Real world innovation projects give York U students edge in paving career paths


TORONTO, May 6, 2013 – Preparing job ready graduates with real world work experience as part of the curriculum is York University’s focus to equip its students for the competitive labour market. The success of this new approach, achieved through several projects, will be showcased at York’s Keele Campus at the Teaching and Learning Innovation Celebration, May 9.

“This experiential education provides students with the opportunity to connect theory to practice. We have also introduced eLearning and first-year transition initiatives through various projects to improve student experience at York,” says Susan Vail, associate vice-president, Teaching and Learning. “To this end, we have invested $5 million in 52 projects through our Academic Innovation Fund (AIF), in the last two years, and plan to fund other worthy projects in the future.”

The event will showcase some of the projects with demonstrated success. Faculty members will explain how they are using innovative techniques to enhance the classroom experience, ease first-year students into university with an online enrollment advising system, course-based peer mentoring, and other methods.

For example, Lara Ubaldi, Project Lead for YU Start which provides students with a smooth transition to life at York both in the academic and non-academic fronts will illustrate its success. The three-year pilot program allows participating students to make online appointments for course enrolment instead of the typical in-person system in practice. YU Start will also enable these participants to make connections with their peers via online communities and then meet them on campus during the orientation in mid-August.

Similarly, Professor Myriam Mongrain from the Department of Psychology, Faculty of Health will speak on how her recorded lectures posted online help students learn at their own pace, outside the classroom. Panel discussions and Q&A sessions will also follow each presentation.

Keynote speeches for the morning and evening sessions will address the challenges facing post-secondary education and how to invigorate student experience, respectively.

A video of students reflecting on their eLearning experience will also be shown at the event.
WHAT: Teaching and Learning Innovation Celebration

WHERE: Tribute Communities Recital Hall, Accolade East Building, York University, Keele Campus, (building number 92 on the map)

WHEN: Thursday, May 9, 2013, 8:30pm-4:00pm

Program highlights:
- 9:00am to 9:30am – The Academic Innovation Fund Story, overview by Susan Vail, vice-president, Teaching and Learning
- 9:30am to 9:45am – Challenge of Change in Higher Education, morning keynote address by Rhonda Lenton, vice-president Academic and Provost
- 9:45am to 12:30pm – Presentations on eLearning and experiential education
- 2:00pm to 2:30pm – Reframing the New Student Experience, afternoon keynote speech by Janet Morrison, vice-provost Students.
- 2:30pm to 4:00pm – Presentation on enhancing the first-year experience

Click here for the complete schedule and project details

For the event’s live streaming, click here.

NOTE: Susan Vail, Associate vice-president of Teaching and Learning; Rhonda Lenton, vice-president Academic and Provost; and Janet Morrison, vice-provost Students, are available for interviews.

York University is helping to shape the global thinkers and thinking that will define tomorrow. York U’s unwavering commitment to excellence reflects a rich diversity of perspectives and a strong sense of social responsibility that sets us apart. A York U degree empowers graduates to thrive in the world and achieve their life goals through a rigorous academic foundation balanced by real-world experiential education. As a globally recognized research centre, York U is fully engaged in the critical discussions that lead to innovative solutions to the most pressing local and global social challenges. York U’s 11 faculties and 28 research centres are thinking bigger, broader and more globally, partnering with 288 leading universities worldwide. York U's community is strong − 55,000 students, 7,000 faculty and staff, and more than 250,000 alumni.

Media Contact: Gloria Suhasini, York University Media Relations, 416 736 2100 ext. 22094,