. Price Chair at Schulich and director of the school’s Brookfield Centre in Real Estate and Infrastructure. “Institutional real estate portfolios with exposure to cities and regions that are increasingly susceptible to climate change impacts face heightened risk. This paper provides a timely review of academic research that indicates climate risk is starting to have a more sustained impact on pricing and on investor decision-making.”

Despite the increased concern among investors of the impact of recent extreme weather events such as flooding, hurricanes, rising sea levels and wildfires, the report concluded there is an incomplete picture of the channels through which climate hazard exposure has an impact on asset value and pricing.

The research also found that, although commercial real estate investors may be increasingly aware of physical climate risk when acquiring, developing and upgrading assets, there is only modest evidence as to how commercial real estate markets have, in the past, responded to extreme events.

Overall, the researchers found little information that is available to investors and other market participants that clearly outlines the interaction between climate hazard exposure, market sentiment, and asset value and pricing. This has great implications, as the nature of physical climate risk is such that values, prices, and investment decisions will increasingly be influenced by actions of lenders, insurers, occupiers, regulators and government, and all these parties depend on good data and information flows.

The report recommends further work in the following areas:

  • improving market surveillance;
  • shaping financial and valuation modelling practices;
  • strategizing for public and private investment planning in local area resilience; and
  • researching to build the evidence base for climate risk analysis and disclosure.

The review concludes that not enough is understood about how physical climate risk is currently included in the pricing of assets and how this has impacted the real estate market. The report did find that prices in the past have often “bounced back” from falls caused by extreme events, but this may not continue to happen. Mandatory mitigation requirements from the insurance market and other governance capacities can be critical in helping to provide confidence to investors and mitigate value losses over time; however, the extent to which this protects future asset values in areas subject to climate risk is unknown.

The full report can be found here.

About the UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative

The United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) is a partnership between the UNEP and the global financial sector to mobilize private sector finance for sustainable development. The UNEP FI works with more than 400 members – banks, insurers and investors, and over 100 supporting institutions – to help create a financial sector that serves people and the planet while delivering positive impacts. By leveraging the UN’s role, the UNEP FI accelerates sustainable finance.

Pandemic news consumption affects work engagement, study shows

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash
The study reveals the troubling impact on self image

News consumption has increased significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic as people try to make sense of the constantly evolving situation. However, there is evidence that consuming a significant amount of negative news can be anxiety-provoking and negatively affect mental health. How does this affect workers’ ability to be engaged at work during the pandemic?

Winny Shen
Winny Shen

Schulich School of Business organization studies Professor Winny Shen and her collaborators, Stephanie Andel from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and Maryana Arvan from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, set out to answer this question.

“Early on during the pandemic, the World Health Organization came out with recommendations that people should limit their consumption of news related to COVID-19 to just one to two times per day and from trusted news sources, and this really caught our attention,” says Shen.

Consider a worker who cannot stop watching the news because the number of cases in their community is rising. This worker is likely to feel significant anxiety due to their continued consumption of news, as the media tends to use attention-grabbing headlines to get us to keep tuning in or clicking on online articles. This anxiety may then interfere with workers’ ability to get absorbed in and mentally devote themselves to their work, as worrying may leave them with little energy or serve as an intrusive distraction when working. Workers may also differ in the extent to which their anxiety detracts from their work engagement.

In their new study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, Shen and her collaborators examine relationships between COVID-19 news consumption, anxiety, work engagement and occupational calling by following a sample of 281 Canadian workers over a period of eight weeks during the first wave of the pandemic. They found that on weeks where workers watched more news than usual, they experienced greater anxiety, and consequently lower work engagement; however, workers who felt called to their job because it provides them a sense of purpose and fulfillment were able to maintain high levels of work engagement even when they felt highly anxious. Moreover, workers who were more engaged with their job in a given week generally experienced lower anxiety the following week.

“We’ve all heard a lot about the many difficulties of working during the pandemic,” says Shen. “Our study points to the fact that being engaged in their work can be beneficial for many workers, perhaps by helping them replenish or gain important resources, which can then help them manage their stress and anxiety.” Shen also acknowledges that this benefit does not seem to occur for everyone. The study finds that for workers who are drawn to their work because it allows them to help others, high levels of work engagement does not seem to pay off by reducing subsequent feelings of anxiety. This suggests that these workers may be particularly vulnerable during the pandemic, as their anxiety or investment in their work may tend to make them feel like they are not doing enough.

“With everything going on, many companies are worried about engagement during the pandemic,” says Shen. “Our work suggests that in order to promote an engaged workforce, companies should try to help their workers find personal fulfillment, joy and purpose in the work that they are doing.”