Community is at the heart of education. What and how students learn directly reflects our communities and the many societal factors that play a role in the individual and collective learning experience.
As a nurturing ground for future educational leaders, the Faculty of Education at York University recognizes this profound role that the community plays. By creating an inclusive learning environment with expert educators passing along their direct experience working with diverse populations and designing culturally relevant pedagogy, our aspiring educators are equipped with the practical knowledge and cultural sensitivity needed to make a positive impact on their own students, both inside a classroom and in the world beyond.
And for alumni like Korina Thomas-Reynolds, co-founder of Roots to Routes Academy – an independent school offering high school credits specifically designed for minority students – and one of York’s Top 30 Under 30 for 2023, it was her time at York that helped her understand the important role she and her classmates play in addressing the disconnect between schools and the communities they serve.
By mobilizing mutually beneficial community partnerships as vehicles for experiential learning, the Faculty is bridging academic and scholarly work with real action, allowing students to put their education into practice in non-traditional ways as more than educators, but as mentors. For example, through Pathways to Education, York students help youth from low-income families or who are newcomers to Canada overcome traditional barriers and support their success as students. Opportunities such as this contribute to our students’ preparation as aspiring educators and put them up close and personal with the world their future students will soon venture into themselves.
Throughout all that we do is also a pervasive and sustained commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion and decolonization. As outlined in the new Five-Year Strategic Plan (2023-2027), the Faculty of Education engages in meaningful research that takes marginalized perspectives into account and is built upon social justice to contribute to the improvement and betterment of the world around us as we evolve our understanding of learning and teaching.
One powerful way this commitment has manifested at the Faculty is through the Savitri Ahuja Education Award. Inspired by a beloved teacher who came to Canada from India and re-accredited at York University to continue her passion, the award is given out annually to first-year students who are new to Canada or the first in their family to attend postsecondary education and who demonstrate financial need. By carrying on Mrs. Ahuja’s incredible legacy and celebrating the many unique stories of our students, the award and its recipients will be drivers for ongoing positive change in education.
To celebrate the Faculty’s 50th anniversary and the many ways our leaders are supporting the future leaders in education, we have created a new four-part video series showcasing our bold leadership in education which helps create more just communities.