Call for applications to the Provostial Fellows Program

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Dear colleagues,

The Office of the Provost and Vice-President Academic is issuing a call for applications to the Provostial Fellows Program between now and May 4. The call is open to all tenured faculty members who are interested in working directly with the provost and relevant senior leadership on a project or initiative geared towards advancing the University Academic Plan, including York’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Challenge.

Indigenous faculty and those from equity deserving groups are encouraged to apply. The program is intended to give tenured faculty a chance to gain hands-on experience in University leadership. Those who are interested in applying or who have a particular project in mind should consider the following:

  • projects may relate to any of the six UAP priorities, and also seek to enhance and intersect with the University-wide challenge to elevate contributions to the UN Sustainable Development Goals;
  • proposed projects should also seek to provide an opportunity for personal professional growth and learning, as well as the exploration of leadership at the Faculty or institutional level; and
  • projects do not need to target a Fellow’s home Faculty.
UAP Graphic shows the 17 United Sustainable development goals in context within the York University Academic Plan
The University Academic Plan 2020-2025 identifies six academic priorities

Here is a look at what last year’s Provostial Fellows have achieved. Details on the program, how to apply and the relevant timelines can be found here on the Provost & Vice-President Academic site. I encourage all tenured faculty who are interested in advancing academic priorities while working to build a better future and create positive change at York and beyond to apply.


Lisa Philipps
Provost & Vice-President Academic

Appel aux candidatures pour le programme rectoral de bourses

La version française suit la version anglaise.

Chers collègues, chères collègues,

Le Bureau de la rectrice et vice-présidente aux affaires académiques lance un appel aux candidatures pour le programme rectoral de bourses à partir d’aujourd’hui et jusqu’au 4 mai. Cet appel est ouvert à tous les membres permanents du corps professoral qui aimeraient travailler directement avec la rectrice et les hauts dirigeants concernés sur un projet ou une initiative visant à faire progresser le Plan académique de l’Université (PAU), y compris le défi des ODD de York.

Les membres du corps professoral autochtones et issus de groupes dignes d’équité sont encouragés à poser leur candidature. Ce programme vise à donner aux professeurs permanents la chance d’acquérir une expérience pratique de leadership à l’Université. Les personnes intéressées par une candidature ou qui ont un projet particulier en tête devraient prendre en compte les points suivants :

  • Les projets peuvent porter sur l’une des six priorités du PAU et doivent aussi viser à renforcer et à appuyer le pari de l’Université de rehausser ses contributions aux objectifs de développement durable des Nations Unies;
  • Les propositions de projets doivent également être une occasion de croissance, de perfectionnement professionnel et de découverte du leadership facultaire ou universitaire; et
  • Les projets ne doivent pas nécessairement cibler la faculté d’attache du postulant ou de la postulante :
Le Plan académique universitaire 2020-2025 identifie six priorités académiques
Le Plan académique universitaire 2020-2025 identifie six priorités académiques

Voici un aperçu de ce qui a été réalisé l’année dernière dans le cadre de ce programme. Vous trouverez plus de détails au sujet du programme, du processus de candidature et des dates limites sur le site Web de la rectrice et vice-présidente aux affaires académiques. J’encourage tous les membres permanents du corps professoral qui souhaitent faire avancer des priorités académiques tout en contribuant à la construction d’un avenir meilleur et à la création de changements positifs – à York et au-delà – à y postuler.

Sincères salutations,

Lisa Philipps
Rectrice et vice-présidente aux affaires académiques 

York Capstone Day celebrates innovation and creativity  

Cross Campus Capstone Classroom FEATURED image for new YFile

York Capstone Network’s (YCN) annual York Capstone Day event will take place virtually on Friday, April 29 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.  

Funded by the Business in Higher Education Roundtable, the annual showcase welcomes students from any Faculty at York to present their completed capstone projects. Bringing project partners and mentors as well as York community members together, the event celebrates the innovation, creativity, ambition and impact of York students. 

Both pre-capstone and capstone students are welcome to share their research-design projects in thematic panels throughout the day and compete for five campus-wide monetary prize awards, including:  

Sustainable Development Goals Award 
The award will be presented to the team whose project demonstrates an exceptional commitment to advancing the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in keeping with York University’s SDG Challenge as outlined in the current University Academic Plan. Learn more.  

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Award 
The award will be presented to the team whose project demonstrates an exceptional commitment to advancing equity, diversity and inclusion in alignment with priorities identified by York University. Learn more.  

High Impact Award 
The award will be presented to the team whose project exhibits the greatest potential to demonstrate a long-term, positive impact for stakeholders and society as a whole. Learn more

BEST Lab Award 
The prize will be presented to the team whose project demonstrates exceptional innovativeness and inventiveness, impact in addressing an important societal issue, and the viability of the project. Learn more.  

Emerging Leaders Award  
The award will be presented to the team whose project touches on at least one of the main award themes of sustainability; equity, diversity, inclusion; high-impact; or technology. Learn more.  

Interdisciplinary student panels with alumni and partners will form the primary events of the day. There will also be a variety of professional development and networking opportunities for students, created in partnership with Career Education and Development, York University Libraries, and Innovation York.  

Most of the projects shared at Capstone Day come from the Project Commons, an interdisciplinary lending library of SDG-linked, real-world projects for any York classroom. Professors who check out projects from the Commons receive one-on-one support from experiential education (EE) experts, who help them customize the project(s) for their classroom and its unique learning goals. Participating students are connected with project partners eager to support student learning. To learn more about the Project Commons and how it can help you infuse the SDGs and EE into your classroom, click here to book an appointment. 

Capstone Day is a free and open event for all York community members. Participation applications are due Friday, April 1. Event registration will open in April. Visit the YCN webpage for more information.  

York presents first Sustainable Development Goals virtual teach-in day

United Nations SDGs

In collaboration with York University’s Teaching Commons and in advance of the 10th annual Teaching in Focus conference, the York University SDGs-in-the-Classroom Community of Practice offers its first United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) virtual teach-in half-day.

The event, Teaching the Sustainable Development Goals: The World’s Challenges Can Be Found in Your Classroom, takes place May 10 from 9:45 a.m. to 2 p.m. online.

The event is open to those beginning to explore how the 17 UN SDGs might intersect with the subjects in their classrooms or those who have deep research and teaching familiarity with these goals. The half-day teach-in will include panel discussions, interactive sessions and experiential learning about teaching the SDGs. Together, organizers and participants will share approaches to working with the SDGs as a learning framework, discover strategies for engaging students with SDG-focused lessons, and share experiences as teachers and learners in the SDG classroom.

Organizers are planning an SDG-tasting, where participants can drop into virtual classrooms and experience 30-minute activities instructors use to infuse the SDGs in their program. Live coaching is also available for those who would like ideas on how to get started on infusing the SDGs into their own classroom.

Co-Chairs of this event are Professors Cheryl van Daalen-Smith, Sandra Peniston and PhD student Nitima Bhatia.

Visit this page for more information, or register for the event here.

Applications are open for the Cross-Campus Capstone Classroom Sprint 3.0 

Cross Campus Capstone Classroom FEATURED image for new YFile

This summer, the C4: Cross-Campus Capstone Classroom will be working in collaboration with IBM to offer co-branded micro-credentials to York students through C4 Sprint 3.0, a three-layered experiential learning space for students at all levels and faculties.  

C4 Sprint 3.0 combines three streams of C4: Primer (first- and second-year students), Launchpad (second- and third-year students), and Management (graduating students) into one multi-layered classroom. The class will work collaboratively over a short and intensive term (May to June) to rapidly develop viable solutions for a large, complex, social-impact challenge directly linked to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

“This summer’s challenge questions will focus on Poverty and Hunger (UN SDG 1 and 2), which are key initiatives within the United Nations goals. I’m delighted that York in conjunction with IBM Canada will be launching its first Cross-Campus Capstone Classroom Work Integrated Learning (C4 WIL) student experience, starting May 9 through June 20, 2022. York University students will gain valuable experience in technology, power skills, design, research and collaboration,” says Steven Astorino, vice-president of development data and AI and Canada Lab director at IBM.  

C4 was launched in 2019 to bring students together from across York’s campuses with community and industry experts who want to partner with the University to create a social impact.  

More than 400 students have participated in C4 since its inception. The program has more than 60 project partners and has developed more than 48 projects across different themes and industries. 

York University students Althea Reyes, from the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, and Mahakprit Kaur, from the Faculty of Science, took part in last year’s C4 summer learning opportunity to address “How can we redesign city spaces to improve their use across four seasons?” C4 partnered with YSpace to help develop solutions to the real-world challenge pitched by the Smart Cities team at MaRS Discovery District.  

“Through an iterative process of brainstorming, user research and design thinking, our team for Summer C4 envisioned a community ‘play garden’ concept that simultaneously tackled the need for healthy food and childhood recreation in Woburn, Scarborough,” says Reyes. “C4 was a unique opportunity for me to work with a team of diverse backgrounds to conceptualize an out-of-the-box idea tackling multiple Sustainable Development Goals at once – in a short period of time.” 

“C4 provided the tools and was the platform that allowed equally eager students to come together and tackle the question of ‘how can we extend the seasonal reach our shared city spaces?’ Our team focused on this question through the equity lens and C4 helped us create and work through a tangible plan where we were able to host a community event to help connect local youth with the outdoors,” says Kaur. “C4 was definitely the highlight of my summer and I’m very grateful for the amazing team, the support from our mentors, the incredible experience, and gaining the knowledge that we all have the potential to bring about positive change in our communities.” 

C4 Sprint is open to second-year students, as a pre-capstone experience, and to third- and fourth-year students as a capstone experience. The two sections of C4 Sprint 3.0 take place Mondays and Wednesdays from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. or Mondays and Wednesdays from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. 

Each section will have different partners, projects, and SDGs they will be pursuing. Applications to participate in C4 Summer Sprint 2022 are due April 1. To learn more, students are encouraged to participate in a virtual information session or visit the C4 webpage.  

Students take on sustainability challenges at UNHack weekend 


Lassonde’s Bergeron Entrepreneurs in Science & Technology (BEST) program hosted UNHack 2021 from Nov. 19 to 21. The weekend of experiential learning brought undergraduate students from various post-secondary institutions together to work in teams with high school students from grades 11 and 12. Each team worked on solutions to issues centred around the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. 

Chart shows 17 UNSDG goals
The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals

“It was truly inspiring to see over 400 students develop creative solutions to local problems that are related to the UN Sustainable Development Goals,” said Lassonde engineering Professor Andrew Maxwell, who is the Bergeron Chair in Technology Entrepreneurship.  “I cannot wait to see some of these projects come to life.” 

The students were united by a common passion to make a difference and create a better world. Using the design sprint methodology, the students identified local and global problems, brainstormed an impactful solution and built a feasible implementation plan. Teams met for the first time on Friday, began ideating and building their solution on Saturday and presented their solutions to a panel of expert judges on Sunday. 

Participants chose a challenge that aligned with a UN SDG, encompassing a variety of themes including good health and wellbeing (SDG #3), quality education (SDG #4) and sustainable cities and communities (SDG #11). Many challenges focused on solutions to enhance sustainability at York University, such as improving access to healthy food options on campus or keeping students engaged with mental health and well-being supports. These challenges allowed students to see how their ideas can impact the world and make a positive change, even when starting from a local level.  

UNHack is more than just a traditional hackathon, it helps students recognize their own potential. The solutions developed included visuals, drawings and other creative expressions that were not limited to technology. In addition, the experience allowed participants to make friendships, build a professional network and gain crucial soft skills like teamwork, leadership and problem-solving.  

“I often tend to shy away from collaborative work, however this experience allowed me to experience the benefits of brainstorming as a group and learning how to listen to group members,” said Maria Flores, second-year mechanical engineering student. “A big part of engineering is collaborating with others, and I think this experience will benefit me in my future career.” 

In total, 72 projects made it to the preliminary judging round on Sunday morning with the top nine teams making their way to the final judging round. 

A Zoom screen capture of participants in the Opening Ceremony for the UNHack event
Participants in the UNHack opening ceremony

2021 Winning Teams:  

First Place – Team #99: EcoYork (Atmiya Jadvani, Saimanoj Yarasi, Jiafeng Wang) 

Team #99’s addressed SDG #13: Climate Action by developing a solution to reduce the carbon footprint at student residences. They created an application called EcoYork that would encourage students to reduce their eco-footprint through weekly tasks, sustainable challenges and incentives on campus.  

Second Place – Team #11: Food (Justin Chan, Vanessa Ammirante, Crystal Chang, Ananya Manikandan, Mihn Yu) 

Team #11 addressed SDG #2: Zero Hunger by creating a solution to help York University students facing food insecurity. The team developed a Farm-to-Table initiative, which involved partnering with local farms to provide healthy and affordable meals to students on campus.  

Third Place – Team #58: Spiteful Donkeys (Connor Humphries, Isaiah Chun, Deep Panchal, Rebecca John, Ava Yunus) 

Team #58’s addressed SDG #7: Affordable and Clean Energy by pitching a way to make homes more sustainable and energy efficient. The team presented the idea of moulded pulp for envelope insulation (an environmentally friendly way to insulate homes), which promotes low waste and less energy generation.  

People’s Choice Award – Team #71: C1M4 (Eugene Park, Brigette Eleuteri, Maria Flores, Maranath Hormiz, Mehrab Rizwan) 

Team #71 addressed SDG#11: Sustainable Cities and Communitiesby creating a YorkU Nav-E, a user-friendly and accessible application to help students, especially those who are new to the University, to navigate the campus and help ease their transition to in-person studies.  

“It was amazing to see how our students came together to design and create solutions fo sustainability challenges within our community and beyond,” said Maedeh Sadaghat, program officer at BEST. “The UNHack experience has provided our students with an opportunity to develop critical skills that will help them create a more sustainable future.” 

Organizers of UNHack received support from the following external event sponsors: KPM Power, Scotiabank and Summerfresh. University partners supporting the event were: YorkU Sustainability Office, K2I Academy, NSTAMP, SDG Hub, the Centre for Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion, Student Counselling, Health and Well-being as well as from Lassonde Professor Magdalena Krol, Lassonde mentors and the organizing team.

Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change Dean Alice Hovorka and Nicole Arsenault, program director, Sustainability, provided opening remarks at the event. 

Elliott Atkins, Karen Lai, Subashini Kangesan, Nicole Arsenault, Lassonde Professor Usman Khan and Keith Loo served as expert judges.   

YSpace and Alumni Engagement co-host Global Entrepreneurship Week events, Nov. 8 to 14

YSpace Markham's Makerspace

From Nov. 8 to 14, in partnership with Alumni Engagement, York University’s YSpace entrepreneurship hub will host a series of events for faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members to celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week.

A worldwide movement celebrating entrepreneurship in 180 countries, with 25,000 partners, 40,000 activities and impacting 10 million individuals, Global Entrepreneurship Week emerged in 2008. It continues today with entrepreneurial events, activities, and competitions aimed at inspiring innovators and introducing them to new possibilities and exciting opportunities.

York U x Global Entrepreneurship Week, November 8 - 14, 2021. In partnership with Alumni Engagement.

During York University’s Global Entrepreneurship Week celebrations, the community is invited to engage in events and activities that are sure to inspire, educate, motivate and unite while contributing to this global movement. York’s entrepreneurship programming, remarkable student entrepreneurs and successful alumni will be highlighted throughout the week. 

The week’s schedule of events will take place as follows:

Monday, Nov. 8 (Alumni Day)

  • My Startup Story: The Perspectives of Three Young Alumni, 12 p.m. EST
    For more information and to register, visit
  • My Startup Story: Journey to a Creating Multimillion-Dollar Business in Medical Aesthetics, 6 p.m. EST
    For more information and to register, visit

Tuesday, Nov. 9

  • Career Conversations: Mental Health edition, 12:30 p.m. EST
    For more information and to register, visit
  • Mental Health for Founders, 6 p.m. EST
    For more information and to register, visit

Wednesday, Nov. 10

  • ELLA Insights: Scaling your Business by Hiring Right, 12 p.m. EST
    For more information and to register, visit
  • Schulich Startup Night 16, 5:30 p.m. EST
    For more information and to register, visit

Thursday, Nov. 11 (Remembrance Day – no programming)

Friday, Nov. 12

  • ELLA and Schulich Idea Jam, 12 p.m. EST
    For more information and to register, visit
  • Kick-off to Launch Weekend: Social Innovation Case Competition, 4 p.m. EST
    This three-day event allows teams to showcase their entrepreneurial skill sets to a panel of judges. For more information and to register, visit

Saturday, Nov. 13 and Sunday, Nov. 14

  • Launch Weekend: Social Innovation Case Competition
    Teams will continue to work on their solutions, meet with experienced mentors and hear from the keynote speaker of the day. During the finale on Sunday, teams will present their solution to the panel of judges who will award the top three teams with cash prizes of over $1,000.

For more information about Global Entrepreneurship Week, visit

Faculty members can co-create community of practice on UN SDGs

United Nations SDGs

Calling all faculty who infuse the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into their classrooms!

Provostial Fellow Cheryl van Daalen-Smith is searching across York’s campuses to identify faculty who have begun to find ways to infuse the UN SDGs into their teaching, courses and classrooms. Whether it’s incorporating SDGs though guest lectures, linking SDGs to disciplinary foci and in-class discussions, providing options to students to consider the SDG of an assignment, or other examples of teaching and learning with a UN SDG focus, van Daalen-Smith wants to hear from any and all faculty members.

The goal of the call-out is to co-create a community of practice, and perhaps organize a teach-in, to highlight what is already happening at York and inspire others to “see the SDGs” in their respective areas.

Many faculty members are finding innovative ways to tether their disciplinary/programmatic/course focus to an SDG, or several – with some selecting their relevance by the 3P model of dividing the SDGs up into people, prosperity or planet. Students are reporting a zeal for the ability to consider real-world issues and to look at them through their own disciplinary lens. Faculty members in departments including dance, engineering, nursing, kinesiology, biology, children’s studies, business, and gender, sexuality and women’s studies are already finding ways to tie their existing foci to the SDGs.

Faculty members interested in participating are invited to contact van Daalen Smith as soon as possible by emailing with the subject line “SDGs in my classroom.”