No talent left behind

At York, we take pride in providing access to higher education for all eligible students so that no talent is left behind. That means many of our students are new Canadians, Black, Indigenous, racialized, from lower income backgrounds, or are the first in their families to attend university. We are committed to providing the supports, inclusive spaces and programs these students need to realize their full potential.

York is committed to continually improving in this area. Among our accomplishments this year was a student-designed program to reduce barriers in technology-related employment and education for Indigenous students; and an ambitious new set of Faculty of Education courses, cohorts and programs that are rooted in Indigenous knowledge and pedagogies.

We responded quickly to COVID-19 by assisting dozens of students through the new York University Emergency Bursaries, for students who faced unanticipated financial needs because of the pandemic. We offered emergency funds to domestic and international undergraduates, graduates, and students in the School of Continuing Studies. York also established an emergency travel bursary for students studying abroad, and also for international students. The bursaries were funded through the generosity of our community, including generous matching gifts from the Pierre Lassonde Family Foundation and the Victor Dahdaleh Foundation, and members of the Board of Governors.


of students are first-generation


of students come from under-represented groups


online and/or blended courses offered


of faculty are indigenous or racialized

In the summer of 2020 Professor Carl E. James became the senior advisor on equity and representation to the university as part of the Division of Equity, People and Culture. Professor James is recognized in Canada and around the world for his decades of work in equity in relation to race, class, gender, racialization, and immigration and citizenship. In the newly created role, he will support the advancement of equity, diversity and inclusion throughout the university.

Osgoode Hall Law School appointed Lori Mishibinijima as the Manager of Indigenous & Reconciliation Initiatives. She is supporting Osgoode’s Indigenous students and faculty and leading Osgoode’s efforts in indigenizing its curricular and co-curricular offerings as well as developing programming that shares Indigenous legal traditions with the entire Osgoode community.

York won the Airbus GEDC Diversity Award for a program that brings students together across disciplines to solve real-world challenges. The program, C4: Cross Campus Capstone Classroom, was created by Professors Danielle Robinson the School of Arts, Media, Performance & Design and Franz Newland of the Lassonde School of Engineering. It brings together students from across disciplines into teams solving real-world challenges. C4 partners include the Yonge Street Mission, the Al and Malka Green Artists’ Health Centre, Glendon’s Globally Networked Learning Project, and product development and supply chain management experts at Panoplo Inc.

Student Academic Advising provided support to 6,369 students through the new Student Virtual Assistant, SAVY, which uses artificial intelligence to answer students’ queries in real time. The assistant was developed in partnership with IBM, using the IBM Watson platform. SAVY was just one of a number of new efforts launched by Academic Advising during the year, with the goal to proactively identify and engage students at the earliest point to provide advice and support.