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School of Continuing Studies receives CAUCE Program Award

School of Continuing Studies receives CAUCE Program Award

The School of Continuing Studies’ Certificate in User Experience (UX) Design at York University recently won a 2021 Canadian Association for University Continuing Education (CAUCE) Program Award in the “non-credit programming over 48 hours” category.

This marks the second year in a row that the school has won a CAUCE Program Award, with the Certificate in Machine Learning winning the 2020 award in the same category.

Every year, the CAUCE Program Awards honour the best initiatives in continuing education across Canada. The selection committees are made up of leaders employed at post-secondary institutions across the country.

“I am thrilled that the Certificate in User Experience Design team has been recognized for their invaluable support in making this win possible,” says Marina DeBona, program manager. “The fact that these awards were adjudicated by our colleagues in the Canadian continuing education sector makes the win even more significant and special for us.”

According to a 2020 LinkedIn report on in-demand hard and soft skills, UX design is among the top five in-demand job skills. In response to the growing need for skilled UX professionals, York University's School of Continuing Studies launched a Certificate in UX Design in 2019 in collaboration with an advisory council of senior industry leaders from organizations such as Shopify, Longo’s, Ratehub, Riipen and York’s Department of Design.

UX designer
In response to the growing need for skilled UX professionals, the School of Continuing Studies launched a Certificate in UX Design in 2019. Photo by Faizur Rehman on Unsplash

The program’s unique and innovative features include:

  • a comprehensive curriculum that focuses on experiential learning, allowing students to consistently develop and enhance their UX skill set;
  • an emphasis on teaching cross-functional skills such as communication, problem solving, active listening and teamwork to prepare for today’s dynamic workplace;
  • a proprietary cohort-learning delivery model that facilitates peer-to-peer collaboration, enabling students to graduate with a robust network of like-minded professionals;
  • industry-expert instructors who teach the fundamental UX design skills needed in today’s job market; and
  • an accelerated format that allows students to complete the part-time program in eight months with a portfolio of work that showcases their UX capabilities and expertise.

The program is designed for professionals currently working in creative fields like graphic or web design, and who want to upgrade their skill set. Graduate Leyla Bayramli, for example, was able to start her own UX design company immediately after completing the program.

“The Certificate in User Experience Design helped me gain both skills and confidence that I apply to my job as UX designer now,” she says. “The instructors were always available to help and guide, and they also helped me get my first project by referring me to a company where I got a chance to work shortly after graduation.”

The program is also an excellent way for graduates of York's bachelor of design program, in the School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design, to further specialize their skill set to get into an in-demand field.

“As we continue to navigate this challenging year, we’re grateful for the recognition of the innovation of our staff and instructors that made this award possible,” says Tracey Taylor-O’Reilly, assistant vice-president of continuing studies. “We’re thrilled to be making an enduring difference in the professional and personal lives of our students. I would like to thank CAUCE for presenting our hard-working staff and instructors with this award.”

Founded in 2015, the School of Continuing Studies has introduced many first-to-market programs designed to quickly and comprehensively prepare students to switch careers, advance in their roles or upskill to keep pace with changing technologies. Over the years, the school has won several national education awards, which has helped to establish its reputation as one of the top continuing education institutions in Canada. For more information about the school, visit

To learn more about Research & Innovation at York: follow us at @YUResearch; watch the animated video which profiles current research strengths and areas of opportunity, such as artificial intelligence and Indigenous futurities; and see the snapshot infographic, a glimpse of the year’s successes.