Professors earn award for bringing comic art to classrooms

comic_art

Kai Zhuang, assistant professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science, and Mojgan Jadidi, associate professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at York University’s Lassonde School of Engineering, were honoured with a Best Paper Award at the 2023 American Society of Engineering Education Annual Conference for a paper titled, “Visual Verbal Integrated (VIVID) Comics – A pedagogy for teaching.”

Comic art of Professors Jadidi (left) and Zhuang (right)
Comic art of professors Mojgan Jadidi (left) and Kai Zhuang (right)

The honoured paper reflects the professors’ ongoing efforts to develop innovative teaching methods, which are inspired by visual arts and practices such as games, music and comic art.

“Engineering language creates learning barriers,” says Zhuang. “We want to increase understanding of materials in more efficient ways – through approachable, accessible and inclusive methods. Art-inspired pedagogy combines rationale with creativity for a more engaged student-learning experience.”

Zhuang and Jadidi’s work especially stresses the use of comics to teach humanistic skills such as ethical leadership to engineering students, as they are crucial for professional success. However, students often find these skills difficult to grasp due to their focus on technical concepts.

Comic art describing the concept of VIVID thinking.
Comic art describing the concept of VIVID thinking

Summarized in their awarded paper, Zhuang and Jadidi are developing and piloting a pedagogy called Visual Verbal Integrated (VIVID) Storytelling, which aims to address the challenges associated with teaching humanistic skills to engineering students.

The method combines aspects of VIVID thinking, which integrates visual and verbal elements to improve communication and drive ideation, as well as storytelling aspects of comic art, to help increase student engagement. The method also incorporates elements of sketchnoting, such as the use of simple visuals, to reduce the level of expertise needed to apply VIVID Storytelling in academic settings. By combining these elements, Zhuang and Jadidi established a user-friendly and engaging teaching method that promotes creativity and associative thinking to help students understand complex or unfamiliar ideas.

Excerpt from comic art material used to teach students about computational thinking.
Excerpt from comic art material used to teach students about computational thinking

To test the effectiveness of VIVID Storytelling, the method was used in different student workshops to teach skills ranging from self-directed learning to computational thinking. Not only was the method capable of teaching various skills and topics in an engaging manner, but it also provided students with reference material for future study.

In addition, VIVID Storytelling can be used to make complex concepts more accessible for students who face various barriers in academic settings, thereby supporting decolonization, equity, diversity and inclusion efforts. For example, the method offers an alternative to academic language that may be daunting for students. VIVID Storytelling also helps create an inclusive learning environment for students of different educational and linguistic backgrounds.

Jadidi and Zhuang are also conducting a project through York University’s Academic Innovation Fund titled “Developing PAN-Lassonde Inclusive, Immersive, Accessible, and Affordable Learning Environments for Engineering Education using Augmented/Virtual Reality, Gamification, & Educational Comics.” Involving more than a dozen professors across Lassonde, the project aims to address challenges in engineering education and improve learning experiences with a library of teaching methods inspired by visual arts and practices.

“The Academic Innovation Fund is a stepping stone,” says Jadidi. “If we can continue to get more grants, we can involve more faculty members and start implementing these methods in our courses. Together, we can create a safe, accessible and inclusive teaching culture.”

Academic integrity and student success: join the conversation

Academic integrity month students

York University’s second annual Academic Integrity Month, taking place in October, invites faculty, students and staff to join a series of workshops and activities developed to help deepen understanding of the topic.

The York-wide event series aims to broaden knowledge of academic integrity through this year’s theme: Connecting the Community. The spotlight is on innovative academic integrity approaches from the York community that facilitate new thinking about the topic and new ways to foster student success.

Organizers from the Office of the Vice-Provost Academic will present four events specifically designed for students, with a focus on: how to demonstrate academic integrity; sources and citing; academic skills, such as time management and group work; English-as-a-second-language theme classes; and using ChatGPT and artificial intelligence (AI).

The full list of student-focused events is here.

For faculty, instructors and staff, each week includes a variety of presentations, workshops and courses that delve into topics including: academic integrity and group work; AI and education; designing assessments; and more.

The full list of these events, listed by week, is here.

For more information and to register for a session, visit the Academic Integrity Month website.

Students can explore career paths, meet alum at Connections events

A virtual classroom displayed on an open laptop

A series designed to bring York University students and alum together for career conversations returns this fall for the sixth consecutive year, with the first event scheduled for Sept. 27.

Students and alumni at a previous Connections event
Students and alumni at a previous Connections event

Launched by the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies development team, the Connections: Speed Mentoring and Networking series presents five events that put students and alum together for a fast-paced evening of conversation. The events present an opportunity for students to ask questions, make connections and learn more about potential career paths.

“As a student struggling to choose a career path, it provided me with a lot of insight,” said previous attendee, third-year student Kigi Abaiowei. “It also relieved some of the pressure that comes with the uncertainty of not knowing exactly what to do after university.”

Guest alumni mentors attending include vice-presidents, chief financial officers, and entrepreneurs who each bring breadth of experience and knowledge from their various fields.

For this academic year, upper year and graduate students can register for the following events:

  • Careers in Economics Accounting and Finance, Sept. 27 from 5 to 7 p.m. – register here;
  • Leveraging my Liberal Arts Degree, Nov. 21 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. – register here for this in-person event;
  • Careers in HR Management, Jan. 31, 2024, from 5 to 7 p.m. – register here;
  • Careers in English or Creative Writing, Feb. 13, 2024, from 5 to 7 p.m. – register here; and
  • Careers in Information Technology, Feb. 28, 2024, from 5 to 7 p.m. – register here.

For more information about Connections and event details, visit yorku.ca/laps/connections.

New opportunities await York study abroad students

Map plane travel international world

By Elaine Smith

York University has a robust global learning program, and this fall, 31 York students will travel abroad to study at institutions in 15 countries outside Canada.

These exchange students embody York’s priority for advancing global engagement, as stated in University Academic Plan (UAP), and its commitment to expand inclusive global an intercultural learning, as set forth in the University’s new Internationalization and Global Engagement Strategy. “More than ever,” states the UAP, “universities have a responsibility to contribute to positive change through global co-operation and borderless education.”

Photo of Sarah Persaud (centre) shows Japanese exchange student at left and York student at right
Photo of Sarah Persaud (centre) with Japanese exchange student (left) and fellow York student (right)

Sarah Persaud and Anthony Chedid are among exchange students heading abroad this fall, and they are eager for the adventure. Persaud is off to Asia for the entire year to study art at Yamanashi Gakuin University in Japan, where she’ll focus on visual arts in the International College of Liberal Arts (iCLA). Chedid is going to England to spend a semester at the University of Leeds.

“Before I begin teaching, I want to do my final year of courses abroad,” said Persaud, a fifth-year student in the visual arts and concurrent education program. “Over the past couple of years, I took a lot of art history courses and focused on East Asian art, so this is a wonderful opportunity.”

Chedid has been dreaming of going abroad since high school.

“I read the blogs of a number of travel bloggers talking about travelling the globe,” said Chedid, a third-year student in the joint political science/Master’s of Management program, “and they all had the same origin story: they studied abroad and travelled while they were there. I want to travel, and York offers all these incredible opportunities.”

Both students attended the pre-departure training for exchange students run by York International and found it beneficial.

“It actually changed my plans,” said Persaud, who also took a York study-abroad course in South Korea this summer. “I met an exchange student from Japan and her friend who were in Japan all summer, so I stopped in Osaka to see them, and I’ll be able to connect with the Japanese student once I’m at the iCLA.”

Chedid was thrilled by the session.

Anthony Chedid
Anthony Chedid

“I got to meet exchange students from Britain and it was exciting to hear their experiences,” he said. “I was able to connect with a student who was here from Leeds and he gave me a lot of useful information about the city and the culture. It was also really helpful to get travel advice and information about health insurance.”

Both Persaud and Chedid have applied for bursaries and scholarships to help defray the costs of studying abroad. York International has bursaries available to students studying overseas, as does the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, and there are also external awards available – topics that are also discussed in the pre-departure training.

“The York International Safety Abroad office is committed to enhancing the safety of students’ experiences during their time abroad,” said Sara Jane Campbell, manager, safety abroad for York International. “As part of the pre-departure training, we support students in understanding and mitigating risks they may encounter. All students are also required to enrol in York University Safety Abroad Travel Registry to enable us to monitor travel advisories and safety/security concerns and provide help in case of an emergency overseas.”

Although her courses will be taught in English, Persaud took Elementary Modern Standard Japanese (JP 1000) in preparation and plans to continue learning Japanese while she’s at iCLA.

“You never stop learning kanji (written characters); there are always more of them to know,” she said.

In fact, she hopes to have the opportunity to tie language and art together through a course at iCLA called Calligraphy and Kanji Culture.

“I’m going to a whole new country, so I hope I’ll be inspired to try different things,” Persaud said. “I am excited about the new opportunities.

Chedid plans to  take courses in British politics. “Our system is based on theirs and it’s important to understand where our legal system originated,” he said. “It will also be interesting to see the effects of Brexit. This will be a great way to experience international politics, something for which I have a big passion.

“It will also be cool to explore a city that isn’t as widely known.”

Both students will experience the benefits of borderless intercultural education first-hand, and will be able to share their greater understanding of the global landscape with their York classmates upon return.

Research asks: do online educational platforms violate privacy expectations?

student on video chat

Yan Shvartzshnaider, assistant professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science at York University’s Lassonde School of Engineering, is part of a collaborative project that has received $291,971 in funding from the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) to analyze the functionality and information handling of online educational platforms to determine if their practices align with user expectations and privacy regulations.

Yan Shvartzshnaider
Yan Shvartzshnaider

As online educational platforms quickly became the de facto standard alternative to in-person teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic, the urgent transition left many unanswered questions about potential privacy concerns. Through features such as location-based tracking to confirm student attendance and video conferences that can reveal socio-economic indicators in users’ homes, online educational platforms have access to an abundance of highly sensitive information, raising the question: do online educational platforms violate our privacy expectations?

“Everyone has gotten used to this new normal, but no one is asking if these platforms respect established privacy norms,” says Shvartzshnaider. “We want to understand how these educational systems actually work and if they deviate from our privacy expectations.”

In collaboration with researchers from Colgate University, New York University, University of Chicago, University of Illinois and Cornell Tech, this project will involve extensive review of information governance practices put in place by schools to protect students, staff and parents. The research team will also explore the ways in which the pandemic has changed information handling practices, and if these practices contribute to educational values and purposes or violate them.  

Knowledge gained from this work will be used for informative guidance, providing relevant stakeholders with useful tools and methodologies so they can better design online educational platforms that prioritize user safety and privacy.

The SSHRC grant represents a unique achievement for a Lassonde professor, highlighting the diverse applications of engineering research, bringing Lassonde and Canada into the international conversation of online classroom privacy, and providing unique learning opportunities for Lassonde students, allowing them to become a part of interdisciplinary research that blends computer science and information technology with social sciences and humanities.

“I’m really excited for this project, which will bring together multiple disciplines,” Shvartzshnaider says. “This SSHRC funding will allow us to get lots of students involved in this important and timely project.”

In prospective work, he will explore the use of learning model systems and virtual reality, aiming to elevate the future of online classrooms, while prioritizing safety and privacy. He will also continue to work alongside Lassonde students and international partners, to collaboratively achieve a unified goal of creating safer, more informed spaces for online teaching.

Desjardins Group funding helps expand entrepreneurial programs at York

diverse group of workers collaborating in meeting room

La version française suit la version anglaise. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click here to register for the event on Sept. 12: go.yorku.ca/desjardins-visit2023.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cliquez ici pour vous inscrire à l’événement du 12 septembre : go.yorku.ca/desjardins-visite2023.

Professor gamifies cybersecurity education for middle schoolers

young kid using laptop

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

Sana Maqsood
Sana Maqsood

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Two York researchers receive Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships

gold cup with golf star confetti coming out of it

Following a highly competitive selection process, York University postdoctoral Fellows Chiara Camponeschi and Ashlee Christofferson have been named among this year’s recipients of the prestigious Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships.

Awarded by the Government of Canada, the Banting Fellowship is valued at $70,000 per year for two years and supports postdoctoral researchers who will positively contribute to the country’s economic, social and research-based growth. The award is open to scholars who are devoted to research in three areas: health, natural sciences and/or engineering, and social sciences and/or humanities.

The ambitious work of Camponeschi and Christoffersen falls into major themes identified in York’s Strategic Research Plan, such as forging a just and equitable world, and supports York’s commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Chiara Camponeschi

Chiara Camponeschi
Chiara Camponeschi

Camponeschi is a postdoctoral Fellow conducting research at the Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research. Her project, “Turning Moments of Crisis Into Moments of Care,” aims to rethink the approach to resilience and recovery in this age of systemic crises. By applying this model to the study of urban climate change, Camponeschi’s research provides practical solutions that can be leveraged in a variety of settings, from offering policy prompts for the design of infrastructures of care to making contributions to capacity-building and community practice.

“The lens of crisis has continued to be invoked to reinforce a reactive stance to change, one driven by narratives of enclosure, disconnection and austerity that are harmful to society – especially to already vulnerable groups,” says Camponeschi. “Crises, however, can be richly generative moments of rupture that reveal contradictions, incite action and stimulate new visions. They present us with the opportunity to turn moments of crisis into moments of care.”

Ashlee Christoffersen

Ashlee Christoffersen
Ashlee Christoffersen

Christoffersen is a postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Politics. Her proposed research aims to increase our understanding of how intersectionality can be applied in both policy and practice, with a unique focus on non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Titled “Operationalizing Intersectionality: Equality policy and NGOs,” the project aims to achieve positive change by highlighting the limitations of some existing NGO approaches and by impacting Canadian policy-makers’ interpretations of intersectionality.

“The question of how to apply ‘intersectionality,’ the Black feminist theory that social inequalities shape one another, is one that many across different fields have long struggled with,” explains Christoffersen. “This is because the predominant approach to inequalities has been to address these separately and thus ineffectively.”

Christoffersen underscores the importance of her research in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, which both deepened pre-existing inequalities and raised awareness of how they are intersecting.

The application deadline for the next round of Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships is Sept. 20. Learn more at yorku.ca/gradstudies/postdoctoral-fellows/funding/bpf-competition.

OsgoodePD expands construction, infrastructure offerings with two new programs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Two people exchanging a stack of books

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

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

Alison Halsall
Alison Halsall
Cheryl Cowdy
Cheryl Cowdy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Those interested should contact Elena Selevko at lapsccy@yorku.ca and/or Alison Halsall at ahalsall@yorku.ca for more information.