Contributions of the acclaimed economic theorist Nanak Kakwani will be celebrated Sept. 28

hands holding a globe

The international event will feature a number of keynote presentations and is organized by Glendon Professors Omar F. Hamouda and Betsey Price. Pre-registration is required, all are welcome.

The two Glendon professors are playing an integral role in an international event to mark the contributions of the acclaimed economic theorist, Nanak Kakwani. The event, which will feature the launch of a special issue of the Journal of Income Distribution dedicated to Kakwani along with an accompanying celebratory event, will take place on Sept. 28 over Zoom, is open to the University community. Pre-registration is required and can be completed at https://tinyurl.com/yum23m6u.

Nanak Kakwani
Nanak Kakwani

The launch of the special issue of the Journal of Income Distribution in honor of Kakwani’s legacy on the “Study of Income Inequality, Poverty, and Tax Progressivity,” will feature contributions from an impressive number of keynote speakers, including economists and thought leaders Jacques Silber, Hyun Son, Stephen Jenkins, Nora Lustig, Gary Fields, Kunal Sen and Francisco Ferreira.

The gathering introduces the next issue of the journal, guested edited by Jacques Silber and Hyun Son, on the central theme of “Nanak Kakwani’s Legacy on the Study of Income Inequality, Poverty, and Tax Progressivity.”

Kakwani’s imposing and inspiring theoretical and empirical economic contributions are impressive, both in depth and breath. The central focus of his research is the development of measurement tools needed to evaluate poverty, inequality, and disparity and to provide the empirical evidence and policy guidance required to help lift the underprivileged from their deprivation and destitution. He has developed many statistical methods and sets of indices, along the lines of the Lorenz curve, the Gini coefficient, and social-welfare functions, that bear his name, as published in the top economics journals: Econometrica, Econometric Theory, Applied Econometrics, Applied Welfare Economics, Quantitative Economics, the International Economic Review, and many others, including the Journal of income Distribution, Journal of Economic Inequality, and the Review of Income and Wealth

Aware that poverty has multidimensional characteristics and consequences, Kakwani has skillfully set out to disentangle its facets through theoretical and empirical methodologies. He investigates and studies the various aspects of deprivation and tackles each one from the angles of its specific impact on growth, taxation, standard of living, social protections, prices, labour opportunities or health prospects. In each of his studies, Kakwani’s intuitive approach is original and has pioneered empirical research in economic development.

Kakwani’s theoretical research in the concept of measurement was designed mostly for empirical performance application in specific case studies, in either one or a group of countries: poverty levels in Côte d’Ivoire, redistribution in Australia, poverty alleviation in India, aging in Africa, growth and the labour market in Brazil, cash transfers in African countries, inequality in Thailand, social pensions for the elderly in Sub-Saharan Africa, welfare in Ukraine, poverty program in China, and many other international comparison studies in welfare and growth performance. Dozens of examples of his studies are published in applied journals and various international organizations, such as the United Nations (UN), the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank.  

Kakwani has advised many governments and worked for many international organizations, such as UN Development Program (UNDP) director and chief economist of what was then called the International Poverty Centre UNDP, consultant to the Welfare and Human Resources Division of the World Bank, and economist of the Brazilian Development Bank.

The Journal of Income Distribution is hosting the event in connection with the ZEW – Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research in Mannheim. The editorial office of the Journal of Income Distribution is housed at the Glendon Campus at York University. Its website, https://jid.journals.yorku.ca/index.php/jid and its electronic publication are hosted by the Digital Scholarship Centre of York University Libraries.

Online and print versions of the publication of the special issue in honor of Kakwani are available by individual or institutional subscription, available at: https://jid.journals.yorku.ca/index.php/jid/about/subscriptions.

Osgoode professor address calls for stronger UN anti-racism convention

silhouette of people gathered outside

Osgoode Hall Law School Assistant Professor Rabiat Akande was invited to address the United Nations Ad Hoc Committee on the Elaboration of Complementary Standards on July 20 where she asked the committee to consider changes to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).  

Akande urged the Ad Hoc Committee to strengthen ICERD to specifically prohibit the persecution of racialized religious minorities. Akande argued that international human rights law does not offer these groups adequate protection.  

The Ad Hoc Committee was initially formed in 2007 to consider a convention or additional protocols to update the ICERD. The committee has met most years since 2008 and is attended by member states, regional groups, national institutions, specialized agencies, and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations.  

The committee has engaged with numerous experts in the fields of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, and contemporary issues of racism in different contexts. The resumed 11th and 12th sessions of the committee took place from July 18 to 29 in Geneva, Switzerland. 

Rabiat Akande

Akande told the committee that a current draft of the additional ICERD protocol, which was drawn up during the 10th session, mistakenly construes all forms of contemporary religious discrimination as racial discrimination and “fails to acknowledge the every day struggle of persons who suffer intersectional discrimination along the axis of race and religion.”  

The 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which helped shape subsequent international human rights law, was fatally flawed because its concept of religious liberty continues to exclude members of disfavored and racialized religious groups, she said.  

Akande argued the international law draws a false dichotomy between freedom of conscience (or internal beliefs) and outward forms of religious faith.  

“The most obvious casualty has been the covered Muslim woman,” she stated to the committee, “with a string of decisions handed down by the European Court of Human Rights consistently upholding state restrictions and even proscriptions on the hijab – the Muslim headscarf or veil –as being a proportional and reasonable restriction of the manifestation of religion.” 

Muslim minorities face the debilitating impact of Islamophobia, said Akande, but are unable to access meaningful legal remedy under the law. At times, she added, the same has been true for other religious minorities, including Jews, Sikhs and even some Christian groups.  

Akande said the draft protocol to ICERD “will not offer the legal remedy needed by those whose experience of religious and racial marginalization is compounded by the intersection of those two forms of discrimination.” 

She told the committee that the legacy of colonization lives on in the racial and religious subordination of certain peoples – “marginalization that is not only denied recognition and remedy under international law but is in many ways even compounded by the current international legal regime.” 

“As we confront new forms of oppression such as lethal Islamophobia masquerading as national and international security policy,” she said, “and indeed, the persistent denigration of the religions of Indigenous peoples globally, I hope member states will seize this opportunity to take bold action by offering robust legal protections for communities at the margins.” 

Akande joined Osgoode last year, and works in the fields of legal history, law and religion, constitutional and comparative constitutional law, Islamic law, international law and post-colonial African law and society. She is an Academy Scholar at the Harvard University Academy for International and Area Studies, where she was in residence from 2019-21. She graduated from Harvard Law School in 2019. At Harvard, she also served as an editor of the Harvard International Law Journal and taught at the law school and in the Department for African and African American Studies. 

Applications for Glendon’s Research Apprenticeship Program and G21 courses are open  

Glendon students

Glendon Campus will be recruiting more than 30 undergraduate students to partake in the Research Apprenticeship Program (RAP) and the new G21 course during the 2022-23 school year.  

With funding from the Academic Innovation Fund (AIF) and support from other on-campus partners, the Glendon Research and Innovation Office has created opportunities for students to pursue their diverse interests and passions by providing them with an impressive range of research experiences on campus. These initiatives aim to encourage students to participate in enriching, experiential learning opportunities. 

Glendon students have the option to engage in two unique opportunities to conduct hands-on research. Students in RAP work as research assistants on the projects of faculty members, while students participating in the G21 courses pursue their own independent passion project under the supervision of a faculty member. In both areas of interest, Glendon professors serve as invaluable mentors to all participating students. 

All students are welcome to submit an application RAP. Glendon’s incoming cohort of first year Top Scholar students, a group of high school students entering Glendon with an average of 90 per cent or higher, are given priority to participate in the first year of the program. 

As part of the application process, students will be asked to answer questions based on their research interests and engagement both inside and outside of the classroom. Students will also be asked to indicate their top three choices of faculty members with whom they wish to work in a research assistant capacity. Student researchers in the program are expected to complete five hours of apprentice-related work per week. Each student will be granted a bursary of $1,500 for their work. 

Students interested in pursuing an independent research passion project in the G21 courses must ensure that their project aligns with one or more of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Participation in the G21 is limited to upper-level Glendon students, who will enroll in the course entitled “G21 Passion Project / Projet passion G21” on the Glendon course website page, which is coded 4669 and can be found under the course listings for History, Linguistics, Drama and Creative Arts, Canadian Studies, Philosophy, Psychology, and International Studies. 

Students majoring in other programs may enroll in the social science version of the course. As part of the application process for the G21 course, students will be asked to submit a short proposal detailing the independent research project that they wish to pursue, and they will identify a faculty supervisor.

At this year’s Glendon Research Festival, a number of talented students presented their research findings and engaged in a stimulating question period at the end of the session. One student centered their research on SDG 11 by analyzing the critical role of public art in creating sustainable cities and communities, while another student focused their research on SDG 4 through their insightful analysis on the integration of students with down syndrome and dyslexia in an L2 classroom (a setting where their dominant language is not spoken). 

In the G21 courses, students will receive a course credit and have access to research funds for their projects. 

Both programs equip students with an invaluable skill set to conduct intense research, which includes enhancing their critical thinking, editing, presentation and writing talents. Students are also encouraged to cultivate networking skills through their participation in various research-oriented workshops that are organized throughout the academic year. It is through their engagement in RAP and G21 courses that many Glendon students can explore their research interests and develop a passion for conducting research.  

Undergraduate opportunities like the RA program and G21 courses demonstrate the benefits that come from engaging students in research projects beyond traditional, formal classroom settings. The skills and knowledge the students acquire will help them prepare for future academic and work endeavours. 

To learn more, visit the Glendon Campus research webpage.  

4REAL experiential learning opportunity to focus on local climate solutions 

glass planet in a forest with sunshine

The Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning Canada (CEWIL Canada) is supporting York University’s 4REAL (4th Renewable Energy & Agricultural Learning) project.

Students building a compost at the experiential learning partner farm, Native Plants in Claremont as part of a previous CEWIL-funded REAL project

CEWIL partners with post-secondary institutions, community members, employers, government and students to champion work-integrated learning. The 4REAL experiential learning opportunity will focus on local climate change solutions through the lens of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), specifically regenerative agriculture and gardening, value-added food production, sustainable building construction, renewable energies, electric mobility, Indigenous knowledge and environmental education, including arts-based learning. 

This innovative project will enable 224 post-secondary students from across the country to receive a $1,200 scholarship. In addition, it will cover the costs of trainers, safety equipment, transportation and more.  

The project lead is Faculty of Environmental & Urban Change (EUC) Associate Professor Jose Etcheverry, who is also the Co-Chair of Sustainable Energy Initiative (SEI) and director of the International Renewable Energy Academy (IREA). Project coordination will be led by master’s of environmental studies graduate Dale Colleen Hamilton, and administration by York University master’s of environmental studies student Codrina Ibanescu.  

“Our goal with this grant is to provide practical and memorable experiences, and to allow people from all different walks of life to participate in seeing and creating the world that they would like to see,” said Etcheverry. 

4REAL is linked to York University’s renewable energy course to offer undergraduate and graduate credits. Participants may also receive a United Nations Sustainable Development Goals certification based on their level of achievement, issued by the International Renewable Energy Academy and the Rural Urban Learning Association. 

4REAL will begin July 18 and conclude Sept. 30. The timing of the project is flexible, with options available for all interested students and partners to remain involved as a team for subsequent initiatives. Interested students can sign up through the Eventbrite link

The Beausoleil First Nations and Six Nations alongside REAL team members who built design elements of the Climate Solutions Park, an ongoing project that began during previous REAL rounds in Penetanguishene, Ontario

The project aims to provide practical training in renewable energies and regenerative agriculture as pivotal climate change solutions. The project offers opportunities to select and train a group of student leaders to undertake SDG-focused projects and work collaboratively with community partners to develop practical deliverables in areas such as: regenerative agriculture, scientifically proven climate change solutions, renewable energies for farm and general use, arts for environmental education, ethical entrepreneurship, and Indigenous reconciliation.   

“We must make peace with our own actions if we would like to speed up change for the climate. We all have to come to peace with our own responsibility for our community, and collectively open our consciousness to create something different if we are to contribute to the well-being of future generations and climate solutions. It starts with us. We are all one ecosystem, and we need to manifest our natural abilities for greatness,” said Jacqueline Dwyer, 4REAL community partner and founder of the Toronto Black Farmers and Growers Collective. 

This opportunity will ensure students obtain the practical skills needed by diverse employment sectors, represented by 4REAL’s numerous community partners. Students will explore their professional and personal development needs, positioning them for employment in high-demand local sectors such as food production, energy, transportation, housing, and environmental education. 

A solar installation training offered with Relay Education in February 2020 as part of a previous REAL project. Each of the three cohorts welcomed more than 50 students

4REAL participation can be entirely online, but with a strong preference for some in-person experiential learning at our various farm and green industry sites in the Guelph, Toronto and Georgian Bay areas. Students will work in groups informed by mentors and collaborating with strategic partners and other local community stakeholders to design and implement practical strategies to tackle selected SDGs; and will curate their experiences for online knowledge mobilization. 

“Each student which enters this training has the opportunity to empower themselves towards their greatest potential, and importantly, their own self-actualization. Education, to me, has always been a liberatory practice aimed to awaken and free my mind, and I believe this training offers just that. We must allow seeds of hope and inspiration to plant trees that will water future generations for many years to come. Everyone has a purpose, and it is up to all of us to discover what that is. I’ve learned that when we join together with like-minded individuals, anything becomes possible,” said Ibanescu. 

For further details about how to participate in 4REAL, email csp@123mail.org.  

United Kingdom’s Turing Scheme awardees visit Lassonde

Lassonde MMU students outside of Bergeron building

Manchester Metropolitan University degree apprentices selected York University’s Lassonde School of Engineering and its corporate partners to gain global industry exposure and share important lessons.

By Elaine Smith

From June 3 to July 3, York University was home to eight students from Manchester Metropolitan University (Manchester Met) who were taking part in an opportunity offered by the U.K.’s Turing Scheme, which gives students a chance to gain international experience. Named in honour of the renowned British mathematician and computer scientist, Alan Turing, the program is designed to support life-changing international experiences for study or professional advancement. The visit to York University is special because it does both, and it is one of the select Canadian programs delivered under the Turing Scheme’s inaugural call.

Jane Goodyer (2022 image)
Jane Goodyer

The students are part of Manchester Met’s Digital & Technology Solutions Degree Apprenticeship program, which allows them to earn university degrees while working in industry and earning a salary. It’s similar to a model that Jane Goodyer, dean of the Lassonde School of Engineering at York, pioneered in New Zealand and plans to introduce at York in 2023.

Over the course of their degree apprenticeship program at Manchester Met, students spend 20 per cent of their time in class and 80 per cent applying what they’ve learned to industry jobs and learning workplace skills. Many degree apprenticeship participants are employed full time at the same employer for four years, earning a competitive salary while studying towards a Bachelor of Applied Science (BASc) degree. York University’s program will offer a variation on that theme.

“I was commissioned by the New Zealand government to lead a pilot program [for work-integrated-learning] and Manchester Met became our advisors,” said Goodyer. “Although this learning model is a first for Canada, where students spend the majority of their time working with employers, it is widely used across more than 100 universities in the U.K. We’re proud to be working closely with Manchester Met, one of the U.K.’s leading providers, with over 2,500 students enrolled in these kinds of programs whilst working with 544 employers. Our intention is to bring this concept to Canada and it’s a win-win for us to have these students visit. It is informative and a joy for academics and Canadian employers to learn first-hand about their experiences.”

For their part, the Manchester Met students visiting York University had an opportunity to expand their professional exposure beyond the U.K. context.

“We want our students to have international awareness and exposure,” said Darren Dancey, a professor of computer science at Manchester Met. “They can see what is common and what is unique and compare and contrast. The Turing Scheme is fairly new in the U.K., and we think we are the first apprenticeship program to use it. The opportunity for our students to come to York came out of our international network where Jane, who is passionate about work-integrated-learning, plays a leading role.”

Since most of the students are involved in work year-round at their jobs as part of the apprenticeship program, they were given time off to spend a month at York.

“The employers have been hugely supportive,” said Dancey. “They see them as people well worth investing in.”

The students had a full schedule while at York University. After a week of orientation to Lassonde and the University, they attended classes four days each week; visited technology companies, including Ceridian, CGI, IBM Canada, mimic Technology Inc., Shopify and Pearson; and met weekly with the University stakeholders responsible for the curriculum for the forthcoming York program. There was also time built into their visit to take in some of the area’s sights, such as the waterfront, Niagara Falls and Canada’s Wonderland.

Two members of the group, Tasmia Niazi and Ryan Whittaker, both recently finished their software engineering undergraduate degrees at Manchester Met and have accepted positions – and promotions – with the companies where they did their apprenticeships, Lloyd’s Banking Group and AstraZeneca, respectively.

“As a student and a full-time employee, you spend four years learning about the processes and procedures of the employer, which makes you a very valuable team member,” said Niazi. “I don’t understand why someone would leave.”

Whittaker agreed. “After four years, you’re so well integrated,” he said. “I appreciate the benefits and the confidence I’ve gained, and I want to stay. People who leave university with the usual degree start in entry-level jobs, but we’ve had a four-year head start.”

They are also ahead financially, having earned while they learned.

According to Manchester Met, the average student salary a year after graduating is 46 per cent higher than the average U.K. computer science graduate and five per cent higher than graduates from the top five U.K. computing courses. Across all Manchester Met’s degree apprenticeships, learners performed so well during their programs, 78 per cent received a pay-raise and 64 per cent received a promotion.

“As working and learning occur in a seamless environment, businesses can benefit from a learner’s access to the latest expertise, knowledge and resources a university provides,” said Goodyer. “A vehicle for social mobility, the program offers a pathway into higher education for non-traditional learners, particularly those underrepresented in the technology sector or those without the means to pursue a traditional degree.”

The U.K. visitors enjoyed sharing their degree apprenticeship experiences with York faculty and staff, as well as Canadian employers who are potential participants in York’s upcoming work-integrated program in Digital Technologies.

“It has been an opportunity to talk about what we do day-to-day,” said Niazi. “Since York University is trying to implement a similar program, it felt right to help employers understand it and see how they can onboard and support learners.”

While in Canada (“It’s a massive country!”), the pair enjoyed the opportunity to live on campus with their fellow students, something that was not possible while doing their degrees.

“I missed out on university living, so that’s one of the reasons I wanted to come,” said Whittaker. “The educational system is very different here with majors and minors and there is much more granular detail in the lectures. I am enjoying the exposure to the North American market and would like to spend more time here to explore the different lifestyle and work culture.”

Niazi noted that most of the British student visitors, “never knew each other because we’re in different years or different courses. It has been great getting to know each other and learn from their experiences, too.”

Although York University has yet to inaugurate its Integrated Program, the connection between York and Manchester Met will continue, based on longstanding personal connections, the value propositions each university’s ecosystem brings to the partnership, a mutual desire for reciprocal student mobility, and the U.K. model to which Lassonde aspires. The partnership between York University and Manchester Met exemplifies how international collaborations offer a mutual benefits for students, faculty and higher education ecosystems.

Emerging themes in social determinants of health theory and research highlighted in commentary

writing notes schulich

In an invited commentary to the International Journal of Health Services, Professor Dennis Raphael of York University together with Ontario Tech University Associate Professor Toba Bryant outlined seven emerging themes in social determinants of health theory and research.

Dennis Raphael
Dennis Raphael

These themes go beyond traditional notions that carrying out high-quality research and presenting them to policymakers will lead to health-promoting public policy. Instead, the authors identify significant barriers to having this research put into practice by governmental authorities increasingly under the sway of corporate and business influence. The corporate and business sector commonly calls for reduced government spending, lack of regulation of the workplace, and reduced taxes on the corporate and business sector, positions at odds with the findings of this research.

The seven themes are:

  1. Models of Public Policy Change (traditional models of public policy change do not represent how public policies actually come about);
  2. The Political Economy of Health (public policy is increasingly under the sway of political and economic interests whose desires are not aligned with the needs of most Canadians);
  3. Unionization and Collective Agreement Bargaining (these processes are key to promoting health but neglected in health promotion research and action);
  4. Corporate Domination of the Base and Superstructure of Society (it is increasingly apparent that the corporate and business sector are shaping both economic and political processes as well as all aspects of civil society);
  5. Neoliberalism, Redistribution and Service Delivery (increasing acceptance of neoliberal approaches to governance are leading to greater inequities in the distribution of resources necessary for health as well as degrading of health and social services);
  6. Communication and Polemic (it is necessary to raise the volume on these issues as traditional communication approaches are not working); and
  7. Social Welfare States or Socialist States (it is becoming apparent that many of the barriers to having the social determinants of health addressed are rooted in Canada’s form of capitalism. The environmental crisis is leading to questioning whether a climate catastrophe can be avoided under our present economic system.)

In the conclusion of their commentary, Raphael and Bryant state: “The apparent inability of government authorities to control the power and influence of the corporate sector is yet another reason for a reconsideration of the current economic system and whether capitalism is capable of maintaining, much less improving, the quality and equitable distribution of the social determinants of health.”

Finally, Raphael points out that most of the work cited in the paper was conducted with graduate students in York University’s Graduate Program in Health Policy and Equity. The paper “Emerging Themes in Social Determinants of Health Theory and Research” is available at https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/00207314221109515.

Apply now to be an Agent of Change  

two people holding a globe

The Agents of Change Program is accepting project proposal applications until Sunday, July 3 at 11:59 p.m. It offers students the opportunity to gain beneficial entrepreneurial experience and make impactful changes in their local communities.  

The program aims to support innovative student-led community initiatives that uniquely address the social determinants of health (SDH) and United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). It offers students start-up funding, one-on-one coaching, mentorship, training and networking opportunities. 

The Agents of Change Program was established by an alumni donor in 2013, driven by the goal to promote applied learning opportunities and develop students’ transferable skills. A project-based learning approach is adapted by the program to foster student engagement to real-world problems through their personal, community-oriented and health-related initiatives. 

Successful applicants will have the opportunity to run their projects in a year-long timeline that begins in August 2022 and ends in May 2023. Calumet and Stong Colleges will be reviewing the project proposals.  

Eligibility to apply for Agents of Change:  

  • A York University undergraduate/graduate student returning for the academic year of 2022-23; 
  • Good academic standing with York University; and  
  • If applying as a group:  
    – maximum number of group members is five.  
    – majority of the team (over 50 per cent) must be from the Faculty of Health. 

The proposed Agents of Change Initiative ideas must address the following:  

  • Project vision: Your vision should be specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic, and timely (S.M.A.R.T.); 
  • Goals, deliverables, and timeframe: How will you implement your vision in the months to follow? What projects do you aim to complete during your timeframe?;  
  • Target population of the project: Who is the intended demographic for your project? Please justify the need for your initiative with research;  
  • Uniqueness: What makes your project innovative and unique? Ensure your project does not replicate services on campus. If services are duplicated, does your project complement or expand already existing initiatives?;  
  • Adaptability: Does your project demonstrate the flexibility required during this time of COVID-19? How will you work around these limitations (delivering services online)?; and 
  • Existing resources and required budget. 

A detailed proposal guideline is available for reference.  

For the past nine years, the program has achieved noteworthy outcomes and impact through more than 25 student-led initiatives focused on meeting the health-related needs of vulnerable or marginalized community members. 

Past Agents of Change initiatives have covered a broad range of categories, including supporting physical and mental health, gender inequity in health leadership and homelessness. The current Agents of Change projects are innovative in addressing SDH and are actively participating in achieving the UN SDGs. Learn about past projects on the Calumet College webpage.  

Celebrating inaugural graduating class of Business & Leadership Essential Certificate Program  

Black youth smiling

Schulich ExecEd (previously Schulich Executive Education Centre) celebrates the inaugural graduating class of the Business & Leadership Essential Certificate Program, delivered by the Black Entrepreneurship Alliance (BEA) in partnership with the Black Creek Community Health Centre. 

Among this year’s 18 graduates are nine intrapreneurs, who are Black professionals building their leadership skills within existing organizations, and nine entrepreneurs, who have a business idea or an existing entrepreneurial business.  

At the end of the 10-week program, graduates received a certificate from Schulich ExecEd, a strategic business unit of the Schulich School of Business at York University. Schulich ExecEd provides lifelong learning for the development of professionals and executives, beyond their full-time education and entry into the workforce. 

The certificate program, funded by Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, welcomed applications from Black applicants from the Greater Toronto Area, providing guidance, instruction and mentorship, as well as financial, legal, practical and marketing support to assist budding and existing entrepreneurs. 

“Our team is committed to supporting entrepreneurs towards success and providing the platform to achieve it. It is especially rewarding to have been a part of the journey towards success this inaugural graduating class has been on,” says Rami Mayer, Schulich ExecEd executive director. “Many of our graduates are individuals from our own community here at the Schulich School of Business within York University and we could not be more proud of their accomplishments and growth. We are incredibly honoured to have partnered with the Black Creek Community Health Centre in rolling out this learning journey that truly fosters a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment to a community that has faced many barriers to success. I know this program can and will change our graduates’ lives for the better in tangible ways and I am excited to see them each excel in the months and years to come.” 

18 graduates completed the Business & Leadership Essential Certificate Program in April 2022

Program partner Black Creek Community Health Centre is a respected multi-service agency serving Toronto’s North York West and adjacent communities since 1989. The organization works with individuals, families and organizations to deliver comprehensive health services and programs that enable community members to receive the best care where they live.  

“As a community health centre, our role is to provide health care, but we also create healthy environments where communities thrive, by encouraging and supporting success within the community. This program is just one innovative way Black Creek Community Health Centre is bringing real and tangible change to a community that traditionally faces too many barriers. This program breaks that cycle – providing skills, support, tools and opportunities,” says Cheryl Prescod, Black Creek Community Health Centre executive director. 

The BEA is led by Black Creek Community Health Centre in partnership with Schulich ExecEd, as well as YSpace at York University and TD-Community Engagement Centre. The BEA offers six different programs designed to support Black professionals and entrepreneurs to achieve their business goals. 

“Our partnership with Schulich ExecEd, delivering the Business & Leader Certificate Essential Program, is valued added to the long-term success of the Black entrepreneurial ecosystem. I’m excited about this strategic collaboration because it equips Black entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs with the essential business skills to build future-ready companies and effectively navigate a changing business landscape. Schulich ExecEd’s commitment to supporting present and future Black leaders will positively impact diverse participation levels in emerging economies,” says Olu Villasa, BEA manager.  

Impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Tariq Al Barwadi, a student of the program, and his business partner had to step away from their thriving Parkdale neighbourhood storefront where they served unique tea blends to loyal customers for more than six years.  

“The Business & Leadership Essential Certificate Program opened a door of opportunity when we needed it most. We felt welcomed within a supportive space, where we were inspired and supported to build a new business model, along with the required infrastructure to bring our selection of teas to an online marketplace. We are reaching more customers, inspiring a global customer community to discover their passion for our tea blends,” says Al Barwandi. 

Certificate graduate Julienne Riviere was able to apply leadership skills from the program when she secured a position in her desired field midway through completing the certificate. 

“I started this program while working in a finance/legal position, with the goal to work in health care in the future. Midway through the program, I landed a role in health care, and I got to see the topics we covered in course material unfold before my eyes. The Marketing & Strategy course content gave me the knowledge required to speak confidently in stakeholder meetings. I never imagined this program would be so applicable to my role so soon. I’m pleased to be a part of the first cohort to graduate from this program,” says Riviere, research coordinator, Research Institute at St. Joseph’s Health Centre. 

For more information on Schulich ExecEd, speak to an advisor. For information about the BEA, visit their website

Celebrating EUC excellence through the Dean’s Awards  

A tree next to a building

Five awards were presented to members of the Faculty of Environmental & Urban Change (EUC), recognizing their significant contributions within the Faculty and beyond.

These awards are granted to faculty and staff members nominated by their peers in four categories: Teaching Excellence, Service Excellence, Research Excellence and Staff Service Excellence. 

This year, Dean Alice J. Hovorka presented the EUC Dean’s Awards to Associate Professor Jin Haritaworn – Dean’s Teaching Award; Associate Professor and Planning Program Coordinator Luisa Sotomayor – Dean’s Service Award; Research Officer Rhoda Reyes – Dean’s Staff Recognition Award; Professor Ilan Kapoor – Dean’s Research Excellence Award; and Professor and Director of The City Institute (CITY) Linda Peake – Dean’s Research Excellence Award.  

During a virtual awards ceremony, Hovorka presented the awards to EUC members. “It is my honour and pleasure to present the 2022 EUC Dean’s Awards to these deserving faculty and staff members, who offer their extraordinary talents to positively impact our EUC community,” says Hovorka.  

Dean’s Teaching Award 

Award recipient: Jin Haritaworn  

This award recognizes and celebrates teachers in EUC who challenge, motivate and inspire students, and who innovate pedagogy and curriculum to enhance the quality of student learning.  

Haritaworn’s nomination notes students’ praise for the associate professor’s commitment to activist scholarship and queer of colour methodologies, as well as creating a learning environment that aligns with the hopes, intentions and dreams for structural transformation.  

Jin Haritaworn  

Haritaworn is recognized for creating a sense of community and real inclusivity within their learning environment. Students thrive in Haritaworn’s “classroom community” which brings students together with community artists, activists and organizers. As noted by students in the ENVS 5073: New Social Movements and ENVS 4800: Queer of Colour Art and Activism in the City courses in their comments on Haritaworn’s nomination, the approach, develops real-world relationships and connections between what students are studying and the social movements that are building or emerging, in real time. Students also noted this approach honours the knowledge, intelligence and lived experiences of activist scholars and thereby bridges the gulfs between activism, academia and art.  

Haritaworn is recognized for challenging students to think deeply and critically.

Dean’s Service Award 

Award recipient: Luisa Sotomayor  

This award recognizes and celebrates excellence in faculty service within EUC. 

Luisa Sotomayor

Sotomayor’s nomination notes their invaluable role in serving the York University community and beyond. Sotomayor’s breadth of service contributions includes leading the MES (Master of Environmental Studies) Planning program, developing and offering planning skills workshops, driving EUC renewal in urban and planning realms, coordinating research seminars, organizing and chairing conferences, engaging with York organized research units YCAR (York Centre for Asian Research) and CITY Institute, serving on Social Sciences and Humanities Research council (SSHRC) adjudicating committees, working with the Professional Standards Board for Planning in Canada, and holding numerous senior positions in professional organizations. 

Sotomayor is praised by colleagues for her professionalism, thoughtfulness, respectfulness, empathy and practicality. Sotomayor is recognized for having an open-door policy and a willingness to find time to help those in need. Sotomayor embodies the positivity and change-making that EUC strives for and is supported with a sincere sense of admiration and gratitude for their contribution and dedication to the Faculty.  

Dean’s Staff Recognition Award 

Award recipient: Rhoda Reyes 

Rhoda Reyes

This award recognizes and celebrates staff members who are committed to excellence in their service to EUC and whose performance inspires professionalism, creativity and innovation. 

Reyes is recognized for her ongoing efforts to ensure EUC researchers are supported in their research endeavours. Reyes skillfully navigates York systems to address financial and administrative challenges. She offers guidance and support throughout research funding cycles, from substantive feedback on proposals to aligning budget protocols with application criteria. Reyes is recognized for her invaluable role in celebrating and promoting research excellence at EUC and being on hand to support public talks and events featuring EUC faculty and students. Ultimately, Reyes ensures that EUC researchers are supported and contributes to elevating the culture of research excellence within the Faculty. 

Dean’s Research Excellence Award 

Award recipient: Ilan Kapoor  

Ilan Kapoor

This award recognizes and celebrates researchers in EUC who make significant contributions to their field of scholarly work and demonstrate research leadership beyond normal expectations. 

Kapoor is described as a critical theorist of the highest calibre. The professor’s most recent books (three published in the last four years) have earned high accolades from some of the most prominent scholars in the field. Kapoor’s contribution to the international reputation of the University and the intellectual life of the Faculty is noted as being exceptional. Kapoor is described by peers and graduate students as a generous, inspiring, and impactful mentor. 

Dean’s Research Excellence Award 

Award recipient: Linda Peake  

Linda Peake

This award recognizes and celebrates researchers in EUC who make significant contributions to their field of scholarly work and demonstrate research leadership beyond normal expectations. 

Peake’s nomination described the professor as an exceptional international, collaborative, feminist scholar dedicated to excellence in critical and justice-oriented research and committed to facilitating an empowering community-based research program. Peake has garnered $4 million to support their innovative research agenda that has illuminated urbanization as a deeply gendered process. Peake’s research leadership has benefited students and postdoctoral Fellows, built research capacity in the global south, and created a transnational web of scholarly knowledge production by feminist urban scholars. Moreover, Peake has transformed CITY Institute into an international hub of geography, urban studies and urban sociology. Peake’s record of collaboration and co-publication is exemplary, as is the impact of their work on policy and communities around the world.  

EUC taps into C4 opportunities for capstone experience

Usa globe resting in a forest - environment concept

Students in the Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change (EUC) speak about their Cross-Campus Capstone Classroom (C4) experience and how they contributed to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.  

By Elaine Smith

The Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change is now offering its senior students a capstone course opportunity through York University’s Cross-Campus Capstone Classroom (C4) program and a half-dozen students took the plunge in 2021-22.

The C4 program allows students to work in interdisciplinary teams on real world challenges that have social impact and they generally take on these challenges at the behest of a client, either corporate, municipal or not-for-profit. The courses are year-long and focus on projects that advance the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Aren Sammy
Aren Sammy

“We highly recommend this for final-year students as a way to add multi-disciplinary work experience to their resume,” said Aren Sammy, experiential education (EE) co-ordinator for EUC, who noted that experiential learning is highly valued by the Faculty. “By this point in their university careers, they have a strong theoretical foundation and can bring something new to the table in a workplace; they can innovate. It’s an exceptional way to add to their resumes. What sells you as a professional is experience and how you have applied your theoretical knowledge.

“The students are stepping out of their comfort zones in multiple ways and that’s where so much growth happens.”

Catherine Lombardo
Catherine Lombardo

For example, Catherine Lombardo and her team are working with the Markham Environmental Advisory Committee to help the city determine how it can encourage its residents to move from fossil fuel property maintenance devices, such as lawnmowers and snowblowers, to those that use renewable energy sources. The project addresses UN SDG 11, creating sustainable communities and cities, and UN SDG 13, taking action to combat climate change.

“We are working on a plan to reduce the amount a city produces, as well as making this plan something that can be self-sustained on both a municipal and citizen level,” Lombardo said. “It feels really good to apply what you’ve learned after so many years to a real-world project and, sometimes, in a way you might not expect.”

Nikash Persaud
Nikash Persaud

Nikash Persaud is part of a team working with the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville on improving its agri-tourism and bringing more visitors to the town. The project looks toward UN SDG 11, creating sustainable communities and cities, and UN SDG 8, decent work and economic growth.

Persaud said a background in environmental science “allowed me to feel like I had a firm grasp on the concepts our project addresses. In addition to that, I feel that environmental science courses set me up to have a very multi-faceted approach, making it easy to connect with group members from drastically different backgrounds.”

There have been real benefits to the capstone course, noted Persaud, such as “meeting people in the field I want to work in… Being able to work and meet with mentors like the stakeholders in our project showed me so much of what I would be doing on the job in the future and helped me affirm my career choices.”

Both students are pleased by the skills they have developed, skills they are confident will help them in the workplace. They cited improvements in their abilities to work as part of a team and in their communications skills.

“Working in this team setting made me learn how to properly rely on other group members to handle tasks so I don’t get overwhelmed,” said Lombardo. “I have also gotten very efficient at writing an email to someone I’ve never met before and at making it sound both concise and professional.”

EUC considers experiential education as a significant component of its offerings, says Sammy, and the capstone course provides unique opportunities.

“As a new Faculty our goal is to respond to the most pressing challenges facing people and the planet,” said Sammy. “To do this, we need students in the field as much as possible.

“We really focus on bringing hands-on experiences and opportunities to interact with employers and community partners into all courses. We are aware that collaboration is the key to positive change. Without opportunities for diverse thinking and to take ambitious action outside of the classroom, students will never experience their true potential to make an impact in the field.”

Especially as the pandemic wanes, EUC expects students to be interested in the capstone opportunity. However, they also have a course option for an internship or placement in a field of interest.

“As we’re easing back into in-person courses, students are eager to connect with peers and industry professionals and partner organizations are eager to welcome the students back,” said Sammy. “It’s a reciprocal relationship. Partners need help and enjoy the innovative approach students bring, while the students like the break from the classroom and enjoy challenging themselves in the professional world.”