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Where did YCN come from?

The York Capstone Network was launched in 2018 by a grassroots collective of capstone professors and supporting staff members. Learn more about how we came to be below.

The YCN Origin Story

A Space Engineering professor (Franz Newland) and a Dance Studies professor (Danielle Robinson) walk into New Faculty Orientation…This is not the beginning of a joke, but the genesis of the York Capstone Network. 

Each professor had been asked to speak to the assembled crowd about their experiences teaching at York. But Danielle and Franz ended up chatting, before and after being on stage, about their passion for capstone teaching—how these courses uniquely prepare students for professional life, how thrilling it is to watch students transform across the year - and how much better these courses could be by creating spaces where capstone professors could meet, share best practices, resources – and maybe even project spaces and students - given all the complexities of capstones.  

After this conversation Danielle and Franz determined to bring together a group of capstone professors, to see if they felt the same. In the fall of 2018, the first meeting of the York Capstone Network took place within the Teaching Commons. The gathered professors discussed a range of ways they could support each other in their capstone teaching within different disciplines, including regular sharing sessions, a website of digital resources, and public capstone events.  

Knowing that they were not the only capstone professors looking to connect and create a community of practice, Danielle and Franz applied for support from the York University Faculty Association’s Teaching and Learning Fellowship program, York’s Academic Innovation Fund, as well as directly from the Associate Vice President, Teaching and Learning.  

Since January 2019 these crucial supports have enabled the York Capstone Network to host large and small campus-wide capstone events, sponsor pan-university capstone awards, initiate work on a capstone resource website, conduct SoTL (scholarship on teaching and learning) research, and launch C4: The Cross-Campus Capstone Classroom (C4) at York. 

Danielle Robinson and Danielle Dobney having a discussion in one of YCN's Capstone Cafes
two professors speaking to a group of students in a classroom
Danielle Robinson and Franz Newland speaking to a group of capstone students

“So the project commons aspect of this initiative at YorkU really allows what we’re doing really be visible and accessible to the faculty and students and community.”

— Liz Haines, YCN project partner