Students can create positive change at York through National Survey of Student Engagement

Black youth Osgoode lounge

First- and fourth-year students at York will have an opportunity to share their insights and drive positive change at the University through the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), which launches Feb. 27.

The survey takes place every three years across North America and is open to all undergraduate students in their first or graduating year of a four-year degree (except Bachelor of Education and Osgoode Hall Law School students).

Questions on the survey aim to measure how engaged students are in their post-secondary education in relation to experiences, programs, services and personal development.

It takes about 15 minutes to complete, and the results are used to inform strategic planning and evaluation of initiatives and work toward improving and enhancing supports for students. Those interested in participating will be asked to check for a personalized message in eClass from Nona Robinson, vice-provost, students, for the NSSE survey link.

“Student feedback is essential to planning good student supports, and we pledge to use the NSSE results to help us do so,” says Robinson. “By participating in NSSE, students actively support University planning and activities to help meet our commitment to creating a positive student experience on campus.”

York University first participated in 2014 with a 28 per cent response rate. Participation in the survey campaign measured 34 per cent in 2017 and 33 per cent in 2020. This year, the NSSE survey team at York is aiming for a 40 per cent participation rate. Faculty and staff can participate by acting as NSSE champions and encouraging students to participate.

To encourage participation, students who complete the survey will receive: a coupon added to their YU Card (redeemable for a Starbucks grande latte or a medium Tim Hortons coffee or a $5 gift card to participating York Lanes retailers or a $5 gift card to the York U Student Centre’s Breakroom); and an entry into a contest to win one of four tuition waivers valued at $500.

In addition to informing policy and highlighting areas for improvement at York, NSSE results also support institutional “quality” rankings, such as those published in MacLean’s magazine. NSSE publishes its own report each November, and also produces an institution-specific report with benchmark data from comparable institutions.

Results from this year’s survey will be shared with the York community in late 2023.

Celebrating the accomplishments of Work/Study Program students and coaches 

three students look at a computer

York University’s Work/Study Program joined forces with Career Education & Development in 2019 to offer a program designed to help Work/Study students recognize the value of their experiences. Through Becoming YU’s goal-setting and reflection framework, the program was designed to support students with greater clarity about their career goals while articulating their skills and accomplishments with confidence.  

Wrapping up the Fall/Winter 2021-22 academic year, more than 1,000 students participated in the program. 

Since its launch, Becoming YU has seen more than 2,500 students complete the program, allowing them to create meaningful goals and objectives, recognize the value of their personal, academic and professional experiences, identify their competencies and skills and articulate their skills and experiences with confidence.  

“This program has really progressed so far beyond my imagination. Students now have coaches. This is, to me the most exciting part of why I come to work… the opportunity to act as a coach or a mentor, to engage in these deeper conversations and to really impact individual students lives,” said Vice-Provost, Students Lucy Fromowitz.  

Recognizing the accomplishments of Work/Study students and Becoming YU coaches, the Work/Study program and Becoming YU team partnered to organize their first end-of-term celebration on March 30, bringing together students, coaches, Becoming YU alumni and employers.  

The celebration included an employer panel discussion, where recruiters from Longo’s and Enterprise Holdings spoke about the value of transferable skills during the hiring process and in the workplace.  

A second panel discussion was held with former York University Work/Study students who took part in the Becoming YU Program during their time as undergraduate students. Alumni were asked to speak on their experiences as Work/Study students and how it impacted their careers today.  

“I had some phenomenal coaches who sat with me and talked to regularly with me about my life goals, the skills that I thought I was really good at. I used those check-in moments as a mentorship session… I had a coach who understood all the components and intersections of my education, with my goals and my hobby of leadership development… they were able to give me the confidence that I needed at the time,” said Becoming YU alumni Althea Parala, student success coordinator at the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies.  

The Becoming YU end-of-term celebration was complete with an acknowledgement of this year’s most notable Work/Study students and the Becoming YU Coach of the Year. Students were asked to nominate coaches they felt had the most impact on their experience in the Work/Study program, while coaches were asked to nominate students that left an impression on the department which they worked in.  

The Students of the Year award was presented to Raven Lovering and Julia Romano

“We’ve relied on Julia to add a student voice to many of our program and team decisions, and her insight has always reminded us to keep students and their needs at the centre of what we do. Julia has always demonstrated professionalism and maturity beyond her years,” said Becoming YU Coach and Associate Director, Experiential Education Melanie Belore. 

Becoming YU Coach and Learning Skills Specialist, Learning Skills & Retention Nicole Joron recognized, “[Raven] has done an excellent job of setting new Becoming YU goals each year that cover different skills. She engages in active reflection to measure her progress and identify new areas for growth… Raven actively pushes herself out of her comfort zone to learn new skills that will be valuable to her in both her work-study role and career beyond.”   

Honourable mentions were given to students Catherina Blair, Michelle Thomas, Gary Bold, and Mariyam Tanveer during the event.  

The Coach of the Year award was presented to Tina Ranta, assistant director, well-being.  

“Despite being a new member of the York community, Tina actively connects to various departments across York and seeks out opportunities for me to engage with other York departments. Because of Tina, I had the chance to work in areas of student leadership, a role in which I would have never entered on my own, where I was able to foster facilitation skills and connect with students from a wide range of disciplines,” said Jennifer Tran, a fourth-year Becoming YU Work/Study student.  

Learn more about the Work/Study Programs online.  

York asks for student input to create more inclusive community

An advertisement for the Student Equity & Diversity Census

After extensive consultation with students and the York community, York University has introduced its first Student Equity and Diversity Census.

The desire for a self-identification survey came from many sources, including York students, to help optimize their educational experience and address systemic barriers. The 11-question census, to be delivered on an annual basis, will support the provision of targeted services, resources and supports designed specifically for equity-seeking student populations, and support the University to address and eliminate barriers to access, retention and completion. It will also provide baseline data to measure the University’s goals as outlined in the York University Academic Plan 2020-25.

An advertisement for the Student Equity & Diversity Census
Students are invited to participate in York’s first Student Equity and Diversity Census

York University is currently seeking to expand its knowledge about the diversity of its students. A review of data from existing surveys led to a review to understand how the University can increase representation of the entire student population and address inconsistences and varying data and demographic definitions.

As a result, a Student Census Working Group was created with participation from units across the University, student groups and student government to develop a census that will generate highly representative, consistent and regularly refreshed diversity data. This data will be collected and statistics reported within a framework that respects the privacy of students.

The Student Equity and Diversity Census, which involves all students, including undergraduate and graduate, runs from Sept. 21 to Oct. 29. It has questions about gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity and Indigeneity, disability status, religion, place of birth and level of education of parents – all to help York University know more about its student population. This information will help the University support success and reduce barriers to access for under-represented groups.

Diversity, equity and inclusion are articulated in York’s mission statement and are reflected in the Univesity’s core values.

“The more we know about our students, the better we can address and eliminate barriers to access, retention and completion, and build a strong sense of community and belonging,” said Lucy Fromowitz, vice-provost, students. “We have many programs to support equity-seeking populations, but we want to do more. This data will better inform our policies, practices, programs and services from an access and inclusion perspective.”

Students are encouraged to complete the census, though participation is completely voluntary. Upon completion of the census, students can choose to enter into a sweepstake for a chance to win a suite of prizes, including an iPad Pro, gift cards for Amazon and Uber Eats, and flex dollars on their YU-card.

The data collected will be kept strictly confidential. Any published Student Equity and Diversity Census results will be summarized into broad categories with personal identifying information removed to protect privacy.

For more information, visit the Student Equity and Diversity Census website or contact

Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities updated to reflect changing needs

Image shows a group of students standing in front of the Life Sciences Building located on the Keele Campus

The Office of Student Community Relations (OSCR) has updated the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities to better support and serve York University community members learning, working, and living on and off campus.

An important document, the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities is updated every five years to adapt to changing community needs and to align with prevailing University policies and guidelines. Changes are made after extensive consultation with students, staff and faculty to help ensure that the code affirms values of equity and respect.

The code is a set of identified values that the York University community is expected to uphold in their daily interactions, behaviours and overall conduct. The code upholds a philosophy and practice that is intended to balance a set of principles: support, accountability and education. The code also educates the community about non-academic behavioural standards at York and promotes accountability, ensuring that the York community upholds the dignity of individuals and groups and the enjoyment of their rights.

The recent additions to the code include:

  • the use of gender-neutral pronouns for a broader scope of representation;
  • expanded definitions to improve clarity;
  • improvements to procedural fairness guidelines;
  • the addition of York’s postering guidelines;
  • the inclusion of language around conduct during off-campus experiential education opportunities and University-related issues/events; and
  • the disruption of academic evaluation (as per Senate Policy on Academic Honesty).

There were also updates surrounding complaints, including:

  • an extension to the definition of who can file a complaint;
  • the timeline to amend a complaint;
  • changes regarding safety concerns; and
  • an emphasis on informal resolution as the preferred approach when resolving complaints.

To see the changes to the code, visit the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities web page. York community members are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the code to better support themselves and each other.

Learn more about the Office of Student Community Relations on the OSCR website.

Kindness Campaign promotes community and support this fall

Campus-Walk-FEATURED banner

York University students, staff and faculty are invited to join the Division of Students in spreading kindness on campus and online through the Kindness Campaign this September.

With a focus on patience and non-judgemental support, this important campaign fosters an ongoing dialogue about the importance of kindness in our everyday lives as we get used to new health protocols this fall. Gentle reminders and tips around kindness taking time, holding space and giving support will inspire York community members to take the campaign to heart as we navigate changes to the ways we interact.

York Kindness Campaign banner

“It has been a long time since a lot of us have interacted in person on our campuses,” said Alfred Ene, manager of the Office of Student Community Relations (OSCR). “For most of our new students, staff and faculty, it is their first time. The Kindness Campaign is a helpful reminder to stay mindful of others in the community as we navigate new ways of being around each other and move forward together. Whether it is helping out a colleague or a stranger who needs support, waiting a few extra minutes for a service or even getting coffee for the person behind you in line, simple acts of kindness will let everyone on our campuses feel welcome and supported.”

To get involved and show your support, explore the Kindness Toolkit to download, use and share campaign assets, from social media avatars and Zoom backgrounds to website buttons and print postcards. Let’s help spread some kindness!

The Kindness Campaign also helps raise awareness about the supports and services offered by the Division of Students, including Athletics & Recreation; the Centre for Sexual Violence Response, Support & Education; OSCR; Student Counselling, Health & Well-being; and Student Accessibility Services.

To learn more about the Kindness Campaign, visit

Office of the University Registrar launches new Student Advisory Committee

Featured image shows students walking

This fall, the Office of the University Registrar will be introducing the Student Advisory Committee.

The Student Advisory Committee will bring together students with a diversity of backgrounds and experiences to provide a thoughtful and dynamic perspective on matters that impact the student journey at York University.

A graphic showing three students and the words Office of the University Registrar
Join the Student Advisory committee

Through collaboration and consultation, members of this new committee will work with the Office of the University Registrar to ensure that policies, projects and services provided are reflective of students’ diverse thoughts, ideas and perspectives. By working together, the committee will be a collaborative and positive force for high-quality student services.

Applications to serve on the Student Advisory Committee are now open. The deadline to apply to be a member of this committee is Sept. 28.

To learn more about the committee, including the Terms of Reference and meeting schedule, visit the Office of the University Registrar website at

York University’s 2021 Orientation kicks off this weekend. Here’s a look at what’s planned

With fall term classes beginning on Sept. 8, the official start of the new academic year at York University is almost underway – and that means there’s plenty for new and returning students to do, think about and remember.

Luckily, the Orientation 2021 website helps with all of that, providing a schedule of events and corresponding registration information, a college finder tool, a resource guide listing academic and financial supports and student services, information about the York Orientation Welcome Kit and much more.

Due to the evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of this year’s Orientation events will be held virtually.

Orientation 2021

This year’s Orientation Week runs from Aug. 28 to Sept. 5 and includes a variety of events, workshops and icebreakers during which students will have a chance to meet other first-year students as well as upper-year students in their respective colleges and Faculties.

For more information about the various Orientation programs and how to register, students can visit the college and Faculty website links below. (Students can use the college finder tool to determine which Orientation to sign up for based on their academic program’s college affiliation.)

York University offers a wide variety of Orientation programming for new and incoming students

Orientation Day

One of the most highly anticipated events of the week is always York Orientation Day, a full day of activities on Sept. 3, where incoming students will be introduced to their professors, fellow students and University resources, and get a glimpse into what their first year at York will be like.

Academic Orientation will be hosted by the colleges and Faculties, with most sessions being held in the morning, followed by the 2021 York Orientation Day Welcome Ceremony, which will welcome the incoming undergraduate class with a special video premiering on the Orientation website homepage at 11:30 a.m. For more information about Academic Orientation, click here.

Black Excellence YU Welcome Event

Black Excellence YU (BEYU) provides Black students with the supports they need to transition to university and maximize their student experience on the path to graduation. The BEYU Welcome Event, taking place on Sept. 21 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., will foster a sense of community among incoming students so they feel welcomed, seen and supported at York, while equipping new Black students with the knowledge of where to go for a range of academic and personal support. For more information, visit this link.

Indigenous Student Orientation

The Centre for Indigenous Student Services (CISS) welcomes incoming Indigenous Students to York. Meet the staff at CISS, learn about our services and meet other Indigenous students at York on Aug. 24 from noon to 1 p.m. via Zoom.

International Student Orientation

The International Student Virtual Orientation, taking place Aug. 23, 25 and 27, is a great way to start the first semester, prepare for university life and connect with other international students. York International and so many other supports, services and resources at York are all still available, no matter where in the world students are.

Alternatively, for those who are on campus, join for a fun afternoon of activities and food in person at the International Student Picnic taking place on Sept. 2, 6 and 10. This is a great way for first- and second-year students to learn more about the Keele Campus, connect with students from the same Faculty and make new friends. There will be a campus tour towards the end of the picnic.

For more information and to register, visit this link.

Mature and Transfer Student Orientation

In addition to the Mature Student Orientation taking place Aug. 26, all newly admitted mature and transfer students are encouraged to take part in the Mature Student First-Year Experience. The program consists of a series of online stand-alone workshops aimed at supporting mature and transfer students’ transition to York. Students may participate in as few or as many sessions as they would like via Moodle, an interactive learning platform used throughout York to deliver course content online. It is available 24-7 and lets students set their own pace for learning.

Residence Orientation

Residence Orientation will be multifaceted this year. Housing Services will host a video series outlining what it is like to live in residence, followed by individual building Orientation events that will take place during Orientation Week and the first week of school. Students should ask their Don about it when they move in.

YorkFest 2021

Each year the York Federation of Students aims to make YorkFest the largest back-to-school Orientation festival held on a Canadian University campus. Get ready for a week packed with good vibes and fun, Sept. 20 to 24. For more information, visit the YorkFest web page.

Virtual Town Hall for students provides updates on 2021-22 plans

webinar computer

York University Vice-Provost, Students Lucy Fromowitz and a panel of York University’s senior leaders hosted a virtual Town Hall for all students on April 14 to provide an update on University-wide plans for 2021-22.

Lucy Fromowitz
Lucy Fromowitz

The Town Hall was an opportunity for students to ask questions, in advance or live during the event, about the University’s evolving response to COVID-19 on topics such as: plans for online and in-person learning for the Summer 2021 and the upcoming academic year; updates and information for international and graduate students; and overall health and safety information.

President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda L. Lenton, and Provost & Vice-President Academic Lisa Philipps joined the panel to answer student queries about the University’s plan for a safe return to campus sometime in the Fall (an exact return date has not yet been set) and addressed the overall COVID-19 health and safety procedures York is implementing ahead of the Summer 2021 and Fall/Winter 2021-22 sessions. Senior leadership applauded York Facilities Services for their hard work and continued dedication in ensuring the campus has and will remain safe for students, staff and Faculty.

University Registrar Darran Fernandez and Dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies and Associate Vice-President Thomas Loebel addressed undergraduate and graduate student questions regarding in-person learning opportunities for the Summer 2021 session and how students can apply for various scholarships and bursaries to assist them with funding their studies.

Executive Director, York International, Vinitha Gengatharan, addressed many questions pertaining to international students on topics surrounding study permits, post-graduate work permits, and the COVID-19 quarantine plan for incoming international students.

The panel was moderated by Manager of Student Life, Office of Student Community & Leadership Development Jair Kallidumbil.

The full video of the town hall is now available and can be viewed at

Virtual town hall provides update on 2021-22 University budget

Vari Hall Winter Scene

President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda L. Lenton and York University’s senior leadership team hosted a consultation on the 2021-22 University budget at a virtual town hall held Feb. 8.

The town hall presented an overview of the University’s current financial framework and discussed the opportunities and challenges York faces in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and planning for the next academic year. Members of the community were invited to ask questions – in pre-submitted and live formats – on budget priorities and other concerns.

Joining Lenton were Provost & Vice-President Academic Lisa Philipps, Vice-President Finance & Administration Carol McAulay, Vice-President Advancement Jeff O’Hagan, Vice-President Research & Innovation Amir Asif and Vice-Provost Students Lucy Fromowitz.

The full video of the town hall on the 2021-22 University budget is now available and can be viewed at:

York continues digital transformation with new electronic platform for student documents

Woman laptop computer FEATURED

York University has joined the Association of Registrars of the Universities and Colleges of Canada (ARUCC) national network as an early adopter for delivering student documents to them electronically through a secure, centralized source. The national network, ARUCC MyCreds™ | MesCertifMC, will enable students to access certain documents through a centralized source and share documents with other institutions globally.

The MyCreds™ platform will help support the University Academic Plan’s sustainable development goals, streamline administrative processes, improve turnaround time to students, help to eliminate credential fraud, enhance student experience with password-protected digital solutions and improve efficiencies with one single repository.

MyCreds™ | MesCertifMC, will enable students to access certain documents through a centralized source and share documents with other institutions globally

Along with other projects – including the Student Systems Renewal Program (SSRP), a new Curriculum Management System and the implementation of SAVY, York’s student virtual assistant – the University is transforming the digital experience for its community.

Staff in the Office of the University Registrar, Faculties and other student service units across both campuses will benefit from a streamlined process that increases speed and accuracy of processing documents and allows service staff to enhance service levels to meet student expectations. Since documents managed through MyCreds™ are certified authentic, the risk of document fraud will be reduced and trust in authenticity increased.

Darran Fernandez
Darran Fernandez

“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted a number of areas for us to modernize our services to meet student needs. Our partnership with ARUCC | MyCreds™ is a big step in that direction by empowering our learners – both past and present – to use and share their academic records when and how they want through a secure digital national network with global connections,” said York University Registrar Darran Fernandez. “Through this initiative, we are using digital technology to support our students and to help them achieve success – an important commitment that is central to our University Academic Plan.”

Beginning this month, York students will gain secure digital access to graduation confirmation and enrollment verification letters, which will be followed by digital access to diplomas in March and the ability to request and digitally share transcripts in May. Future planned development will include availability of badges and microcredentialing for students.