York to host, lead graduate supervision conference

Glendon graduate students on laptops

One of the foundational relationships of the graduate student experience is the one between student and supervisor. As part of its 60th anniversary celebrations, York University’s Faculty of Graduate Studies (FGS) is hosting an online graduate supervision conference geared specifically toward supervisors.

Held in partnership with Memorial University of Newfoundland, the conference – called Collaborative, Constructive, Considerate: Fostering Dialogue on Best Practices in Graduate Supervision in Canada – will be held virtually on Friday, May 31 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The conference will bring together graduate supervisors from universities across Canada, with the aim to lead and foster dialogue about best practices in supervisory pedagogy.

Cheryl van Daalen-Smith
Cheryl van Daalen-Smith

“We need to continue talking about principles and best practices,” says Cheryl van Daalen-Smith, conference Chair and associate dean, academic of FGS

The conference is intended to fill a need for schools of graduate studies, which understand that more conversations have to happen about supervision.

“There’s an assumption that one learns to be a supervisor by being supervised themselves,” she says, “when there’s so much more to it.”

A cornerstone of the academic environment, graduate education and the graduate supervisory experience play a pivotal role in shaping students’ academic and professional journeys. This relationship has a profound effect on the quality of research produced, development of academic skills and overall academic experience.

The conference will include a keynote address delivered by Bruce Shore, author of The Graduate Advisor Handbook: A Student-Centred Approach, titled “Connections to Quagmires: Setting Up for Successful Supervision.” A second keynote speech, by Supervising Conflict author Heather McGhee Peggs, will offer practical advice to help faculty manage the most common grad school concerns.

Experts in the pragmatics of supervision, mediating conflict and the requisite principles guiding Ontario universities will participate in a panel discussion to follow, examining the Principles for Graduate Supervision at Ontario Universities, which were developed last year by the Ontario Council on Graduate Studies.

A closing discussion moderated by van Daalen-Smith will end the day, with a focus on the Canadian Association for Graduate Studies Working Group Initiative and its mission to establish a set of national graduate supervision principles.

“We need to celebrate great supervision and foster discussions that identify exactly what it is that makes this pivotal educative role in graduate studies so influential,” says van Daalen-Smith.

The conference is free to attend, and registration is now open via the online form. For more information, visit the event web page.

Schulich partnership seeks to address global infrastructure gap

Two engineers working on solar panel roof

Schulich Real Assets – an area within York University’s Schulich School of Business that focuses on tangible investments – is teaming up with the Global Infrastructure Investor Association (GIIA) to offer the next generation of leaders more tools and resources to help them tackle the climate crisis through sustainable infrastructure projects.

Schulich is one of a few schools around the world offering graduate education focused on the increasingly important and evolving real assets field, with both a master of business administration specialization in real estate and infrastructure and a unique, 12-month Master of Real Estate and Infrastructure program.

This new partnership is designed to help increase private investment into infrastructure projects that are supporting the global transition to cleaner energy.

Jim Clayton
Jim Clayton

“We look forward to working together with GIIA and its members towards the common goal of promoting an infrastructure investment ecosystem that mobilizes private capital,” said Professor Jim Clayton, the Timothy R. Price Chair in Real Estate and Infrastructure at Schulich and the MREI program director. “We are excited by the alignment and synergy of the collaboration.”

Through new research and educational programming opportunities, Schulich students will now be empowered with knowledge and resources to deliver the infrastructure that communities need to thrive, with GIIA’s global membership base also helping them to expand their networks and experience.

“It is critical to empower emerging leaders in our industry with the skills and specialist knowledge that enables them to unlock the potential for infrastructure investment, so we can grow the market, and bring in the capital to make the major investments that governments alone cannot afford,” said Jon Phillips, chief executive officer of GIIA, which represents 100 of the world’s leading investors and advisors in infrastructure.

“Since Canada is already a hub for innovation in the infrastructure investment industry, partnering with Schulich makes good sense,” he said.

Staff member illustrates leadership in globally networked learning

image of the world on laptop BANNER

Francesca Boschetti, associate director of the York University English Language Institute (YUELI) in the School of Continuing Studies, gave a talk at the Languages Canada Annual Conference in Vancouver showcasing her groundbreaking work in globally networked learning.

Francesca Boschetti
Francesca Boschetti

A collaborative approach to research and teaching that allows students, instructors and researchers from around the world to work together, globally networked learning holds a special place in Boschetti’s heart because of her own journey as a language student and advocate for multiculturalism.

“I grew up in Italy and studied multiple foreign languages throughout my schooling and into university, where I concentrated on language teaching and learning,” explains Boschetti, who has spent her career figuring out how to best weave internationalization initiatives into language programs in the Canadian university setting.

Boschetti’s talk, titled “Globally Networked Learning: Internationalization at Home in English Language Classes,” focused on setting up virtual exchanges to provide students from universities in different parts of the world with an opportunity to connect with each other and enhance their intercultural communication and networking skills.

To illustrate her approach, Boschetti discussed the globally networked learning project she launched in collaboration with York International and YUELI in Winter 2022 – a year-long virtual exchange between English for Academic Purposes students at YUELI and English for Hotel Administration students at Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra (PUCMM), a university in the Dominican Republic. Students involved in the exchange interacted through online activities, including message board chats, group discussions on Zoom, and friendly competitions and games.

“Cross-cultural communication and collaboration have a transformative power,” says Boschetti. “Witnessing our students thrive in the classroom, honing their language skills, forging new friendships and gaining invaluable cultural insights reaffirms my commitment to fostering an inclusive, globally connected learning environment.”

In her presentation, Boschetti detailed how the institute identified a university partner, designed programming, collaborated with instructors and engaged different cohorts of students. She shared the best practices, learning outcomes, strategies and challenges they encountered.

Many attendees approached her afterwards, seeking advice on how to successfully launch similar programs at their own institutions, which is exactly the response she was hoping for.

“As we thrive to enrich the student experience,” says Boschetti, “initiatives such as virtual language exchanges serve as catalysts for meaningful engagement and intercultural dialogue.”

Schulich launches new diploma for metals, minerals industry

Workers in a Singaporean shipyard disembark a gas vessel during a planned fire drill

York University’s Schulich School of Business has announced the launch of a new Global Metals and Minerals Management (GMM) Diploma, designed to address the needs of the entire metals and minerals value chain by developing leaders who will navigate the transition to a global low-carbon economy through responsible minerals development and use.

A leader in mining and minerals management, Schulich launched an MBA specialization in Global Mining Management in 2012 – one of the first of its kind. Now, it’s looking to continue to advance its educational opportunities for those in the sector.

“Schulich’s newest diploma will provide a world-class business education to current and future leaders in companies working within the mining and minerals industry,” says Detlev Zwick, dean of the Schulich School of Business. “The program will develop leaders who can implement responsible strategies that create wealth for all stakeholders throughout the entire value chain.”

Schulich’s new diploma program – which includes online classes, one-on-one coaching and two in-person residences held in different centres around the globe each year – will commence in June and be offered over a nine-month period.

Program benefits include in-person experiential learning through site tours and the opportunity to hear from a diverse range of industry insiders. The program can be completed as a standalone diploma or concurrently with Schulich’s master of business administration (MBA) degree.

Global Mining Management co-directors Claudia Mueller and Richard Ross.
Global Mining Management co-directors Claudia Mueller (left) and Richard Ross (right).

The GMM Diploma is co-directed by Richard Ross, former Chair and CEO of Inmet Mining Corporation, who has over 40 years of experience in the metals and minerals industry; and Claudia Mueller, a PhD candidate and leadership consultant for the past decade to a broad range of metals and minerals companies.

“The Global Metals and Minerals Management Diploma provides an MBA level of education while enabling working professionals to continue full-time employment,” says Ross. “The classes are taught by industry professionals and stakeholders who have in-depth metals and mining knowledge and experience; and the classes will combine Schulich MBA students with diploma students, ensuring a rich and diverse mix of backgrounds and experience.”

As they launch this new program, Ross and Mueller are supported by dozens of individuals who have expertise, knowledge and experience in the metals and minerals industry. This includes the GMM Stakeholder Working Group, made up of Indigenous people and individuals who are well versed in all aspects of environmental, social, and governance regulations and practices in the metals and minerals industry.

For more information and to apply, visit the Global Metals and Minerals Management Diploma web page.

OsgoodePD program demystifies financial statements in family law

Hand writing on financial statement document

Financial statements might be the most underrated documents in family law, according to Annie Kenet and Eric Sadvari, co-chairs of the Financial Statements for Family Lawyers Boot Camp, a new program developed by York University’s Osgoode Professional Development (OsgoodePD) to transform the way family lawyers think about this critical document.

“It’s the backbone of most family law cases,” says Sadvari, a senior associate at Toronto firm Kenet Family Law. “But many practitioners treat it as more of a fill-in-the-blanks exercise than a vital piece of advocacy.”

Annie Kenet
Annie Kenet

Properly utilized, the financial statement can even enhance a lawyer’s relationship with their client, says Kenet, the firm’s founder.

“Financial statements inform every part of my client interaction,” she says. “From understanding my client’s financial needs to determining what type of settlement they can live with, the statement enables me to speak to my client about the practical realities of their current and future financial viability.”  

The origins of the new OsgoodePD Financial Statements for Family Lawyers Boot Camp can be traced back to the Osgoode Certificate in Family Law Skills and Practice, for which Sadvari and Kenet led a module focused on financial statements and discovered the untapped demand for more information among family law practitioners.

It came as no surprise to Sadvari that so many newly qualified family lawyers feel ill-equipped to deal with financial statements.

Eric Sadvari
Eric Sadvari

“I never took any tax, bankruptcy or estate classes, because I didn’t think I was going to be spending a lot of time on those issues,” he says.

But he was mistaken, soon learning that finances are a major part of the family law system, and they’re not always as straight forward as one might think. Something as simple as determining a person’s income, for example, can become a contentious issue if the person is self-employed or has a number of income sources.

Focusing exclusively on the financial statement, the new boot camp will allow time to tackle the document in depth, detail by detail, with small class sizes enabling for more group interaction. By the end of the program, students should be able to expertly complete each section.

The inaugural edition of this intensive program will take place online over two days of interactive sessions from April 12 to 13, where attendees will hear from a group of senior practitioners, chartered business valuators, and judges about best practices and potential pitfalls to keep in mind when preparing and presenting financial statements.

“Anyone who wants to be a stronger lawyer on financial issues would benefit from attending,” Kenet adds. “A financial statement is not just a form clients have to fill out, it is the primary tool family lawyers have to articulate our clients’ financial position, advocate for their financial entitlements and negotiate a financial resolution.”

To learn more and to register, visit the Financial Statements for Family Lawyers Boot Camp web page.

Teaching Commons explores novel professional development approach

diverse group of women around conference table

By Elaine Smith

In its ongoing effort to remain at the forefront of pedagogy, York University’s Teaching Commons (TC) is testing a novel approach to in-person professional development workshops that allows for a more relaxing, enjoyable and informative experience.

On March 27, TC will host Teaching & Learning Day, which will offer a series of workshops exploring some of the leading subjects in pedagogy – including artificial intelligence (AI) and experiential education.

The sessions share no common theme and will look at – among other things – how educators can create teaching strategies to support students in becoming informed about generative AI, how to help students benefit from opportunities for critical reflection while engaging in experiential education activities, and how well-being of both students and instructors can be integrated into teaching experiences.

What TC is hoping to achieve with the initiative is a morning of in-person professional development experiences that are more informal than might be the norm. In particular, the aim is to have Teaching & Learning Day not only advance understanding and discussions about pedagogy but to also facilitate conversations and connections among its attendees.

“The workshops are being facilitated by our educational developers, but the wisdom sharing among participants is where a lot of the deeper learning can happen,” said Mandy Frake-Mistak, interim director of the Teaching Commons.

Promoting those opportunities for inter-colleague conversation and learning is a major reason TC wanted to host its professional workshops all at once as a series.

“It’s often tough for people to find time and space in their day for workshops, and if they’re working off campus, they may not want to commute for a 1.5-hour workshop,” said Frake-Mistak. “If we hold a series at once, it allows people to stay for one or stay for all of them.”

Matthew Dunleavy, the educational developer who first proposed the event, says York has always been a commuter campus where people come and go. By bringing people together in person, he hopes they’ll have the opportunity to connect with colleagues and have unexpected conversations with unfamiliar people.

“I’m a big proponent of all the things that happen in liminal spaces around formal offerings,” Dunleavy said. “Here, conversations can bleed into the hallways, just because people are together for a longer event. In spaces for transition, conversations happen and new ideas might emerge or cross-pollination might result.”

The workshops will take place in the Victor Phillip Dahdaleh Building, and their titles and details are as follows:

For more information about the Teaching Commons and its initiatives, visit their website.

k2i academy engages Black youth in STEM

k2iacademy event participants banner

Through two of its programs, the k2i (kindergarten to industry) academy at York University’s Lassonde School of Engineering has looked to provide Black students in Grades 5 through 12 with exciting, hands-on learning experiences that provide unique opportunities to explore and engage with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

K2i academy Lisa Cole
Lisa Cole

The k2i academy’s Path2STEM and Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) in STEM programs look to provide Black youth with access to opportunities that help the academy achieve its aim of breaking systemic barriers and transforming the future of STEM. It aspires to do so by ensuring that Black youth see themselves as integral parts of these fields.

“Our educational systems have deeply rooted inequities that must be addressed,” says Lisa Cole, director of programming at k2i academy. “As we work alongside collaborative partners, including school boards, the Canadian Black Scientists Network (CBSN), faculty, community members and government, we are better able to design programs that create impact by enhancing access to opportunities, resulting in more equitable outcomes for students and families.”

Recently, as part of its Path2STEM and SHSM in STEM programs, the k2i academy sought to advance its goals through a two-day event that invited over 400 students from the Toronto District School Board and Peel District School Board to participate in activities that provided practical STEM skills, as well as highlighted United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Each day was dedicated to different grade levels, with students in Grades 5 through 10 participating in the Path2STEM program, and those in Grades 11 and 12 taking part in the SHSM in STEM program.

Students at the Path2STEM and SHSM in STEM events.

Among the activities were hands-on sessions where the k2i academy’s mentor team led students through opportunities to explore engineering design, coding, robotics and 3D design. High-school students also got to take part in a hackathon experience, designed to solve real-world problems in transportation and mobility. The immersive challenge encouraged teamwork and innovation, as students worked to develop solutions for smart roads, the safety of autonomous vehicles and accessibility issues.

The two-day event was also indicative of the k2i academy’s commitment to fostering relationships within the community, such as its relationship with the Peel District School Board.

Students at the Path2STEM and SHSM in STEM events.

“We have developed a Black Student Success Strategy with objectives to integrate the experiences of Black Canadians into the curriculum and inspire and support Black student success,” says Camille Logan, associate director, Peel District School Board. “The k2i Path2STEM and SHSM programs align with this work. Characterized by a deliberate focus on uplifting Black students in STEM and enhancing teacher capabilities, this program has flourished into an excellent partnership with the k2i academy. Together, we are not just addressing gaps, we are laying the foundation for a more diverse and inclusive future in STEM education.”

The Path2STEM and SHSM in STEM programs, and event, are the result of funding from the Ministry of Citizenship and Multiculturalism, which has provided the k2i academy $523,800 over two years to support the Bringing STEM to Life: In Schools SHSM in STEM for Black Youth program. This project, in collaboration with the CBSN, focuses on career pathways, skill development and mentorship, illustrating a collective commitment to building a more inclusive STEM community.

“k2i’s work supports the Black Youth Action Plan’s mission of helping participants develop skills to launch their careers in high-demand sectors and working towards eliminating race-based disparities by dismantling barriers and increasing opportunities for Black children, youth and families across Ontario,” says Michael Ford, minister of citizenship and multiculturalism.

For more information, visit the k2i academy website.

Students create open educational resources to help future learners

Group of students working at a computer monitor BANNER

York University undergraduate students in the Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) program participated in an initiative to create open educational resource (OER) videos aimed at improving the practicum experience of future program participants.

Students in programs such as TESOL must often complete field placements in a wide range of environments – from post-secondary academic bridging programs to community-oriented Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada programs. Because these environments are unique, students are often unprepared for these teaching contexts.

Saskia Van Viegen
Saskia Van Viegen

That’s why the Department of Languages, Literatures & Linguistics students in Professor Saskia Van Viegen’s TESL3300 class were assigned a project that could help.

Van Viegen’s 14 students received instruction on digital media creation, then formed groups to complete videos about the diversity of experiential education environments – culminating in the creation of four Creative Commons-licensed OER videos to help orient future English as a second language (ESL) teachers to their practicum. The students did this while completing their own field placement, gaining paid practicum experience and hands-on learning about digital media creation in the process.

Students Matthew Rawas, Tanishia Clarke, and Denise Suarez shre tehir Open Educational Resource video, which was filmed at the English School of Canada (ESC)
Students Matthew Rawas, Tanishia Clarke and Denise Suarez share their OER video.

“I think this kind of digital storytelling project is wonderful,” says Dawei Jin, one of Van Viegen’s students. “At first I wasn’t sure what the connection was between this work and teaching ESL. But after we started, we experienced challenges with collaboration, video editing – all things we didn’t know how to do. We struggled to tell our story, but eventually we figured it out. That’s exactly how ESL students will experience the process of learning English. This program helped me understand the difficulties encountered by our students.”

“This work increases access to work-integrated learning for students, especially equity-deserving students,” says Van Viegen. “It helps them feel more connected to each other, to their program and to a community, by offering enhanced opportunity for participation, stronger partnership with field placement hosts and greater integration with technology.”

ESL 3300 students Oshawnie Ralph and Nicole Cecotka introduce their video, which orients student teachers to doing pkacements in a Language Instructors for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) program
Students Oshawnie Ralph and Nicole Cecotka introduce their video, which orients student teachers to doing placements in a Language Instructors for Newcomers to Canada program.

The project was a partnership between TESOL and York University Libraries’ Media Creation Lab, funded by the Co-operative Education & Work-Integrated Learning (CEWIL) Innovation Hub program.

One of the co-founders of the Media Creation Lab, librarian Kris Joseph, sees the initiative as the culmination of a vision the Libraries had for the lab during its inception. “The lab launched in 2022, but I think Saskia’s project is a sign that the booster rockets have been ejected and the shuttle is heading out to explore space. This kind of work ticks all the boxes for us: digital literacy and media creation, experiential learning and the development of open, accessible resources for the benefit of others.”

Sarah Coysh, associate dean of digital engagement and strategy at York University Libraries, adds: “One of the biggest successes of this project was that the grant included funds for a dedicated librarian as well as additional library media lab staff to support the students’ learning and media creation work. Saskia’s foresight in this area ensured York University Libraries had the capacity to partner on this project, and this is a terrific model for future grants, the process for which we have outlined on our new library support for grant-funded research web page.”

The students’ videos, as well as their reflections on the project, are available on YouTube. In addition, full-resolution copies are being deposited into York’s institutional repository, YorkSpace, so they can be discovered and reused by other ESL teaching programs.

Student learning, experience and success top priorities in the Faculty of Science

Header banner for INNOVATUS

Welcome to the March 2024 edition of Innovatus, a special issue of YFile devoted to teaching and learning at York University. This month we showcase the Faculty of Science and the innovative projects it is pursuing to support students.

Innovatus is produced by the Office of the Vice-Provost, Teaching & Learning in partnership with the Communications & Public Affairs Division.

In this issue, the Faculty of Science invites York community members to read stories about improving students’ learning experiences within the classroom and across continents.

Rui Wang
Rui Wang

In the Faculty of Science, we are driven to provide students with a high-quality education and the knowledge, skills, competence, and credentials they need and desire to successfully transition into rewarding and impactful careers. We are delighted to share some of the ways in which we are prioritizing excellence in teaching and learning in this issue of Innovatus

Our Faculty has been working hard to create new, hands-on programs and micro-credentials that train students for in-demand careers in industries like biotechnology and vaccine development. For instance, this fall at the new Markham Campus, we are launching graduate-level programming in biotechnology management that features industry-informed curriculum, practical learning and experiences, business training and more.  

Our instructors and staff are leading projects that aim to enhance student learning and experience in some of our existing programs, including projects focused on creating fully accessible labs for our students and using new technology to transform conventional learning in chemistry courses. Our teams are also piloting a popular, online problem-solving tool for our mathematics students. 

As well, we are strengthening our global connections and partnerships with institutions and students across the world. For example, we are creating collaborative virtual exchange opportunities that allow science students to engage in cross-cultural learning with peers from other countries and cultures. 

The Faculty of Science is a place where curious minds come to learn, to discover, and to develop skills to become future global leaders and innovators. Our instructors and staff take this responsibility seriously, and as dean, I couldn’t be prouder of them. I also couldn’t be more optimistic for the future success of our students. 

Thank you, 

Rui Wang, 
Dean, Faculty of Science 

Faculty, course directors and staff are invited to share their experiences in teaching, learning, internationalization and the student experience through the Innovatus story form.

In this issue:

Faculty of Science responds to industry needs in the chemical and bioeconomy sectors
To meet the needs of the booming biotechnology industry, the Faculty is offering several new educational opportunities for York students to succeed in the sector.

Faculty of Science innovates with assist from AIF
Thanks to support from Academic Innovation Fund (AIF) grants, two initiatives are helping create more interactive and accessible science lab spaces.

Mathematicians pilot open-access homework platform for students
A new, online open educational resource provided to students for free is looking to make math homework a little bit easier.

Inaugural GNL project brings students together
A globally networked learning (GNL) initiative that began during the COVID-19 pandemic is still going strong, connecting science students from York University and China.

Faculty of Science responds to industry needs in the chemical and bioeconomy sectors

Science student in a lab

By Elaine Smith

To meet the changing needs of the chemical and bioeconomy sectors, the Faculty of Science is offering several new educational opportunities to ensure people working in science-related positions have the best possible education to meet evolving industry demands.

The Faculty has recently introduced two new biotechnology programs at the Markham Campus – the Master’s in Biotechnology Management and the Graduate Diploma in Biotechnology – as well as a new micro-credential in Vaccine Production and Quality Control that is aligned with these programs. 

The Faculty also introduced its first micro-credential, NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) Spectroscopy for Industry at the Keele Campus. NMR spectroscopy is an advanced characterization technique used to determine the molecular structure of a sample at the atomic level. 

“We want to offer our students programs and courses that lead to career success,” said Hovig Kouyoumdjian, associate dean of curriculum and pedagogy for the Faculty.  

Luz Adriana Puentes Jácome
Luz Adriana Puentes Jácome

Slated to launch in Fall 2024, the Graduate Diploma in Biotechnology and the Master’s in Biotechnology Management are the culmination of research and planning done over the past few years. Professor Mark Bayfield and associate deans Kouyoumdjian and Michael Scheid led the program design and development. Now, Jade Atallah and Luz Adriana Puentes Jácome, assistant professors of biology, teaching stream, have taken the reins and will oversee the two programs. 

“Both programs are rooted in industry needs,” Atallah said. “Our colleagues did extensive research to ensure industry alignment; an evidence-based approach is driving them.”  

The Toronto Business Development Centre, for example, notes that “Canada has experienced a 77.2 per cent growth in biotech companies in the past two decades, with hundreds of small startups working to bring scientific discoveries to market.” 

The two programs will share biotechnology courses for the first year, but the master’s students will also take management courses through the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies that will allow them to graduate with the degree and diploma in under two years. The integrative program also includes a capstone course and a paid internship component with industry. The diploma program requires only two semesters of coursework.  

“They are both full-time programs but are designed to accommodate mature, working students in terms of scheduling,” said Atallah.  

The master’s program aims to meld scientific knowledge with business skills. 

“The interdisciplinary approach better reflects the workplace reality and maximizes understanding of the overall product lifecycle from conception to commercialization,” said Atallah. “It’s a marriage of two Faculties and will provide well-rounded knowledge and skills in both areas. It will increase the students’ competitiveness while benefiting the biotech economy.” 

Puentes Jácome agreed, noting, “We want these students to be very versatile. They need the professional biotechnology knowledge, but the business background will be very useful in the startup economy, while in established companies, it will give them the skills to move around.” 

The two programs have a joint lab component, and students in both programs will benefit from industry guest speakers and networking opportunities. 

“We want our students to have hands-on insights and experiential opportunities,” Atallah said. 

The lab component of the course will give students a condensed experience in biotechnology laboratory techniques.  

“It is not a cookbook lab,” said Atallah, referring to the usual step-by-step instructions students receive for lab experiments. “Students will be able to make decisions on the best protocol to use, and there’s room for mistakes, so they can troubleshoot and adjust. It will mimic a real-life scenario.” 

The master’s degree internships, arranged in collaboration with the experiential education office at the Markham Campus, will last between eight and 12 months. Students will have the opportunity to put their theory to the test. The capstone course, which is project-based, will also provide a real-world opportunity. 

Alongside these programs, the Faculty of Science at Markham Campus will also introduce a micro-credential on Vaccine Production and Quality Control. This specialized course aims to provide participants with the essential skills required to use biotechnological tools for the development of vaccines. 

The introduction of the micro-credential in NMR is spurred by the government of Ontario’s push for and support of post-secondary education rapid training programs designed to help people retrain or upgrade their skills to meet the needs of employers.   

Now, the Faculty of Science is dipping its toes in those waters, inaugurating the NMR Spectroscopy for Industry micro-credential during the Winter 2024 term and developing the micro-credential addressing Vaccine Production and Quality Control. 

“We’re very excited about this,” said Kouyoumdjian. “We looked at the demands of the job market, as well as the gaps in training, and gauged the need for these skills.” 

The NMR micro-credential course is taught by York University instructor Howard Hunter. Students will learn the basic theory behind NMR spectroscopy, as well as its practical applications. They will learn to successfully process and analyze raw NMR data to understand a sample’s composition or chemical structure, a skill applicable to employees in both chemical and biotechnological fields.   

The course is held in the evening, so people employed in related fields can fit it into their schedules. The hybrid course is pass/fail, with a lab component included.  

“For us, as scientists, the hands-on aspect is important,” Kouyoumdjian said. “It’s the nature of our field. We design our micro-credentials to contain in-person experiential components and avoid the fully asynchronous online model as much as possible.” 

Those who pass will receive both a certificate of completion and an electronic credential badge to affix to a resume or a LinkedIn profile. Kouyoumdjian will approve the badges based on course results; they are authenticated and traceable. 

Much like the students are learning new skills, Kouyoumdjian and his team did, too. Throughout the process, they had to learn how to create a micro-credential offering, from proposal to approval to creating contracts, hiring an instructor and promoting the program online. This accumulated knowledge will be used for introducing the aforementioned Vaccine Production and Quality Control micro-credential course. 

“As biotechnology continues reshaping how health care works, professionals with such expertise play an important role in progressing this field, especially with the urgent global need for effective disease prevention.” Kouyoumdjian said. “We are looking forward to offering the new micro-credentials, as well as the two new graduate programs.” 

Kouyoumdjian applauds the Faculty for making these new offerings possible. 

“Like any new initiative, it takes a team to bring these programs to fruition,” he said. “We are looking forward to expanding the knowledge of many students and observing their subsequent career accomplishments.”