Congress 2023 mural reflects community, attendee artistry

Second Student Centre

By Elaine Smith

Congress 2023 attendees at York University are invited to take part in the creation of a community mural that addresses the conference theme, Reckonings and Re-Imaginings.

Throughout Congress 2023, two local artists and five student artists from Westview Centennial Secondary School in the nearby Jane-Finch neighbourhood will be painting this three-panel mural on the patio of York’s Second Student Centre. They will be on site daily to work on the mural and answer questions about the concept and process. Everyone is welcome to stop by and add some colour to their creation.

“This project was conceived as a way for Congress 2023 to mark a milestone in our commitment to supporting the communities in and around our campus,” said Joel Ong, a professor in the School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design and member of the Congress 2023 Scholarly Planning Committee. “This amplifies the work of initiatives like the Jane Finch Social Innovation Hub and the York U-TD Community Engagement Centre to provide opportunities for students and faculty to contribute to the relationship-building process between the University and its neighbours.”

Local artists Andre Lopez and Philip Saunders, and the students who are part of a specialized arts and culture group at Westview Centennial, are the main artistic team for the mural. It will depict Canada and the diverse faces that have contributed to our country. Attendees are invited to stop by en route to their meetings to see the mural develop over the week.

“The students involved in this project have vision and creativity, but haven’t had the opportunity to work on a big project before,” said Kayode Brown, who is driving the project. Brown is a graduate student in the Faculty of Education and founder of Just BGraphic, a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to revolutionize arts education by challenging and decolonizing arts as they are currently taught in the educational system. “The group took the words Reckonings and Re-Imaginings and brainstormed about what it meant to them. The mural will draw on the history of different cultures who have contributed to Canada and emphasize those voices.

“The border will be wrapped in Indigenous words and imagery and the inside panels will depict natural features with diverse faces blended into them.”

Brown is working with Ong, and Ana Medeiros, head of the arts at Westview Centennial Secondary School, to bring the mural to fruition. Westview Centennial has just been named an arts school, and Brown sees the mural as “modelling a way to decolonize the arts.”

The artists and student artists will also work with Brown to create a 10-minute podcast that gives addition context. A QR code posted on site will give visitors audio access to their perspectives.

After Congress 2023 comes to a close, the finished mural – approximately 7 metres by 1 metre – will be installed on the ground floor of Ross Hall outside the offices of the Jane Finch Social Innovation Hub (N141) – a campus space where York students from the local community have access to study groups, tutoring, information workshops and trips – all services that help with navigating the academic, social and administrative elements of university life.

It will serve as a perfect reminder of York’s commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) such as reduced inequality; sustainable cities and communities; and partnerships for the goals.

York University and the Federation for Humanities and Social Sciences will host Congress 2023 from May 27 to June 2. Register here to attend, community passes are available and term dates have been adjusted to align with timelines for this year’s event.

Artist-researchers exhibit research harassment during Congress

Joan and Martin Goldfarb Centre for Fine Arts

Sarah Hancock, an artist-researcher and undergraduate student at York University’s School of the Arts, Media, Performance and Design (AMPD), is using data to bring awareness to the harassment experienced by scholars when sharing their work in online spaces. Her work is part of an exhibit running through Congress 2023.

When conceiving her artistic vision, Hancock was inspired by a York University Libraries-led co-curricular workshop she attended that was part of a series on data literacy, research computing, digital methods, research skills and media creation.

Taught by librarians Alexandra Wong and Priscilla Carmini, the workshop “Crochet Your Way to Data Fundamentals,” combined maker and data literacies through experiential learning. With crocheting, it brought data to life through the act of data physicalization, aiming to help students explore, understand and communicate data using physical representations while introducing participants to a research creation modality.

The goal was to not only teach students to crochet and create a physical item visualizing temperature data change in Toronto, but to also purposely foster diversity and inclusivity, and build confidence to engage with data. Student participants interacted with local temperature data, reflected, and chose how the use of different yarn colours could best encode the data to communicate data creatively. The workshop offers an introduction to the Maker Literacy programming that will extend to Markham Campus Library’s Data Visualization, Makerspace, Media Creation and Extended Reality (XR) and Gaming spaces.

Using this data visualization skill, a team of researchers has collected stories from graduate students, known as “storytellers,” on their experiences facing harassment due to their research. The team and resulting exhibit, both titled “Bearing Witness: Hate, Harassment and Online Public Scholarship,” are led by Alex Borkowski and Marion Grant, both PhD candidates in the Department of Communication and Culture in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, supported by Associate Professor Natalie Coulter, director, Institute for Research on Digital Literacies. The project will be displayed as part of a larger exhibit during Congress 2023.

Exhibit by Sarah Hancock on research harassment
Exhibit by Sarah Hancock on research harassment

The exhibit invites three artist-researchers to interpret the interviews and create artistic pieces that allow viewers to experience first-hand research harassment. It is part of an ongoing effort by the Bearing Witness team to establish a research community focused on addressing scholar harassment by providing a safe space for students to voice their experiences, and to highlight the need for institutional change and support.

“My installation is meant to be a space of confrontation. I wanted to highlight the ambiguity of the media’s usefulness in our society,” says Hancock.

She explains that she views data physicalization as a bridge between data and comprehension.

“The first reason I decided to use data physicalization is that I wanted a relevant medium and an art form that could highlight their identity as a researcher, yet humanize their work,” says Hancock.

Wong and Carmini led a consultation with Hancock to discover and understand the existing data for online researcher harassment. Although the topic is under-researched, the Libraries were able to support Hancock in finding an academic survey with data the artist could isolate to compare the victimization of researchers with a monthly online presence versus researchers without a monthly online presence.

“I settled on this data because it demonstrates how removing one’s online presence is not a solution, it promotes erasure and demonstrates that online harassment is independent of the researcher’s online usage,” says Hancock.

Leveraging the expertise of Wong and Carmini, Hancock chose to create her data physicalization as two stacks of cease-and-desist letters to represent the victimization of researchers with and without an online presence. Blending mediums, Hancock crafted a physical “online troll” with a QR code linking to a video simulating the threat of online harassment.

“We are really excited that a small spark of inspiration from our data physicalization workshop could snowball into an ongoing discussion on data and research skills, and finally to being part of an exhibit bringing light to an important topic like researcher harassment,” says Wong. “It really shows the potential of creative teaching pedagogies and the strengths of the Libraries’ support throughout the research lifecycle. Through our participatory workshop, we were able engage Sarah to see data in a new light, which led her to her art exhibit project where we could help her to continue to build her research skills; it was very rewarding to assist Sarah’s learning to critically read academic articles, understand how to read complex statistical analyses to retrieve the data she desired, and then to transform that data into a physicalization.”

Borkowski says the current guidance when encountering harassment online is insufficient.

“Researchers are told to respond to harassment by making themselves smaller, like to use a pseudonym, or to not share on Twitter, which is very detrimental, because so much about being a graduate student is about building a public profile and building a network. It also has the result of limiting what research is allowed to take place, which perspectives are silenced, and which are permitted to be shared. We’re really trying to highlight the stakes of the issue, not only for individuals, but for academia more broadly,” says Borkowski.

The Bearing Witness exhibit will be on display from May 27 to June 2 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily in the Special Projects Gallery in the main lobby of the Joan and Martin Goldfarb Centre for Fine Arts at York University (86 Fine Arts Rd., North York).

More information for this project, exhibit and related Congress panels can be found here.

For more information on York University Library workshops, visit To learn more about the data physicalization workshop, visit

Join us at Congress 2023: May 27 to June 2


Dear colleagues,

York University is set to host the 92nd annual Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences together with the Federation for Humanities and Social Sciences from May 27 to June 2. The University will host close to 9,000 attendees and hundreds of scholarly presentations, panels and live performances at Congress 2023.

This year’s theme, Reckonings and Re-Imaginings, invites attendees to place Black and Indigenous knowledges, cultures and voices at the centre of critical discussions to reckon with the past and re-imagine a future that embraces decoloniality, anti-racism, justice, sustainability and equity. York’s commitment to action on these issues and to advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals reflects our commitment to creating positive change in higher education and scholarship.

We encourage you to come to campus during the week and participate in the open-access activities and performances that are part of Congress 2023 programming. Here is some of what you can see and access for free at the Keele Campus during the week:

  • A ‘Re-Imaginings’ Social Tent in the middle of the Commons for community members to gather and enjoy a bite to eat or a beverage together.
  • Live Swag Stage performances at four locations on campus, including in front of Vari Hall, the Vanier basketball court and outside of Accolade East and the Dahdaleh Building.
  • Encounter augmented reality experiences that explore new perspectives on social presence and the power of collective self-organization in public spaces. Use your phone to access the experience at any Info Kiosk.
  • The Art of Scott Library self-guided tour where visitors scan a QR code and learn about acclaimed artists, including Michael Hayden’s “York Electric Murals” and Hugh LeRoy’s “Rainbow Piece.”
  • York Library Exhibits reflecting on the Congress 2023 theme, including Reckoning & Re-Imagining: Deborah Barndt’s Engaged Use of Photography and Celebrating Black Emancipation through Carnival.
  • The Longhouse poem, shaped like a Haudenosaunee longhouse that honours the Oneida core values of a good mind, a good heart, and a strong fire in the Accolade East CIBC Lobby.

Look for the SARIT Test Track in front of Vari Hall on May 30 and June 1, where Congress participants will be test driving these electric vehicles during the week. You can also help build the Congress Community Mural outside the Second Student Centre during the week and contribute to this artwork that will live on campus after Congress.

Community passes are available to those interested in attending these and other York Programming activities organized for Congress and are free to Black and Indigenous community members. We look forward to seeing you there and as a reminder, term dates have been adjusted to align with the timelines for this year’s event.


Lisa Philipps
Provost and Vice-President Academic  

Amir Asif
Vice-President, Research and Innovation

Congress 2023 attendees get a taste of the arts at York

An image from Respair

By Elaine Smith

York University is known for its vibrant, diverse arts programs and the Arts@Congress Showcase, happening on May 27 at 3 p.m. at the Sandra Faire and Ivan Fecan Theatre in Accolade East, brings to Congress 2023 a sampling of this creativity.

“The arts are one of our strengths at York,” says Joel Ong, director of Sensorium: Centre for Digital Art and Technology and a member of the Congress 2023 scholarly planning committee. “This program will be a celebration of the arts and culture at York and a culmination of the Year of the Arts program that has been ongoing at AMPD. “Congress 2023 Director Liz McMahan, Academic Convenor Andrea Davis and the performance facilities team at AMPD led by Jacquie Lazar and I have been working hard to put forth a rich and diverse program that builds on the variety of such performances we’ve had over the year.”

Still from Ancestor73
An image from Ancestor73

The performances scheduled for the afternoon draw on the conference theme Reckonings and Re-imaginings. The roster includes the Gospel Ensemble directed by music faculty Corey Butler; a video piece, Black Ballerina, by dance Professor Syreeta Hector; and three dance pieces choreographed by York students and external guests led by dance Professors Tracey Norman and Patrick Alcedo at AMPD. In addition, the Showcase will feature students from Downsview Secondary School performing a winning entry from a spoken word competition organized by Davis. 

Ancestor 73 is a dance choreographed and performed by alumnus Rayn Cook-Thomas (Gwagwadaxla) from the Kwakwaka’wakw nation in coastal British Columbia. It honours the 73 remaining southern resident orcas living near his home.

Cook-Thomas noted that orcas are important spiritual leaders for him and his nation because they carry ancestral knowledge. His dance piece attempts to show the strength, beauty and spirituality of these mammals as they face the impact humans have had on their ocean home and the detrimental effects colonialism has had for the planet.

AMPD alumna and choreographer Blythe Russell is presenting Respair at the Showcase, an original, contemporary dance duet that she created in a 2022 collaboration with fellow alumni Cook-Thomas and Phoebe Rose Harrington.

An image from Respair
An image from Respair

“I’m so excited to be sharing this piece at Congress,” Russell said. “In creating this new piece, we sought to understand what was driving these two bodies to come together. We discovered a human perspective that produced beauty in the form of a more tender, vulnerable magnetism between two people. Respair is about accepting the challenges that make us who we are and bringing them forward with us in a hopeful way.”

Ong says the Showcase is also a reminder that there are many different forms of expression and exploration and that the creative arts play an integral role in work done in the humanities and social sciences.

York University and the Federation for Humanities and Social Sciences will host Congress 2023 from May 27 to June 2. Register here to attend. Community passes are available and term dates have been adjusted to align with timelines for this year’s event.

York community invited to Pride 2023 Opening Ceremony on June 7

Pride 2023 Spotlight @ York Feature

Join the Centre for Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion (CHREI) in collaboration with the Office of Institutional Events and Student Community & Leadership Development for the York University Pride 2023 Opening Ceremony on Wednesday, June 7 from 12:30 to 2 p.m. at the Vari Hall Rotunda.

The ceremony will feature opening remarks followed by the unfurling of the Pride flag. Attendees can enjoy free treats, snap a selfie with York’s mascot Yeo and learn about 2SLGBTQIA+ resources and services available at York. Engage in the conversation on social media using #YUPride and share what a campus free of homophobia and transphobia looks like, feels like and sounds like to you. 

All York community members are welcome.  

Event details

York University Pride 2023 Opening Ceremony
Date: Wednesday, June 7
Time: 12:30 to 2 p.m.
Location: Vari Hall Rotunda 

Edmonton Elks pick York Lions receiver for 2023 CFL season

Gabriel Appiah-Kubi banner image

Gabriel Appiah-Kubi, Lions receiver and social sciences student at York University, was drafted to the Edmonton Elks for the upcoming Canadian Football League (CFL) season.

Gabriel Appiah-Kubi  close-up portrait
Gabriel Appiah-Kubi

Among Appiah-Kubi’s many noteworthy achievements, he most recently made waves at the inaugural New Era 2023 CFL invitational combine in March, where he placed first in three different events, tied for second in a fourth, and secured his spot at the following national CFL combine.

At the March showcase, Appiah-Kubi posted a 4.48-second 40-yard dash time; a ten-foot-seven and five-eighths inches broad jump; a 37-inch vertical jump, a full inch higher than the runner-up; and a 4.25-second short shuttle, just seven hundredths of a second behind the first-place runner in that event.

Both the regional and national combines welcomed an array of CFL scouts, coaches and team managers, and Appiah-Kubi’s breakout performance at the former made him a name to watch for following the commencement of the 2023 CFL draft.

Appiah-Kubi maintained similarly impressive stats throughout the 2022 football season, and the four seasons prior that he played with the Lions. The five-foot-eleven, 160-pound Brampton, Ont. local played a crucial role in all eight games of the most recent season, earning seven receptions totalling 89 yards – the longest of which was a 29-yard pass during the Lion’s final game against the Ottawa Gee-Gees.

He likewise played all six games of the 2021 season, during which he tied for team lead with 13 receptions for a total of 116 yards. Prior to the cancelled 2020 season, Appiah-Kubi took the field in all eight games throughout 2019, starting in two of those games and securing six receptions for 104 total yards.

In total, through the last three season of Lions football, Appiah-Kubi earned an impressive 26 receptions across 22 games played.

The Edmonton Elks will make their debut on Sunday, June 11 when they face down the Saskatchewan Roughriders in their home city of Regina. At that bout, Appiah-Kubi will reunite with once-teammate turned rival Matt Dean, a former captain and linebacker for the Lions.

This year marks the sixth consecutive season wherein York footballers have been drafted, with Appiah-Kubi being the 11th Lion in that timeframe.

To view the York Lions football schedule for the upcoming season, click here.

Call for stories from graduating students

Spring Convocation 2022 alumni ceremony

York University is looking for students who are graduating to share their story. Students who have overcome significant obstacles, have unique reasons for pursuing studies at York or who have found a new calling while completing their education, Convocation organizers want to celebrate these accomplishments at each ceremony on June 9 (Glendon) and from June 15 to 23 (Keele).

Faculty, course instructors and staff are also encouraged to invite outstanding graduating students to share their stories. Once selected, a member from the York University marketing team will reach out to the featured students. Their stories could be shared on York’s digital channels and with media to highlight student success during convocation. Click here to share your story.

Welcome to the May 2023 issue of ‘Innovatus’

Header banner for INNOVATUS

Welcome to the final issue of Innovatus for the 2022-23 academic year. As we move toward 2023-24, it’s fitting that we end the year with a focus on education, a field that promotes growth and change.

Will Gage
Will Gage

Change is also afoot for Innovatus with my term as associate vice-president, teaching and learning, coming to a close. It has been a pleasure serving as publisher of Innovatus, because it has continually reminded me how prevalent creativity and dedication to innovation in teaching and learning are here at York. Each year, I am delighted as wave after wave of interesting, challenging programs and projects emerge from our Faculties. An enjoyment of learning is something we educators hope to inspire in our students, and from this vantage point, the myriad efforts are reaping rewards with no end in sight. I am proud that the team in this office has helped to disseminate the insights and efforts of so many of York’s excellent minds. 

In this issue, our spotlight shines on the Faculty of Education, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. A number of professors have collaborated in turning their research and experiences into books that can be used to teach others. Working in partnership is one of the University Academic Plan’s priorities, and Carl Everton James, the Jean Augustine Chair in Education, Community and Diaspora, and alumna Leanne Taylor, PhD, examine the experiences of first-generation university students. The inaugural chair holder, Nombuso Dlamini, serves as co-editor of a collection of scholarly essays she and her colleagues wrote during her five-year term. Meanwhile, Gillian Parekh assembled a team of colleagues at York and elsewhere to create an educator’s guide to equity and human rights in special education and a corresponding website.  

Our final story this month isn’t about a book, but about adding new technological education courses to the breadth of York’s offerings so teachers can instruct students who are looking toward jobs in the skilled trades. Tradespeople are in demand across the country, and educators can make those career pathways more inviting and accessible. 

I know you will find these stories illuminating, given that education is our business – and our passion, something that is reinforced as I review the Innovatus stories each month. 

As I leave my role as publisher, I thank you all for your interest in and support for Innovatus. I have no doubt that the team will continue to provide you with a stellar mix of interesting, informative stories each month. 

Best wishes,

Will Gage
AVP, Teaching & 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

Groundbreaking work in Faculty of Education will foster positive change
Faculty of Education Dean Rob Savage shares how teaching and learning reflects a focus on innovation and improvement to shape and respond to the complexities of education in the 21st century.

Faculty of Education responding to need for careers in skilled trades
Professional Learning in the Faculty of Education has introduced four new courses to address the shortage of high school teachers with qualifications to teach skilled trades.

Book highlights the importance of supports for university students
A book co-authored by Professor Carl James, York University Jean Augustine Chair in Education, Community and Diaspora, profiles York alumni as first-generation students.

Human rights and equity in special education
It’s time to rethink our approach to special education, says Gillian Parekh, and she and a group of fellow educators and scholars have put their energies into creating change with a guide on equity and human rights in special education.

Collaboration continues to be modus operandi for inaugural Jean Augustine Chair
Inaugural Jean Augustine Chair Nombuso Dlamini reflects on collaboration that led to collection of published essays.

Book highlights the importance of supports for university students

Campus walk spring students

By Elaine Smith

“Education will get you to the station, but can you get on the train and will you know where to get off?” says Professor Carl James, York University Jean Augustine Chair in Education, Community and Diaspora, building on a quote by a Ghanaian refugee, Kofi, that refers to the experiences of first-generation students attending university. In other words, being admitted to university is only the first step; the next is navigating the terrain. 

A book written by James and Leanne Taylor, an associate professor in the Faculty of Education at Brock University, profiles York alumni who participated in a 2002 pilot project, or, as Taylor calls it, “an intervention,” as incoming undergraduates. The project was designed to support first-generation university students during their undergraduate years, recognizing that they didn’t have parents who could offer them insights into the world of post-secondary education. 

“The barriers that they face in accessing higher education don’t go away once they’re on campus,” Taylor says.

First-Generation Student Experiences in Higher Education: Counterstories (Routledge: 2022) catches up with a selection of these students 20 years later and profiles their experiences prior to university, during university and in the years afterward. It is subtitled Counterstories “as a way of pushing back on ideas of the ideal student,” Taylor said. The book highlights the students’ successes and challenges and offers insights into the types of supports that first-generation students find most useful. 

The participating students faced barriers due to race, community, class, gender and/or sexual orientation. 

“We wanted to see how we could assist them when they got to university,” James says. “We as professors don’t necessarily realize that they have no idea how to negotiate university or the campus.” 

The “intervention” 

The pilot project required each participant to take part in an entrance life history interview and follow-up interviews and to keep journals of their experiences. They interviewed family members to learn more about their perceptions and expectation and also had work placements. In addition, Taylor ran a weekly group session, referred to as the ”common hour,” where students could discuss their experiences, goals and aspirations. 

“We worked with two cohorts of students over three years and there was a weekly group meeting, a common hour, where we discussed their experiences, goals and aspirations,” says Taylor, who served as the research assistant for the project while working toward her PhD at York. Combining those sessions with all the other information, “We had a rich, rounded idea of what they needed.”  

During the course of their weekly sessions, Taylor became friends with many of the students, who weren’t much younger than she was. These strong ties made it easy to reconnect with them after many years and arrange further interviews. 

“It was something special to go back and see where their lives have shifted,” she says. 

Many of the students said the weekly common hour was pivotal in their success in navigating the subtleties of university culture and in helping them balance peer and parental expectations with their actual university experiences. They were able to identify the existing conflicts and the areas where there was a lack of support – a gap that parents didn’t always know how to fill. 

“The students also challenged the idea that people from marginalized backgrounds are always behind,” Taylor adds. “They drew on other types of capital, such as community, to help them succeed. They also framed themselves as belonging, but were aware that others saw them as students who were admitted as part of an access program.” 

Taylor says the book challenges the idea that all first-generation students are similar; they are complex and “understood the intersectional pieces of their lives.” She believes universities and schools need to understand from where students draw support and how to help support and mentor them. 

“We also see the counterstories as telling us how students resisted and challenged the university structure and pushed back on the dominant narrative,” she says. “We have to realize that there are inequities in the institution itself.” 

Practical applications 

These discoveries should help inform the ways universities and individual faculty members work with first-generation students and how they address the students’ needs. 

“The book is a useful teaching tool,” James says. “I have used it with teachers and assigned various teachers a student in the book so they could compare their own stories, and participants identified with different stories. Many of them talked of having similar students in their classes.” 

He has also used the book with graduate students when teaching Education in the Urban Context. 

“They liked the book and were able to identify with some of the experiences, and they pointed out that some of the students didn’t always see their own privileges.” 

The book also dovetails nicely with York’s academic priority, from access to success, as set forth in the University Academic Plan. 

Creating and celebrating changemakers at EUC

gold and red stars

The Faculty of Environmental & Urban Change (EUC) at York University was formed in 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, and began forging its identity during the challenging period of isolation and remote course delivery. The first Changemakers Celebration – slated to be an annual event – ushered in a special joy when the achievements of EUC educators were commemorated in person.

“I wanted to accomplish two things this year,” EUC Dean Alice Hovorka told the assembled students, staff and faculty during the April event. “I wanted us to build community, especially coming out of the pandemic when we find ourselves with new ways of being in the world, and I wanted to document our impact – thus, our Changemakers event.

“As a new Faculty, the first couple of years were spent telling people all about who we are, what we do and what our programs are. Now, I want us to tell stories about what we’re accomplishing and the impact we’re having on the York University community and well beyond.”

The celebration marked the launch of the inaugural EUC Impact Report and lauded student researchers, volunteers and leaders. First up were the recipients of the 2022 Dean’s Changemaker Awards: William Anthony, Justin Chan, Thereza Eric, Samantha Navalta and Kaitlin Pal. These five students were given paid placement opportunities with EUC’s living labs and were required to design and pursue a project that created change.

Dean Alice Hovorka, Kaitlin Pal, Thereza Eric, Justin Chan and William Anthony
Dean Alice Hovorka, Kaitlin Pal, Thereza Eric, Justin Chan and William Anthony

Many other students were recognized for their extra-curricular contributions to EUC during the celebration. Ann Tsirgielis, EUC’s student success advisor, congratulated the Faculty’s peer mentors, including Ryan Raymond Faria-Wong, the program coordinator.

Faria-Wong called his peers “highly dedicated individuals who go above and beyond to offer their knowledge and time to help others. … peer mentors assist in navigating questions and uncertainties and that goes a long way.”

Ann Tsirgielis, Summer Solmes, Kaitlin Pal, Ryan Raymond Faria-Wong, Phuong Tia Nguyen, Maya Olszewska, Sofia Colalillo, Emma Bramante, Catherine Lombardo
Ann Tsirgielis, Summer Solmes, Kaitlin Pal, Ryan Raymond Faria-Wong, Phuong Tia Nguyen, Maya Olszewska, Sofia Colalillo, Emma Bramante, Catherine Lombardo

Summer Solmes, a student leader, spoke about the value of student clubs, whose members were also celebrated.

“Student groups drive change in this Faculty because they are composed of hardworking and passionate individuals,” she said. “Being a member of a student group offers you a chance to grow into the person you will one day become; it is a chance to manifest your future self.”

Rosanna Chowdhury, experiential education coordinator, and Deena Shaffer, director of EUC’s Office of Student and Academic Services, offered praise for the many other engaged students, including participants in the governance process, work-study students, volunteers and student leaders. EUC recognized 50 graduate and 11 undergraduate students earning academic and research awards, including the EUC Research Award (EUCRA), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) awards, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) awards and many more.

The celebration also honoured recipients of the 2022/23 EUC Dean’s Awards.

Ilan Kapoor, Nashwa Khan, Joanne Huy
Ilan Kapoor, Nashwa Khan, Joanne Huy

Professor Ilan Kapoor was the recipient of the Dean’s Teaching Award (faculty) with his nominators praising his exceptional pedagogical abilities: “He brings complex and dense subject matter alive, encourages critical thinking and allows students to be their best.”

Nashwa Khan, received the Dean’s Teaching Award (graduate student) for her pedagogical innovation and student support. She noted: “As a first-generation student and a Muslim woman, I understand the challenges that students from unique, diverse backgrounds often face. I have strived to make my educational practice one that is rooted in equity and care.”

Paul Elliot, Nicki Hemmings & Dean Alice Hovorka
Paul Elliot, Nicki Hemmings and Dean Alice Hovorka

Joanne Huy, an alumni officer and EUC alumna, received the Dean’s Staff Recognition Award for her “unwavering commitment to excellence, creativity, innovation and leadership,” and her pivotal role in building community.

Finally, the Dean’s Impact Leader Award went to Nicki Hemmings, the departing human resources business partner, for her “substantive impact on our souls, hearts, processes, structures and culture,” said Hovorka.

The event concluded with the launch of the EUC Impact Report 2022/23.

“I want everyone to appreciate what EUC is doing to impact the world around us,” said Hovorka. “We’re enhancing the student experience, facilitating research excellence, advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and championing equity and Black inclusion.

“Like this celebration, I really see the report as a representation of all of us putting our best foot forward and working for more justice and sustainability in the world.”

For highlights from the inaugural Changemakers event, see the video below.