York prof to moderate panel on Black students’ mental health

Two Black students walking inside on York's Keele Campus

Research continues to indicate that anti-Black racism takes a toll on mental health – and academia is not immune to this unfortunate reality. As part of the upcoming Black Student Mental Health Symposium, York University Professor Agnès Berthelot-Raffard will moderate a panel discussion featuring experts from York and beyond speaking about mental health challenges faced by Black students, the racial climate on campus, and equity, diversity and inclusion in the university setting.

Agnès Berthelot-Raffard
Agnès Berthelot-Raffard

Open to all community members, the Feb. 5 event – taking place from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. in the Founders Assembly Hall on York’s Keele Campus – aims to provide a space to explore strategies and resources to support the mental well-being of Black students, faculty and staff on university campuses.

Berthelot-Raffard, a professor in the School of Health Policy & Management, is the principal investigator of the Promoting Black Students’ Mental Health: A Pan-Canadian Research and Intervention Project on Social Determinants of Health and Equity in Canadian Universities, a project funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada for 2021-24. For this event, she gathered a group of notable York leaders and experts to contribute their diverse knowledge to the panel discussion:

  • Delores Mullings, vice-provost of equity, diversity and inclusion at Memorial University and a professor of social work;
  • Sophie Yohani, a professor of educational psychology at the University of Alberta;
  • Carl James, Jean Augustine Chair in Education, Community and Diaspora, a professor at York University, and York’s senior advisor on equity and representation in the Office of the Vice-President of Equity, People and Culture;
  • Jean-Jacques Rousseau, instructor and special advisor at the Schulich School of Business; and
  • Yasmine Gray, York University alumna from the Critical Disability Studies program.

For more information and to register for the event, visit the Eventbrite page.

Schulich ExecEd expands health-care training partnership in Guyana

Schulich ExecEd Guyana group photo

Schulich ExecEd, an extension of the Schulich School of Business at York University, is building upon its existing partnership with the Government of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana by launching a new Guyana-Schulich ExecEd Masters Certificate in Physician Leadership Program and kicking off a second cohort of the Schulich ExecEd-Guyana Masters Certificate in Hospital Leadership Program. Both programs are set to begin their virtual classroom sessions this month.

Representatives from Schulich ExecEd travelled to Guyana last month to celebrate the new program launch with members of Guyana’s government. The attendees from Schulich ExecEd were: Rami Mayer, executive director; Dr. Susan Lieff, program director; Jeff MacInnis, facilitator; Robert Lynn, associate director; and Ai Hokama, program co-ordinator.

“I am excited to announce the continuation of our partnership with the Government of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana,” said Mayer. “Together, we are pioneering transformative learning programs focused on social innovation that are aimed at equipping health-care leaders with essential skills crucial for navigating the evolving landscape of health care in the Guyana region.”

The Schulich ExecEd-Guyana Masters Certificate in Hospital Leadership Program focuses on fortifying the administrative skills of health-care workers, equipping them with the knowledge to effectively manage health-care facilities, resources and personnel. Its sister program, the Guyana-Schulich ExecEd Masters Certificate in Physician Leadership Program, is a direct response to the needs of physicians in the region. The goal is to build up physicians’ leadership abilities, improve their decision-making skills, and sharpen their capacity to manage health-care facilities and resources. 

“These programs have been specifically designed to empower health-care professionals in Guyana and enhance the quality of health-care services they provide to their patients,” said Frank Anthony, Guyana’s minister of health. “We are grateful for the co-operation of the Ministry of Public Service and the Government of Guyana in delivering this training to the participants free of charge.”

Schulich ExecEd’s ongoing mission with this partnership is to transform Guyana’s health-care system to deliver more equitable, accessible and enhanced health care. The shared vision of these partners is to develop better health care and physician leaders in Guyana and to provide innovative health-care solutions to improve patient outcomes across the country. Program participants hail from all 10 regions of Guyana, including the country’s Indigenous communities.

“Our programs are meticulously designed to fill critical gaps in business education, addressing skill needs not traditionally covered in medical school,” explained Mayer. “We are committed to empowering physicians and health-care leaders with the tools to manage difficult conversations, solve complex problems, foster collaboration, lead effectively and elevate the overall quality of care in the country.”

Both programs are expected to graduate their current participants in September of this year.

For a closer look at the Schulich ExecEd team’s celebratory trip to Guyana last month, visit vimeo.com/901964260/c095aa81b2?.

LA&PS prof publishes three books in one month

colorful book shelf banner

A busy 2023 has led to Hassan Qudrat-Ullah, a professor in York University’s School of Administrative Studies in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LA&PS), publishing three new books in short succession this past November, covering topics as diverse as systems thinking, supply chain management and sustainable development.

Hassan Qudrat-Ullah
Hassan Qudrat-Ullah

The first of the three, Managing Complex Tasks with Systems Thinking (Springer, 2023), is about improving human decision making and performance in complex tasks. Using a systems thinking approach, it presents innovative and insightful solutions to various managerial issues in various domains, including agriculture, education, climate change, digital transformation, health care, supply chains and sustainability.

Qudrat-Ullah’s second recently published work, a co-edited volume with York University Research Fellow Syed Imran Ali called Advanced Technologies and the Management of Disruptive Supply Chains: The Post-COVID Era (Springer, 2023), explores the cost-effective and efficient supply chain management strategies required to achieve resilience in the post-COVID environment.

“The book follows a didactic approach through which it informs global researchers and practitioners to deal with the most significant insights on future supply chains with a more in-depth analysis of post-COVID opportunities and challenges,” said Qudrat-Ullah. “In particular, it provides an in-depth assessment of disruptive supply chain management in certain industrial contexts and explores various industry 4.0 and industry 5.0 technologies to achieve resilience.”

The final book of the bunch, Exploring the Dynamics of Renewable Energy and Sustainable Development in Africa: A Cross-Country and Interdisciplinary Approach (Springer, 2023), explores the potential of renewable energy sources to promote sustainable development in Africa, with a specific focus on Cameroon, Nigeria, Uganda, South Africa and Algeria. It delves into the challenges and opportunities presented by various renewable and clean energy technologies, including nuclear power, liquefied petroleum gas, bamboo biomass gasification and geothermal energy in addressing the energy needs of African nations. Additionally, it assesses the socio-economic and environmental impacts of renewable energy projects and evaluates their alignment with the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

“The book’s interdisciplinary and cross-country approach, as well as its incorporation of innovative concepts like social innovation and bamboo-based development, makes it a unique resource,” said the author.

Niarchos scholarship brings students from Greece to York U

skyline of Greek town

By Elaine Smith

Students from Greece have an opportunity to study or conduct research at York University through a scholarship supported by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), an international philanthropic organization that honours the late shipping magnate.

Alexandros Balasis
Alexandros Balasis

In fact, Alexandros Balasis, a PhD student in history at York University, can trace his connection to York back to that scholarship. In 2018, when he was a fourth-year history student at Aristotle University in Thessaloniki in northern Greece, one of his professors told him about the Niarchos Foundation scholarships that provided an exchange to York.

He applied, was invited for an interview and was accepted in November 2018 for admittance in January 2019. York International, the office that handles exchanges, assisted him with orientation, registration and other logistics. Balasis arrived on Jan. 2, 2019, in time for York International’s orientation for international students, and from there, he was off and running.

“I saw a university system that I really liked,” Balasis said. “I got hooked from the very beginning.”

A photo of Sakis Gekas
Sakis Gekas

At York, he met Sakis Gekas, an associate professor who holds the Hellenic Heritage Foundation Chair of Modern Greek History, and they met every few weeks to discuss various aspects of modern Greek history.

“The scholarship gave me an opportunity to clarify my goals,” Balasis said.

He decided to pursue a master’s degree in history with Gekas, a degree that he obtained remotely during the pandemic. Gekas urged him to continue on to a PhD program and he has done so, studying Greek migration to Canada after the Second World War.

“The foundation changed the course of my life,” he said. “My experiences, both in Toronto and later with their Istorima project in Greece, gave me the opportunity to understand how much I like history. It made me decide to keep open to opportunities and take advantage of them.”

Grigorios Iliopoulos
Grigorios Iliopoulos

A Stavros Niarchos Foundation scholarship has also impacted Grigorios Iliopoulos‘s PhD studies, bringing his topic to life. Iliopoulos, a third-year PhD student in the American Literature & Culture Department at Aristotle University, is working on a thesis about contemporary literature that talks about the city of Toronto. However, until recently, he had never visited the city that is at the heart of his research.

“This was the perfect program for me,” Iliopoulos said. “I worked on material referring to Toronto, but this was my first chance to see the place.”

Iliopoulos’s work centres on literature depicting urban spaces. He chose Toronto because it is one of the most diverse metropolitan areas in North America and he has focused on novels and collections of short stories by authors of non-French or -British background, those less represented in the past.

“When I got to Toronto, I walked the streets and got a much better idea of how the city and the residents worked,” he said. “I got a sense of scale that is much different than in Europe and it felt like there was a huge difference in how we perceive space. I acquired a different understanding of the perspective of the authors I’ve studied, including David Bezmozgis and Dionne Brand.

“I was also able to access a wealth of library material that wasn’t available in Greece, so this opportunity will have a huge impact on my dissertation.”

Gekas, who serves as a liaison with the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, is eager to see more students in Greece take advantage of the opportunity to study at York. The foundation provides funding for three or four undergraduates and one graduate student each year, and he would like to exploit York’s partnership with the University of Crete and connect with the University of Athens to provide broad national coverage in Greece.

Faculty members who collaborate with colleagues in Greece and want to promote this opportunity are encouraged to contact Gekas or Ashley Laracy, associate director of global learning at York International.

Two profs earn awards for postdoctoral mentorship excellence

Audience clapping

York University’s Faculty of Graduate Studies (FGS) honoured two exceptional professors, Alison Crosby and Amro Zayed, with the Postdoctoral Supervisor Award during an FGS council meeting on Dec. 7. The award is presented annually to a faculty member in any department and program at York who demonstrates exemplary support for postdoctoral scholars.

This award serves to applaud Crosby and Zayed for exceeding general supervisory expectations to their postdoctoral Fellows while acknowledging the important work performed by both the professors and Fellows. Alice MacLachlan, vice-provost and dean of graduate studies, said the two recipients embody the award’s spirit of mentorship creativity, excellence and dedication. “You serve as a role model for all of us to follow,” she added.

“This is the kind of work that places York in the top 40 globally in the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings, through our work as a progressive, research-intensive institution,” said Lisa Philipps, provost and vice-president academic.

Alison Crosby

Alison Crosby
Alison Crosby

Crosby is an associate professor and interim Chair of the School of Gender, Sexuality & Women’s Studies. Her research projects and publications use an anti-racist, anti-colonial and transnational feminist lens and participatory methodologies to support protagonists’ multifaceted struggles to redress and memorialize harm in the aftermath of political violence, with a particular focus on Guatemala, where she has worked for over 30 years.

Crosby is currently working on the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council-funded project “Remembering and Memorializing Violence: Transnational Feminist Dialogues,” which brings together feminist scholars, artists, activists and community practitioners from a wide range of contexts and disciplinary perspectives to explore the transnational dimensions of how we collectively remember and memorialize colonial, militarized and state violence. The project also provided Crosby’s postdoctoral Fellow, Ruth Murambadoro, with a space to house her research and become part of this digital community.

“Professor Crosby embodies Ubuntu principles of communitarianism, humility, mutual respect, hospitality and so much more, which have enabled me to integrate and chart a new pathway for my career in Canada,” noted Murambadoro in her nomination letter. “She remains a key player in my life and role model, who taught me fundamental lessons on collegiality, humanness and effective mentorship. I value the contributions that Prof. Crosby has made in my research, scholarly and personal development over the time we have worked together.”

In response to the award win, Crosby said, “It’s my pleasure, privilege and honour to work with postdoc Fellows.” Of her nominator, she said, “I look forward to my collaborations with her for many years to come.”

Amro Zayed

Amro Zayed
Amro Zayed

Zayed, a professor in the Department of Biology and York Research Chair in Genomics, is currently the inaugural director of York’s Centre for Bee Ecology, Evolution & Conservation, leading a research program on the genetics, genomics and behaviour of social insects, using the honey bee as a model organism. 

Zayed’s lab provides opportunities to conduct research and network with academics and industry partners worldwide. Since 2009, Zayed has supervised eight postdoctoral Fellows who have collectively produced a total of 28 peer-reviewed publications and 71 conference presentations. He aims to equip postdoctoral Fellows with the skills necessary to successfully navigate the increasingly competitive job market.

“His approach to leadership has inspired us to seek creative solutions in research and to collaborate with diverse groups of stakeholders,” stated Sydney Wizenberg and Sarah French in their letter of nomination. “To this end, Amro exemplifies all of the characteristics one would expect of an intellectual leader and role model. He provides a unilateral environment of support to his research group. He is personally invested in our success and well-being, going above and beyond to help with professional skill development. He is actively involved in our career development, prioritizing our long-term success over our short-term role in his group.”

Zayed was caught off-guard by the award. “I was really surprised by this,” he admitted. “When I started my career, I never appreciated the joy of having postdocs.”

The Postdoctoral Supervisor of the Year Award accepts nominations annually by no later than June 1 of each year. Nomination letters should provide evidence that the nominee meets the following criteria: is a role model for intellectual leadership and professionalism in research; fosters an environment of support for professional skill development; promotes a climate of respect and collegiality; and offers advocacy and guidance in long-term personal and professional developments.

For more information, visit gradstudies.yorku.ca/postdoctoral-fellows/supervisor-award.

York advances projects to support Indigenous scholarship, knowledge

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Indigenous

Nine new projects dedicated to increasing Indigenous scholarship and voice within teaching and learning at York University have earned grants through the Indigeneity in Teaching in Learning Fund.

Funded by the Office of the Vice-Provost Academic, these innovative projects selected in the 2023-24 academic year create new opportunities for Indigenous students to build knowledge and increase participation in cultural activities, while expanding meaningful connections with Indigenous communities.

Marcia Annisette
Marcia Annisette

“We are pleased to see the uptake and interest in this fund. We get more applicants than we can fund and this year was no different,” says Marcia Annisette, vice-provost academic. “This speaks to the great interest across the University to bring meaning and intention to the Indigenous Framework and to the University Academic Plan. These funds are catalysts for what we hope will lead to richer teaching, learning and relationship across the University.”

Projects are estimated to engage approximately 1,000 students, faculty and staff. Susan Dion, associate vice-president, Indigenous initiatives, says these projects “contribute to embedding Indigenous voices and perspectives in courses, student learning and partnership building with Indigenous leaders, advancing York’s commitment to integrating Indigenous thought and perspectives throughout the academy.”  

In 2023, the University launched its Decolonizing, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy, which includes a commitment to cultivating inclusive teaching and learning environments that nurture multiple and intersectional ways of knowing. The nine projects awarded with grants aim to advance this goal in concrete ways and demonstrate how the community is contributing to advancing positive change in 2023-24.

The projects, which will receive approximately $2,000 each, are:

  • Bridging Indigenous Women’s and IndigiQueer Voices from Community to Indigenous Feminisms Class, by Angele Alook;
  • Community Voices in Indigenous Spirituality in the Contemporary World, by Michael White;  
  • Creating a SAGE Nest: Collaborative Mentorship & Support for Indigenous Graduate Students, by Rebecca Beaulne-Stuebing;  
  • Regeneration: All Our Relations Speaker and Performance, by Laura Levin, Brenda Longfellow, Archer Pechawis and Emilia White;
  • Lunch and Learn: Connect, Educate, Enhance, by Sage Hartmann and Hannah Johnson, Osgoode Indigenous Student Association;
  • Making Good Tracks Moccasin Project, by Kiera Brant-Birioukov
  • Reclaiming Aatisokaanan: Traditional Anishinaabe Stories, by Maya Chacaby;
  • Exploring Toronto as a City of Solidarity and Alienation, by Soma Chatterjee; and  
  • Houdensosaunee Social Dance, by Jeremy Green

SDGs in Action: from desk research to global citizenship curriculum

tablet united nations sustainability goals unsdgs

By Elaine Smith

Although they have now graduated, a team of students who took part in York University’s Go Global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Action Student Challenge hope to continue pursuing opportunities to incorporate their community-oriented projects into university extracurriculars.

With funding from the Government of Canada’s outbound student mobility pilot program Global Skills Opportunity, the Student Challenge aims to empower York students and their peers around the world to take action toward achieving the United Nations SDGs with a global lens under the supervision of York International.

Under the auspices of the challenge, two York students, Christiane Marie Canillo, who earned her bachelor of arts (BA) in psychology, and Ravichandiranesan Ponnudurai, a bachelor of environmental studies graduate, along with two students from the University of the Philippines Diliman – Renchillina Supan, a BA sociology graduate, and Mila Monica Maralit, a master of arts in tourism student – connected to work toward ensuring SDG 4: Quality Education. Now known as the iGoCitizen team, they welcomed a new member in November 2022: Anjali Kumar, a BA in law and society graduate from York University, who also shares motivation to transform conversation into active global citizenship.

In the winter of 2022, the team earned the SDGs in Action Creative Solutions Award for exhibiting a high degree of interdisciplinary thinking to mobilize and engage communities to act on the SDGs. And that was only the beginning.

The iGoCitizen team determined that global citizenship education (GCED) is integral to achieving the SDGs because it teaches action skills for quality education. Their pilot project, based on a discourse analysis, targeted the need to integrate GCED into school curricula as extracurricular activities. This helped them build this program, which organizes and equips teams with global citizenship learnings, design thinking and project management skills that allow them to create socially grounded and concept-based social action plans (SAPs) in their own communities.

“We need a relevant and transformative education that will enable learners to think critically and act toward a more ‘just, peaceful, tolerant and inclusive’ society,” they wrote in their plan.

Starting with Sri Lanka, the team prepared a country-specific curriculum to teach students about social cohesion, peace-building and active citizenship, and challenged them to create SAPs for their own communities.

Creating the curriculum required extensive research, consultations and discussions, and it would have been easy for the iGoCitizen team to hand in their deliverables and walk away at the end of the semester. Instead, they created an opportunity to deliver the curriculum the following fall, piloting it as a five-day hybrid workshop in partnership with VISIONS Global Empowerment Sri Lanka and the University of Jaffna in Sri Lanka.

Ponnudurai was on hand to deliver content live, while the other team members taught and facilitated the online portions of the workshop. The enthusiasm that greeted the workshop made them eager to keep the project alive.

“The participants wanted to model GCED and do projects in real time in Jaffna,” said Ponnudurai. “We all saw their passion. After three decades of the civil war in Sri Lanka, the younger generation wants to make changes to help rebuild their communities. This is so important in order to achieve the SDGs.”

Supan said, “It was great to see our ideas become reality. We met virtually to create this project, and I never thought that our concept notes would lead to social action plans and actual impact on student engagement activities.”

The iGoCitizen team is working on the possible second implementation in Sri Lanka and project contextualization in the Philippines. Anticipated efforts also include iterations to other countries not initially included in their discourse analysis, since there have been inquiries from countries such as Mexico. The team is also finalizing a memorandum of understanding discussion with their non-governmental organization partner, VISIONS Global Empowerment Sri Lanka.

It is challenging, because the team has limited funding and human resources, and members are also managing personal commitments such as work and studies. Nonetheless, all members remain passionate and committed. They hope that another team of students who join the Go Global SDGs in Action Student Challenge will be interested in pursuing the iGoCitizen initiative elsewhere in the world.

“York University’s SDGs in Action project team is in awe of team iGoCitizen. They are a model for anyone who aspires to create change and positive impact in their community(ies),” said Helen Balderama, director of global engagement and partnerships for York International. “With passion, determination and collaborations, the possibilities are endless.”

The 2023-24 SDGs in Action Knowledge Fair (third edition) is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 6 from 9 to 11:30 a.m. Those interested can register to join the conversation and learn about the student groups’ transformative SDGs projects.

For more information about iGoCitizen, contact the team at igocitizen.initiative@gmail.com or instagram.com/igocitizen.

Provostial fellowships support scholars from marginalized groups

glasses and pen resting on notebook

York University has announced Doug Anderson and Jean de Dieu Uwisengeyimana as this year’s recipients of the Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellowships for Black and Indigenous Scholars.

The Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellowship program seeks to attract outstanding scholars who will push the boundaries of knowledge in necessary ways. With a salary of $70,000 provided each year for a two-year term, award recipients will be able to dedicate their time to pursuing a proposed project, working alongside a supervisor and other mentors.

“This program allows York to promote and develop some of the most exciting, cutting-edge research that will shape the next generation of scholarship, by supporting the remarkable scholars who are producing it,” says Alice MacLachlan, vice-provost and dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies. “One theme that emerges from the innovative research being produced by this year’s scholars is connection – whether between learners and the land, or in artificial neural networks – and we are delighted by the connections they will be able to nurture among our dynamic community of researchers.”

While gaining a foothold to begin a career can be difficult in itself, Black and Indigenous scholars face the additional challenges of racism and systems structured to protect others’ privilege. This fellowship begins to address this issue by providing collegial resources, supervision, mentorship and funded time to successful applicants to help them become successful in their chosen careers.

Doug Anderson

Doug Anderson
Doug Anderson

Anderson is completing his PhD in education at York University. His project, “Inaakonigewin Akinomaagegamig,” addresses how Indigenous principles can begin to define and orient the resources in education systems in ways that benefit the work of sovereign Indigenous learning and resurgence in the land.

“I will bring my emerging academic focus under the direction of the Memtigwaake Kinomaage Mawnjiding Advisory Circle, now managing over 20 acres of land in Toronto as a learning space grounded in Indigenous ceremony, sovereignty and laws. This land hosts cyclical, perennial culture and language learning for Indigenous students in ways that are at the core of how learning and site management proceed,” shares Anderson. “I will work to support Indigenous students and partners to have this culture-based learning recognized by Toronto school boards and focus on how the learning can be supported through post-secondary institutions, all in ways defined by Indigenous people and principles. I am grateful for the support of doctors Deb Danard, Steve Alsop, Kate Tilleczek and Deborah McGregor in this work.”

Jean de Dieu Uwisengeyimana

Jean de Dieu Uwisengeyimana
Jean de Dieu Uwisengeyimana

Uwisengeyimana holds a PhD in biomedical engineering from the University of Science & Technology of China. His cutting-edge project will focus on developing video-based, biologically inspired, artificial neural networks for dynamic scene understanding. Uwisengeyimana will be affiliated with York’s Vision: Science to Applications (VISTA) program, which aims to advance vision and produce applications that generate positive health, societal, technological and economic impacts for Canada and the world.

“I express my sincere appreciation for the opportunity to pursue a Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellowship at York University, which will allow me to conduct cutting-edge research to develop computational models of visuocognitive tasks,” says Uwisengeyimana. “I will work on this project under the guidance of Dr. Kohitij Kar, a VISTA program core member and faculty member. I appreciate that Dr. Kar is actively interacting with industrial (e.g. Google Brain Toronto) and academic (e.g. the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard) partners to provide me with high-quality networking opportunities to help me advance my career.”

Learn more about the Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellowships for Black and Indigenous Scholars at York University by visiting the Faculty of Graduate Studies website.

Join discussions on qualitative accounting at upcoming symposium

man using calculator finanace math

York University’s School of Administrative Studies, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, will co-host the eighth annual Qualitative Accounting Research Symposium with the University of Guelph’s Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics from Nov. 23 to 24 at the Second Student Centre on York’s Keele Campus. The hybrid event will allow for both in-person and virtual participation.

The symposium will showcase a niche area of research in the accounting field. Qualitative accounting scholars comprise a dynamic and growing component of the scholarly community. This symposium serves as a platform to unite the community, enable collaboration amongst its members and add legitimacy to its research output.

Helen Tregidga
Helen Tregidga

The event’s keynote speech will be presented by Helen Tregidga (Royal Holloway, University of London), director of the Centre for Research into Sustainability, whose research is grounded in an interest in social and environmental issues, and critical aspects of organizations and work. Her primary research has focused on the constructions of sustainable development and sustainability within the corporate context, its consequences and, more recently, the role of academics and others countering or resisting the dominant discourse.

The symposium will include presentations by 18 academics from Argentina, Canada, Ghana, South Africa and the U.K. The event’s theme, “Accounting at the Crossroads of Democracy,” will be explored by panellists including Tregidga, Carla Edgley (Cardiff University), Christine Gilbert (Université Laval), Julius Otusanya (University of Lagos) and Fernanda Sauerbronn (Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro).

The hybrid event will close with a panel discussion titled “Building Ethical Leaders for the Future Accounting Profession,” geared towards professional accountants and funded by CPA Ontario.

For more information about the symposium and to register, visit the event web page.

York joins network of ‘open rangers’ to advance open educational resources

York University is among a cohort of educational institutions in the province that will champion the use of open educational resources (OER) through a program led by eCampusOntario.

Charlotte de Araujo, assistant professor, Faculty of Science, and Stephanie Quail, acting director of the Libraries’ Open Scholarship Department, were accepted into eCampusOntario’s Open Educational Resources Ranger (OER Ranger) program, an initiative designed to create and develop a network of OER advocates throughout Ontario’s post-secondary institutions.

Charlotte de Araujo
Charlotte de Araujo
Stephanie Quail
Stephanie Quail

A non-profit organization, eCampusOntario supports technology-enabled teaching, learning and innovation at Ontario’s publicly funded universities, colleges and Indigenous institutes. 

According to eCampusOntario, the OER Rangers will “form a network of educators and practitioners interested in supporting the advancement of open education within their institution and are individuals who are passionate about education as a public good, and who promote OER as a sustainable approach to education.” There will be a total of 84 rangers from 46 Ontario institutions participating in this program.

York University’s engagement with OER continues to expand and grow, helping faculty advance United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 4: Quality Education. OER are openly licensed, freely available educational materials that can be used, accessed, adapted and redistributed with no (or limited) restrictions.

“With each semester, students have shared that purchasing textbooks is sometimes beyond their budget,” says de Araujo. “Being able to provide OERs, whether it is a chapter from a textbook or a worksheet to review information, can be a potential solution to help alleviate cost challenges and also enable students to freely review and revisit course material.”

To help support York University’s engagement with OER, de Araujo and Quail will host a live Zoom event, Discovering Open Education at York University, on Thursday, Nov. 23 from 2:30 to 4 p.m. During this event, attendees will learn about the following topics:

  • what are open educational resources;
  • open licensing basics;
  • accessibility considerations and OER; and
  • learning more about H5P and Pressbooks – common OER creation tools.

Faculty who are interested in using, adapting or creating OER are encouraged to attend this webinar, and can register now.

Additionally, faculty who would like to learn about OER in more depth can sign up for the Libraries’ fully asynchronous four-week OER mini-course. This course was initially developed in 2020 for Academic Innovation Fund (AIF) project leads, to help support them in turning a component of their AIF into an OER. Last fall, this course was opened up to all interested faculty and staff at York University.

“I highly recommend taking the OER mini-course because it helps instructors develop the skills they need to find existing high-quality OER. Incorporating OER into your courses helps provide your students with access to course learning materials from the first day of classes,” says Quail.

The online OER mini-course will begin on Monday, Nov. 20 and will wrap up on Monday, Dec.18. The four-module mini-course covers valuable topics such as:

  • OER 101: What is OER? Including examples of OER and how they benefit students and faculty.
  • Copyright and Creative Commons licenses: An exploration of the range of open licenses available to creators and how to choose a licence that makes the most sense for their project.
  • Finding and evaluating OER: How to find OER for your subject area and evaluate them.
  • Create or adapt pre-existing OER: Learn about OER project management techniques, accessibility considerations, and OER tools and platforms.

Quail will teach the Libraries’ OER mini-course this year. Register for the course now.