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

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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

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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

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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.”  

Next Scholars’ Hub @ Home event examines how advanced style influencers are confronting gendered ageism online

Advanced style event FEATURED

Those who enjoy hearing about the latest thought-provoking research will not want to miss the next Scholars’ Hub @ Home speaker series event that will examine how advanced style influencers are confronting gendered ageism online.

Brought to you by York University’s Office of Alumni Engagement, the Scholars’ Hub @ Home speaker series features discussions on a broad range of topics, with engaging lectures from some of York’s best minds. Events are held in partnership with Vaughan Public Libraries, Markham Public Library and Aurora Public Library.

Ela Veresiu
Ela Veresiu

Students, alumni and all members of the community are invited to attend. All sessions take place at noon via Zoom.

For the Aug. 4 edition of Scholars’ Hub @ Home, Associate Professor Ela Veresiu from York’s Schulich School of Business will host a discussion titled “#AdvancedStyle: Confronting gendered ageism online.”

Attendees will learn how advanced style influencers (aged 50-plus) are using Instagram to fight the gendered ageism that has become rampant in North America’s fashion and beauty industries. Veresiu’s presentation is based on her Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada study that was recently published in the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research.

To register for the event, visit bit.ly/3y35Cyj.

Meet the recipients of the 2021 Alumni Awards and Scholarships

Alumni Awards and Scholarships

The York University Alumni Board has recognized four distinguished York students with 2021 Alumni Awards and Scholarships for their academic excellence and leadership.

The Alumni Awards and Scholarships started in 2009 and are adjudicated by the York University Alumni Board every year. Awards include the Silver Jubilee Scholarship, the Alumni Golden GRADitude Award and the Harry Arthurs Alumni Families Entrance Scholarship.

Alumni Silver Jubilee Scholarship

Meena Shanmuganathan
Meena Shanmuganathan

The Alumni Silver Jubilee Scholarship is awarded each year to a graduating student who has demonstrated excellence both in and out of the classroom. This year’s recipient, Meena Shanmuganathan (iBBA ’21), has been recognized for her significant contributions within the Tamil community and the considerable leadership she displayed during her time as an international bachelor of business administration (iBBA) student at the Schulich School of Business.

“Schulich placed a lot of emphasis on excelling outside of the classroom as well as inside,” she says. “There were so many opportunities in the last four years to participate in case competitions and research studies, and not just go to school and come home.”

In 2020, Shanmuganathan became vice-president of academics for the iBBA program and faced the challenge of making Schulich still feel like Schulich for students, despite the global pandemic. This involved planning the school’s annual flagship conference virtually for the first time, which saw 125 delegates and 100 alumni successfully come together in an online environment.

Outside of York, Shanmuganathan has been a member of the Tamil Cultural and Academic Society of Durham since 2009, working to educate communities about Tamil culture in an effort to preserve it for future generations. Most recently, she helped spearhead the first month-long Tamil mental health awareness campaign, which included planning four successful events and securing over $3,000 in sponsorships.

In September, Shanmuganathan will attend the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Law to pursue her interest in human rights.

“It is such a big honour to be recognized, not just within the Schulich community but the York community as well,” she says about her scholarship win.

Alumni Golden GRADitude Award

Anjelica Ramsewack
Anjelica Ramsewack

The Alumni Golden GRADitude Award recognizes graduating students who leave York University a better place thanks to the significant leadership they demonstrated during their time on campus. This year, there are two recipients of this award.

Communications studies graduate Anjelica Ramsewack (BA ’21) has been recognized for her vast contributions to the student community during her time at Glendon College.

Ramsewack held various senior positions within Glendon College Student Union, including vice-president of communications and vice-president of operations. In her role as vice-president of bilingual affairs, she became a key voice at York and Glendon by advocating for the importance of bilingual services and communications across the University to serve both francophone and anglophone students on campus.

In addition to her involvement in student governance, Ramsewack was co-secretary general of the Glendon Model United Nations, helping to develop and execute the first-ever bilingual conference for high-school students. Her experience in student government and clubs led her to establish the Glendon Communications Student Association, of which she was also president.

“Being a part of these organizations and being able to contribute significantly to the school and the students brought me joy during my time at Glendon,” she says. “I was able to grow as an individual and that is something I will take away with me.”

In September, Ramsewack will be returning to York to pursue a master of management at the Schulich School of Business, with the hopes of building a career in business management or marketing.

“The energy I spent during my time at Glendon was worth it,” she says, regarding her Alumni Golden GRADitude Award win, “and this puts into perspective for me that my work was valuable to the community.”

Moboluwajidide Joseph
Moboluwajidide Joseph

Moboluwajidide Joseph (BA ’21), a communications studies graduate and former president of the Glendon College Student Union, has been recognized for his noteworthy contributions to student life at Glendon College and York.

A vocal supporter of the Centre for Sexual Violence Response, Support and Education on campus, Joseph assisted with campaigns and initiatives that aimed to tackle toxic masculinity on campus. He was also a student representative on the Sexual Violence and Policy Advisory Committee for two years.

As a national executive representative for the Canadian Federation of Students’ Black Caucus, Joseph has been a key voice in student-led and student-centred responses to the anti-Black racism framework development processes and lobbying efforts.

“My time at Glendon has been amazing and wondrous,” he says. “One of the reasons I wanted to go to university was to discover myself and figure out who I was, what my values and principles were and how these coincided with my goals and ambitions. Glendon created space for me to do that.”

This fall, Joseph looks forward to joining the University of Toronto as an MA candidate in geography.

“I hope to specifically focus on Black geographies and the experience of Black communities in Toronto when they come under surveillance and how that impacts their lived experiences,” he says. “I’ve always believed that research should have a practical impact on day-to-day life, and being given this opportunity to do this research at such an institution is beyond my wildest dreams and hopes.”

Harry Arthurs Alumni Families Entrance Scholarship

Ishi Madan
Ishi Madan

The Harry Arthurs Alumni Families Entrance Scholarship is awarded to an incoming undergraduate student who is the child, sibling or grandchild of a York University graduate and who has demonstrated outstanding academic achievement and accomplishments in community service, volunteerism or other endeavours.

Incoming Schulich School of Business student Ishi Madan has been awarded this year’s scholarship. She follows in her brother’s footsteps as she joins the Bachelor of Business Administration program at Schulich for the Fall 2021 semester.

Madan immigrated to Canada in 2017 and learned to adapt to a whole new educational system.

“Coming here to Canada in Grade 9 was really tough for me,” she shares. “I had to adjust to a lot of changes. The guidance counsellors and teachers at my school were very helpful and I think my drive comes from within myself. You can find support from unexpected corners.”

Outside of school, Madan has been a regular volunteer in her community. Harnessing her own experiences, she became a peer mentor for the World of Welcome program to help newly immigrated students acclimate and adapt to their new academic system. Most recently, Madan created an online community response group to combat the isolation created by the pandemic, while also co-ordinating food bank distributions. Having played piano for the past 14 years and earning her first class honours from the Royal Conservatory of Music, she regularly performs before live audiences and volunteers to teach piano to younger students in her community.

Madan looks forward to developing her critical thinking skills and exploring her personal and ethical values while studying at one of Canada’s best business schools this fall.

Schulich collaborates on study of peer effects in corporate governance practices

Skyscraper
Photo by SevenStorm JUHASZIMRUS from Pexels

A new study that York University’s Schulich School of Business has collaborated on finds that corporations that share board members with other firms tend to have similar corporate governance practices due to a phenomenon known as “board interlocking.”

Pouyan Foroughi
Pouyan Foroughi

The findings are presented in a research paper titled “Peer Effects in Corporate Governance Practices: Evidence from Universal Demand Laws,” forthcoming in Review of Financial Studies. The article is co-authored by Pouyan Foroughi, assistant professor of finance at Schulich; Alan Marcus, professor of finance at Boston College; Vinh Nguyen, assistant professor of finance at the University of Hong Kong; and Hassan Tehranian, professor of finance at Boston College.

“The study shows that firms not subject to new legislation nevertheless change corporate practice when they are board-interlocked with peer firms that become subject to that legislation,” said Foroughi. “The specific transmission mechanism for this propagation of practice across firms is the interlocking board network.”

The research paper included a number of key findings. First, firms with boards composed of directors with greater experience, especially experience in takeover attempts, appear less influenced by the impact of their interlocked directors. Second, governance policy is most affected by board interlocks when the interlocking directors serve on the governance committee in particular. Third, firms with busier boards seem more influenced by the presence of interlocking directors. And lastly, directors serving at firms whose governance practice most changed following the implementation of universal demand laws, which impose restrictions on shareholder litigation rights, have a greater impact on their interlocked firms.

The complete paper is available for download here.

Schulich study examines how supply disruption influences supplier selection

A new study from York University’s Schulich School of Business has found that irrational feelings of guilt can play a larger than suspected role when it comes to selecting suppliers.

The study, titled “Supplier Selection in the Aftermath of a Supply Disruption and Guilt: Once Bitten, Twice (Not So) Shy,” showed that sourcing professionals who were responsible for selecting a supplier that had caused a supply disruption were more likely to recommend a higher-risk, higher-reward supplier next time around.

Johnny Rungtusanatham
M. Johnny Rungtusanatham

The study, which is forthcoming in the journal Decision Sciences, was co-authored by M. Johnny Rungtusanatham, Canada Research Chair in Supply Chain Management at the Schulich School of Business, together with Thomas J. Kull and Mikaella Polyviou from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University.

As part of the study, the researchers invited sourcing professionals to participate in an experiment in which they were asked to choose between two suppliers for a new outsourcing opportunity following a consequential supply disruption for a different, previously outsourced component. Analyses of the experimental data revealed the following: sourcing professionals who were responsible for selecting the previously outsourced component that resulted in a supply disruption felt guilty and this guilt motivated them to recommend a higher-risk, higher-reward supplier over a lower-risk, lower-reward supplier.

“With data, models, and checks-and-balances in place, it is easy to fall into the trap of viewing supplier selection as a purely rational decision, unaffected by past events,” said Rungtusanatham. “But our research questions both premises. We should be mindful that decisions are still made by humans. To reduce exposure to future supply disruption risks, sourcing firms must ensure that the selection of a higher-risk, higher-reward supplier over other lower-risk, lower-reward options by a human decision-maker is not due to guilt over his or her previous supplier decision gone awry.”

Supplier selection remains a critical decision for effective supply management, added Rungtusanatham. “While there is plenty of advice on how to select suppliers, the task of supplier selection is not foolproof,” said Rungtusanatham. “Our research shows that once bitten by a disrupted supplier, sourcing professionals are not ‘twice shy’ about favouring riskier, more advantageous suppliers for new sourcing opportunities.”

Schulich Executive Education Centre helps Indigenous leaders earn unique mini-MBA certificates

Person working on a computer
Person working on a computer

The Schulich Executive Education Centre has partnered with the Ontario Native Women’s Association (ONWA) to offer a mini-MBA program to members of their community network.

The ONWA is a not-for-profit organization with a goal to empower and support all Indigenous women and their families in the province of Ontario through research, advocacy, policy development and programs that focus on local, regional and provincial activities.

The Schulich Executive Education Centre (SEEC) approached ONWA to offer a customized version of its nine-day Schulich Mini-MBA: Essentials of Management program designed for the specific needs of Indigenous leaders. SEEC’s mini-MBA delivers current MBA subjects in a practical time frame for busy managers. The modules of the mini-MBA provide essential, current knowledge in the top 13 MBA subjects – from marketing to finance and HR – in a practical time frame. To further customize the course so that it is relevant for Indigenous leaders, SEEC Program Director Wissam AlHussaini, professor of strategy in the Schulich School of Business, added sessions in policy and government, political acuity, community centricity and grant writing.

Rami Mayer, SEEC executive director, said working with OWNA was an important project that highlights SEEC’s efforts to work with diverse organizations. “Programs that have a positive impact on the community are important to us. This collaboration is special, and we will continue to support organizations such as ONWA because of their mission and incredible ability to reach out to the indigenous community.”

The program was successfully delivered to 28 participants from multiple Indigenous-based associations across Ontario. They included board members from ONWA, executive directors from Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services, the Native Women’s Centre Hamilton-Wentworth Chapter of Native Women Incorporated, Native Women’s Resource Centre of Toronto, Sunset Women’s Aboriginal Circle, Orillia Native Women’s Group, Beendigen, Kenora Anishinawbekweg, Moosonee Family Resource Centre, Nookomisnaang Shelter for Victims of Family Violence and the Barrie Area Native Advisory Circle. Participants were challenged with a group capstone project designed to make a community impact. Some of the Capstone projects included innovative community-development solutions to help address housing, community infrastructure, local business development, food security, domestic violence, women and youth services.

“From my personal perspective I think that a powerful driver in how SEEC delivers 21st century learning is that they truly understand the challenges their students face,” said Andre Morriseau, communications manager for the OWNA. “Indigenous people have had to play catch-up for so long in a system that locked them out of the joy and accomplishment of higher education. By designing classes that included the comfort of culture while building classes into their students’ daily work lives supported by their employers, higher learning became something to look forward to rather than a burden.

“SEEC’s virtual learning platform offered a link to new ideas while keeping a pace that said these people are serious about education,” added Morriseau. “There was no time to linger or daydream. When you’re working in a Schulich virtual classroom environment you better be committed to learning because you don’t want to waste a moment of the opportunity.”