Lassonde launches Canada’s first fully work-integrated degree program

The Lassonde School of Engineering at York University has launched the Digital Technologies program, Canada’s first fully work-integrated degree program, designed to address the country’s digital skills shortage, which finds 80 per cent of Canadian businesses reporting they need more workers to meet their technological needs.

In the new program, learners will be employed full-time for four years, earning a salary while studying for a bachelor of applied science (BASc) degree. The first cohort of students includes professionals looking to upskill; university and college transfer students; and high-potential high-school graduates aspiring to a career in technology.

Students will spend approximately 80 per cent of their work hours on the job, and 20 per cent dedicated to theoretical, in-class learning, delivered during five-day block periods every five to six weeks. Those enrolled will continuously apply their academic learning towards real revenue-generating roles while integrating their industry knowledge in class.

The students have been hired by a range of organizations looking to attract, develop and retain talented software developers, cyber security analysts and data scientists. The organizations include: ALSTOM Transport Canada, Bank of Montreal, Ceridian Canada, Ontario Power Generation, Quanser Consulting and Shopify.

Through Lassonde’s next-generation work-integrated learning program, students hired by the partner organizations can make meaningful connections between academic and work learning experiences, and access the latest expertise, knowledge and resources that a university provides.

Jane Goodyer
Jane Goodyer

“To scale up Canada’s tech workforce, universities and employers need to collaborate to create and facilitate more affordable, inclusive post-secondary education pathways to digital technologies careers. We’re doing just that with the new Digital Technologies program, partnering with six forward-thinking organizations to empower individuals from groups who have not traditionally been represented in the information and communications technology sector,” says Jane Goodyer, dean of the Lassonde School of Engineering. “This is important, with research showing that employers with a more diverse workforce perform better financially and contribute to a more decolonizing, equitable, diverse and inclusive society.”

The companies Ceridian and Shopify were a part of Lassonde’s “trailblazer” group of 15 businesses, public sector organizations and industry associations that helped co-design and co-develop the program. Senior technology experts from these organizations contributed to curriculum and learning outcomes, ensuring the program delivers the required knowledge, skills and professionalism of graduates.

Based on a proven U.K. model and Lassonde’s partnership with Shopify, offering its Dev Degree program at York (50 per cent workplace and 50 per cent classroom) since 2018, the new Digital Technologies program will operate on a full-calendar-year basis, with learners earning 30 credits per year. It will be offered through York’s Markham Campus and in its first year will be delivered through York University’s Learning Space in IBM Canada’s headquarters in Markham, Ont. In addition to accessing York University student services, learners will have a learning co-ordinator, professional skills coach, and a company supervisor to help mentor and support them. The experience and contacts they gain from working full-time throughout their degree are intended to give them a solid base for success after they graduate.

LA&PS professor’s book explores ‘datafied’ world

Many books standing upright, pictured from above.

York University Assistant Professor Natasha Tusikov, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, has co-written a book about the new “datafied” world, and how control over knowledge has become its own ideology. The New Knowledge: Information, Data and the Remaking of Global Power (Rowman & Littlefield, 2023) is a guide to and analysis of today’s knowledge-driven society.

Natasha Tusikov
Natasha Tusikov

Whether it’s social media platforms collecting their users’ personal data to sell advertising, governments engaging in surveillance in the name of national security, companies like OpenAI scouring the internet to power its generative AI chatbot, ChatGPT, or a government welfare department using data to deny access to essential services, companies and governments are scrambling for more data, and more ways to use it. Throughout it all, tech companies and data experts are being increasingly relied upon, sometimes with unfortunate results.

What are the consequences of this transformation into a knowledge-driven society? In The New Knowledge, Tusikov and co-writer Blayne Haggart, a political science professor at Brock University, argue that more data doesn’t necessarily lead to a more enlightened or just society. Instead, it has concentrated power out of the hands of individual citizens and smaller countries and into the hands of a few companies and countries, while also reshaping basic concepts of property, ownership and control. The global race to create and control data and intellectual property, they say, is leading us inexorably into a world of persistent surveillance by governments and companies.

Cover of the book "The New Knowledge: Information, Data and the Remaking of Global Power"
Cover of the book The New Knowledge: Information, Data and the Remaking of Global Power

More than an examination of the data-driven society, The New Knowledge proposes a solution – knowledge decommodification – designed to ensure that new knowledge is not treated simply as a commodity to be bought and sold, but as a way to meet the needs of the individuals and communities that create this knowledge in the first place.

“We wrote this book because we are witnessing a transformation in the global economy,” says Tusikov.

The catalyst for the book, she says, was when Google’s Sidewalk Labs company announced in 2017 that it won the bid to propose a smart-city project in Toronto. “Missing from this exciting utopian vision, however, was any concrete detail of who would own and control the intellectual property (patents, copyright and trademarks) and data emanating from the smart city.”

As scholars who study intellectual property and data governance, Tusikov and Haggart were concerned that this project was leaving the control over knowledge unaddressed – a trend that continued, she says, until the project’s cancellation in May 2020.

“We use the Sidewalk Labs smart-city project as the book’s leitmotif,” Tusikov explains. “This case illustrates how the control over knowledge…is central to the global economy. Simply put, those who control intellectual property and data flows, like Google in its search engine or the U.S. government in its surveillance programs, can exert economic and security power. We hope that this book will help explain the shifts that are occurring throughout society.”

The New Knowledge: Information, Data and the Remaking of Global Power is available for purchase and is free to download (under “features”) on the publisher’s website.

k2i academy’s Bringing STEM to Life empowers young minds

Two young woman work on a technical project

Bringing STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) to Life, a program run by the k2i (kindergarten to industry) academy at York University’s Lassonde School of Engineering, allows students entering grades 11 and 12 to participate in a one-month paid summer research experience while earning an Ontario high-school course credit in physics or English. This year, 100 per cent of high-school students earned their credit with a cumulative course median over 91 per cent across all programs.

Bringing STEM to Life, a work-integrated learning program, was designed in collaboration with the Toronto District School Board, York Region District School Board and Peel District School Board, with a specific focus on providing opportunities for students from marginalized communities. Black and Indigenous youth, students from priority communities and girls, who are traditionally underrepresented in STEM, were invited to partake in the program, to help break down systemic barriers and create more equitable access to STEM education.

“Together with our valued school boards, teachers, undergraduate students, faculty members and Lassonde staff, we are united as a community in our collective efforts to address inequities in STEM career pathways and open up opportunities for high-school students,” says Jane Goodyer, dean of Lassonde.

K2i academy Lisa Cole
Lisa Cole

“By creating a program where students can gain valuable work experience while earning a high-school credit, especially a prerequisite credit to STEM pathways, we help level the playing field for those who may otherwise have been pushed out of post-secondary STEM pathways,” says Lisa Cole, director of programming for k2i academy.

Throughout the summer, students worked as high-school lab assistants together with a dedicated team of undergraduate STEM student mentors, k2i academy staff, Lassonde faculty advisors, as well as high-school physics and English teachers. Guided by the program’s focus on sustainable development, students explored diverse research topics such as robotics, to understand space, designing smart power grids for sustainable cities and engineering brain-like tissue for simulations and testing.

The program culminated in a symposium at the end of the summer, which provided an opportunity for young researchers to showcase their hard work and present their findings to a wider audience, discussing their research and its potential impact on society, the environment and various industries.

The event aims to not only celebrate the students’ accomplishments, but highlight the importance of collaborative efforts between educational institutions, government bodies and private organizations to advance STEM education and empower young minds to shape a sustainable and equitable future.

k2i academy’s partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Education has enabled this program to reach 400-plus high-school students with a team of 130-plus undergraduate STEM student mentors since June 2020.

“The Ministry of Education’s partnership with k2i academy has become one of the most consequential relationships that the ministry has,” says Patrick Case, assistant deputy minister of equity secretariat at the Ministry of Education. “This program is the face of change in STEM – breaking down barriers and opening doors that were previously closed for so many deserving but often overlooked young people. This is what change looks like.”

Desjardins Group funding helps expand entrepreneurial programs at York

Multi-ethnic startup business conference banner image

La version française suit la version anglaise. 

A new gift from Desjardins to York University’s Innovation York will expand two critical accelerator programs that provide training and support in entrepreneurship and help promote innovation.

The funding will continue both Desjardins and York’s commitment to fostering positive change for diverse local communities and uniquely global perspectives.

The gift supports two initiatives at York, with an infusion over five years to GENIAL (Glendon Entrepreneuriat et Innovation A L’International) and over two years to ELLA (Entrepreneurial Leadership & Learning Alliance).

“We are thrilled to partner with Desjardins to create greater access and opportunities for women-led businesses,” says Jennifer MacLean, assistant vice-president, innovation and research partnerships at York University. “This partnership will enable York University’s YSpace to expand our impact in the community and continue to foster the skills and talents of young entrepreneurs.” 

GENIAL is a bilingual initiative that offers training, extracurricular activities, and a research program in entrepreneurship and innovation. Desjardins’ gift will allow GENIAL to scale up its bilingual Entrepreneurial Skills Passport (ESP) program that is currently offered to Glendon students. Through the ESP program, GENIAL has trained a diverse population of students from liberal arts and business backgrounds, including domestic and international students enrolled in business, economics, communications, translation, international studies, sociology and psychology. GENIAL was launched in 2017 by Angelo Dossou-Yovo, associate professor of management and entrepreneurship.

Desjardins also supported York’s first accelerator focused on supporting women-led product- and service-based businesses. The donation to ELLA – a program created by women, for women – will support the program for the next two years. The funding will help with the sustainability of ELLA’s accelerator programming that provides women entrepreneurs with access to the community, knowledge and resources they need to scale their business. 

“With Desjardins’ support, YSpace’s ELLA program will be able to help more women entrepreneurs, particularly those in consumer packaged goods and professional services, take their businesses to greater heights and scale up into national and international markets,” said David Kwok, associate director, entrepreneurship. “This gift recognizes the value in supporting women-led product- and service-based businesses, providing them with resources as robust as those currently found in the tech sector.” 

To recognize their contribution and commitment, Desjardins is invited to take part in ELLA’s national advisory committee and act as subject-matter experts to help shape the program’s future. 

“Entrepreneurs play an important role in our society. They are creating innovative solutions to the needs of Canadians and the challenges they face,” said Guy Cormier, president and CEO of Desjardins Group. “We are proud to support York University and their young entrepreneurs. They will help shape the world of tomorrow and we’re incredibly happy to be part of something that will give them the resources and tools they need to pursue their goals in life.”

Students and other members of the York community are invited to attend a public talk by Cormier on Sept. 12 at the Schulich Executive Learning Centre on York’s Keele Campus. Hear Cormier’s professional journey, starting as a cashier, and how he worked his way up through Desjardins to become the youngest president in the history of the organization. He will also talk openly about the challenges he’s faced in his career and his vision of modern leadership, and answer audience questions.

Click here to register for the event on Sept. 12:

Le financement du Mouvement Desjardins permet d’élargir les programmes d’entrepreneuriat à York 

Un nouveau don de Desjardins à l’Université York permettra d’élargir deux programmes accélérateurs cruciaux qui offrent une formation et un soutien à l’entrepreneuriat et qui contribuent à promouvoir l’innovation. 

Le financement permettra à Desjardins et à York de poursuivre leur engagement envers la création de changements positifs pour les communautés locales diversifiées et d’offrir des perspectives mondiales uniques.

Le don appuie deux initiatives à York avec un apport sur cinq ans pour GENIAL (Glendon ENtrepreneuriat et Innovation À L’international) et un autre sur deux ans pour ELLA (Entrepreneurial Leadership & Learning Alliance).

« Nous sommes ravis de nous associer à Desjardins pour améliorer l’accès et les possibilités d’entreprises dirigées par des femmes, déclare Jennifer MacLean, vice-présidente adjointe des partenariats en matière d’innovation et de recherche à l’Université York. Ce partenariat permettra au YSpace de l’Université York d’accroître son effet sur la communauté et de continuer à encourager les compétences et les talents des jeunes entrepreneurs et entrepreneuses. » 

GENIAL est une initiative bilingue qui propose des formations, des activités extrascolaires et un programme de recherche sur l’entrepreneuriat et l’innovation. Le don de Desjardins permettra à GENIAL d’amplifier le programme de formation bilingue Passeport Compétences Entrepreneuriales (PCE) actuellement proposé à la population étudiante de Glendon. Grâce au programme PCE, GENIAL a formé une population étudiante diversifiée issue des arts libéraux et du monde des affaires, notamment des étudiantes et étudiants nationaux et internationaux inscrits à des programmes de commerce, économie, communication, traduction, études internationales, sociologie et psychologie. 

GENIAL a été lancé en 2017 par Angelo Dossou-Yovo, professeur agrégé de gestion et d’entrepreneuriat.

Desjardins soutient également le premier accélérateur de York axé sur le soutien aux entreprises de produits et de services dirigées par des femmes. Le don fait à ELLA — un programme créé par des femmes, pour des femmes — financera le programme pendant les deux prochaines années. Ce financement contribuera à la durabilité du programme d’accélération d’ELLA, qui permet aux entrepreneuses d’accéder à la communauté, aux connaissances et aux ressources nécessaires pour développer leur entreprise. 

« Grâce au soutien de Desjardins, le programme ELLA de YSpace sera en mesure d’aider davantage d’entrepreneuses, notamment dans les secteurs des biens de consommation et des services professionnels, à faire progresser leur entreprise et à s’implanter sur les marchés nationaux et internationaux, a déclaré David Kwok, directeur associé, Entrepreneuriat. Ce don reconnaît la valeur du soutien apporté aux entreprises de produits et de services dirigées par des femmes, en leur fournissant des ressources aussi solides que celles que l’on trouve actuellement dans le secteur de la technologie. » 

Pour reconnaître leur contribution et leur engagement, les Caisses Desjardins sont invitées à participer au comité consultatif d’ELLA et à agir en tant qu’expertes en la matière pour façonner l’avenir du programme. 

« Les chefs d’entreprise jouent un rôle important dans notre société en créant des solutions novatrices pour répondre aux besoins de la population canadienne et aux défis auxquels elle est confrontée, a déclaré Guy Cormier, président et chef de la direction du Mouvement Desjardins. Nous sommes fiers de soutenir l’Université York et ses jeunes chefs d’entreprise qui contribueront à façonner le monde de demain. Nous nous réjouissons de participer à un projet qui leur donnera les ressources et les outils nécessaires pour poursuivre leurs objectifs de vie. »

La population étudiante et les autres membres de la communauté de York sont invités à assister à une conférence publique de M. Cormier le 12 septembre de 16 h à 18 h au Schulich Executive Learning Centre sur le campus Keele de York. Découvrez le parcours professionnel de M. Cormier, qui a commencé comme caissier et a gravi les échelons au sein de Desjardins pour devenir le plus jeune président de l’histoire de l’organisation. Il parlera ouvertement des défis auxquels il a été confronté au cours de sa carrière ainsi que de sa vision du leadership moderne et répondra aux questions du public.

Cliquez ici pour vous inscrire à l’événement du 12 septembre :

Professor gamifies cybersecurity education for middle schoolers

young kid using laptop

Sana Maqsood, an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science at York University’s Lassonde School of Engineering, has developed a web-based game to educate students in grades 6 to 8 about cybersecurity, privacy and digital literacy issues.

Sana Maqsood
Sana Maqsood

Maqsood’s game, A Day in the Life of the Jos, takes users through a series of decision-making scenarios encountered by two relatable characters who are highly active on social media. Each scenario addresses online challenges that students may face in the real world, such as cyberbullying, misinformation and privacy violations. As users decide how to respond to the encountered scenarios, they are provided with the results and consequences of their choices, as well as informative feedback and guidance on the best approaches to future situations.

In collaboration with a team of digital literacy experts, teachers and researchers, A Day in the Life of the Jos was created during Maqsood’s PhD fellowship with MediaSmarts, a non-profit organization focused on digital and media literacy.

“Elementary schools were using an outdated quiz tool for digital literacy that was developed all the way back in the year 2000,” says Maqsood. “This motivated the entire project. We wanted to create something that was more engaging and relevant for students today.”

Since its creation, four empirical user studies have proven A Day in the Life of the Jos to be educationally effective and engaging for both students and teachers, leading to its successful adoption in 550 schools across Canada.

The project is representative of Maqsood’s ongoing work exploring the use of games to elevate traditional teaching methods and improve student learning experiences.

“Gamification is very effective for teaching children,” explains Maqsood, because using educational games allows learners to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills and increase knowledge retention of complex concepts.

Next, Maqsood wants to focus on developing educational games on a range of other topics, and for a range of users – including students from low socio-economic households that may not have access to progressive technology, thereby aiming to remove barriers and provide supportive tools for education. Some of these tools include creative board games that are entirely developed by her research team.

Maqsood is also pursuing ongoing research contributing to shaping the future of teaching in K to 12 institutions through active collaboration with Lassonde’s k2i academy throughout Summer 2023, working with a group of high school students exploring a research question related to educational games.

To advance her work, Maqsood is currently recruiting undergraduate and graduate students who are interested in human-centred security and privacy. To learn more, contact

Global Perspectives program supports international knowledge exchange

Close up of business person hand painting Earth planet

Since 2022, over 300 students from 28 Chinese universities have benefited from the Global Perspectives program, a partnership between York University’s Asian Business and Management Program (ABMP) and the Faculty of Science.

Established in 2022, the Global Perspectives program offers a series of impactful online, non-degree courses that cater to various academic interests and career aspirations by providing students with cutting-edge knowledge and in-demand practical skills, and fostering international insights in Chinese university undergraduates.

“Through this initiative, we are fostering global knowledge exchange and empowering students to make a positive impact on the world. The programs are also designed to drive positive change by aligning closely with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to address critical global challenges and promote sustainable development,” says Hugo Chen, director of international collaborations and partnerships at the Faculty of Science.

The Global Perspectives programs – which cover areas like data visualization, water and wastewater treatment, scientific literacy and more – are an adjunct to Chinese students’ core academic curriculum, delivering an immersive experience led by experienced university instructors and industry practitioners. They provide both a theoretical understanding and industry-ready practical skills, preparing students to tackle real-world challenges. English-language tutoring is integrated into the program, ensuring that students also develop the essential technical language and communication skills necessary for thriving in a global academic and professional environment.

Looking to the future, ABMP Program Director Elena Caprioni aims to provide an even greater number of Chinese undergraduates with enriching experiences and invaluable international exposure through these transformative opportunities, helping students gain unique insights and capabilities that enable them to thrive in a globalized world. “While the focus remains on empowering students for a globalized world, the collaboration between York and Chinese universities seeks to create a powerful impact that transcends borders and helps build a more interconnected, sustainable and prosperous world for all,” says Caprioni.

Launch of iClass to enhance LA&PS student learning

A group of five York University students walking down York Boulevard in the fall

By Elaine Smith

York University’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LA&PS) is introducing iClass (innovative, Collaborative Learning And Student Space), a new eLearning hub that will become operational during the 2023-24 academic year.

The technology-enhanced learning spaces that make up the hub will be housed at 117 South Ross Building, thanks to funding from the Ontario government’s Training Equipment and Renewal Fund, intended to help modernize post-secondary facilities.

Anita Lam
Anita Lam

“Because York University aims to diversify whom, what and how we teach, in accordance with the University Academic Plan, we hope to intentionally design learning spaces that can help facilitate 21st-century teaching and learning,” said Anita Lam, co-chair of York’s Joint Task Force on the Future of Pedagogy and former associate dean, teaching and learning, for LA&PS.

“By refreshing existing spaces and equipping them with flexible furniture, iClass enables students to engage in collaborative and active learning. During COVID, students missed out on opportunities for peer-to-peer interactions, discussions and collaborative group work,” continued Lam. “These high-impact learning activities remain important for students across different modes of course delivery.”

iClass will include three separate types of teaching and learning spaces. One space will be a dedicated drop-in learning space for students to engage in online courses while on campus.

The hub will also feature two tech-enhanced classrooms for instructors to experiment with pedagogical innovations and deliver pilots or special online courses. Both classrooms will be equipped for Hyflex teaching and learning, allowing instructors to bring the outside world into their classrooms in a variety of ways. For example, they can bring in a virtual guest speaker from across the globe, or allow LA&PS students to learn alongside students from another university.

The third type of space that will be part of iClass is a one-button studio that allows both novices and tech gurus the opportunity to create digital content.

“One-button studios offer non-technical users the ability to quickly and easily create audiovisual content,” said Lam. “They were originally developed at Penn State University but have quickly spread to upwards of 100 institutions.”

Lam said there can be many uses for the one-button production studio: instructors can create high-quality lecture recordings for online courses; and students can create audiovisual (AV) content as part of their course-based assessments (e.g. video presentations).

With invaluable assistance from York planners, Facilities Services and AV support services, among others, Lam and Nathan Chow, LA&PS director of information and learning technology, worked together to bring iClass to life. For Chow, this project offered a unique opportunity to “showcase the business value of [information technology] (IT), and how IT teams can meaningfully collaborate on strategic initiatives that allow instructors and students to thrive in new learning environments.”

“Coming out of the pandemic, faculty members realized that they needed both space and time to try new educational technologies and teaching methods, so iClass is an attempt to offer instructors a campus space for pedagogical experimentation and play,” said Lam. “Our iClass space complements eClass, by offering an in-person playground for transformative teaching and learning activities and practices.”

Lam adds: “As a pedagogy-first initiative, iClass suggests a different way of designing and redesigning learning spaces at York. Because these spaces can transform teaching and learning experiences, they can have a profound impact on how instructors and students engage in 21st-century learning.”

“We are thrilled to introduce this innovative hub that is set to transform the learning landscape at the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies,” shares LA&PS Dean JJ McMurtry. “This project is a testament to the dedication and collaborative spirit of our community. Congratulations to Anita Lam, Nathan Chow, and the Teaching and Learning and e-services teams who worked tirelessly to bring iClass to life.”

OsgoodePD expands construction, infrastructure offerings with two new programs

A modern bridge lit up at night with a cityscape behind it

In response to a growing demand for construction-related legal education, Osgoode Professional Development (OsgoodePD) is launching a new Certificate in Public-Private Partnership (P3) Law and Practice in Canada next month, with a new Professional LLM program in Construction Law set to launch in September 2024.

For more than a decade, OsgoodePD’s popular Certificate in Construction Law has offered professionals in the industry intensive, practical education on the legal issues impacting construction. Meanwhile, elective courses in construction law have been available to Professional LLM students in Osgoode’s Energy & Infrastructure Law and Business Law programs. Andrea Lee, a co-founding program director of the new Professional LLM in Construction Law alongside Osgoode Professor and Chartered Arbitrator Janet Walker, has witnessed an increased demand for legal expertise in her construction niche, in both her private practice and her role as an OsgoodePD instructor. She says the new LLM program will help relieve some of that pressure.

“There is certainly an appetite for more construction law courses, so it’s great that Osgoode is taking things to the next level,” Lee says. While lawyers who deal regularly with construction law issues or advise industry professionals are obvious candidates for the new program, Lee says it is also likely to appeal to lawyers looking to gain insight into construction law to complement their existing practice, or even transition into this area on a full-time basis.

Chris Bennett, one of three Chairs of OsgoodePD’s new Certificate in Public-Private Partnership (P3) Law and Practice in Canada, shares a similar sentiment regarding the new certificate program. The coming-of-age process for P3 projects has proven turbulent, he says, with many private-sector players struggling to get projects done within the rigid structure and risk-transfer profile of a traditional P3 model.

While traditional P3s continue to be used, the risk is too much for many, says Bennett, leaving public owners with a dwindling number of private-sector partners willing to bid on them. As a result, he says the public sector is increasingly open to new methods for delivering large and complex infrastructure projects, with innovative models emerging to reflect the changing market conditions.

“We’re entering a very evolutionary phase of P3, where different types of partnership are available, so we’re reassessing what risk allocation looks like, and testing new models,” Bennett says, adding that this makes the timing perfect for the launch of Osgoode’s new certificate.

“It’s all about keeping Canada on the leading edge of infrastructure globally,” says Bennett.

OsgoodePD’s Certificate in Public-Private Partnership (P3) Law and Practice in Canada is an open-enrolment course, accepting registrations now. Applications for Osgoode’s LLM in Construction Law open Oct. 1. Fill out this form to receive program updates.

To view additional construction and infrastructure offerings, visit the OsgoodePD website.

New this fall: cross-disciplinary certificate in children’s literature

Two people exchanging a stack of books

A new certificate program launching this fall through York University’s Department of Humanities answers a request from students to have their coursework in children’s literature recognized.

Students in the program, offered by the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LAPS), will have the opportunity to complete a cross-disciplinary certificate in children’s literature while completing a major or minor degree in children, childhood and youth studies; humanities; or English.

Alison Halsall
Alison Halsall
Cheryl Cowdy
Cheryl Cowdy

“We offer a breadth of courses in children’s literature few other departments at York University or in Canada can match,” explains Alison Halsall, a professor in the Department of Humanities, who together with Professor Cheryl Cowdy led the development of this certificate. “Many students in the Children, Childhood & Youth (CCY) Program also complete courses in children’s literature administered by the departments of English at the Keele and Glendon campuses. All these courses have high student demand and enrolment.”

The undergraduate certificate will recognize and value the importance of children’s literature in the study of constructions of children, childhood and youth, says Cowdy. It will review many of the methodological approaches that have governed and continue to govern the literature intended for young people.

This cross-disciplinary certificate in children’s literature is designed to allow students to engage with texts in the field to examine how modes of representation shape perceptions of children and youth in the contemporary world.  

Students will take a total of 24 credits in courses reflecting the certificate’s specific humanities approach. Two of the core courses for this certificate ensure that students have the opportunity to work with materials that are part of the Children’s Literature collection housed in the Clara Thomas & Special Collections Archive in Scott Library.

In 2020, the CCY program launched a unique 3000-level research methods course in children’s literature scholarship, CCY 3998: The Child and the Book: Research Methods, and a 4000-level honours research project, CCY 4998, that makes use of the Scott Library collection while providing students with valuable experiential education opportunities and training in the distinctive methods of children’s literature research.

The certificate will be housed in the LA&PS faculty’s department of Humanities, administered by the CCY program, and offered as a concurrent option.

“This certificate will be particularly useful for students entering into the communication or media industries, education, advertising and the arts, as well as those interested in careers in children’s book publishing and library studies,” says Cowdy.

Those interested should contact Elena Selevko at and/or Alison Halsall at for more information.

Faculty of Science sees record growth in experiential education

Diverse students working together

Over 2022-23, the Faculty of Science’s experiential education (EE) program has seen record growth, with co-op applications increasing by 180 per cent and internship applications increasing nearly 140 per cent over the previous year. As well, this summer, 110 student opportunities were posted by 21 employers.

“Much of the growth has been due to the efforts of our EE staff and faculty members in establishing connections and proper channels for support and feedback, such as creating our EE Advisory Committee and connecting with the YU Experience Hub, Career Centre and YSpace. We also built a partnership with BioTalent,” said Michael Scheid, associate dean of students in the Faculty of Science.

EE opportunities through the Faculty allow students to deepen their learning and apply theories learned in the classroom to hands-on, paid work experiences. These opportunities consist of co-ops, which allow students to alternate between periods of work experiences and periods of study, and internships, which offer students, who have completed their third year, to start a work placement for four to 16 months before returning to school to finish their degree.

Three students share highlights of the program’s ability to provide a positive and excellent way to learn new technical and collaboration skills, to gain work experience and to expand professional networks.

Wania Khan

Wania Khan
Wania Khan

Biomedical science student Wania Khan is participating in a one-year internship at Sanofi, a health-care and pharmaceutical company, on the Bioprocess Research and Development team, where she is assisting with experiments as part of a vaccine research project.

“The most important learning skill I gained is dexterity, where I was able to take samples directly from fermenters using a syringe while also focusing on clamping and unclamping various tubes without contaminating the culture inside the fermenter promptly,” she said. “This experiential education opportunity has helped me gain new networks and friendships, i.e. working closely with scientists, technicians and other co-ops from different universities and educational backgrounds.”

Alexandria Nelson

Alexandria Nelson
Alexandria Nelson

Biomedical science student Alexandria Nelson is participating in a one-year co-op placement in the quality control stability department at Sanofi. Her responsibilities include handling and managing vaccine inventory and assisting with data analysis.

“So far, my placement has been helpful in understanding what the vaccine manufacturing process is like, which has been even more insightful considering the demand for vaccines throughout the pandemic,” said Nelson. “I’ve also enjoyed getting to know my co-workers and how their career paths have unfolded. I’ve learned that my journey may not be linear, but there will always be opportunities for growth in whatever I choose to pursue.”

Yibin Zheng

Yibin Zheng
Yibin Zheng

Statistics student Yibin Zheng is participating in a research internship in the Department of Applied Mathematics at Hong Kong Polytechnic University. As a research intern, he is responsible for using the Bayesian statistics theory to work with R, a programming language, and help solve statistical problems.

“During this internship, I have enhanced my ability to collaborate with others as a team, such as organizing and distributing research chapters, and conducting discussions,” he said. “I believe this will be very helpful for my future career.”

Students can learn more about the Faculty of Science’s EE opportunities at