Living Well Together

Making positive change requires that all members of our diverse community feel welcomed into a sense of belonging, common purpose, and shared responsibility to support and enrich one another’s work.

Anishinaabe teachings refer to the gift of Mino Bimaaddiziwin, or “the good life.” Given the scale and breadth of York University — with many people engaging remotely or commuting some distance to our campuses, and with 330,000+ alumni living and working around the world — we are continuing to work together to build a community reflective of this “good life.” 


alumni worldwide


million in funds raised


participants in equity, diversity, and inclusion training


million in tuition relief provided to international students

In February 2021, York recommitted to creating organizational change that is inclusive of and responsive to the needs of Black faculty, instructors, staff, and students through the release of a Framework for Black Inclusion and a Draft Action Plan. The framework and action plan were developed through a series of consultations with Black community members at York.

Faculties, divisions, and departments across the University are already taking up the framework within their own contexts and identifying actions to address anti-Black racism in their own cultures, systems, policies, and processes.

In June 2021, York launched a new University Services Centre as part of its ambitious Service Excellence Program. The centre is intended to make University services easier to access, faster, and more consistent by bringing together high-volume administrative services from across functions, such as human resources and finance, into one service delivery centre. When completed, it will include a staff contact centre, a services hub, and a continuous improvement team.

The launch of the University Services Centre is just one part of a three-year initiative focused on improving processes, structure, systems, and culture. The program is guided by collaborative governance and supported by an integrated team of York’s senior executives, deans, functional leaders, staff, and external transformation experts. 

The President’s Advisory Council on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion was created in November 2020 to provide advice and counsel on the development of an institutional Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Strategy for York University.

Chaired by Sheila Cote-Meek, Vice-President, Equity, People & Culture, the council is consulting with York students, staff, faculty members, and instructors from across the University to develop, recommend, and establish institutional priorities, strategies, tactics, actions, and measures of success in relation to equity, diversity, and inclusion at York.

Several important steps were taken in support of this work throughout the 2020–2021 academic year, including posting advertisements for 14 new tenure-stream positions for Black scholars; appointing Faculty of Education Professor Carl E. James as Senior Advisor on Equity and Representation to the University; funding new Organized Research Units; launching a speaker series on equity, diversity, and inclusion; and designing and delivering new unconscious bias training programs for leaders and staff.

In September 2020, York University launched SAVY, a virtual assistant that interacts with students through a chat-like interface to help connect them with resources for academic success, health and wellness, student life, campus services, and career development.

SAVY is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to answer student questions, recommend relevant resources, offer directions and wayfinding, provide reminders about upcoming deadlines, and connect students to people and places on campus. It is a software-based agent built on IBM’s Watson platform through a collaboration between York’s Division of Students, University Information Technology, and York’s Faculties and service areas, guided and informed by students.

SAVY was the recipient of the 2020 Canadian University Council of Chief Information Officers Innovation Award, which recognizes innovative information technology projects or initiatives that have significantly advanced teaching, learning, research, or administration within an institution or in the community.

In September 2020, York University unveiled a new brand strategy to articulate its shared vision, purpose, and identity and reflect its distinct identity in the higher education landscape.

The distinctive brand identity aligns closely with the University Academic Plan 2020–2025 and supports the University’s shared commitment to driving positive change for its students, its community, and the broader world through research, curriculum development, innovative student learning practices, and engagement.

The compelling marketing and creative, design, and storytelling utilized in the launch of the new brand identity led to the University being awarded four Council for Advancement and Support of Education 2021 Circle of Excellence Awards, which recognize superior accomplishments in marketing and communications that have lasting impact, demonstrate the highest level of professionalism, and deliver exceptional results.